I just got home from HighEdWeb 2012 in Milwaukee, and rather than wait weeks to jot down my impressions like I did last year, I figured I’d best write up my thoughts on this year’s Bonnaroo of the higher ed web world right away.
I definitely enjoyed this year’s Best in Conference winner, “I don’t have your Ph.D: Working with Faculty and the Web,” by Amanda Costello (summary by Laura Kenyon), but my “golden nugget” for this year’s conference had to do with the potential of site-specific mobile experiences, something that ties in neatly with my academic fascination with the creation of spaces. Both Cornelia Bailey of UChicago and Kyle Bowen of Purdue (Kyle, whom I had the pleasure of running into at the Mars Cheese Castle on the way home, won Best in Track for his talk [write-up by Lori Packer]) gave really interesting examples of how mobile technology could be used to great effect in specific but very different settings, namely a museum in Cornelia’s talk and the classroom in Kyle’s. I’m itching to try projects like these at the Law School if the opportunity presents itself.
And while this year’s conference sadly did not include a Johnny Cash cover band made up of conference attendees, I did get involved by presenting two talks. The first, “Reach Out and Touch Someone: Marshall McLuhan and the Tactile Web,” was pretty theoretical and abstract, a change of pace for a conference mostly focused on the nitty-gritty of web work, so I wasn’t sure how it would be received. You can download my Keynote presentation (sorry Windows users, still trying to find a good way to present a presentation this big on the web) or read the write-up by Lori Packer on Link. I was pleased to get a good amount of positive feedback on the content of the talk, as well as on the concept of keeping the higher ed web engaged with big ideas like McLuhan’s work. I also gave a joint presentation with Tonya Oaks Smith of UALR Bowen Law on the differences between working in communications at a professional school or other specialty unit within a university and a four-year undergrad institution (slideshare is here). We had a few audience members who were really engaged, and I hope the conversation will continue.