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University Web Developers

Anyone attending HighEdWeb 2008: Infinite Solutions conference?
Has anyone attended a previous year? Care to share your experience? The topics seem relevant to my position (as well as a coworker's) and we're trying to figure out if this is one we should "fight for"...you know, convince our supervisor that it is, in fact, a useful conference, not just a paid trip.

Thanks in advance.

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After a year in higher ed, I went on world wind tour of relevant conferences that included edWeb (going on now in AC), HighEdWeb, and SXSW.

Simply put, I took away the most practical ideas and goals from HighEdWeb, as I found it more technically appealing as a web developer.

Quick Impressions
EduWeb - 70% Marketing/Management 30% Code/Design/UX
Ideal for admissions marketing and management types that need to buy into, I generally told myself after attending is something I'd take my boss too. Also, often overkill on vendor based presentations.

HighEdWeb - 60% Code/Design/UX 40% Marketing
I found HighEdWeb to have the best balance and takeaways, and was quite taken by the TPR track for practical uses in coding. Some presentations were redundant to EduWeb, but really just minus the vendor/marketing fluff that turned me off to EduWeb to begin with.

SXSW Interactive - Alright this one was just fun - great pie in the sky ideas, parties, live music, and engaging workshops/conversations around every corner - did I mention the parties and comped booze EVERYWHERE? Ok, SXSW was just selfish - but I recommend to go at least once.

Beyond that, there's Statmats, regional CASE conferences, Educause, amoung others... I'll let others tackle those conferences.

As for HighEdWeb, it's worth the money and a great getaway to meet some peers.
Jonathan,
Thank you for the great response. I'm glad you recommend it. I think my supervisor is going to send both me and my coworker. Tomorrow we're discussing it and showing her all the different "tracks" to justify both of us going. :-)
Don't forget to add WebVisions and Campus Technology to your list of conferences worth considering.
Thanks for the heads-up!
I'm going, but it's also really close to us. I went when it was still in NY a couple years ago, it's not a bad show.
It's a great conference with a great bunch of people. Very grass roots--most presentations are lead by other higher ed web developers showing off what they're doing and sharing their experiences, frustrations, and epiphany moments. It's a great way to learn what's hot and what to watch for and its a great way to meet other people in similar situations at other schools. I've been going since it came to Rochester in 2003--this year I'm definitely looking forward to getting out of town for a change (and not having to worry about driving home after the evening festivities!).

If you come, be sure to attend at least one of my presentations! :P

--Jason
@Jason, Which sessions are you presenting?

@Michael, can't wait to meet everyone that I "know" from these forums, blogs, etc. I really enjoy your blog, as well as Brad's. And I always appreciate Kyle's feedback on items.

Wish I could have been at eduWEB!

Maybe we can all have a meetup at HighEdWeb, too.
@Susan - You put me on the spot and I have to respond right!? :)

I honestly haven't been to HighEdWeb before but after eduWEB last week I don't want to be left out of the fun so it's on my list to convince the higher ups I need to go this year.

That conference was an absolute blast. Here's my personal take and maybe it's just me, but I really didn't gain a ton from the tracks (truth be told if you read blogs then the presentations are more of a 50minute detailed blog post).

Where the value from these things is THE NETWORKING! Bouncing ideas off people, talking to others that deal and understand your daily frustrations and have ideas that maybe you haven't thought of before, meeting these people in forums, getting into a debate about email marketing w/ Mark Greenfield... etc. It's the face to face interaction and relationship building that is the huge value! It's so great because going back to twitter or email after the conference you know exactly who to talk to about what problems you have because you better understand what others are doing at other institutions.

How do you explain this value to a boss... I don't know... but It's the community stupid!

Hope that lives up to your feedback expectations!?
I think you are right. "Community" is critical.

So, the next logical question might be: which community? There are dozens of possible conferences and associated communities. Which one is right for you? What business are you in? Are you a Web professional? A marketer? An educator? A lifelong student?

The best match between professional identity and right association will, I believe, lead toward the most successful exchange.

That's how I'd determine which conference is the best match.
Ha ha. Yes. Thank you, Kyle!

I'm looking forward to being able to meet/network with fellow Higher Ed web people.
I've been for a few years now and really appreciated and enjoyed it. Whether or not I go this year is still up in the air, unfortunately.

It and An Event Apart are the two I'd fight for at this point (with the caveat that An Event Apart isn't higher ed-focused at all), but I'm also lucky in that Penn State has its own internal conferences that I've found quite valuable.
I'm glad to hear that this conference will be worth it. We get one a year, so this is it!

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