I am pleased to announce the launch of the IWMW 2014 Web site. The year’s event takes place at Northumbria University on 16-18 July. As has been the case for the majority of the previous 17 IWMW events, this year’s event will last for 3 days. The price for attendance at this year’s event is unchanged from recent years: £350 which includes two nights’ accommodation or £300 with no accommodation. The event this year is being provided by myself, Jisc Netskills and Cetis.
IWMW 2.014: Rebooting the Web
The official title of this year’s event is “IWMW 2.014: Rebooting the Web“. The idea for the title came from a suggestion made during the feedback we received at IWMW 2013, when we asked participants for their thoughts on whether the event should continue in light of the cessation of Jisc core funding for UKOLN. The answer was unanimous: there should be a IWMW 2014 event but perhaps the event could benefit from a ‘reboot’. Organisational changes, in particular the large-scale redundancies at UKOLN following from the cuts in funding, necessitated rethinking for how the event was to be organised. Due to the Jisc financial support for the event in previous years we sought to ensure that the event provided an opportunity for Jisc services and development programmes were able to describe their activities. Although these sessions have been useful the funding changes provided an opportunity to ensure that the talks and the sessions were more directly aligned with the needs of those responsible for providing and managing large-scale institutional Web services.
A Summary of the IWMW 2014 Programme
Perspectives from Outside
We had been told that the event would benefit from talks by charismatic speakers with a proven track record of delivering talks at prestigious national and international events. Since it had also been suggested that we should look for insights from outside the higher educational sector the opening session, Perspectives from Outside, provides the opportunity to hear the opening talk from Tracy Playle, founder of HE Comms, an online social network for Higher Education communications and marketing professionals who regularly speaks at conferences and seminars in the UK, mainland Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Tracy will share her reasons “Why you don’t need a social media plan and how to create one anyway”. The other plenary talks on the opening day are provided by two regular speakers at IWMW who, based on the feedback we’re received, are always successful in stimulating discussion and debate. Paul Boag has been working with the web since 1994. He is now co-founder of the digital agency Headscape, where he works closely with clients to establish their web strategy. Paul also speaks extensively on various aspects of web design both at conferences across the world and on his award winning web design podcast boagworld. Paul will give a plenary talk on “Digital Adaptation: Time to Untie Your Hands“. Ranjit Sidhu (or Sid) is founder of statistics into Decisions (also known as SiD!). Ranjit has worked at several Internet based companies, but has found his niche in analysis and helping clients understand what is going on in the internet ether and how to use that information to improve what they do. Ranjit, who is currently working with 15 UK universities, will give a plenary talk on “‘You are ALL so weird!’ University sector analysis and trends”. I’m particularly pleased that IWMW 2014 will feature three speakers who not only have spoken at conferences around the world but also have a good knowledge of the higher education sector.
Institutional Case Studies
However if high profile speakers form outside the sector are valuable in getting the event off to a good start, provide challenging insights and stimulating discussions, the main focus of the event is in providing an environment for sharing institutional practices. Therefore this year there will be two plenary sessions on Institutional Case Studies which will feature presentations from institutional Web managers on “Building cost-effective, flexible and scalable education resources using Google Cloud Platform”, “Using the start-up playbook to reboot a big university website”, “Marketing is dead, long live UX”, “Adding Analytics to the University Portal” and “Allocating Work: Providing Tools for Academics”.
No IWMW event would be complete, however, without sessions which explore the opportunities which technical developments can provide for the provision of institutional Web sites. This year the session on Looking To The Future features two plenary talks on “Hyper-connectEd: Filling the vacuum by switching from blow to suck” and “What Does The Data Tell Us About UK University Web Sites”.
Workshops and Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions
When the name “IWMW” was first used for the Institution Web Management Workshop series the final “W” was meant to signify the importance of participative sessions. Although the plenary talks provide a shared experience which enables all participants to hear about and learn from institutional case students and practices, technical developments and perspectives form outside the sector, the parallel workshop sessions provide an opportunity for more active involvement and group discussions. This year’s workshop sessions cover a range of areas including the usability (“Making Personas Work”), content (“Reframing Content Strategy” and “Learning to COPE – Create, Once, Publish Everywhere”), metrics (“Google Analytics For Beginners”) and technical sessions on “Rapid Development: Analytics reporting powered by Google Apps Scripts”, “Working with data.ac.uk: Creating your Institution’s OPD (Organisational Profile Document)”, “WordPress as a CMS” and “How to Buy Free Software”. As well as these workshop sessions we will also be providing an opportunity for participants to organise their own birds-of-a-feather sessions.
Providing Value for Money
We are very aware of reductions in staff development budgets which institutions may now be facing. The feedback received at last year’s event showed that participants were very aware that the event did provide value-for-money, with a recognition that if the cessation of Jisc funding necessitated an increase in the cost of attendance this would be understandable. However I am pleased to say that we have been able to keep the cost of attendance at the event down to the same price as last year. Indeed as shown in Table 1 we have kept that price at the same level over the past five years, with the exception of 2011 when the event was reduced to a 2-day event.
|Cost (including accommodation)||£350||£350||£350||£250||£350|
|Length||3 days||3 days||3 days||2 days||3 days|
We are able to keep the prices down to a very affordable level due to a combination of the support of the event sponsors and the willingness of the event speakers and facilitators to provide their sessions for free, in order to support the community.
We do still have opportunities for additional sponsors who would like to be associated with a successful event which is now in its 18th year. For further information please get in touch. I hope to see you in Newcastle in July.