Strengths and Weakness of Workshops at IWMW Events

iwmw-logo-transparentIn a recent post I asked “What Can IWMW Learn From Higher Education Web Events in the US?“. In the post I pointed out that the eduWeb and HighEdWeb conferences, the two main events for web professionals in higher education in the US, both provide half-day or full-day workshop sessions (which are sometimes referred to as ‘master classes’). The Eduweb conference site explains how:

Starting in 2014, the eduWeb Digital Summit launched a new event, the Master Class.

  • Intense, interactive classroom with top-notch faculty
  • Limited to approximately 35 participants
  • Maximum peer-to-peer dialogue
  • Hands-on activities and instruction

IWMW, the annual Institutional Web Management Workshop series, has always provided workshop sessions since it was launched in 1997, which provide an opportunity for participants to actively engage in workshop activities. However the workshops have normally lasted for 90 minutes, with the IWMW 2000 event being the most recent event which hosted a number of workshop sessions lasting for 3 hours.

Although 90 minute workshops enable participants to attend a wider range of sessions they provide limited opportunities to engage more deeply in the area covered by the workshop. This year, at IWMW 2015, we have therefore decided to provide 90 minute workshop sessions together with a number of ‘master classes’ which will last for 3 hours.

Master Classes at IWMW 2015

Although the programme for the IWMW 2015 is still being finalised we are able to provide the following information about the master classes.

Working with other web teams: The introduction of the 3 hour workshop sessions has provided an opportunity for members of a small number of institutional web team to share their approaches to their work, describe their success and the challenges they’ve faced. The master classes will provide opportunities to ’embed’ oneself in another web team for a short period not only to learn from their approaches but also to provide your expertise and insights into the challenges they are facing. The web teams will represent a cross-section of the UK higher education community and will include Edge Hill University, Liverpool John Moores University and the universities of Bath, Bradford and Edinburgh.

Further information on the areas to be covered in these sessions will be provided when the IWMW 2015 programme if officially launched but I am able to provide the title for the master class to be facilitated by the University of Bath’s Digital team: “Working in an agile way – content creation, delivery and standards” in which participants will “ learn how to adopt an agile approach to content creation, delivery and standards and about the role of discovery; how to hold a user story planning workshop; practical tools and techniques for delivering a content-led project using an iterative approach; how to establish digital standards through blogging and community building exercises and reporting on success.”

Working with commercial providers: In the early years of IWMW events the sessions were mainly provided by members of the community. However in light of the importance of the web it is now widely acknowledged that institutional web teams are not able to cover their wide range of activities in isolation. There are now a number of commercial vendors and consultants who work with institutional web teams who are able to support their activities. We have been fortunate at IWMW events in attracting sponsorship from the commercial sector over a period of many years. This year in addition to the sponsorship, which enables the event to be priced at  a competitive level, we will also be hosting a number of master class which will be provided by commercial sponsors. These include Headscape who will be running a session on “Lessons learned from helping HE institutions develop their digital strategies“. Details of additional master classes provided by sponsors are currently being finalised and further information should be available next week

Please note that the master classes have not yet been finalised and there may be changes made prior to the launch of the programme.

About IWMW 2015

The IWMW 2015 event will be held at Edge Hill University on 27-29 July. The event web site will be launched shortly which will contain details of the full programme, the social events and the price. Note that in recent years the cost of the event has been £350 which has included 2 night’s accommodation – we hope to keep this year’s price close to this level, depending on the amount of sponsorship we receive.