We met and re-met a lot of great people including Simone Knapp from the University of Saskatchewan (a proud non-twitter), Megg Brown from Vassar (@stomer), David Bates from RFMD (@davidbates), Paul Chenoweth from Belmont University (@bruingeek),  a lot of folks from Hannon Hill (@hannon_hill), and a lot of other folks who’s names and/or twitter handles I didn’t catch.

The conference was really great. Compared to the other conferences I’ve been to it had the fewest people, and had the most focused theme. That really brought people together. Discussing technical obstacles as well as policy and committee generated issues, it was nice to hear how people have solved the problems we’re facing and to help people who are facing problems we’ve moved past.

Every higher ed web conference I go to I’m always very interested in how web teams are positioned with in the hierarchy of their institutions. Many are in IT, and many are in Communications (or Marketing or University Relations), but almost all of them, especially the successful ones have either

  1. An IT team that creates a framework that excels at showcasing the university that works closely with a Communications team that creates good content and engaging imagery. or
  2. A Web Team that consists of programmers, designers and content creators that as a team produces the framework and the content and does not report to either IT or Communications, but works with both entities.

The second option is the right one. Having a team that can focus on creating a great website, and being out of the politics of IT and/or Communications is key, as well as having people who are dedicated to the web. Dedicated to web content, and design, and creating a good solid way to display them. I’m not sure it will ever be a reality on our campus, but it’s something to strive for.

Some of the things I’m left with after the conference:

  • Networking and and non-session events are the most useful
  • A lot of people are doing a lot of things with Cascade
  • We’re doing pretty basic things, but we do them better than most
  • We are early adopters, with versions & features
  • People do some really convoluted things with Cascade