Apostate Café

By Joshua Ellis


Posted in: meaning-beauty-whimsy

HighEdWeb 2009 Recap

HighEdWeb 2009 Recap

This was my first time to the HighEdWeb conference, and I had a blast. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Was blown away by the compassion and generosity of the HighEdWeb community
  • Saw a great keynote by Jared Spool
  • Saw another keynote and watched a Twitter back-channel that became, for a few minutes, a genuine small-scale phenomenon. It also spawned the memes harshtag and tweckle
  • Got to meet in person some folks I’ve known virtually for years
  • Met and hung out with lots of cool people
  • Met some people from Penn State with whom I’d worked in the same building, but never run into
  • Met a number of people who do exactly the same thing I do, have the same headaches, and find the same rewards in their work
  • Got into some lunchtime chest thumping over whose homepage redesign took longest (our three-year project was far from winning)
  • Picked up about 50 new non-spam twitter followers
  • Started to follow about 50 new people on twitter
  • Got some good feedback about our presentation… some things to work on if we ever give it again
  • Developed a whole new appreciation for how good we have it in our department; I vow never to complain about resource issues again… or at least not until Friday, when I have a meeting with my director to complain about resource issues
  • Ate pretty well… kobe beef corndogs!
  • Got some cool shwag
  • Most of all: learned a lot

Next year’s conference is in Cincinnati… 10/10/10. I have some ideas about things to present, and hope to be able to go.

One additional interesting experience: this was my first time tweeting through conference sessions for the folks back in my office; it was also my first experience being retweeted out of context and getting tweckled. I was tweeting the main themes and interesting quotes of the presentations without major filtering. We got some conflicting advice in different sessions about the role of content in site redesign, and apparently there are some people out there who feel passionately about the topic. It is an area in which I’d like to do some research. But it was interesting to see folks come out of the woodwork and jump into a content-first vs. design-first holy war.

For a more detailed, technical overview, you can read my session notes at