Andrew’s opening bit about the severe panic attack that he experienced was a great way in to one of the conference highlights. If you saw his talk last year, you’ll understand that Andrew and his team at Dundee have been doing tons of great work, and perhaps this talk showed a little of the personal cost of such demanding work.
Chris and Jane’s talk about the use of customer journeys at Birbeck was a qualiity case study that I enjoyed mainly because it showed just how layered and hard it is to accurately model people’s behaviours onto a pretty unique organisation. It’s a wonder people manage to work this stuff out and make change happen. Birbeck and Headscape seem to have made a pretty good fist of it.
Alison’s talk was a great way to kick off the conference. As a well known and respected leader in multiple Web roles across multiple institutions, her personal insight into the difficulties often come with the territory of making change happen The open admissions that she found presenting hard, introversion challenging and mental health issues hard to talk about really seemed to resonate with the audience.
A very old book in tech terms, but the advice is still strong and sensible. So much so that I’d had absorbed a lot without realising that this was the source. I thought i would take some notes to help me remember the key things.
I’ve recently volunteered to take part in a JISC funded project around developing data dashboards. This blog post is my way of making sense of what I did, how it went and what I learnt. Before I talk about my efforts I need to explain a little about the context. The two organisations supporting this activity are
How I use the TODO.txt ‘system’ to get things done.
I consumed some media this year. I’ve listed some of the things that stood out. I’ll probably consume some more next year.
Took a while to get going, but the second half picked up. Suberbly well thought out and explained setting and great how it all came together. Much like ‘Hothouse’ it struck me as pretty promising film adaption material.
Tom’s talk was a showcase of some of the cracking work that students have created on his watch. He was very generous and explained how much progress the students are making when given the opportunity and a bit of support.
Overview of the thorny issue of creating a collaborative culture. No shortcuts. To get something valuable requires a lot of relationship building.
A very different flavour of talk this time. A really interesting and useful explanation of the life academic - getting an insight into why that academic you’ve asked for ‘content’ is taking a while to get back to you was really good.
One of the handy things about such an experienced speaker is that the slidedeck is usually a great aide memoir, but Paul took that concept to the next level with his UX Culture cards.
Despite the slightly linkbait title, Piero managed to cram quite a lot of practical things to try in a short space of time, not going into tons of depth, but a really handy starting g point of things to try.
Interesting range over ways in which universities can understand Student behaviour better, by thinking a bit more about their experiences at university and what might be best for them as individuals, with some ideas how that might be achieved. Bloom’s sigma 2 problem sounds mysterious, but looks interesting.
Rich is always an engaging speaker, and in this session he had plenty to talk about. I’ve seen him describe the journey through content strategy at the University of Bath, and this talk was about the experience of building tools to support that. There was plenty of good reminders that the landscape content is being released into is changing fast, and so they’re trying to build a tool that accommodates that. The standout for me was incorporating user needs into the content creation process, to remind people that there needs to be a reason for the content to exist, and a measure of how successful it is against that goal. I’ve advocated a goal based reminder in CMSes for a while and it’s nice to see it happening - I think we’ll see it more and more.
This felt similar to the Cardiff talk in explaining a real world problem they faced - A scary security situation caused by lots of sites - and how they are dealing with it. I almost felt they covered too much. There were tantalising things about how the Lean Startup book was influential, how they were rebuilding a live product and the development setup to enable them to ship to product every 2 weeks.
Some of the team at Cardiff University presented a roundup on how they’ve tackled the thorny issue of CMA compliance by some wrangling their course information into a Single Source of Truth. It felt like lots of people in the room were at various stages of this with their own peculiar problems of their own setups, but it was interesting to hear a story from the front line. Was tickled by the heartfelt “Get a Project Manager” that someone said.
I was looking forward to Gareth’s talk, despite a pretty dry title, I enjoyed his talk from last year and was expecting good things. I wasn’t disappointed - his lovely slides had plenty of good nuggets to take away as a well as a nice introduction to a way of thinking about information management.
Melanie’s talk was quite a departure from St Andrews’ since she explained how much restructure and change that the university has undergone, and that she has been tasked with sorting out a pretty big mess.
Probably my favourite talk of the whole conference.