HighEdWeb Cornell: people and things.

It seems appropriate I wouldn’t have even known about last week’s HighEdWeb regional conference at Cornell if not for Twitter. The hot site was a key thread of the conference, but Twitter’s success mirrors what the conference reinforced for me: Technology is great, but ultimately people are what count.

I jokingly referred to the conference as Twitter: Behind The Avatars, because I met a lot of neat folks I only knew from Twitter and gained a few more tweeps. I was one of the busy live-tweeters imparting information and interpretations for those not present. Though if you look through the #hewebcornell hash tags you’ll also see lots of snarky comments, jokes and even spirited debate over speakers’ points.

@rachelreuben channels eduGurus @fienen, @karlynm, @NikkiMK, @kylejames, @nickdenardis for a social-media discussion.

@rachelreuben channels eduGurus @fienen, @nickdenardis, @kylejames, @karlynm and @NikkiMK for a social-media discussion.

A very quick recap (140 characters or less) of speakers and key points:

* Dirk Swart (Cornell) on introductory usability: champion simplicity, make users comfortable, provide consistent layout, function > form.

* Christine Kowalski (UBuffalo) on usability w/team of 1: seek creative ways 2 find time, people, $, approval. Noted userfly.com, crazyegg.com.

* Rachel Reuben (New Paltz) and eduGurus, social media storytelling. Great minds emphasizing content, authenticity, building community, goals.

* Casey Dreier (Cornell) on launch sites: give subgroups hyperlocal content, make info delivery flexible, keep your sites interesting/fresh.

* Jesse Rodgers (Waterloo U) on project management: track issues; contain scope, cost, time; ID risks/alternatives; consider critical paths.

* Mark Greenfield (UBuffalo) on embracing change: What are colleges’ core competencies? What will be outsourced? Evolution key to survival.

A meeting of the minds.

A meeting of the minds.

At the end of the conference, I watched a few engaged higher-ed social-media types — @rachelreuben, @ICchris, @jakedaniel and @jrodgers — talking to @kprentiss about a fascinating project he’s developing. Preparing to leave, I realized that, even though I previously only knew most of these people via Twitter, I had thoughts to share with each of them: a compliment for a presentation, a good-luck for an exciting idea discussed, a thanks for making this fun. Sure, the technology brought us together, but ultimately what I found on the other end of the avatars were a lot of interesting folks. The things that connect us will come and go, but connections with quality people have the real lasting value.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “HighEdWeb Cornell: people and things.

  1. Tim – smart to do the wrap up twitter sized : )

    I’m with you, I only knew about this conference because of twitter. I only went because impressive twitter folks, only a few of which I had met before, were going.

    Once there, as you said, it’s not the technology at all. It’s the people and the relationships.

    In a nutshell, this experience is what I think higher ed web can bring to students. There’s more that can be done with the social media they use to help them find opportunities, events, and great people to meet.

    Because that was fun!

  2. MHA

    Great summary, Tim! I’ve been telling folks this was a very effective conference, and I look forward to more such events.

  3. Pingback: HighEdWeb Blog » Blog Archive » Running Scared: Reflections on the HighEdWeb Regional Conference at Cornell University

  4. Pingback: top 2009 lesson: twitter is other people. « InsideTimsHead

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