Catching up with Conference 3.0

Alright folks, we’ve been throwing stuff out there to start making changes in the way we see conferences, and we think it’s time to open this up to the greater community for discussion. But first, we wanted to provide a re-cap of what’s been posted so far – by us, by other student affairs folks, and those outside of student affairs. Take a look-see, and join us for a chat today by following the #conf30 hashtag – we’ll be here all day today answer questions, fueling conversation, and just generally talking Conference 3.0.

You can also join us again in a couple of weeks at the #satech chat – July 18th at 2 p.m. CST.

The Conference 3.0 series:
4/3/2012 All About Development – (the one that started it all)
4/11/2012 Programming at a Conference –
5/18/2012 Here is the call to action, call back!
5/30/2012 Planning Teams –
6/7/2012 Attendee Bill of Rights –
6/25/2012 Joining a Conference Committee -

A library of links relevant to the Conf30 discussion.

Student Affairs folks respond:
@EricaKthompson’s Storify –
@EricaKThompson’s Blog Response –
@BryceHughes’ Blog Response –
@KateMcGK’s Blog Response –
@JenniferKeegin’s Blog Response –
@AmmaMarfo’s Blog Response –

Conference 3.0 outside Student Affairs:
Plan your meetings – Top 5 meeting trends
Jersey Alliance – Innovative Event Planning Boot Camp
EDUCause – Call for Proposals
Jeff Hurt Blog – Campfire Experience

This is cross-posted on my co-conspirator’s blog as well: .
You can follow her at @Kristendom.

Webinars & Telephones: We can do better

Webinars 1.0

Have you sat in on a webinar lately? Did you end up looking like this?

Click for photo credit.

Webinars were such a great idea.

You can get a “conference” level presentation at your desk with the audio corresponding to the slides that slowly go from one to the next on your screen. Your audio is most likely pitchy, cuts out, and is monotone (regardless of presenter’s efforts, the connection drowns out any enthusiasm).

Webinars were such a great idea.

They remind me of AOL chat rooms. Great at the time but now we have Facebook pages, Ning communities, Twitter hashtags, and Google Hangouts. Very few people still use AOL chat rooms (my sister being one of them). The question is why haven’t we changed the way we do webinars? Why is it still the same, boring (admit it, it’s boring) format?

I’ve done webinars. I’ve tried to make them interactive but it is still a struggle to get people to focus for 60-90 minutes on static materials.

Webinars 3.0

Make it a two-part series.

Part One: Have the speaker give a tape presentation either TED Talk style, or simply at her desk switching between her webcam and her presentation. This allows me to see your face, watch your body language, and at the same time see the slides that you deem important enough to convey the message that your words cannot. Now, when you register for the webinar you are sent a link to the video of the presentation.

Part Two: Discussion. With Google-On-Air have the present host a discussion. Utilize Twitter for a backchannel, invite 10 lucky people to be in the Google Hangout live OR rotate a spot in and out for people asking questions. ENGAGE! There is nothing engaging about reading me your powerpoint slides through terrible audio quality. Especially when I already have the slides because you sent them before hand.

Conference Calls 1.0

Here is the number. Dial in. Say your name. Sit back and listen. Respond when necessary.

Now this works if you have a very, very large group. If you have more than 20 people in a room to have a discussion you are basically having a town hall meeting or a very large staff meeting….over the phone. Really? Is this the best we can do?

Conference Calls 3.0

If you have 20 people or less to engage in a group conversation, you can do one of two things. One, this product Social Hangouts, utilizes Facebook to have up to 20 people video chatting at the same time. I haven’t had a chance to use it but I can’t wait to try it out. Two, break it up. If you have 20 people on the phone chances are much discussion isn’t happening and you’d be better off soliciting feedback via an e-mail chain.

If you have 10 people or less to engage in a group conversation, why aren’t you hosting a Google Hangout? It’s more personal and more productive in my opinion. You see faces, you can collaborate LIVE on a Google Doc or one of the other sweet apps they have available. I’ve used Google Hangouts over the past year to engage with a group of folks on a collaborative project with great success. Some hangouts have been fun for an hour, others have been productive and fun, none have been just productive (we are a fun group).

It’s time to ditch the phone on your desk for anything more than interoffice calls. All new employee spaces should be standard issue with ear buds or a headset, and a web cam. It is 2012 people, we can do better with the technology that we have and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be already.

A Student Affairs Playbook

As part of the team that is helping manage the saPRO/saGROW initiative started by Ed Cabellon, I suggested creating a calendar that shows the cycle of a typically year in higher education (mainly student affairs but it can expand!). The calendar would then not only prepare mentors for what to discuss with their proteges (“mentees” is a word that bothers me) but also give the proteges a heads up of what to prepare for.

Upon being challenged by Lisa Endersby (@lmendersby) I had to rethink the word “calendar” because was that really the point? I think this document will end up being more of a playbook. Here are the plays, here is what to expect, here is how you can make it work, etc.

The main idea behind this is to use the collective brilliance of the #highered and #SAchat communities on Twitter to populate a thorough playbook of events/issues that pop up thoughout the calendar year. For example I started it with burnout, which happens typically in October and April (in my opinion/experience) every year.

I not only want to provide a playbook of the rollercoaster that is the cycle of higher education, but also how to combat and prepare for such things. The link below will bring you to a GoogleDoc Spreadsheet where you can contribute. You may cringe at the sight of a spreadsheet but in my mind when it comes to sorting who submitted what and for what period of time, a spreadsheet makes the most sense.

Here is the link:

I hope this works and I hope in the end it will result in a thorough (albeit general) view of the calendar within student affairs and higher education. 

Take a moment to contribute. Can’t contribute? Please share it, that alone is contributing to the effort.

Rock on and kick today’s butt.