The ACM Special Interest Group on University and College Computing Services annual conference is one of my most favorite conferences to go to. I always enjoy seeing what others are up to at different schools, networking with like-minded folks, and sharing my knowledge and expertise with others. This year’s conference was held October 7-10th in Orlando, and I had a lot of fun and learned a lot at this year’s conference.
The opening plenary, presented by Jeffrey Selingo, had me thinking a lot about the future of education, and how those of us working in technology at colleges and universities should evolve and change to meet the needs of our new learners. Our students, and future students, tend to turn to YouTube to learn the skills they need quickly – and IT Training’s working on shifting our training offerings to meet those needs. I think we could possibly do more, though, to help today’s learners get the skills they need via the methods they prefer. This talk got me thinking about expanding our video offerings on Kaltura, which is something I’d like to work on after our current wave of course development is done. Most of the video content we’ve got up there is directly supporting our online courses, but we could put more up there that focuses on skills we don’t currently touch on.
This year’s presentations were great – from learning how to communicate better in small-group settings, to using cats as a metaphor to understand users better and provide better service, to a great discussion on using planners to help guide success at work, everything I attended got me thinking and scribbling down lots of notes on how things could tie into my own work. For example, planning is something I struggle with at times, despite clinging desperately to my bullet journal (without it, I’d be lost – I’m writing this post based on notes I took during the conference in my journal!). Some of the strategies shared in the “Goals + Planning + Ninjas = Success” panel are ones I’m going to try to incorporate in my work, like setting aside a regular time to determine the week’s priorities and set some goals I want to accomplish. I’m also going to try to take some time to reflect on my week and to celebrate what went well (while trying not to be too down on myself for any difficulties I encountered).
One of my favorite parts of the conference was the poster session – I presented a poster this year that focused on IT Training’s shift to online, self-paced courses, and found out that we’re not the only university whose tech training team is moving their content online. I’m hoping that my experience will help others who are in the same boat I was last year. (You can find a more legible version of the poster here, if you’re interested.) This year, I tried something new with my poster – I printed it on fabric! It made the transportation process so much easier, as I just folded the poster up and tucked it into my carry-on, and it didn’t end up taking up much space at all.
As part of the poster presentation, I also wrote a paper that explains in detail the process of moving IT Training’s courses online. It’s available in the ACM Digital Library at this link. (Also, oh my gosh I’ve got a paper that’s been published, the eternal academic in me is still excited about that.)
Plus, Digital Education Programs and Initiatives (which IT Training is part of) won an award for our Speed Dating with Learning Technologies event! I think we’re going to need a bigger awards shelf soon. 🙂 I’m hoping next year, we bring home more awards! Especially since I’ll be designing them, as I’m the Publications Chair for next year’s SIGUCCS conference!
All in all, this year’s conference was great, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference to see what exciting topics everyone will be presenting about next year.