9:00 a.m. CDT — Hello, HighEdWeb!

Conference Welcome

9:10 - 10:00 a.m. CDT — Lightning Talks

Mise-En-Place: How the Technique of Top Chefs Can Improve Your Workflow

Jon-Stephen Stansel – Digital Media Specialist – University of Central Arkansas

Walk into any professional kitchen and you’ll see the power of “mise-en-place” in full effect. Translated into “everything in its place,” it is the concept by which professional chefs organize their workspaces and workflows. It’s a way of organizing spaces in the most effective way so all your tools are exactly where you need them when you need them. But, beyond that, it has expanded into a philosophy of life. If your workspace is organized, the rest will follow.

I first came across this concept in Dave Cameron’s amazing “Human at Work” presentation at the 2014 HighEd Web conference and since then I have fully adopted it into my daily life. In the distraction-filled world of higher ed social media and web managers, this technique can not only save your workflow and improve your work, it can also bring calm to chaos and provide much-needed self-care.

In this session, we’ll discuss the best techniques for a daily mise-en-place habit and how you can get started.

Data, Tracking, and Reporting During a Pandemic

Brian Piper – Director of Content Strategy and Assessment – University of Rochester

Web traffic, social engagement, open rates…there are so many communications metrics to track and report on during our normal operations, it can be confusing to know what the most important numbers are and how they should be reported up the chain. During a pandemic, like the current Covid-19 outbreak, those decisions must be made quickly and effectively. This short overview will look at how traffic data and reporting has pivoted at the University of Rochester to support the community and the institution.

Old School HTML with Modern Web Components

Nikki Massaro Kauffman – Programmer/Analyst – Penn State University

Slides: Old School HTML with Modern Web Components

Every generation the classics make a comeback. Frameworks are what all of the cool kids have been doing these last few years, but as of January all modern browsers support web components. It’s time for HTML to make a comeback. Web components are about to rock your world whether you’re a web developer or a user of the web.

The Art of the Interview: How to Ask Good Questions that Lead to Great Content

Jenna Spinelle – Communications Specialist – Penn State McCourtney
Institute for Democracy

We’ve all seen websites, press releases, feature stories, social media graphics, and other types of content filled with quotes that sound like a robot generated them. When you email someone to ask for a quote, they have time to think of the oh-so-perfect thing to say — which often ends up saying nothing at all. Getting the same information through an interview requires more time and preparation for you and the person you’re writing about, but it’s totally worth it to help your content stand out and achieve the goals you set for it.

This session will cover how anyone, regardless of background or experience, can ask smart questions and get over feelings of impostor syndrome and asking a dumb question. The principles covered apply to interviewing students, faculty, alumni, administrators, or anyone else your school serves.

Rock the Mic Like a Vandal: Karaoke and the Art of Leading

Jeff Stevens – Assistant Web Manager, Content and Social Strategy – UF

Karaoke requires risk. It requires you to be vulnerable and put yourself into the spotlight, but it doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.

In this session, we’ll talk about what it takes to give a successful performance – from choosing your audience and song, to encouraging participation, and in receiving feedback – and what that can teach us about being better presenters, better team leaders, and project planners.

10:00 - 10:45 a.m. CDT — Sessions

5 Essential Documents for a Strategic Social Media Program

Liz Gross – CEO – Campus Sonar

Slides: 5 Essential Documents for a Strategic Social Media Program

Policies, procedures, and guidelines may not be the most exciting part of your job, but they build a strong foundation for your work. For a campus social media program, key documents can provide continuity that outlasts staffing and leadership changes, protect your institution from reputational harm, and enable consistent service delivery. This session will clarify the role of policies and procedures, and identify the key components of five essential social media documents: strategic overview, content strategy, rules of engagement, administrative guidelines, and crisis communication.

Why and How You Should Add AR to Your Marketing and Communications Mix

Thomas Deneuville – Director of Web Services and UX – Cornell University

When a good chunk of the FAANG invests billions—yes, billions—of dollars in spatial computing, what does it tell us about the future of marketing and communications? How can we start experimenting to get our content strategy ready for the next computing paradigm? In this session, you’ll learn about the current state of Augmented Reality (AR) and how to get started—even without any coding knowledge.

Fantastic Student Workers and How to Find Them

Andy Shearouse – EDGE Center Assistant Director – Augustana College

Slides: Fantastic Student Workers and How to Find Them

Having good student workers can be a difference-maker for any office on campus, but often we are not given any guidance on how to hire, train, or supervise students. If you have student staff, you are expected to be their manager – but you might not have “manager” anywhere in your job description and probably haven’t been given any professional development resources to build your management skills.

If you can manage them right, your student workers can make your office a lean, mean marketing machine. But it is also far too easy for your student staff to become the dreaded desk-sitters: eating up money from your office budget while they watch Netflix or do their homework.

In this presentation, I will draw on my experience from a surprise job change to managing student employment for my college to give you the best practices that I have gathered from the best supervisors across campus. This presentation is designed to give you resources and ideas that you can take away from HighEdWeb and immediately apply to managing the student workers in your office.

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CDT — Posters

Answer in the Form of a Question

Elaine Nelson – CMS Specialist – The Evergreen State College

FAQs have been a blight on web content for years, often requested by well-meaning clients for the wrong uses. With the pandemic, and the need for lots of quick content, they’re proliferating even more. Learn tips and techniques for turning poorly-organized information into something that a scared and anxious site visitor can really use.

Casting Call: Finding Student Stories

Rebekah Wright – Assistant Director for Digital Marketing – Southwest Baptist University

Slides: Casting Call: Finding Student Stories

Sharing your institution’s story is best done through sharing the stories of the individuals who make your institution what it is. But finding these individual stories can be difficult. To help us find the students who want to share their stories and help promote our school, SBU hosts a “Casting Call” each year. We have discovered amazing stories that fuel our marketing efforts throughout the year. The Casting Call provides us with a foundation of student stories to share, as well as a large group of students we can call on to help with photo shoots, video projects, etc.

Creating a Color Palette for Print and Web that is Accessible and People Will Actually Use

Laura Fickett – Web Designer – University of Arkansas

I was asked to design a new color palette for our university with accessible colors that were easy for anyone to use. It took a lot of time, thought and testing to get it right. I want to share my process so that other universities have a guide to approach the challenge of designing accessible color palettes that are made for the web and print.

Effective Process Management on Making Courses Accessible

Christine Clark – Regional E-Campus Outreach & Programming Associate – Miami University

Pruthvi Patel – Solutions Specialist – Miami University

Ruowei Fischer – Technical Solutions Specialist – Miami University

Robyn Brown – Coordinator of Faculty Engagement – Miami University

Learn about how our Solutions/Accessibility Team at Miami Regionals E-Campus has renovated our processes to make online courses accessible to all students in this poster presentation. With over 40% of our courses being delivered online, accessible content is crucial. We will discuss how we are transitioning from a reactive approach to a proactive approach. We will share our in-house accessibility processes, which includes a trained team of student workers who provide remediation services. Our discussion will also include how we have built partnerships and collaborated with other campus organizations to best serve our students. You will walk away with ideas on how to be proactive rather than reactive, tips for completing remediation work in-house rather than utilizing third parties, and ideas on how to successfully communicate with all parties involved throughout the course remediation process.

How These Students got Their EDGE

Nicholas Muskopf-Stone – President – Augustana Web Guild

The Augustana Web Guild is the core of our campus’ entrepreneurial EDGE Center – a student organization that provides an affordable Web presence to nonprofit organizations and small businesses, immersing students in hands-on web experience. Since it was founded in 1998, the Web Guild has provided many students with opportunities to learn more than just web design. Students work directly with clients and are responsible for project development, enabling them to build skills in project management, client interaction, and communication. Members also gain a fundamental knowledge of web usability, search engine optimization, and effective content strategy. Additionally, the group, based on an entrepreneurial model, is self-funding and has created its own endowed scholarship while providing educational benefits across many different disciplines.

Often, these poster presenters are the only students attending the conference. Be sure to stop by and ask them how they are getting an edge in the job market – and you just might get some ideas that you can implement on your campus!

Making IT Personal

Randy Hollowell – Manager, IT Communications and Client Advocacy – Miami University

Slides: Making IT Personal

So often IT is thought of as an impersonal, ones and zeros, down in the basement kind of world. At our institution, we wanted to change all of that. The communications group within IT Services has spent the past several years creating a face behind, or rather, in front of the technology. This presentation will highlight the ways we have done that, both in the activities we support and the messaging we share with the rest of the campus.

Shoving Rubies Into Boxes: Containerizing Small Web Applications

Cordelia Jones – Senior Web Programmer – Mount Holyoke College

Containers are known for wrangling massive, many-armed, many-tentacled web applications that would be terrifying to behold without abstraction and automation. But what can they do for a tiny app that works perfectly fine with a virtual machine (and setup instructions, and carefully documented dependencies)? Using Docker, I containerized three small Rails applications so our team would no longer have to deal with virtual machine configuration. Come learn what containerization is, what it can do, and why all your apps should be in boxes.

The Recipe Project

Caryn Sobieski-VanDelinder – Web and Graphic Designer, Social Media Content Manager, Accessibility Liaison – University at Buffalo

Slides: The Recipe Project

I’m a home cook, baker and maker in the kitchen. We’ve all become home cooks for better or worse, but I truly love it. I bury my face in cooking magazines in the local book store and add cookbooks to my holiday wishlist. Cooking is a daily space and time for me to be creative and use my hands for good. After a long day working on web, social and digital media, it’s a welcome mental break. Some of my best ideas are born in the kitchen. Through a lot of trial and error I’ve made some not so great meals to those that deserve a spot on my Insta feed. I’ve learned a trick or two from using lists, the importance of mise en place and why giving up is not an option. In my poster I’ll use the analogy of a recipe and cooking fundamentals to illustrate how to help you organize your projects.

The Value of Optimizing Websites for Older Adults

Chris Lastovicka – Web Accessibility and Digital Content Editor – Cornell University

Older educated adults still face the stigma of being tech-averse. Today, that just isn’t true: 91% of U.S. college graduates own a smartphone. Meanwhile, the demographic of U.S. residents age 65 and older is rapidly growing, from 13% in 2010, to a projected 20% in 2030. Studies show older adults — whether donors, alumni, faculty, staff, or students — firmly want to contribute, and their experience is valued by organizations who see beyond ageism.

Sometimes it is necessary to meet the highest level of requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure older users can complete web tasks with greater success. Sometimes there are several ways of coding or remediating issues to satisfy WCAG success criteria which are especially helpful for older adults. I will demonstrate problematic situations for older adults and provide helpful design and remediation methods.

Turning the Page: A Case Study of Web Accessibility for Illiterate Audiences in West Alabama

Caleb Walters – Instructor of Digital Communications – The University of West Alabama

The Literacy Council of West Alabama is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to increase literacy throughout its nine-county service area. The organization focuses on educational resources and programming to accomplish this goal, most of which are featured and promoted on the organization’s website. However, as it currently stands, the organization’s site is not adequately geared toward the illiterate population that serves as its main target audience. Through an in-depth case study of LCWA’s website, including a site map breakdown and comprehensive heuristic evaluation, this research offers potential solutions of how to better optimize websites for both fully literate and functionally illiterate web populations, including prototypes of desktop and mobile site revisions.

Web Accessibility: Tools and Tips for Reaching your Audience

Tom Soto – Digital Communication Manager – Louisiana Tech University

Slides: Web Accessibility: Tools and Tips for Reaching your Audience

As institutions of higher learning, we should strive to make our content as accessible as possible. Whether you are a content editor or a developer/designer redesigning your site, make sure web accessibility is part of your continuous quality improvement process. This presentation will provide an overview of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and tools and tips to monitor and update your sites.

12:00 - 12:45 p.m. CDT — Sessions

Managing at a Distance

Ashley Budd – Director of Digital Marketing, Alumni Affairs and
Development – Cornell University

Slides: Managing at a Distance

Recent employee climate surveys reveal that staff members with flexible work environments are happier in their jobs. As a remote employee, Ashley knows the benefits. Managing projects virtually demonstrates how much of our success is dependent on internal communication. Ashley will share what she has learned about building teams, developing tools, and staying connected from a distance.

Self-Publishing: Streamlining The Campus Web Platform

Blake Bertuccelli – Founder & Innovation Director – Decubing Web

We built a Squarespace for Tulane University. That means anyone can spin up their Tulane-branded website in a few clicks. The system reacts to different users. Students have one experience, administrators have another. Schools, departments, and centers can hook into the system and develop templates for their unique requirements. Marketing administrators can update the branding of every campus website in a few clicks, and a single knowledgebase maintains our FAQs. This seemingly complex system for a university of over 30,000 students is maintained by a small team of two developers, a designer, and a project manager.

In this session, I’ll discuss the process of building Tulane’s self-service system. We’ll go over requirements, user studies, design systems, development, and implementation. I’ll also discuss the larger architecture that can be applied to any campus, no matter their size or complexity.

2020 HigherEd Website & Digital Marketing Trends That Will Outlast the Pandemic

Piero Tintori – Terminalfour

Slides: 2020 HigherEd Website & Digital Marketing Trends That Will Outlast the Pandemic

This presentation looks at the changing face of higher education web and digital marketing strategy and how it rapidly adapted and innovated in 2020. We will examine five of the most successful techniques and tactics that delivered results for universities and colleges in 2020, but could form the basis for digital marketing & web strategies in the future.

1:00 - 1:45 p.m. CDT — Sessions

Make Your Own Legos: How Web Components Can Empower Your Editors

Stephen Fornal – Manager of Web Development – Tarrant County College

Slides: Make Your Own Legos

Use the power of Web Components to create reusable, flexible new tools that fit your needs, and are as easy for your content editors to use as standard HTML mark-up. You can design rich, accessible new elements for your site that use conventional looking HTML tags to create novel new interfaces with interaction, all encapsulated and seamless from the editor perspective. Learn how to craft elements like collapsible sections, accordions, tabbed interfaces, and even *shudder* carousels that are accessible and customizable, and easy to add to your existing site. Your CMS might make the job even easier! And learn where to find pre-built web components that you can use as a starting point for making your own new building blocks.

How Google Analytics Helped Guide Our Response to the Covid Maelstrom

Alan Etkin – Senior Analyst – British Columbia Institute of Technology

When our campuses closed in March, prospective student visits to bcit.ca tanked. By using segmented reports in Google Analytics, we were able to see patterns in activity by area of study. We used these insights to guide a hard push of online advertising, with intriguingly mixed results. This presentation shows: what we tracked and how we configured reports in Google Data Studio; what interventions worked and what didn’t work; and what we learned about the power and limits of GA.

Knowing Your Audience: Fostering an Authentic Social Voice Through Student Generated Content

Rachel Rodemann Putman – Associate Director for Strategic Communications – University of Arkansas – Fort Smith

Slides: Knowing Your Audience

As communicators we know the importance of being strategic, working toward goals, and gathering data. But the ease of gathering social media metrics can lead us down a path of number chasing, forgetting the real students who are behind those numbers. In this session, you will hear how student-generated content can keep a strategy energized, helping cultivate a social voice that is not only authentic to the institution, but to the students on your campus.

Rachel Putman, Associate Director for Strategic Communications at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will lead you through the process of engaging students to create social media content, from first-person campus tours on IGTV to filming TikTok dances with the Chancellor.

Senior social media ambassador Taely Dedmon (a current student) will be present to explain the importance of having a student at the strategy table, and answer questions attendees might have about working with students to create content.

You’ll leave with an understanding of:

  • How a smaller regional institution uses student-generated content to reach millions of viewers each year.
  • Utilizing Facebook and Instagram Stories, IGTV and TikTok to reach prospective students where they are.
  • How to work with student ambassadors to create meaningful content.
  • How to ensure student ambassadors understand your social voice.
  • What traditional college students want to hear from their university (and what they don’t.)

2:00 - 2:45 p.m. CDT — Dance Party, Networking, Visit Sponsors

3:00 - 3:45 p.m. CDT — Sessions

(Plain) Language Matters: Creating Web Content That is Accessible, Usable and Understood

Rachell Underhill – Director of Web and Information Systems – UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School

Slides: (Plain) Language Matters

Learn how evidence-based “plain language” strategies can improve the user experience, save staff time, and help you achieve your communication goals, even in an academic environment.

The primary focus will be on website content, but these strategies can be used to improve all forms of communication, including email, social media, and print media.

Plain language is an important component of digital accessibility compliance, but it will also make your content more effective overall, no matter the audience. Plain language content is preferred by students, staff, administrators, and yes, even faculty.

You will leave this session with the confidence and knowledge needed to immediately improve your communications and create content that is accessible, usable and, most of all, understood.

Evaluating and Fixing Website Performance

Erik Runyon – Technical Director – University of Notre Dame

Slides: Evaluating and Fixing Website Performance

For the past decade we’ve been building websites with responsive web design to accommodate all visitors regardless of device. Unfortunately, web performance is often not taken into consideration on many higher education sites. So while we’re accommodating the screen size, we’re ignoring the network. Features such as auto-loading videos, custom fonts, and third party embeds can all contribute to a sub-par mobile experience.

During this presentation, we will explore free web performance tools that can help us evaluate where problems are occurring, and how we can use the results to make our sites faster. If you ever thought to yourself “Network Waterfalls are really interesting. I wish I knew more about them,” then this presentation is for you.

WordPress: Do More With Less

Ronnie Burt – CampusPress

Slides: WordPress: Do More With Less

There’s a reason that WordPress powers more than one-third of the web. We’ll bust myths, give our favorite tips on best practices, and share case studies on the ways in which higher ed institutions are leveraging WordPress for main sites, faculty, student orgs, learning, and research.

4:00 - 4:45 p.m. CDT — Sessions

Respecting Every Identity: The Importance of an Inclusive Web for Cultural Diversity

Mark H. Anbinder  – Web Communications Manager – Cornell University

Slides: Respecting Every Identity

So much of the language we use, and so many of the web conventions we rely on, are still stuck in the past, and we might be turning people away without meaning to. We have an opportunity to make our web presence and our online interactions welcoming rather than alienating.

The “he or she” in our text that seemed so inclusive not long ago, but still presumes a gender binary. References to diverse population groups that might make some of the people we’re talking about cringe. The pop-up menus that seem so easy to use for picking a state unless you’re from New York or elsewhere in the back half of the alphabet, or for picking a birth year unless you’re older than 25. Even web forms that ask for a First Name and ask for a Last Name, but offer nowhere for a user from a non-Anglo culture to enter a full name that might be three, or four, or five parts, rather than two.

We’ll look broadly at some of the sticky issues and the varying effectiveness of some of our attempts to fix them, the changes we could still be making to improve the situation, and some of the areas where we still have a long way to go. This followup to my heavily livetweeted and widely lauded 2019 Lightning Talk will benefit from some of the great feedback on that session, input from web developers wrestling with old and inflexible back-end databases, and the stumbling blocks we still face.

Boost Your Efficiency with Project Management and Agile

Katie Bean – Assistant Director, Marketing and Partnership Development – NC State University

Laurie Gyalog – Project Manager – NC State University

Agile, Kanban, and Scrum, Oh My! Hear tips and techniques from experienced project managers at NC State University that you can begin using tomorrow to increase collaboration, visibility, efficiency and effectiveness on your projects. This session will provide an overview of project management and Agile practices, and its usefulness in knowledge work. Leave with tactics to make any team more agile, including specific tools such as Kanban and Scrum, and broader concepts such as task management, collaboration, and transparency.

Hear how we have applied techniques at NC State University, Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications, to bring courses online faster and produce marketing collateral with less revisions all while increasing team morale and collaboration. Learn from hands-on activities that can be used back at your institution tomorrow.

Three Key-Takeaways:

-What Agile is and what you can borrow from and implement at your institution.

-Workflow task management and a focus on finishing to reduce meetings and accelerate your team’s ability to move from proposed ideas to activity and into completion.

-Tactics to increase collaboration, visibility and transparency for your team, holding each member accountable for their deliverables, dependencies and deadlines.

“Selling” Professional Development to Faculty: Bringing Content Marketing into Higher Ed

Kelly Lovell – Instructional Designer for E-Faculty Engagements – Miami
University Regionals

Robyn Brown – Coordinator of Faculty Engagement – Miami University

Gracia Ostendorf – Instructional Designer for E-Faculty Engagements –
Miami University

Slides: “Selling” Professional Development to Faculty: Bringing Content Marketing into Higher Ed

Learn how a group of higher ed professionals with no marketing experience embraced content marketing strategies from the business world to develop a web strategy that “sells” faculty professional development resources – and became a trusted authority on online pedagogy for Miami University. We expect that teams across the higher ed diaspora face the same challenge: delivering effective communication to faculty, staff, or students, without yet having an awareness of effective strategies and frameworks to do so. You’ll walk away with an overview of our content marketing strategy including web content, email campaigns, and social media presence, as well as the most important things to consider when implementing your own content plan for audience engagement.

5:30 - 7:00 p.m. CDT — Social Events

After a great day of learning, join us for some Zoom-based fun with your #HEWeb20 friends.