It's Thursday evening and its the end of my first day back in the office after #iwmw10 and my second night of insomnia - so I thought I'd put my scarily high levels of alertness at 3:15am to good use and write something for this blog (although it will probably be posted at a more sensible time as I'll check it makes sense first).
There will be blogs from other delegates who will make a more intelligent and considered summing up of the event, but that's not my style so here are a random collection of my thoughts sparked off by the #iwmw10 event.
Surviving the cuts - an opportunity?The doom and gloom of the impending cuts rang out loud and clear, but being a hopeless optimist with a healthy realist streak I'm heading into this gloom looking for as many opportunities as possible to innovate and achieve despite the cuts. The pressure to recruit in non-capped markets, to achieve the institutions goals, to drive efficiency, to improve student experience and their long term employability will continue so the only way I can see of managing this is to innovate, to do things differently, to focus on what's important to our students and to even cut a few bureaucratic corners (I'm especially keen on the latter of those).
As a web manager and part-time geek I am well placed to help the University do this. I'm the sort of person who if you set me a challenge and then metaphorically 'tie one of my hands behind my back' I'll probably moan a bit but I'll love every minute of it! It kicks in my creative streak and plays to my love of problem solving and knowledge gathering - whether that is tapping into the depths of my existing knowledge or that of my peers at other institutions. There is lots of talk about shared services in HE but what about the value of the shared knowledge that events like IWMW foster?
Adding to the 'to do list'I love attending the event in person and will continue to do so as long as my liver can take the social life. The only downside is the amount of work all the sessions add to my mental 'to do list'. This year they include making sure any statistics I produce include the pounds, shillings and pence aspect. I agree, I do need to make sure I'm clearly stating the value the web service adds to the University's bottom line. I've always been reluctant to do this as I'm no accountant, but after @rssidhu's "make it up" advice I'll be giving it a go.
Secondly, I will be cutting the 'fat' from our web content - we definitely have it - they are the sites that 'sit on a server somewhere' or are buried deeply in the CMS architecture. In fact I have already sent my first "update this or it will be removed" missive - though obviously worded in a customer-focused way. My pride at taking this first step was slightly deflated by the out of office email that I got in reply, but at least it'll be waiting for them when they return from holiday and I await their reaction with interest.
I'll also be watching the mobile web usage and considering the implications that for our website(s). Somewhere through the Mobile Apps vs Mobile Web session there was a discussion on how the content in mobile sites was often a way of displaying information that your website should be providing better in the first place - an interesting viewpoint and certainly something I'll be mulling over (not sure who said it so apologies for the non-attribution of this conversation).
I know there are people at Derby Uni who are interested in the 'app' approach so I now feel confident to steer those ideas past the "gimmick" to something that will actually be of benefit to the organisation so thanks to @mikenolan and @markpower et al for that particular parallel session.
So there you go my slightly random thoughts and associated actions from the #iwmw10 event. I'll see you there next year.