by Brian Kelly
Welcoming talk to IWMW 2010 event given by Marieke Guy and Brian Kelly.
This talk will look at turbulent times from the perspective of an IT Director. What challenges are we as IT departments facing, what challenges are HEIs facing that we can help with, and what impact on our services are these challenges going to have?
While most senior managers would agree that the web is mission-critical, at a time when budgets are tight it becomes increasingly difficult to persuade them that employing skilled web professionals is vital. With devolved publishing models in many institutions and the increasing use of social networking, senior managers might be forgiven for assuming that managing a website is easy. Surely everyone is a 'web expert' now that 74% of the UK population spend an average of 13 hours a week on the web? So are web professionals really needed?
No senior manager would disagree that web professionals with technical skills are essential; it's those with the 'softer' skills that are in danger of being overlooked. Yet these are the very people who make the web work for the stakeholders with their knowledge of writing content for the web, content management, metadata, taxonomies, the user experience, usability, and search: the list goes on. These are the skills which are being undermined by the web 'experts'.
The key is to show what we can do beyond 'just' managing the website. The web is at the heart of business efficiencies through its use in streamlining processes, making tasks quicker to perform, connecting business applications, and enabling fast access to resources, so use of the web is key in the battle for the future of higher education institutions. As web managers we need to promote our roles, and those of our teams, showing what we have to offer the long term future of the organisation.
But we are not helped by the lack of recognition for our profession. What is a web professional? This term covers a range of skills and experience but it is not one that is necessarily recognised by recruiters and managers. Web developers are recognised as being IT professionals, but if you have the 'softer' skills it becomes more difficult for recruiters and managers to know how to describe what is required and where to find suitable candidates.
Is it because there are no recognised qualifications (except technical ones), and no professional body, that we have these problems? Are we currently running the risk of our skills being absorbed into other roles therefore jeopardising the quality of future web management and the importance of the profession? How should we promote ourselves so that the benefits of employing web professionals are recognised?
This presentation will consider how and why web professionals should actively fight for recognition so that they can ensure there is a more certain future during turbulent times.
But with new technologies also come new challenges: when will all these features be available in all browsers? And what about older browsers? Is it safe to start using HTML5 now, or should we wait until the specification is final? Do we have to re-learn everything we know about HTML?
In this talk Patrick will take us on a whirlwind tour of HTML5 (and other associated technologies often lumped together under this term), addressing the most common concerns that developers may have about it, and offer a glimpse of the new possibilities offered by this exciting new web standard
by Damian Steer
This talk will provide an introduction to the mobile web. We will examine the capabilities of current mobile phones, how they are being used, and who is using them. Native iPhone and Android applications will also be covered.
We will use the Mobile Campus Assistant as a case study. This was created by the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) to make time and location sensitive information available to students via their mobiles and location-aware smart phones. For example, where is the nearest available PC? When is the next bus to the hall of residence? Which library is open now?
by Ranjit Sidhu
Many for-profit industries have found that, even in these challenging times, the one area that has been resilient to large expenditure cuts is the internet and web services. Often this expenditure is supported due to every pound being accountable and transparent, therefore justified.
Are there lessons that web teams can take from the for-profit sector to stop what they are doing becoming a vague proposition to those who set the budget? Also, do the web teams need to claw back roles given away freely in the past or would this require a complete change of mindset?
by Paul Boag
With government funding being slashed many Higher Education institutions are reducing the budget assigned to web development. However, it is more important than ever to attract new students and the website is a key tool in this battle. How then, can you do more with less? Paul answers this question with 5 powerful techniques.
How do you communicate with your staff and students and the wider world when it all goes horribly wrong? Is your IT/Web related response aligned with your institutional Major Incident and Disaster Recovery policies?
Over the past few years a number of experiments have been undertaken by various institutions to address these issues. Externally hosted websites are one solution and some have used SMS messaging and third-party services such as Twitter. This talk covers ways in which communications can be disseminated via as many channels as possible while allowing simple access to tools for those in MI teams who need to make announcements.
One day it will of course go so wrong that the only solution is a walk around campus with the megaphone - short of that we owe it to our users to provide information in as coherent and effective a manner as possible.
by Brian Kelly
What have the highlights been of the IWMW 2010 event? What have been the main talking points and what new ideas and insights have inspired participants?
Brian Kelly will facilitate the final session at IWMW 2010 and, in what is intended to be a highly interactive session, will invite feedback and discussions of the various issues raised during the event.
12th–14th July 2010