It Takes A Campus To Raise A (Web Professionals) Community
Every year, you look forward to the big HighEdWeb conference. You count down the days until October and then, high on that wonderful feeling of community, networking, and professional development, you return to your campus, ready to kick-start all of your new ideas. But the fun doesn’t have to stop just because you left Milwaukee. Conferences are a wonderful outlet for igniting your creative and collaborative juices, but you don’t have to be limited by your budget, and one or two annual trips, to engage with -- and find inspiration from -- your peers. You can have your own mini-conference every month by starting your own web professionals community right on your own campus. In this presentation, Rachel Carden will share how she started a web professionals community at The University of Alabama that went from a ten-member group that met every couple months at the campus coffee shop to a seventy-plus member community that meets every month to hear from presenters and discuss topics ranging from social media to crisis communication. All with no budget. This year her community, WebTide, also hosted and organized the HighEdWeb Alabama regional conference. Rachel will share what she did right, what she did wrong, and what she learned along the way, as well as tips and resources to start your own community and to help it flourish.
Bringing University of Alabama web professionals
together to educate, inform, discuss, innovate, and share
https://webtide.ua.edu - @bamawebtide
• Formed January 2014 - almost 2 years!
• Has 78 members from over 30 departments across campus
• Meets the third Thursday of every month to discuss
institutional knowledge, campus projects, and professional
development topics ranging from social media to
accessibility to crisis communication.
• UA is large, web services are decentralized.
• No main web shop, comprised of smaller and
• Wanted the opportunity to share ideas and “talk
shop” with other web professionals on campus.
Saw a need and opportunity to crowdsource
resources and professional development for
all web professionals on campus.
Helping your university by
helping your people
Community building allows you to
empower others to
In its ﬁrst iteration,
WebTide was simply a blog.
• Was called “College Web”, 10-15 person group
that met every other month at campus Starbucks
• Went overkill on unneeded/unused tools
• Was too informal / no structure/topics/agenda
MY FIRST ATTEMPT
• Designed a more formal meeting process - had a plan!
• Only implemented tools as needed - one page website
• Implemented better communication tools
• Pulled in more help - great planning committee
• Invite everyone to watch together
• When conferences stream their presentations
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF
• Share learning materials/online resources
• Share your educational discoveries with your
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF
• In person
DIFFERENT WAYS TO “MEET”
• Slack / IRC
• Social media
RESOURCES/TOOLS TO USE
• Subject matter experts
• Live examples
• Vendor presentations
Take advantage of
free or inexpensive
It never hurts to ask.
• “If you feed them, they will come.”
• Ask departments or vendors to sponsor a meal.
• Grants or sponsorships for training, resources, etc
• Social Media
• Crisis Communication at UA
• Security Awareness
• The Role of the Web in Higher Education
• Alternatives to a Traditional CMS
• Effective Project Management
• Tools and Resources For Your Job
• A Different Perspective: I Am A Higher
Education Professional Who Is Also A Web
• Video for the Web
• News and Events at UA
• Legal Issues Relevant of Higher Ed Web
• Various department projects/environments
• Front-End Frameworks
• Student Workers
• Dealing with faculty and the web
• Writing Content for the Web
OTHER POSSIBLE TOPICS
• Utilizing Campus Resources
• Measuring Web Performance
• Campus Politics
OTHER POSSIBLE TOPICS
• Community members
• Other campus staff/faculty
• Area professionals
• Company reps
Sharing your work means
playing an active role in
improving your community
WHEN WE ALL
Tuscaloosa Web Professionals is a community and meetup group
for anyone in the Tuscaloosa (and surrounding) area who makes a
living building the world wide web. Whether you're a designer,
coder, writer, sysadmin, or other web-related specialist, we invite
you to join us to network, learn, and share your expertise.