In light of the funding difficulties which we are facing in higher education we decided to reduce the IWMW 2011 event to a 2-day format, with a corresponding reduction in the fee to £200 or £250 including one night’s accommodation. We are aware that a number of Web teams have had their training budget capped and so are unable to attend this year’s event. Despite such difficulties there are now 145 bookings for the event so we are very close to our target of 150 participants – and since the bookings are open for the remainder of the week we expect to reach this target. However if you need to be convinced of the benefits to be gained from attending the event – or, perhaps more realistically, you need to convince your manager, here are some arguments you may wish to use:
- The event is a bargain at £200 (or £250 including accommodation): There are other great conferences for those working in the delivery of large-scale Web services but they are likely to cost significantly more: such as this one-day event costing £225+VAT or this two-day conference which costs £595 (plus VAT and no accommodation).
- The programme is designed for those working in higher/further education: Many of the speakers and facilitators work in higher education or work for companies which specialise in supporting the sector.
- You can get “tens of thousands of pounds worth of free consultancy“!: Martin Hamilton, head of Internet Services at Loughborough University, described in a video interview how at the IWMW 2010 event he had “gotten tens of thousands of pounds worth of free consultancy” from the various discussions he had attended during his 3 days at the first IWMW event he had attended! On his blog he subsequently described how “The highlight of IWMW10 for me was that I became aware of an open source product that will save my institution around £50K over a three year timeframe. In my view this alone amply justifies the £350 conference registration fee.“
- You’ll hear about SEO strategies for a University context: In a keynote talk Professor Melius Weideman, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa will provide empirical research results from analysis of UK university Web sites which will indicate where improvements can be made to increase the visibility of UK HE Web sites to search engines.
- You’ll have an ideal opportunity to cultivate professional network: The growing importance of social networks to support professional activities is becoming more widely acknowledged. However, despite the potential benefits of services such as Twitter and LinkedIn, the value of face-to-face meetings provided by events such as IWMW should not be under-estimated.
- You’ll have an opportunity to engage and not just sit back and listen: In higher education we are well aware of the value of active learning. The IWMW has always provided opportunities for participants to actively engage in discussions , especially in the 90 minute workshop sessions.
- You can attend accompanying DevCSI workshop on Open Data and the Institutional Web: This free DevCSI workshop begins on the day before IWMW 2011 and will provide an opportunity for developers and those who wish to engage in or commission development work related to access to, use and reuse of institutional data to share ideas, hear case studies and engage in lightweight development activities.
- You can engage with marketing and techie communities: Some Web events tend to be very focussed on marketing perspectives whilst at other events techies may dominate and talk in a strange language of TLAs (and even XTLAs). At IWMW 2011 Amber Thomas will give a plenary talk on “Marketing and Other Dirty Words” in which she will “bring together key messages from marketing, social media around content, usage tracking and strategy, with ideas for how we can present our intellectual assets online to get maximum effect”.
- You can hear a plenary talk about how an institution has gone about embedding Web 2.0: As described in a post on the IWMW 2011 blog Martin Hamilton will share the experiences gained at Loughborough University.
- You can also hear about and discuss legal issues and the Web: One of the 90 minute parallel workshop session will address Your Top Ten Legal Issues To Be Thinking About Now. Since every University will this year have to be considering how to respond to the new cookie legislation, this will be of interest to many.
Can you afford not to attend?