Strong turnout brings the UW’s IT community together to learn, explore and connect By Gretchen Konrady, UW-IT Communications
The one-day UW TechConnect conference on March 25 attracted 400 members of the University information technology community to come together and participate in presentations, workshops and consulting/demo labs in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library & Learning Commons. TechConnect, built on last year’s successful Code Camp, offered opportunities to explore a range of topics including Flipping the Classroom, Office 365, IT Service Management, Tableau data visualization, Enterprise Architecture Strategy and more.
“The UW is a huge and tremendously diverse place. But as an IT professional, our work can sometimes happen in relative isolation,“ said John Drew, Director of the Graduate School Computing and Information Resources and Chair of the UW Computing Directors, which sponsored the event with UW Information Technology (UW-IT). “This conference was a chance to cut through the isolation, make new connections, share and learn from one another.”
The conference was especially “Tweet-worthy”—check out the TechConnect Twitter tagboard, as well as these reflections from a few attendees and leaders:
TechConnect: Words from participants
“As a tech person, I want to be as knowledgeable as I can, and be a bridge for academic staff about tools that could work for them,” said Nancy Shawn, Web Producer in the School of Public Health Office of the Dean. She took advantage of the opportunity to check out technologies that have created a buzz around the UW, learning about Tegrity lecture capture and the Canvas learning management system in the Flipping the Classroom talk with UW-IT’s Peter Wallis and Jason Smith.
“TechConnect was a great opportunity to learn more about upcoming changes in IT at the University,” said Senior Computing Specialist Tom Mahon, visiting from the UW Bothell Campus Library. He noted that the talk by Terry Gray on “The Context of IT at the UW” and the Enterprise Architecture workshop by Jim Phelps were especially informative, and have impacted how he will plan for change going forward.
“Very valuable!” is how Mary Hoverson, Technology Manager in UW Real Estate, described TechConnect. She had been interested in Tableau software to see trend information for space planning and cost savings. The Enterprise Data and Analytics consulting/demo table with was just the ticket for seeing Tableau in action with UW-IT’s Ann Wunderlin, and Andrew Barker with Tableau Software. Mary plans to arrange a Tableau demo for her office.
TechConnect: Words from University IT leaders
“What an impressive event to kick off better engagement with campus. It engendered the spirit of cross-unit collaboration, and together we’re raising the capabilities of what we can deliver to campus. Kudos to all who made it a success—I could not have asked for more.”
—Kelli Trosvig, Vice President for UW Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, and keynote co-presenter
“To achieve the promise of IT at UW, we need to learn from each other and avoid duplication of effort. This was a great start toward increased collaboration and partnership among all of the University’s IT staff.”
—Dr. Terry Gray, UW-IT’s Associate Vice President & Chief Technology Architect and UW Computer Science & Engineering Affiliate Professor, and keynote co-presenter
“I’m pleased with the successful partnership of computing directors and UW-IT to help foster connections between IT staff, and I hope we can make TechConnect a regular event.“
—John Drew, Director of the Graduate School Computing and Information Resources and Chair of the UW Computing Directors, in his opening address for the conference