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Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

UK EduCamp comes to Edinburgh – 12 January 2024

UK EduCamp is a volunteer-run organisation who run unconferences to bring together digital professionals in higher education. We’re hosting the upcoming event on Friday 12 January. It’s free and open to book a place.

(I’m starting with an apology to University of Edinburgh colleagues. Sorry I’m promoting this so late.

I’ve been on the organising committee this time and agreed that we would promote externally first to help ensure we get a good spread of colleagues from across the UK.

Because we have such active communities of practice, my worry was that we would end up with this being an Edinburgh-centric event! And maybe that’s the next step – something just for Edinburgh staff? Watch this space…)

What is EduCamp?

UKEduCamp is co-ordinated by a group of volunteers who work in the higher education sector.

It’s an unconference. There are no pre-planned sessions. Instead, everyone turns up with ideas of what they want to talk about or discuss.

Any attendee can run a session, and you go to the sessions that fit your interests. There’s no set agenda or theme. It’s all about sharing.

Read my blog about the last EduCamp held at The University of Sheffield

EduCamp is based on the highly successful UKGovcamp which has been bringing together digital service professionals in the UK civil service for a number of years now.

UKEduCamp website

UKGovcamp website

Unconference timetable is developed by someone arranging post it notes on the wall

A facilitator takes the pitch summaries after each has been presented to the attendees, and arranges them into a timetable for the day.

What’s an unconference?

Wikipedia says: “An unconference is a participant-driven meeting. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid hierarchical aspects of a conventional conference, such as sponsored presentations and top-down organization.”

Wikipedia page on unconferences

So in essence:

  • People assemble around a given theme or shared interest
  • Attendees make pitches for things they’d like to share or join a discussion on. (Or indeed, something that they’d like to learn about even if they don’t feel they have anything in particular to contribute).
  • Facilitators group like topics together and assign them to slots on a pre-defined timetable
  • The sessions run along the timetable that has been created during this introductory session

Why should you attend?

First off, it’s free.

It’s participant-led, inclusive, open and supportive. There will be sponsor companies there, but there is no hard sell. The event is organised by attendees for attendees.

You should think about coming along if you work in or around the Higher or Further Education sector in the UK and you want to:

  • share ideas, thoughts, plans and experiences about creating great user experiences in the Education sector
  • find others to provide feedback and support
  • learn from other people who are tackling the same issues

I recommend it. I wouldn’t be putting the time and effort of our team into this if I didn’t think it’s a great benefit and opportunity for colleagues across the sector and within the University of Edinburgh.

Groups of people collaborate in small groups at tables in a workshop

The session I co-ran at Sheffield EduCamp last June

Event details

What: EduCamp – a free, attendee-led event for digital service professionals in higher education

When: Friday 12 January 2024

Where: The University of Edinburgh Outreach Centre, Holyrood Road

Book a free place via the UK EduCamp website

Why our team is hosting

I attended the first EduCamp back in June 2023 when The University of Sheffield hosted. I’d previously attended a UKGovcamp unconference the first time it came to Scotland back in 2017 and was excited at the prospect of the format extending into our sector.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and came back to work thinking about how we might use the format internally so that we can bring together student recruitment and marketing colleagues who we support through the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team.

But then the offer came to get involved, so I thought, ‘Why not first learn from the people who already do it?’

So over the past few months, Lauren, Heike, Emma (from IS Website and Communications) and I have been getting together with colleagues from the universities of Sheffield and Cambridge, and colleagues from JISC to bring this together.

I’m really excited to be hosting at the University and look forward to another opportunity to explore challenges collaboratively and meet more colleagues from across the higher education sector.

Find out more

Book a free place via the UK EduCamp website

Read my blog about the last EduCamp held at The University of Sheffield

My previous blog post about attending an unconference (when I was the UX Manager in Information Services) – December 2017

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