UB Tech 2019: Exchanging ideas and making connections

Higher education leaders, technology gurus and AV professionals convened for three days of information and insights

The show may be over, but the work has just begun. From June 10-12, higher ed administrators anjd staff from throughout the U.S. and beyond met at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in sunny (and sometimes not so sunny) Florida for UB Tech® 2019. The action-packed conference—including targeted pre-conference summits, 67 breakout sessions and networking events—provided attendees with ideas for making a positive impact through technology and process back on their campuses.

Targeted pre-conference summits

At the second annual Women in Technology summit, four speakers shared their women-focused initiatives and discussed practical steps women can take to advance, leverage technology and support future generations. Keynote speaker Nada Marie Anid, vice president for strategic communications and external affairs for the New York Institute of Technology, spoke on “The Internet of Women: Accelerating Culture Change.”

Find a sponsor or advocate, align your personal goals with those of your institution, and be visible and vocal during projects at work, she advised.

Other speakers covered the Women in Tech program at Villanova University in Pennsylvania that’s supporting women; the CybHER initiative at Dakota State University in South Dakota, which has increased the number of women enrolled in cyber science programs; and how women can master networking when it doesn’t come naturally.

Additional pre-conference summits focused on the ROI of digital learning (an event sponsored by ClassLink) and on meeting challenges in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (sponsored by HP).

Practical and poignant keynotes

Gary Kayye, founder and president of rAVe [Publications], highlighted how technology has improved the user experience. He challenged attendees to focus on Gen Zers—mobile natives who demand a simple interface on their devices and for whom online is “IRL” (in real life).

In another keynote, Nido Qubein, president of High Point University in North Carolina, encouraged attendees to embrace opportunity and a growth mindset, and to strive for excellence in finding relevance in their roles on campus. Qubein sprinkled in humorous, and often poignant, anecdotes from his personal journey, which began with teaching himself English.

CIO Curtis Carver of The University of Alabama at Birmingham did not mince words in discussing digital obstacles as part of his closing keynote. He said colleges fail because they don’t meet customers’ needs. Carver also addressed how many projects at his university are driven by artificial intelligence, including chatbots that provide students with immediate answers to common questions and free up staff time for more important work.

All three keynotes at UB Tech® 2019 are available to view live online for any higher ed leaders who were unable to attend the conference in person, made possible by the exclusive streaming partner of UB Tech®, Mediasite. See ubtechconference.com.

Informative sessions and expo highlights

UB Tech® 2019’s session tracks featured core content that attendees look forward to every year—from active classrooms and instructional technology to AV integration and campus IT infrastructure. The expanded technology leadership track gave attendees the opportunity to discuss how to manage constant edtech change on campus—particularly the impact of change on people across campus.

New this year, and a huge hit, was the esports track. Speakers discussed how to establish, sustain and grow a successful esports program, with lively attendee Q&A periods. Sessions covered the impact of esports programs on campus stakeholders, finding donors and corporate sponsors, understanding esports culture, building arenas and facilities, recruiting students, and developing infrastructure.

In addition, the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD) announced its launch at the conference. It’s the first professional organization for competitive esports coaches and directors at all levels of competitive play, including club, high school, college and professional.

Another area of the conference seeing a lot of action was the UB Tech expo hall, which was filled with higher ed-knowledgeable providers and demos that allowed attendees to get a hands-on and up-close look at the latest software, hardware, tools and apps.

The Esports Pavilion became the spot for attendees with upcoming and established programs, as well as experts, to network. And the Tech Talks theater offered in-depth looks at innovative tech tools and trends. Roving reporters from rAVe [Publications] interviewed dozens of provider reps about their systems and solutions—giving campus administrators access to insights and ideas that they might have missed.

UB Tech® 2020 will be held June 15-17 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Visit ubtechconference.com for more information on speaking, attending or exhibiting at the event.

Full coverage of UB Tech 2019 is at UBmag.me/ubt2019.

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