This year, I was one of the very lucky recipients of the UCISA bursary scheme, which has allowed me to be in Denver for the 2018 Educause conference. The Educause conference is something that has been on my radar for 20 years, and it’s no coincidence that it is celebrating 20 years this year.
It is an absolutely enormous event, with around 7,000 attendees registered this year. That’s over 10 times larger than our very own ALTC, which is why they need a venue the size of the Colorado Convention Centre to host it. I’ve been seeking out advice from past attendees, and one common theme is “don’t be overwhelmed” as well as being prepared for very long days.
I’ve been in the city for a couple of days now, acclimatising (quite literally as the city is a mile above sea level) and combating jet lag by getting sunshine and fresh air. During this time I’ve been finalising my conference schedule, setting up brain dates (a new feature at Educause this year), and getting ready for user group meetings with some of the suppliers that we work with at Loughborough University. Going back to that theme of long days, my first brain date is at 7:30am on Wednesday morning. I’ve usually not left the house at that time of day on a normal working day, let alone had coffee and breakfast and be functional enough to have a meeting!
Denver is a beautiful city with so much to see and do. Today, after doing the day job from my hotel room all morning, I was out exploring the city, and just happened to bump into this wonderful specimen down by the South Platte River, in beautiful October sunshine.
I’ve called today “day minus one” as conference registration has opened (handily in the hotel lobby) and the #edu18 hashtag has exploded on Twitter with lots of pre-conference networking happening and hints and tips being shared. The weather is currently a hot topic, as it was 25 degrees today, but will be closer to 0 tomorrow with snow in the forecast!
Tomorrow is day zero, with user group events and briefing sessions for first time attendees. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to my biggest conference event ever. Look out for the next post tomorrow, and tweet me @Bulgenen if you have anything that you would like me to find out for you at Educause.