Workshops (Archived – 2017)


Workshops –

Monday: 8:30 – 11:30 am

Train The Trainer – From Novice to Grandmaster

Katie Santo, New York University


As training facilitators we are entrusted with the responsibility of educating the masses. We teach sessions that are often required – and others attended by choice. Our material, whether it be the university-wide web content management system or the hot new social media platform, isn’t necessarily the most palatable to our participants. But there are things we can do as training facilitators to help prepare ourselves, our participants, and our training for success. This workshop includes best practices for training facilitators as well as role-playing activities designed to enhance your learning experience. From easy ways to create a safe learning environment to understanding the simple power of a question, you will learn how to turn a potentially transactional training session into a transformational training experience.

Top Task Websites: Content Design for Marketing Success

Bob Johnson, Bob Johnson Consulting


Marketing priorities at most colleges and universities are driven by the fierce competition to maintain or increase enrollment. Success in that effort depends greatly on the experience potential students have on college and university websites, especially on their first visit. More than 20 percent of potential students who have a bad first experience will leave and never return.

Anyone who works on website content and design is an important part of the marketing team. This workshop is designed to boost the marketing strength of higher education websites by increasing the satisfaction of potential students when they visit in search of key content to review, often staying in the now proverbial “stealth” mode. Use of a “top tasks” approach is key to creating content and navigation that is easy to find, easy to review, and easy to understand.

A Proven Approach

Top task research was developed by Gerry McGovern about 11 years ago and has been used since then more than 400 times by Gerry and an international Partners network. Clients including Toyota, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Google, IKEA, the European Union, and the BBC have used a Top Task strategy to create simpler and better experiences for their customers and employees. We have also completed top task research for more than 35 colleges and universities in Canada, Europe, and the U.S.

A 3-Part Workshop

Research: Our overview of Top Task methodology that will let you return home and continue the process on your campus. We start with an exercise to create an initial “long list” of tasks that people on your campus are likely to believe are important to potential students. And we will review the process to reduce the inevitable “long list” of 200 to 400 tasks to 60 to 80 items to include on a survey of your future students. That same process can be used to identify the top tasks of any group using your site: faculty & staff, current students, alumni.

Examples: We will review and discuss examples of higher education websites that give priority to top task content and navigation. These will include home pages, admissions, cost and financial aid,
academics, and outcomes content important for successful student recruitment.

Survey Creation: You will create a CCI (Customer Centric Index) survey that you can use on your website or send to audiences who use your site. Colleges and universities most often survey future students but surveys have also been done with current students, faculty and staff, alumni, and parents of future students. (Bring your laptop or smartphone to go online for this exercise.)

After the Workshop

You will be invited to join 360+ people at a LinkedIn “Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content” group where you can post questions and comment on questions asked by other members. Discussions have included top tasks for libraries, the tension between strategic plan priorities and top tasks in website design, and “giving” as a top task, and the top tasks for recruiting students to online programs. We have also posted “in their own language” top tasks reported by future students who completed a CCI survey.

‘No Results’ No More! Practical Strategies the Pros Use to Improve Site Search and SEO for Higher Ed

Andrea Cole, Beacon
Logan Ray, Beacon


Search engines deliver 55% of the traffic to higher education websites. Social media? Only 2%. Even more interesting is that 42% of incoming students use either Google or internal site search to find what they need, preferring Google more. And did you know that a website optimized for search engines also improves internal site search results? Double the value! Yet despite these facts, very few colleges and universities actively defend their search engine traffic from competitive threats and algorithm changes or work to improve their searchability. Could your site handle a significant loss of traffic? Could your incoming students handle being unable to search and find what they need?

Although SEO has taken a backseat to social media marketing, it’s importance is still very real-and just too important to neglect. It can be quick and easy to find an SEO Company that works for you. In this workshop, use Google Analytics, Google’s Search Console, and other industry tools to learn the key tactics you should be executing and the key elements you should be monitoring in order to defend your current search engine traffic and grow your content’s ability to be found.

During this session, Beacon’s experts will give attendees expert instruction and hands-on training in the following 3 key areas:

  1. Getting Found: How to prepare your website for Google and internal site search.
  2. Getting Read: How to optimize content for optimal performance in search engines and site search.
  3. Getting Proactive: How to proactively monitor results, drive continuous improvements, and defend your content from scrapers and internal dilution.

At the end of this session, attendees will be able to identify key issues plaguing their own site’s searchability and know what next steps must be taken in order to improve it.

Wednesday: 1:30 – 4:30 pm

Building a Successful Campaign From Soup to Nuts

Jonas Seider, Prospect Cloud


There is a seismic shift taking place in Higher Ed Marketing. What was once a very reactive marketing culture, is now morphing into a need to be proactive. However, in order to be a proactive marketer in Higher Ed, you must be well equipped to develop and execute effective and efficient outbound marketing campaigns. Through our expertise in targeted and focused outbound marketing techniques, ProspectCloud will give you easy to implement, actionable tools to take your outbound marketing efforts to a whole new level. Among other things, you will learn:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Goal Setting
  • Audience Development
  • Campaign Cadence and Sequencing
  • Multichannel Targeting Allocation, and
  • Much more.

With a rinse and repeat process in place, you no longer worry have to worry about being the last to adopt a proactive mindset.

Content & Social Strategy: Your Guide To The Essentials

Jeremiah Barba, Digital Marketing Manager, Up&Up
Matt McFadden, Director of Marketing, Up&Up


Let’s take a step back and talk content & social media strategy from A to Z. If you’ve ever been asked “do we have a content strategy?” or “what should we be posting on Instagram?” then this workshop is for you. We’ll talk through the tiers of higher ed content strategy, sort through what’s trending in social media (and what it means to you), and dive into a practical look at content strategy, including how to audit your website and tips on keeping your content effort sustainable. We’ll work through building personas and social channel strategies to help you find clarity about what you should be posting and where, and we’ll explore how to successfully integrate social content into your website. All the while, we’ll keep our focus on practical tools & strategies you can start using right away. Come ready to work, and go ready to make a difference in your content & social strategy!

Accessibility in Practice: Integrating Accessibility into Team Roles and Workflows

Rob Carr, Oklahoma Able Tech


This workshop will:

  • Discern the various laws and policies that drive technology accessibility within the higher education space.

  • Define some of the practical implications of the legal and policy environment. In other words, what makes design and content more accessible? What sort of policy and resources should institutions plan for?

  • Help attendees gain insight into how technology accessibility fits into various roles throughout the University, and map parts of accessibility into workshop participant’s workflow and the workflow of colleagues and offices around them.

  • Teach tools and techniques that can integrate into the design and plan to account for accessibility in project planning as well as implementation.

  • Teach tools and techniques to test your web site or web application for accessibility at different phases, from planning to post-implementation.