The Coding Track
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the name “edUi” (a concatenation of .edu and UI) and assume that everything in this conference is about design, user experience, and content management. In fact, some of my own colleagues make this mistake, and justifiably so. In the past, explicit programming sessions may have seemed like a second-class citizens in the conference program, but the edUi team has made a significant effort to appeal to a larger range of technology professionals for several years now. This year is no different, and the edUi schedule has a nice collection of sessions and workshops that can be considered a “coding track,” if you’re looking to sharpen your programming or software architecture skills.
Product designer Caner Uguz starts us off with a session called “What does your app really do?…and other adventures in instrumentation” that includes detailed information on application analytics. As other industries move towards data-driven decision-making, our own technology industry is tasked with implementing the data collection and analysis within our very applications to support the fundamental technology decisions that we make. Designing products is no longer about just good-looking applications and quality user experiences, but diligent analysis of the choices made in functionality that support business goals.
What does the future look like and who designs it? Whether we’re talking about chatbots, artificial intelligence, or augmented reality, IBM has had a hand in just about every major initiative over the last several decades. IBM’s own Vera Rhoades joins edUi to talk about how these technologies are impacting the future of student experiences, and what questions need to be asked before implementing them for your own institution in her session “Chatbots, AR, VR, Drones…Emerging ways of delivering information.”
This might be flagged as a coding track, but what we’re really talking about are sessions beyond the standard user experience, content management, and accessibility issues that dominate front-end and web content discussions. We’re talking about things that might get your more technical staff excited. Jonathan Bradley has no shortage of experiments in this regard. Coming off of last year’s discussion of the Johnny-5 framework and IoT devices, he’s back again with the session “I Reject this Reality and Substitute a Virtual One: How to Build A VR Service in Your Library (or Other Space).” In it he’ll discuss how to build a virtual environment studio, including safety concerns, costs, and community building.
Big Data is still a thing—we just don’t use the word as much anymore—but the volume of data in the industry has driven analytics initiatives across academic research. Unfortunately, a lot of times, this data is proprietary. Now, with things like Kaggle, data sets are becoming more and more widely available, and the open source community is pushing for Open Data policies to help benefit research and humanity. In “Leveraging Open Data for Deeper Insights” Brian Rimel and Matt Clark will show us how to integrate Open Data into our own data sets in order to enrich our data platforms. Much of this will use real world use cases from the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework—an open source project from a local nonprofit with deep University of Virginia roots, thanks to alumni Brian Nosek and Jeff Spies.
Dealing with large amounts of data can be difficult, and often requires classification and standardization. This results in the need for schemas to define data structures and meta data on those structures. Penn State has implemented a schema for utilizing Open Educational Resources (OERs), and Michael Collins and Katrina Wehr will shows attendees how they can use this schema to solve their own needs in their session “‘Schema’ Your Way to Usable OER for Authors, Instructors, and Learners.”
Separating presentation from back-end logic is paramount to enterprise application development, but academia is often saddled with large, bulky Content Management Systems (CMSs) that make this nearly impossible to succeed at. Andrew Boyd and Justin Schoeder, however, have succeeded, and will head up “Off With Their Heads!” a mini-workshop to explain the benefits of headless architecture, and show you how to convert your common CMS implementations (e.g., WordPress, Drupal) into a headless architecture that can help speed deployments, as well as maintenance.
What about the half-day workshops? Well, I know Chris Love, and Chris Love knows Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). If you at all want to see what the future of mobile development (and possibly desktop development) looks like, you’re going to want to sit in on his workshop “Making the Progressive Web App Your Stakeholders Want.” Love is a frequent guest on the extremely popular Dot Net Rocks podcast, as well as a Microsoft MVP. He is well known within the industry as the go-to person for Progressive Web Apps and web application performance improvements. With Service Workers now supported in every major, modern browser, web applications and mobile web applications have a whole new bag of tricks to support user interactions.
There you have it: A coding track. If you thought that edUi was only for designers and content managers, you’re very much mistaken. Every block of breakout sessions has something for those who yearn for more technical details, and programming is also well-represented when it comes to the mini-workshops and workshops. If you’re on the fence about going, it’s time to hop off. Attending is well worth your time.
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Early bird tickets (through July 30) are just $550 including your choice of half-day workshop.