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IT Unconference Attracts a Crowd

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

You can’t really work in IT without being able to handle some uncertainty. So it shouldn’t be surprising that more than 370 IT professionals from across campus would come together for a conference with no agenda.

On Nov. 12, the IT community held its fifth annual Stanford IT Unconference, a facilitated event without a preset agenda. The session topics are dynamic and proposed by attendees as the Unconference begins, enabling discussion topics that are relevant now and in the future.

Forty Topics and New Unconference Tracks

This year, participants proposed more than 40 topics, ranging from an introduction to “Service Experience Design” to “DevOps,” and “Gender and IT” to “Blue Sky Infrastructure.”

In response to feedback from previous IT Unconferences, organizers created some overarching tracks so similar topics are not scheduled at conflicting times. This year’s tracks included: Design/UX, Development, Infrastructure, Security, Instructional Technology, Management and Collaboration, and User Support.

“Really liked the organization of tracks this year. Although there was much to choose from, this made it easier,” said one Unconference participant in post-event feedback.

Eight Lightning Talks

This year included eight talks that were split between the opening and closing sessions:

  • “Education and Technology Myths” by Pamela Levine,
  • “Preemptive Development Queues: an Alternative to Scrum” by Kenneth Sharp,
  • “Partnership and Innovation for UIT and Stanford Instructional Technology, The Road Ahead” by Tain Barzso,
  • “Drupallers Drop-in Help” by Sharon Krossa,
  • “Animation with HTML5” by Joy Hsu,
  • “3D Printing — Challenges and Opportunities” by Shannon Walters,
  • “The Journey of Campus Map” by Swati Prabhu,
  • “Talkin’ the Talk at Stanford Toastmasters” by Caryl Westerberg.
“Great lightning talks. I like the variety. ‘Lightning Talks’ were introduced last year and built on their previous success,” said another Unconference participant.

With such an array of tracks, topics, and talks, it’s easy to see that this year’s Unconference had something for everyone.

“Great Unconference,” said a regular Unconference goer. “This is my 3rd year and I look forward to the next event.”

Learn More

For more information about the 2015 Stanford IT Unconference, including notes from the various sessions, visit the IT Unconference website.

Panoramic view of attendees sitting at round tables listening to a lightning talk.

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