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IT Unconference Sets Record With 400 Attendees

The seventh annual IT Unconference set a new precedent by using Zoom, which allowed remote employees to attend for the first time ever
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Stanford IT professionals came together at Li Ka Shing Center on Nov. 30 for the seventh annual IT Unconference. This year’s event set a new record with over 400 attendees, including some who work remotely but were able to attend via Zoom.

The IT Unconference is one of the largest events for campus IT professionals, giving them a chance to collaborate and discuss current and pressing topics with their Stanford colleagues.

The Unconference allows attendees to select topics that they would like to discuss with other Stanford IT professionals. The open discussion format —  without a preset agenda —  provides an opportunity for participants to lead and guide the session without predefined guidelines.

This year, there were 40 proposed topics, ranging from “Tableau Tips and Tricks,” to “Drupal 8 Websites,” “Digital Signage,” and “Enhancing Collaboration and Client Satisfaction by Consolidating Remote Support.”

To view all topics and notes from each session, visit the Sessions page on the IT Unconference website.

Jacqueline Holland of H&S Dean's Office delivers a Lightning Talk.

Eight Lightning Talks

The day also featured a handful of Lightning Talks — five-minute presentations where presenters have an opportunity to quickly share their ideas and passions about a specific topic.

This year’s lightning talks included:

  • Community of Practice for Distributed and Remote Workers (Shannon Santanocito, Systems and Data Analyst, IT Services and Anna Watt, Web Project Manager, IT Services)

  • User Migration Automation (Jeremy Fife, Systems Analyst, Stanford Management Company)

  • Machine Learning at Stanford (Jacqueline Holland, Product Manager, H&S Dean's Office)

  • Experiential Learning and Tech: Will it Blend? (Joshua Weiss, Academic Technology Specialist, Graduate School of Education)

  • The Evolution of User Research (Jo-Ann Cuevas, Service Designer, UIT Shared Services Operations)

  • Submit an Idea (Minhtu Earl, Vendor Management Specialist, UIT Shared Services Operations)

  • Serving up a TechBar Kiosk app in ServiceNow (Andrew Blaner,  Randy Chen, Roland Narciso, Damon Logan, SoM - Information Resources & Technology)

  • Alas, Poor WebAuth (Vivien Wu, Storage Team Lead, Computing Services)

Remote participants attend a session via Zoom.

First Unconference with remote attendees

In the seven years that IT Unconference has existed, this was the first year that remote workers  were able to participate.

Shannon Santanocito, a Systems and Data Analyst in IT Services who was part of the Remote Attendance Planning Committee said, “We were very excited about bringing remote options to the Unconference for those that couldn’t attend in person … we look forward to the feedback on how we can improve in the years to come.”

Over 30 remote participants attended Unconference sessions via Zoom video conferencing. The success of the pilot suggests that having remote participants propose and host sessions would further enhance the experience.

Another successful year

Whether the seventh Unconference in a row that one attended or the first for a new employee just a few weeks in, the Unconference gave IT professionals a chance to come together and  create community, collaborate, recharge, and inspire each other.

A participant said, “It's really helpful to attend sessions that are not directly in my area of expertise, but impact or influence my overall work. Thank you for another positive Unconference.”

Learn more

To learn more about the sessions, lightning talks and review session notes, visit the 2017 Stanford IT Unconference website.

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