The Web Conference at Penn State

The Web Conference at Penn State brings together professionals from graphic design, front-end development, content strategy, accessibility, information architecture, instructional design, online marketing, and other interactive technology fields to gain a better understanding of how these elements must work in harmony. Stevie Rocco has helped to organize this annual event over the past several years. When she reached out to us both to present at this year’s conference, we jumped at the opportunity.

Megan participated on an open panel on innovation with our friend, Brian Dusablon where the audience posed questions about learning analytics and design, and on Tuesday both of us presented: Megan, on learning analytics and me, on competencies As always, the most important part of participating in an event like the Web Conference at Penn State is the people.

Together with Brian, we brought our summer interns with for the conference. From Shawn Rosler, we had a great refresher in mobile performance support.

Interns Learning About Mobile Performance Support

Steve Howard was particularly helpful in supporting learning analytics in Higher Ed.

Supporting Learning Analytics in Higher Ed

Opening Up Professional Development

Something Megan observed was how many folks from Penn State participated in the conference. With a few hundred attendees from all over the country (and the world), across multiple domains, Megan took particular note of the opportunity PSU presented to its faculty and staff by having such a conference, bringing diverse insights and expertise to co-mingle with their own for a few days, and we wonder about what conversations at the Web Conference inspire in terms of new ideas, execution on existing (or even nascent) programs at the University.

We have a similar take on this approach with our series of xAPI Camps: bringing inside expertise and interest from outside of organizations and communities. Penn State accomplishes this at a scale of hundreds over multiple days. While scaling, there’s a real feeling of community and family here. Through family-friendly activities, plenty of food and drink (attendance demands stretchy pants for the bounty of feasting to be had), it’s a gem of a conference.


We offered two new presentations at the  Web Conference.

Learning Analytics: Today, Tomorrow, and When We Get Flying Cars PSU Web Conference 2015 from Megan Bowe

Megan’s talk on learning analytics focused on data that learning professionals who are jumping into analytics can get today and what we can know from that data, focusing on what is actionable.

Where Cognitive Science, Interaction Design and Data Dwells: The Competencies of xAPI from Aaron Silvers

My talk on xAPI addressed some of the theoretical foundations of the Experience API, as well as formational ideas on the competencies needed by professionals to work with xAPI.