Making the most

The following was originally posted to the EDUCAUSE Security list, and with the author’s permission we are re-posting here.  Brad’s insights are equally applicable to RIMM.  We hope you enjoy both!

How do you find the most useful sessions for you?  Consider these points:

  • What do you want to change? Do you have a new initiative on the horizon?  Feel stuck in a rut with something and need a new perspective? Think about what things about your program, technology, process, policy, etc. you want to change, then focus on those sessions. While there is nothing wrong with attending a session that you simply find interesting, the greatest value comes from learning about things we actively want to change.
  • What is a topic you’ve been wanting to learn about, but haven’t had the time? One of the traps attendees fall into is attending a session on a topic they already know well. In 60 minutes, a speaker probably isn’t going to reach enough depth to add to existing expertise. However, it can be a great way to jumpstart your investigation into a new topic. Don’t walk out of a session thinking “I already knew all of that.”
  • Look for speakers who have posted messages to the list that were useful for you.  If you found their emails useful, you’re likely to find their talk useful.  Introduce yourself afterwards and make a new in-person connection. 
  • Look for speakers from schools you know are similar to your school in how they handle IT.  Their solutions to problems might be more applicable to your own institution. 

Other tips:

  • Ask questions. Engage the speakers during the session and/or afterwards.
  • Did you see a very useful reply on the list sometime recently? Ask the author if they will be at SPC and meet up to talk more or to just say thanks in person. The break time and hall conversations are a big part of SPC. 
  • Don’t skip the meals. I’ve been attending SPC for years and each year I meet new people at breakfast and lunch. Find a table with new faces and open seats, or (as I often do) grab an empty table early (something near the food, don’t hide in the corner) and let yourself be surprised with who shows up. 
  • Have fun. Don’t forget to check out game night (Tues night), the fun run or the photo walk (both Wed morning).

Brad Judy
Director of Information Security
University Information Systems
University of Colorado