The scale of venues needed for Educause is huge and the Denver Convention centre met that need – a vast complex, clearly pretty new, high quality surroundings.
The registration process was smooth and efficient, sign in on one of 14 laptop stations, and your credit card sized personal card is generated automatically. No tote bag handed out, but there to have if you want one, fill it yourself from a limited range of items – all good news.
The session rooms were all excellent, spacious and adequately comfortable, the main Wells Fargo theatre is awesome and something to behold, soaking up the 4000+ delegates. I guess the only drawback to a venue this size is not surprisingly, there is an awful lot of walking between rooms, exhibition, lunch etc etc
The upstairs exhibition was predictably big and corporate, shiny stands, laden with enthusiastic sales people – a bit like the Ideal Home exhibition but for HE. I’m not sure how the exhibitors felt but I didn’t see flocks of people on the stands, maybe a sign of the straightened times?
The catering was again lunchboxes and soda, made available in the middle of acres of tables and chairs. No one seemed to have a problem with lunchboxes, and they have all paid!
Organisers had done well with the provision of facilities, there was faultless working wifi everywhere except, because of its construction, the Wells Fargo theatre. There was a useful power stop area to top up batteries, loads of laptops for email checks etc (still surprised these days that this is needed), and an Educause Central for people to gather at and hang out
The programme is immense and must be a nightmare to organise – a great range and variety. Although there is some personal selection of sessions in advance, there are no formal registration – consequently some sessions over-full and closed and others a little sparse – but I didn’t hear any grumbles
A general #educasue09 twitter tag was used, and copiously used by delegates. Although one session had its own hashtags most didn’t. This meant that the volume of tweets crashed through and it was sometimes hard to know quite what they were referring to. But that said I personally found, maybe for the first time, that the Twitter element enriched the event for me. When it was used in one session it was very popular indeed – a shame that back channels weren’t available for other sessions