Fall isn’t just for leaf peepers.

We are right in the middle of the fall conference season, a time for education professionals to learn about the latest innovations in the industry and connect with colleagues to share solutions and to network.

Have you had the opportunity to attend a conference this year? Some of our team just returned from HighEdWeb in Milwaukee and we’re brimming with new ideas and energy from the interactions we had. Whether it be HighEdWeb, CASE, AMA, edUi, or any other opportunity, we highly suggest you add attending a conference to your 2013 professional development plan.

What? You have no budget for annual conference travel? It happens.

No worries: There are plenty of free resources out there!

No excuses. You can do professional development despite a lack of funds.

Here are five things you can do today to gain new knowledge and network with your colleagues virtually.

  1. Join Anyone can use EDUniverse – a community-driven content hub for education – to learn about current thinking and find out what solutions might have worked for others. You can explore broad topics such as “admissions” or “social media” or more focused issues like “How are other colleges using Facebook?” By creating a profile, you can share content such as posts from your blog, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and Slideshare accounts. You can alsoupload content like video and white papers directly to the site. Lastly, you can tag, “like,” and comment on content shared by others.
  2. Watch Higher Ed Live. This live weekly web show network exclusively focuses on the world of higher education. With programs like Higher Ed Live, Student Affairs Live, and Admissions Live, each episode features exclusive interviews with industry-leading stars from colleges and universities across the country. I had the opportunity to guest host with Fran Zablocki recently. Our show offered a recap of HighEdWeb with guests focusing on top conference takeaways.
  3. Attend free webinars. Every month mStoner offers a free webinar on topics ranging from content and social media strategy to responsive design and everything in between. We archive most webinars on our YouTube channel. You can register now for our next webinar on video production. Unlike many free webinars out there, you’ll never hear a sales pitch from our team.
  4. View past conference presentations. Just because you can’t physically be at a conference doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from the information shared by presenters (link to mStoner blog post about HEW). More often than not, presenters will upload their slide decks to Slideshare, EDUniverse, or their personal blog. HighEdWeb goes one step further and has presenters upload PDF versions of their slides to the conference site.
  5. Participate in Twitter chats. One of our favorite weekly Twitter chats takes place on Tuesdays using the hashtag #casesmc. Join us to discuss social media’s impact on higher education! The chat features a revolving set of moderators from the industry. There is also #emchat, #fundchat, and #sachat – among many others!
Mallory Wood

AUTHOR - Mallory Wood

I ride the line between ESTJ and ISTJ. What does that mean for mStoner, besides entertaining colleagues with my wit and charm? I'm a problem-solver and enjoy working through our potential client's challenges to identify solutions and how a partnership with mStoner will bring value. Find me on

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