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TechFest 2017: New Presenters, More Vendors, and Giveaways

This year’s event is on April 10 at the University Center

March 8, 2017 11:38 AM
In 2016, DoIT hosted a brand new type of event known as TechFest, designed to bring UMBC students, faculty, and staff together to share different ways technology can both support and improve the efficiency of day to day activities. 

The event planning and implementation was spearheaded by Collin Sullivan, a DoIT student employee. It was a major success, and now, on April 10, at the University Center, TechFest 2017 will feature more presenters, more vendors, and a brand new web app that attendees will be able to download, and giveaways. 

Note: Find a complete list and brief description of all presenters as well as the option to and register for TechFest on the Instructional Technology post found here

“...we can get bogged down in the little work too often, and these types of applications can help us get to the deep work more quickly.”

TechFest 2017 will feature more than 10 faculty, student, and staff presenters. Ashley Waters, Associate Director for UMBC - Shady Grove Campus, will present her favorite Google extensions that enable her to be more productive.  “I have found that we can get bogged down in the little work too often and these types of applications can help us get to the deep work more quickly,” said Waters.

Waters wants to share her use of extensions like Google Keep, RescueTime, Boomerang, and more with the goal to share the news with others so they can find what works best for them. “If anyone can put one of these extensions to work and it helps them feel more in control of their demanding duties, my obsession with productivity hacks has been worth it!” said Waters. 

Tara Carpenter, Senior Lecturer for Chemistry and Biochemistry, will present her use of canned responses and Google Forms, which streamlines her inbox. Carpenter teaches a very large intro course and spends a lot of time answering emails from students. 

“I want to make others aware of how this tool can be used effectively to manage response to student emails,”

Carpenter saw that her emails could be broadly categorized and that she was typing the same responses over and over. By using canned responses, it has led to less time being spent on email for her. 

“I want to make others aware of how this tool can be used effectively to manage response to student emails,” said Carpenter. “I'm also going to present the use of Google Forms as a way to collect information from students without adding more email to your inbox.”

Sarah Lilly, senior in Information Systems and SGA Senate Speaker, is excited to attend TechFest and will be hosting a session on Google Calendar. Lilly wants participants get a firm grasp on the tool, and be able to check in with them a few weeks after TechFest and schedule a meeting with them through Google Calendar. 

“... I want more people to lean into and work smarter, not harder.”

As a full time student, full time worker, and involvement in student government, Lilly relies on Google Calendar to keep herself organized. “It's the only way I am able to keep my head straight and I want more people to lean into the tool and work smarter, not harder!” said Lilly. 

Coming to TechFest 2017 are new vendors. You can expect to see representatives from Microsoft, IEEE, Lenovo, and even some student organizations like the Game Developers’ Club. In addition, a new mobile app that will allow participants to create their own schedule, learn who else is attending, and connect with presenters of sessions. More information about the mobile app will be released closer to TechFest. 

Giveaways are returning to this year’s TechFest. To enter to win a giveaway, participants must complete feedback forms at the end of their sessions to get a raffle ticket. Participants can then use their raffle tickets to enter to win whichever prize they want. 

Read some great TechFest 2016 articles about how to get your inbox to zero from DoIT’s own Chief Information Officer Jack Suess and how student employee Collin Sullivan helped bring TechFest to UMBC.

For more news on TechFest and additional updates, be sure to follow the DoIT myUMBC group.
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