Sessions, rooms and speakers Oh My! Planning Drupal Camp Western Mass

With DrupalCamp Western Massachusetts only weeks away (Jan 22nd everyone!), it's time to start the daunting task of planning out the schedule.  So many great sessions have been proposed, we've got 200 people registered to attend and a fantastic space with state of the art classrooms, an auditorium and a gorgeous open hall.  How did it happen?

Consult the elders

When the team started talking about how we'd do this camp, I had a nice chat with Kieran Lal who has been organizing Drupal camps and cons since they began.  His advice was sage, the key takeaways were:

  • Keep It Simple Stupid!
  • Use the Conference Organizing Distribution for the website and get it up quickly with minimal fuss.
  • Set a time budget, work backwards.  It's too easy to burn out and overextend yourselves, start from what time people can give and plan accordingly.
  • Focus on creating interactions where people get to know each other, choose sessions because on creating a diverse experience.

 There was a lot more, and if you're interested, see my notes.

Get moving

Even though we only started working on this in mid November, the excellent organizing tem hit the ground running.  We've got an amazing space at the brand new Integrated Sciences building at UMass, several generous sponsors covering our basic infrastructure costs (and we could use a couple more to provide lunch!), people have been hitting up the local tech groups, and blog posts, tweets, etc have been pouring out.  It looks like we might just manage to pull this off.

The schedule

So now we've got to tease out a schedule.  My friend and Drupal colleague Kelly Albrecht of Left Click computers has volunteered to come by my place tonight and sketch out a tentative plan.  We're a little too small to have "tracks" per se, but I do want to have a few relevant tags which we can apply to sessions to help people choose what's in it for them. Here's some ideas, please vote in the comments for which ones make sense:

  • Academia Nuts (this is the 5 college area after all).
  • Non-profits (we're also home to several amazing NPOs)
  • Module development
  • Drupal for designers
  • no-code Drupal site construction
  • Consulting and strategy
  • Drupal community

A plea for beginner sessions

We really could use another 6-7 beginner level sessions.  I'll be doing an introduction to Drupal 7 using DrupalGardens, and there are a couple other sessions which are focused on general web development concepts like usability and software copyrights, etc but if we could get a few "how to move from wordpress to Drupal" or "Introduction to content management systems", or "case study of non-profit sites X, Y and Z" type presentations it would really help flesh out the schedule for the newbie-soon-to-be-chx-level-ass-kicking attendees.

You can help!

 

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