At 7AM I headed out to AT&T Park, home of the world champion San Francisco Giants. Escorted through the players’ entrance I was led to a suite of rooms overlooking a magnificent baseball stadium and the San Francisco Bay. The stadium was empty, on the jumbotron was the Parchment logo. The 12 year old me would have been very impressed.
Joined by the Parchment team, we were not here to see a game but to get ready for Parchment’s first annual conference of our Higher Education members, a community of 1700+ public and private, 2- and 4-year, proprietary and not-for-profit colleges and universities. Scheduled the day before the start of AACRAO’s 2013 annual conference, we invited our higher education members to spend a day with Parchment.
More than a users conference, it was a meeting of thought leaders, and a coming together of members of a large and diverse community of practice to meet with their peers and learn what was coming next from Parchment. It was also an opportunity for us to get to know our members better and learn how we can best serve their mission by eradicating paper and enabling the power of data to the benefit of their students.
As we completed setting up for the day, our members began to arrive at the stadium, about 80 individuals representing 50 institutions spanning every sector of higher education and from across the nation. After breakfast the conference began with a keynote speech from our CEO, Dr. Matthew Pittinsky.
Matthew laid out the vision for the Parchment Exchange, how the eTranscript market evolved from the work of the AACRAO SPEEDE committee which came together in 1991 to the founding of Docufide and Avow and how we have now fully come together as the Parchment Exchange. He spoke of our new 5.0 release and proceeded to provide a peek into what’s next for our Receive service post-5.0. His demo was unlike anything our members have seen. While I was excited about the new Unified Inbox launched in 5.0, it turned out that I only knew a fraction of what our products team has been up to in their reinvention of what a receive service can do. I look forward to sharing here more of that vision.
We were delighted to have Sunny Lee, Product Manager for Open Badges, a project of the Mozilla Foundation present “Buzzing About Badges, MOOC’s and the Changing Face of Education Credentials.” Part of the intent of the conference was to bring new ideas to our members, with us connecting Parchment members with new areas relevant to their world and this and this presentation sparked great conversation about the Open Badges project and ideas on how colleges can leverage badges in their environment and what some colleges were already doing in this area.
Our final session was a panel featuring Michael Sessa, President of the P20W Education Standards Council (PESC) and Robert Morley, Associate Registrar at the University of Southern California (USC). With a combined 35 years in the standards community, our panel spoke of some of the many benefits enabled by standards-based transcript data, and how we are close to the tipping point for the adoption of these standards after many years of hard work to make this happen.
With our sessions complete, it was time to explore the ballpark! Some of our Parchment Exchange members went off to hit balls in the Giants batting cage, while others left in groups for a behind the scenes tour of AT&T Park. I joined one of the tours which brought us through the press boxes, out onto the field, through the dugouts and into the locker rooms.
Spending the day with such great people, conversing about great topics, in a great venue really made me value our inaugural member conference. We hope you’ll plan on joining us next year! Details will be coming soon.