The third annual UniDesk Conference took place in June 2018 and was hosted by the University of Edinburgh.

The conference chairs were Catherine Hetherington and Dawn Dodd, job-share Collaboration Services Managers and UniDesk Service Owner from the University of Edinburgh. A total of 42 delegates attended the conference representing the majority of the UniDesk member universities, three non-member institutions, TOPdesk, UCSS (a subsidiary of APUC) and JISC.

The conference event included a full and varied agenda with the delivery of six presentations and an Ask the Experts session. The day was kicked off with talks from TOPdesk about their new Asset Management followed by Rad Sargeant, from Help Services, University of Edinburgh discussing the success story of UniDesk Quick Calls. Next up was a Self Service Showcase presented by the University of Durham and Ulster University followed by our wonderful guest speaker, Ruth Drysdale, senior co-design manager at JISC. The presentations were rounded off by Willie Mitchell from Service Management discussing future developments for UniDesk and finally TOPdesk looking at the use of API technology.

The day’s events concluded with the return of the popular UniDesk Quiz, where Alex Carter, Head of Service Management, stepped in as Quiz Master to host a technology themed quiz alongside general knowledge questions.

To enhance the overall offering, encourage networking between members, and provide entertainment for attendees staying overnight in the area, a pre-conference ‘Haunting, Hunting and Hospitality’ event around Edinburgh’s Old Town was offered to all delegates on the evening of the 12th June. This was organised in light of last year’s successful River Cruise pre-conference event in Durham. The delegates were invited to attend an evening of stories, scaring and scran around Edinburgh’s old town, taking in the historic features of the Royal Mile and the vaults underground. The evening concluded with food and drinks in Holyrood 9A which was sponsored by TOPdesk.  This event provided the UniDesk community with the opportunity to socialise and network in an informal setting. The feedback received was extremely positive, with delegates commenting that it was a great way to start the event and get to know other delegates in a fun and relaxed environment.

Overall, the third UniDesk conference was a great success. 90% of delegates responded to the conference survey rating the event as either Excellent or Very Good. We will be following on from this success at our fourth UniDesk Conference next year and look forward to seeing more new faces joining the UniDesk Community.

Authors: Sophie Ainslie, Dawn Dodd, Catherine Hetherington

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