For several years, the CCAR had created a mini-website (a sub-domain of their main site) for each of their annual conventions, featuring the event schedule, venue maps, speaker bios, exhibitor and sponsor listings, and other useful information. Creating each year’s site proved to be a massive undertaking, since all the content had to be entered by hand from the organization’s internal planning documents. They were hoping for a system that would help them manage convention assets — essentially a relational database of sessions, speakers, expo exhibitors, sponsors, and venue locations — that would integrate with the convention website so that content only would need to be entered (and updated) once.
For the CCAR’s 2015 convention in Philadelphia, Josh worked closely with Rabbi Dan Medwin, the CCAR’s technology manager, and the rest of the convention staff to create a totally customized WordPress-based website that integrates full convention data management into a custom-configured back-end. The system allows staff to manage the convention from their ‘staff only’ part of the convention website, and for content to immediately update on the publicly-visible front-end. The system also features online forms that allow convention speakers to enter in their own bios and contact info, request A/V items, and upload session handouts. It also contains a fully-configured payment gateway (utilizing the organization’s existing payment processor) and email system (powered by Mandrill) that allows CCAR staff to collect payments, send receipts and confirmation emails, and communicate via scheduled e-blast with speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors. For example, the CCAR used the site to register exhibitors (and internally manage their contact info), collect payment from them, populate the website’s exhibitor listing, and send follow-up information on exhibition times and other logistical details.
On the front-end, the site is fully responsive for mobile users, includes a searchable and sortable convention schedule, and interactive listings of convention presenters and exhibitors. It’s built around a dynamic front-page that’s set to auto-update with current information on schedule changes and other important announcements.
For the 2014 and 2015 CCAR conventions, Josh also provided full streaming video production, allowing the organization to provide a live broadcast of keynote presentations and other workshops to their members who were unable to attend in person.
Josh utilized a full three-camera broadcast setup to allow for an engaging and professional telecast, and he provided a camera feed to the convention’s A/V provider, allowing for live images to be displayed on screens visible to attendees sitting far back in the room. In addition, Josh provided recordings of sessions (edited when necessary) to the CCAR for archival purposes and for posting on their members-only website.
A publicly available recording of a live-streamed session can be viewed here: Rabbi Yoel Kahn’s Talk.
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