Little over one week since AU, and this is my first blog posting. Usually, I take a week's vacation at this time of year—one week in Mexico or something like this—to recuperate from AU. I work on AU all year, and the last few months before the event usually require “a little more” than eight hours per day. This year, I did not go to Mexico because we also launched the new AU Online website. Many of you have experienced the new site already, (we've had 38,758 unique visitors since it launched last Monday) and I trust you have seen the improvements.
Those of you who have used AU Online since the very beginning—which was about five years ago&mdashmay remember that when we started out, we simply posted AU handouts to a pretty simple FTP site. Over the years, we've added more content that we've captured at the conference, including screencasts, which became available starting four years ago.
Three years ago, we moved AU Online onto the Autodesk community platform and we started to enhance the educational content by adding more aspects of the live event into the online experience. The NEW AU online is taking this idea one step further by taking what happened at the event to create a better experience online. Similar to your favorite online video rental site, the new site pays attention to what users like you find useful, and then recommends other content that you may find useful. Currently, AU Online is loaded with class handouts, presentation materials, and data sets that are available to any AU Online member for free. Over the next few weeks, we will also add audio recordings to AU Online. Screencasts for 400-plus sessions are available only to AU 2008 attendees and Autodesk subscription customers.
We have tried to add not only intelligence to the site, but also to make it much more user-friendly. We were looking for a vendor who understood the learning requirements of professionals and how to build a website that could deliver that experience. Although we were not able to give the vendor the time needed to develop a site that contained the entire feature set for a post AU launch, they were able make a very good start. I believe the user interface and functionality has significantly improved. Over the next few weeks/months, you will see features added to the site that we believe will help AU Online truly become your year-round learning destination.
I encourage you to provide feedback to anything you see on the site—or would like to see on the site—directly to me. Please reply to this post, use the feedback feature on the site, ping me at AU Online, or email me directly at my Autodesk email address. The goal of AU Online to deliver the highest quality learning and professional networking experience we can during those 361 days that you are not at the conference in Las Vegas—and to also deliver that experience to those users who did not make it Autodesk University in Las Vegas this year.