Microsoft Ignite 2017: Journey of an IT Guy – Episode 5

Hello and welcome back to episode 5 of my 6 part series, where I explore the epic journey to Microsoft Ignite 2017, down in Orlando, FL at the Orange County Convention Center, Sept. 25th – Sept 29th. As you will recall from episode four, we explored places to eat around the conference center venue. In this month’s episode, and as promised, we will be covering the session catalog, and scheduler.

With that out of the way, lets get started.

What is the session catalog?

The session catalog is a listing of all of the sessions/topics you can attend while at the Microsoft Ignite conference. You can find the session catalog here.

As you can see from the above screenshot, there are currently 1,130 sessions in the catalog. Think of these “sessions”, as open discussions on topics, where both Microsoft engineers, and distinguished guests/volunteers will cover topics ranging from the very basic to the very deep in the weeds.

These sessions could be delivered in the following formats:

  1. Open forum Q/A, where the presenter launches the topic, and essentially asks for the participants to ask questions.
  2. Presentation style, where the presenter simply talks about the session topic and may or may not take questions
  3. A guest panel. A panel is when 2 or more experts on the topic, will round table discuss their experience with the topic, and usually do Q/A with the attendees.

What is the session builder/scheduler?

The session builder is a web based tool, located on the myignite portal, that is used for you to plan out what sessions you intend to attend. Essentially, you will add sessions you are interested in, and it will create an agenda of topics to attend while at the conference. Once you have completed your agenda, you’ll be able to export your schedule to your calendar and/or print it out

The session builder is located at the same URL for the session catalog. If you login with the account you used to register for Microsoft Ignite, you will now notice that you have a button to add sessions to your schedule.


How do I use the session builder?

Using the scheduler is easy. Simply find the sessions you want to attend, and click the button “Add to Schedule”. After you have added all of the sessions you are interested in, you can preview your agenda by selecting the link in the top navigation bar, and selecting “My Conference -> My Schedule

You will be presented with a page that is similar to mine below.

As you can see, I have a lot of overlapping sessions. That’s okay. I will pick the sessions I really want to see in person, and any of the other sessions I can’t attend, Microsoft will make available for viewing after the conference via the myignite website.

So how do I pick the sessions I want to see?

The session scheduler has a fantastic search feature. Simply input the terms your interested in in attending. You can search by topic, by presenter, or you can even refine results by using the filters on the left of the search window.

You can see below, I put in “Mark Russinovich” and I can see all of the sessions Mark is presenting in.

So to summarize:

  • The session catalog/builder is located on the MyIgnite website. You can also locate it via the Microsoft Ignite website here.
  • Do you have a question about a specific session, reach out to Microsoft via Twitter @MS_Ignite, or use the Microsoft Tech Communities – These locations are really good at getting back to people with questions about the conference. I asked a question via Twitter, when they were making the session catalog available, and they got back to me within the day. yay!
  • Watch the twitter feed and tech community for opportunities to meet up, and join into small round table discussions.
  • Keep an eye open for opportunities to join focus groups. If you receive an invitation to attend one, I’d highly encourage you to participate! These are great opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback to developers/engineers for a specific product. Its also a great opportunity to network with others.
  • Don’t worry about scheduling more than one session per time slot! While you obviously can’t be in multiple places at once, you may arrive to find a session room is full, or a session earlier in the day may leave you wanting more info on that topic in the afternoon. After the conference is over, you can always watch the sessions you missed on-demand via the myignite website.
  • Don’t worry about gaps in your schedule. You will want to leave time open to participate in Hands-on-Labs, networking with other attendee’s, and perusing the expo. Hands-on Labs are fun, self-paced, training, where you can experiment with different Microsoft tools, software, or solutions. You can work them into your schedule around any sessions on your list.
  • Finally – Remember, adding a session or lab to your agenda does not guarantee you a seat in the room. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

That’s it for now! That was fun! I hope you have enjoyed this series meant to prepare you for the epic journey to Microsoft Ignite. This is the final blog entry until the conclusion of the conference. The next entry will be after I have returned from the Ignite conference, and I will cover all the sessions I attended. So, for now, I’ll leave you until the end of Sept.

As before, follow me on Twitter (@chrisrbmn), and keep an eye open for my tweets during the conference. I will be tweeting any Microsoft Ignite 2017 content, making daily updates, including but not limited to the keynote speech, along with any sessions I attend.

Do you have any questions? Anything you want me to add to the series? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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[…] you will recall from Episode 5 of my series, I was interested in more then 8 sessions, but as I outlined, you cannot always get to […]


[…] you will recall from Episode 5 of my series, I was interested in more then 8 sessions, but as I outlined, you cannot always get to […]

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