This year the AECT conference was held in the wonderful state of Florida, just 3 hours northeast of the Tampa Bay area, in Jacksonville. It was a conference that I was looking forward to attend because several of the students in the UT ID&T program [Follow the program in Facebook and Twitter] were attending and presenting!
The first day of the conference for me was the Wednesday afternoon, two grad students from the UT ID&T program were presenting and I wanted to be there for their session. They wrote the initial version of their proposal as part of a midterm paper assignment in a course I taught in the Fall 2013 semester (my first semester as a faculty member). The topic of their papers were mainly related to motivation elements in the learning process. Their session was well attended and I felt extremely proud of their first conference presentation. Several attendees of the sessions had comments and questions about the topic of the presentation as well as feedback on their research topics. It was also nice to see the support from other UT ID&T classmates and faculty that attended the session. This was definitely a highlight of the conference for me.
Another important part of the conference was to meet with my colleagues and friends from the AECT Research and Theory Division to discuss important topics related to future conference proposals, the professional development webinars, and future elections. I was not able to attend the RTD board meeting but I was there for the membership meeting, which included all the board members. It was nice to catch up with all of them, I know some of my fellow board members for many years now. One of the decisions that was made during the meeting is that the division will continue to elect a PD webinar facilitator for future webinars. I am glad that the RTD Professional Development Webinars started by Dr. Min Kyu Kim and myself as a suggestions Dr. Michael Grant will continue to be a part of the RTD division mission. While at the conference the PD webinars were recognized by the AECT leadership as well as the RTD board members.
I will continue to participate in the RTD board for one more year as Secretary. One of my primary roles will be the RTD newsletter and I am excited to make it happen. I want them to be fun, creative, and interactive. I am considering running another RTD position in the future but I am still thinking about it.
During the conference I presented in two sessions. One of the sessions related to a new research effort on the use of social media initiatives and strategies for professional development. In my particular case, I discussed the social media initiatives started for the ID&T program at the University of Tampa. The presentation discussed the current strategies implemented for the professional development of the instructional design graduate students. I also discussed the second phase of this research effort which includes data collection using qualitative and quantitative data. The other presentation that I had during the AECT conference was an informal panel presentation in which a group of international faculty (including myself) discussed with international graduate students the lessons learned during the first year in a tenured track faculty position and the tenure process in different universities. I am halfway through my second tenure-track year so it was nice to share my experience of the first year with the audience. In a way it helped me reflect on my experience. It was also nice to hear the experiences of other colleagues.
One of my favorite social gatherings during the AECT conference was the UT ID&T dinner. We were a small group of seven but it was such a nice and relaxing time. We talked about the AECT experience, the people we had met, the topics of discussion in different sessions, and we talked about our own program. As I mentioned in my tweet about the dinner: “Good food and good conversations!”
I look forward to AECT next year (as I always do)! I hope the UT ID&T program continues to have a graduate student presence and that the students in the program continue to present at the conference. I also hope that next year I have more time to chat with so many colleagues and friends. It was very nice to see them and it really reminded me of how lucky I am to be part of such an amazing professional family. See you all at #AECT15 in Indianapolis!