Monday, November 2, 2009

Welcome to the AECT President's Blog

One thing I want to do as the AECT President for 2009-2010 is to share information about AECT and receive feedback with regard to AECT directions and activities. I encourage anyone interested in AECT to post comments (or send me an email at with suggestions of ways to improve our professional association.


  1. Mike --

    Thanks for your recent message regarding the university receptions. Let me stick my neck out here and say that I am of two minds about them. I appreciate the energy of them, the chance for mingling between groups, the moments with alumni, and (this year) the great job they did of propelling people through the Showcase!

    On the other hand, I am no longer clear on the purpose or the cost/benefit ratio of the reception either for our program individually or for the organization as a whole. While I acknowledge that a few contacts are made (prospective doc students, visiting scholars, previously unknown colleagues) are made there, these really are few and I believe they could be handled with a robust message board/messaging system online. I don't want to discount them, only to point out that provisions for them could be made in different ways. Others may have a different experience in this regard and I hope, if so, they will chip in here.

    Against this small benefit, I place the high cost. We get a little support from our alumni association, but scramble for the rest of the funds ourselves and in recent years have seen the cost of give-aways and decorations, plus the cost in time and effort of getting stuff to the convention and back home rise steeply. As representative of my program, I do not feel we can scale down to just a tablecloth and few smiling faces, nor do I feel we can opt not to participate. In either case, the message seems to be that the program is on the decline.

    The major benefit does seem to be the high-energy gathering where people show up specifically to find folks from academic programs and mingle. I don't want to discount this in any way! Perhaps it could be done with the university contributions (for food) but without the tables ...? Perhaps there is another creative format that could serve the organization. I would like to hear what others have to say.

    Elizabeth Boling
    Indiana University

  2. Thanks, Elizabeth. I would also like to hear what others have to say. I have privately heard from one person who would like the university receptions to occur later in the day and from another who found the music distracting. I heard from several who thought the way things were arranged this year did generate a lot of energy and traffic with much networking taking place. I understand the concern about limited funds available to universities for such things - AECT has been dealing with such decisions all year long trying to figure out how to bring the best benefits to the most people with the limited resources we had available for the conference. The basic problem I see is that the costs are very tangible and specific while the benefits of such things are quite fuzzy and difficult to assess. It would be good to hear from others about the benefits associated with the university receptions.

  3. Mike and Elizabeth:
    Good points from you both. My take on this, at least in past years (2005 and back) is that providing a place for the various programs to "strut their stuff" is good fun, needs to be continued, but sans the overall music in favor of music provided by individual programs as background, if that is the mood they want to project.

    Having the event without competing with the International Auction is helpful (those wanting to attend the dinner typically do that regardless of program showcase activities).

    Let me call attention an ancillary activity that, properly designed, could serve as a side-bar to the University Reception activities, a showing of winning History Maker mentor video profiles produced by the various university programs. Imagine, if you will, an AECT "Academy Awards" event that opens as part of the University Showcase event.

    Working with my good friends (and fun) colleagues Stephanie Moore, Heather Webb, Jim Ellsworth and Daniel Tillman the Louisville conference provided us with yet another opportunity to plan for the 2010 showcase of the various programs in a project now called the "History Makers Series."

    The idea is to have as many of our university programs as possible create a video entry that features one (or more) of their most esteemed mentors. They will be hosted on an as-yet-unnamed iTunesU institution's network and a panel of judges will review each entry with prizes to be awarded the winners in Anaheim.

    To be enetered, each program will submit their History Maker video with a modest entry fee ($25 or less), payable to the ect Foundation.
    The awards ceremony will be held in Anaheim at our 2010 AECT conference. Watch for an announcement soon on the AECT Website that will provide further details.

    Your History Makers team is looking at a wide variety of video entries that, in addition to those selected as entries for Anaheim, will prove invaluable video records of many of our past and present AECT luminaries.

  4. P.S. This History Makers project is in the final formulation phase now and what I have included above, while giving you the basic information, remains tentative until the formal announcement is made on the AECT website. Watch for it!

    Dick Cornell