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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

So, I'm Finally at AECT

Addendum: Please read When You Wear Many Hats after you have finished this entry.

Okay, so I finally made it to Dallas yesterday and got there for the final meeting of the evening (and a really good dinner that was still left there from earlier).

So, apparently there is a real shortage of graduate students here - not really - but the numbers are down from previous conferences. There are some on the board who feel that the reason the number of graduate students are down is because we're in Dallas, and not somewhere like Orlando or Anaheim (Disney World or Disney Land - not necessarily in that order, as I'm not sure which is where).

I have to respectfully disagree!

Back in January I posted an entry entitled AECT - You've Got to be Kidding Me!. It was actually a follow-up to a piece that I wrote about having to make decisions about post-graduate school association memberships and how as a faculty member, memberships are expensive so you can't belong to all of them (see Having to Pick and Choose - or - What Does AECT Have to Offer?).

Anyway, in the more recent post I was commenting on AECT's decision to increase the student rates, so that rates would be as follows:
2006 Convention Registration Costs (Wes/Phil) - Early Bird rates

Grad/Retired/International - $195 (up $5)
Volunteer rate - $ 95 (up from 50)
Regular member - $390 (same as Orlando)
One Day Member - $165 (same as Orlando)
non member adds membership cost

Regular Registration Rates adds $50

I was describing how this would see a decrease in graduate student attendance because other professional associations are becoming more student friendly with their conference offerings. The one that I used as a comparison point, which starts meeting today in Hawaii was AACE's e_Learn conference.

The volunteer commitment for AECT is 12 hours over a two and a half day conference. Let's compare:
  • AERA - student rate $50 (add $35 for non-member)
  • SITE - student rate $155 (add $20 for non-member) / volunteer rate $0 with eight hours over three days
  • e-Learn - student rate $155 (add $20 for non-member) / volunteer rate $0 with eight hours over three days
  • ED-Media - student rate $155 (add $20 for non-member) / volunteer rate $0 with eight hours over three days

If you are a graduate student with limited funds, you tell me where you are going to go when you have to pick a conference.

So, one of the things that I (hopefully along with my fellow interns) will be doing this week is bringing this issue up with the AECT board. Specifically, we would like to be able to present a petition to the board with graduate student signatures of people who agree that there needs to be some lowering of the overall and the volunteer student rate to keep AECT competitive.

This is where you can come in, if you aren't at the conference this week and can't sign this petition, simply post a comment to this entry and I will include those names along with the physical signatures that we receive. I look forward to hearing from you.

Addendum: Please read When You Wear Many Hats.

Tags: AECT 2006, AECT, , , blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education


Anonymous Kenyon Brown said...

Thanks for posting this entry! I agree that conference fees are indeed a major contributing factor to graduate student attendance. It is no secret that graduate students routinely and superbly contribute to the research/knowledge base in their respective disciplines and specialty areas. A well-intentioned and expertly managed organization would take note of these contributions and exercise any means necessary to attract them to their unique association.

1:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree that is one of the reason that I am not able to join AECT this year.

5:53 PM

Anonymous FL said...

Another possible reason is that the deadline for proposal submission this year was almost a month before what we usually expect, which was right after the holiday. As I dared not submit an unfinished work, I would work on it longer and submit to another conference with a deadline in late spring. So, since graduate students are inexperienced in preparing for conferences from one year ahead of time, it might affact their choice of conference attendence.

8:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Michael,

Personally, as a graduate student, especially an international student in the US, budget is a big issue. To attend conferences like AECT, we have to spend hundreds of dollars in registration, travel, and hotel (I am wondering why AECT always pick conference sites with rocketing high hotel costs). You volunteer 12 hours at AECT, they give you a fee waiver of $100, pretty much the hourly salary of part-time MacDonald employees. Are knowledge workers such as AECT graduate students so cheap in the eyes of board members? I object!

10:37 AM

Blogger Heather said...

Michael, I couldn't have said it better myself. This would have been the most opportune time for me to attend a conference as my University is on fall break for half of the week, i.e. my ID faculty are gone = no classes. However, due to the high costs of the conference (among a couple of other factors) I chose not to attend.

10:43 AM

Anonymous Brooke said...

I seriously considered attending, but being that Dallas didn't seem to be super friendly to those on a budget -- e.g. no hostels within any decent distance of the conference -- I made the decision not to go. I'm considering going to AERA because its in Chicago and I'm hoping it'll be more friendly to a poor PhD student (hostels, good public transportation).

4:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think more reasonable fees for students would attract more "graduate slaves" for sure.

5:25 PM

Anonymous Marcus Childress said...

You did an outstanding job of stating your case. I agree that student rates are exorbitant. The non-earlybird $245 for student member registration is outrageous, and even the $195 earlybird rate is quite high. As a university professor, I find the $440 AECT faculty member registration pretty hard to accept on my meager $600 per year travel budget. As the chair of an IDT department with over 190 master's degree students, I would love to have our graduate students attend the conference. However, I find it very hard to recommend that my students spend $245 for AECT conference registration. As a long-time member of AECT, I find this painful. Even with the conference being only 6 or so hours away in Dallas, we decided that it was too much to ask of our graduate students. My faculty and students have chosen to go elsewhere and will most-likely continue to choose other conferences. Having fewer and fewer graduate students at the AECT conference each year should be no surprise to anyone. I applaud your actions and I hope the board will take appropriate action and lower registration rates for students (volunteer and non-volunteer)....but, let's hope that they don't raise the already high faculty rates to compensate for it?

8:17 AM


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