IST conference brings together experts in instructional technology

The Graduates in Instructional Systems Technology (GIST) conference planning team

At the 22nd annual IST Conference last week, students and faculty in instructional technology came together to discuss education in the post-pandemic world - and connect with great minds and share inspiration.

This year’s conference topic was a chance for presenters to discuss research ideas and work experiences around the post-pandemic world while having faculty members and alumni of IST to share their perspectives on being researchers, student advisors and industry professionals and their reflections of how the rapidly changing situation affects everyone. 

“We have incredibly well-accomplished faculty and staff who are always being so supportive and have very hardworking students who all together made us able to not only create this rare experience of having a conference by ourselves but also to keep the tradition even during such a hard time in the pandemic,” said Tianshu Wang, Vice President for Conference Planning. “Therefore, another goal of this years’ conference was to show the academia and the industry that we, as a top-ranking program in the field of instructional technology, are fulfilling our duty of maintaining and keep pushing boundaries of research works as well as protecting the career path of our students and scholars.”

We hope that the IST students who participated in the conference committee or as volunteers gained experiences in building up leadership, organizing skills, marketing, and design skills, as well as practicing social skills of building connections with peers and colleagues.

Tianshu Wang, Vice President for Conference Planning

The conference is an annual student-organized conference that offers this safe and supported place for IST students to practice conference organizing and presenting. As a second-year IST Ph.D. student, Wang volunteered to work with the conference committee last year in the creative team for the graphic design of the conference materials and have watched and learned how her peers collaborate and managed to organize an event of this scale and still aced in their schoolwork and jobs. She was eventually elected as the Vice President for Conference Planning of this year’s 22nd IST Conference.

Attendees heard sessions and keynote addresses on topics that included technology integration, instructional design, adult education and teacher professional development. IST students also had an opportunity to practice leadership and organizing skills at a conference, which can be critical in their future careers. 

“We hope that the IST students who participated in the conference committee or as volunteers gained experiences in building up leadership, organizing skills, marketing, and design skills, as well as practicing social skills of building connections with peers and colleagues,” Wang said. “For our presenters and speakers, we hope to offer them a safe and supportive place to share their research and thoughts. For those well-accomplished scholars, they would have the opportunity to discuss with students and hear their questions and ideas about research. For those who are new to conferences, we hope they can use the IST conference as a not-too-high starting point and have an impression of the process of attending a conference from proposal submission to presentation. For those attendees from outside of IU, we hope to use this conference to show our warm welcome of academic collaboration and building connections.” 

Wang gave credit to everyone who worked and contributed to the conference planning, including GIST advisor and Associate Professor Gamze Ozogul and department administrator Vicky Lewis and Zixi Li, Graduates in Instructional Systems Technology president and conference co-chair. Wang also thanked team managers Halimat Ipesa-Balogun, Amanda Zwirecki, SIyuan Liu, Xiaoying Zheng and Holly Anne Summers, who all offered professional work and of dealing with volunteer management, technical support, material design, marketing and treasure, and proposal submission.

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