Each year the Iowa Communication Association offers a fall conference that includes a full complement of sessions for educators in the field. When time came to plan for the September 2020 conference, it became clear that the usual structure would not work. The planning committee decided to take another approach and broke up the conference into sessions that will be open to both members and non-members on different dates throughout the year.
On August 4th, ICA kicked things off by using Zoom instead of a physical conference location. Dr. Amy Aldridge Sandford, a professor of Communication and a Vice President of Academic Affairs at Texas A & M, Corpus Christi presented a session entitled “Assisting Students on Their Journeys to Social Justice Activism: Ideas for Teachers.” The focus was on helping students reflect on their own journeys with social justice as well as helping them learn about privilege and intersectionality as they move to take action in their worlds. The Zoom session was attended by over 40 participants from across the country. One of the interesting aspects of the use of Zoom was the chance for the participants to interact with both the presenter and each other through the “chat” option. It also offered people a chance to attend and participate who otherwise may not have been free to travel to the conference location.
Current Iowa Communication Association President, Linda Laine was one of the participants in the learning. When asked for a comment, she shared her excitement about the event. She commented: “I thought the session was very helpful. It is very timely. We as educators need to be equipped to address issues of social justice even if we don't plan to focus on them, as students may bring questions, opinions, or concerns into our class discussions.”
The conference will continue on August 13 with another timely topic: “Hybrid, Hyflex, Online: Meeting the Challenges Head-On.” More information can be found on the ICA website.