Each year, I try to bring as many graduate students as possible from our Instructional Design and Technology program with me to our AECT convention. In 2011, approximately 14 of our students attended the Jacksonville convention. Even with double-digit budget cuts at our university, last year I was able to secure partial funding (roughly $500) for students through a university academic enhancement grant. The grant dollars may be used for conference registration, travel, and hotel accommodations.
Upon securing the university academic enhancement grant in March, the promotion campaign began via our departmental web site, blog, Facebook page, Ning site, and of course through word of mouth. One successful strategy that I found was to require students to join AECT and register for the convention. Once the student sent confirmation of AECT membership and registration, we secured an award slot for the student. Grants from the department were awarded first-come, first-served, based upon the student's conference registration date. This puts some of the responsibility on the student and demonstrates the student's sincerity about attending the convention.
Many universities and organizations have funding/grant opportunities such as ours that can be used for student conference attendance. As the deadline approaches, this week I will once again polish-up my academic enhancement grant proposal for another year. I hope you will soon explore those opportunities at your organization. If you don't have grant opportunities like this, I hope you will approach your administrator/provost/dean for some help. Oftentimes, our students wish to attend the convention, but just need some financial help.
Perhaps some of you have your own success stories or strategies that you would like to share with others? If so, feel free to post comments below or share your thoughts on our AECT Facebook page.
I hope to see all of you at our 2012 AECT Convention in Louisville, accompanied by many of your students!