Don Little and I are struggling with what to put in the SPTF Report. We have some survey data from current members and some data from lapsed members. We have a list of “issues” that came from the Summer 2004 meeting and a whole bunch of data points – some of which go together.
Here’s some data that seems really important:
- Members are not talking to each other about anything in spite of open access divisional listservers. Yet ITForum is a thriving community of familiar names. Listservs DO appear to work pretty well – Email is for old people – even as blogging and aggregation is gaining traction.
- Finding people to take officer positions at the Division level is very difficult. Finding people to take leadership roles is even more difficult. Once you find those people, getting them to do anything is also difficult.
- The member survey indicates that members
- value the “AECT Family”
- want to open more channels of communication among members
- Data on the conference indicates that
- It costs too much to attend
- It has too little content value
- It is a required activity in support of P&T
- Too many grad students are involved in putting the programs together
- The sessions are sparsely attended and not worth the time
- It is nothing more than “vita grist.”
- The conference IS the AECT for many people
- It’s where people go to meet up, but meeting up is very difficult because the AECT is “a closed society”
- COMDEX was cancelled.
- Fan-based Conventions are thriving.
- Data about lapsed members (survey of 770 US members that lapsed in 2004):
- About 1/3 didn’t know they were no longer members
- About 1/3 felt that they were no longer “part of the field” because of job changes
- About 1/3 felt that the price of membership was too high (with the implication that the return on investment for that price was insufficient).
- Some few indicated that institutional support for their professional dues had been withdrawn
- One person reported that the AECT was “too K-12 oriented” while another person reported that the AECT was “too Higher-Ed oriented.”
- There were about 30 responses from the 770 so generalization is problematic.
- Data from the Summer 2005 meeting indicates that
- Divisional officers are being elected without understanding what they’re being elected to
- Divisions are not really serving as the focusing agents for special interest groups
- Divisions do not understand how their efforts help and support the overall mission of the AECT
- Some Divisional officers want a cookbook on “how to run the division.”
- At least one Divisional officer thinks that such a cookbook will become a rule book outlining the limitations of the position instead of being a foundation for growth.
Two things seem very clear.
- The conference model needs a complete overhaul
- Membership in a professional organization means something different now than it did 20 years ago.
We have some concerns that what we’re observing is the reality. As a group, we have nothing to say to each other.
A draft of the report will be going to the AECT Executive Committee on October 3 for feedback. The report, the feedback, and the final report will be placed online at Terra Incognita.