April 24, 2018
Earlier this month, a contingent of BSU CICS faculty and students headed for Lexington, Kentucky to attend the annual ITERA Conference. ITERA stands for Information and Telecommunications Education and Research Association and is comprised of representation from numerous universities interested in advancing telecommunications and IT, including programs at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Murray State, Ball State, Southern Methodist and Ohio University. Overall, the event serves to meet academic and social goals of the participating programs, including CICS.
Last year was my first opportunity to experience ITERA, in Nashville, by invitation of Dr. Ray Steele to participate on a panel discussion. I met many interesting students and faculty at last year’s event, and this year’s conference was equally beneficial from a networking and learning standpoint. The 2018 event was held in a beautiful setting on the northeast area of Lexington at the Griffin Gate Marriott. Anticipating (and looking forward to) springtime weather, we were surprised by snow showers on day two of the conference!
Industry speakers included John Taylor, VP of Technology Development for the National Institute for Hometown Security; Sean O’Leary, CEO for EDJ Analytics; and Drew Perry, Manager of IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance for Valvoline. The EDJ Analytics presentation provided insight into new revenue models being built around the analysis of data. All of the presentations were informative. Dr. Steve Jones commented on the quality of the keynote speeches and pointed out that industry perspective is always appreciated.
A number of our graduate students presented papers at the conference and one team also competed in the annual case study competition. CICS student presentations included:
- Digital Forensics: The Importance of Digital Forensic Science in Criminal Investigations – Alison Lytle, Sajad Bashiri, Noah Stephens, and James Conner
- Tools, Use, and Ethics of Big Data – Laura Lauer, Chazney Gates, and Rashida Peete
- Slow Tech: An Educational Imperative – Alex Peczynski and Rashida Peete
- The National Case Study Competition – Joe Tobin, Kasia Majkowski, Drew Miller, Lauren McNally and Jack Nagy
In speaking with students who presented during the conference, all spoke to the opportunity that ITERA presented in terms of understanding, knowledge, and exposure to branches of technology that they have otherwise not experienced. Austin Kellner, a student of Ball State University’s Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS) program, thoroughly enjoyed presentations on the Slow Tech Movement stating “I feel more informed about contemporary topics and issues in the technology industry. I attended a presentation on E-waste and was reminded that there is a significant amount of electronic devices that are not being recycled properly causing damage to the environment. Therefore, educational initiatives and government interventions could reduce the devastating consequences.”The information gained from industry personnel and professors spoke volumes to students who were in attendance.
ITERA has a certain air to the level of information provided in addition to the presenters that you have the ability to observe. Alex Peczynski, another student of the Ball State’s CICS program enjoyed this facet of the conference, “ITERA was a great experience to further my professional career and gain experience speaking in front of a very smart and knowledgeable audience.”Overall, students walked away feeling as though their skill set was enhanced by this opportunity and can see themselves attending the ITERA Conference again in the future. Lauren McNally said, “The case study competition was also a great way to improve presentation and critical thinking skills. Overall I had a great time and if I am still in the Information Technology field in the future will look at attending again.”
This was Dr. Jerry DeHondt’s first ITERA conference and he summed up the event very well by stating, “ITERA was a great opportunity to meet and connect with colleagues and discuss pedagogy and emerging technologies. It was a wonderful event allowing lively discussions about numerous topics that effect our roles as educators and scholars. The venue and accommodations were excellent!”I second Dr. DeHondt’s comments, and I look forward to next year’s ITERA conference!
Dr. Becky Hammons