The College of Communication and Information’s Annual Research Symposium is returning for its 43rd year on March 1, 2021, in a brand-new format designed to not only be completely virtual, but also to better foster and facilitate audience interaction.
“We’ve been paying attention this whole year to format and participation in all sorts of virtual meetings, and we took all of those best practices to try to make this a really enjoyable event that is consistent with our previous years,” said Amy Forrester, assistant director of the Center for Information and Communication Studies (CICS).
The CCI 43rd Annual Research Symposium will continue to uphold its tradition of showcasing the exceptional work of CCI faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students, but it will be done a bit differently – and the 2021 slogan embodies this shift: “Connecting Everywhere with Everyone & Making Every Seat the Front Row.”
At past Symposiums, speakers presented papers, projects, and posters in CCI’s Patrick Auditorium, and awards were handed out at the end of the day. This year, those presenting at the Symposium will do so ahead of time in a taped presentation for audiences to watch in advance. Then, on the day of the event, the audience and Symposium committee members will ask participants questions about their presentations.
Forrester said the sessions will be shorter, and there will be more breaks throughout the day, which are two of the best practices they’re observing to help maintain the attention of attendees. During breaks there will be fun trivia, games, music, and more!
“We have to think about the participants Zoom capacity. That’s one of the big challenges with attending virtual meetings. Another is engagement…You could just sit there and watch everything, but wouldn’t it be better to be engrossed and involved?” Forrester said.
Symposium planners are also considering using a software platform offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research to showcase content and facilitate meaningful interactions.
While challenging times do call for creativity, Forrester noted this new format expands participation to a broader audience. Distance education students in the School of Information Sciences are now able to more easily to participate, as are students in the new CCI Online Master’s Program: Strategic and Digital Communication.
For more information about how to submit work or be involved in the CCI 43rd Annual Research Symposium, and for upcoming updates about it, go to https://cci.utk.edu/cci-research-symposium.