Due to the COVID-19 virus, the Graphic Communications Education Association (GCEA) held it’s 2020 conference virtually from July 27 – 28. Originally scheduled to be held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, the GCEA board of directors, not wanting to cancel its 96th straight annual conference, decided to hold it virtually via Zoom.
Much to the board’s surprise, the conference was overwhelming successful and attracted over 200 attendees, more than triple the normal onsite attendance.
A top-notch lineup of speakers covered a variety of graphic communication topics. The keynote address, entitled Graphic Communications: On and Over the Horizon, was delivered by Lou Caron, President of Printing Industries of Southern California (PIASC). Other opening topics included packaging; workforce development; technologies for teaching; interactive motion; creating PDF files; and curriculum research and experimentation.
The first-day afternoon session covered: studio lighting; using tables in the classroom; photography; dye sublimation; tools for print education; the business, science, and art for print; skills for freelancing; motion graphics for animation; color lit posters; interactive printed books; online interactive games; and career development in light of COVID-19.
The second day presentations included: graduate successes; embossing and laser cutting; design for 3D print; remote learning; digital marketing; and keyword optimization for the web.
Each half-day session concluded with an interactive Q&A session addressing questions sent in by the virtual attendees.
“The GCEA board of directors knew they had a unique opportunity to host a virtual conference to provide the best professional development possible for their members. With limited time and resources, they pulled it off.” – Tom Bell, GCEA President
“What made the conference unique was the fact that we had such a diverse background of presenters that were able to adapt their work for a virtual environment and provide a high quality experience.” – Rion Huffman, GCEA President-Elect
Not only were there presentations and Q&A interaction, but also breaks where the virtual participants could “mingle” and interact personally, and lunch breaks where participants could see each other and interact. There was even an awards ceremony and a session for the installation of new officers.
“This virtual GCEA conference represents a model for the sponsors of other online conferences to consider. It seemed so effective that this may be the wave of the future for conferences, even after the COVID-19 virus is behind us.” – Harvey Levenson, GCEA member
Dr. Thomas Loch presents Dr. Erica Walker with the Robert L. Cox Service Award