Emporia State Students Take Top Honor in International Competition

November 1, 2016

Two students in the Instructional Design and Technology graduate program were named the winning team at a recent international conference.

Milton Knopp and Julie La Combe, both masters students, presented their instructional design and development solution at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2016 International Convention. Knopp lives in Topeka; La Combe lives in Abilene.

To win the top award, they faced competition in the finals against two teams of doctoral students - one team from Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA) the other from the University of South Florida (Tampa).

The aim of the competition is to promote promising instructional design research done by graduate students. The students worked together and received mentoring by faculty and professionals in the field.

The competition is open to all national and international AECT affiliates. From April through early September, there were three rounds of teams submitting proposals – the field started with 22 teams’ proposals and narrowed to the final three before the convention.

Knopp and La Combe found out in early September they had made the final round.

"The opportunity was a thrill, but extremely challenging," La Combe said.

At the convention, held October 17-21 in Las Vegas, each of the final three teams gave presentations and went through question and answer sessions. Judges then determined the winning team.

"(Knopp and La Combe) had strong competition," said Patricia J. Slagter van Tryon, the AECT design and development competition committee chair and organizer. "We are very proud of Julie and Milton's work!"

"I am certain we were successful because of the incredible instruction we received from ESU IDT professors,” La Combe said. “We simply applied what we were taught, and it all fell into place."

"The other schools represented in the finals were several times larger than ESU,” said Knopp. “(We) were the only masters students; the other four finalist were doctoral students. We were representing 'the little university that could'... and often has."

"Milton and Julie’s win reflects the quality of our program and our faculty and staff.  This is a tremendous accomplishment and we are so proud of them for continuing this legacy," said Zeni Colorado-Resa, chair of Emporia State's IDT department. "ESU IDT teams have achieved finalist status seven of the last nine years, starting in 2007. Out of those seven times, our students were awarded the overall win three times." 

AECT was founded in 1923 and is the most recognized association representing professionals who have an interest in improving learning through the use of media and technology.

Emporia State's recent history in the competition:

  • 2007 – Sandy Valenti and Steve Harmon – finalists
  • 2009 – Liz Ermis and Jennifer Gibson – winners
  • 2010 – Michael Schwind and Rob Ervin – winners
  • 2011 – Jason Baker and Michael Stewart - finalists
  • 2012 – Qing Zhang and Daniel Baldwin; Seung Gutsch and Daphne Tseng – finalists
  • 2013 – Ziang Wang and Yun Lauren Liu – finalists

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