The Miriam College Department of Communication attended the National Communication Research Conference 2021 organized by the University of the Philippines, College of Mass Communication, on November 12 and 13 via Zoom. With the theme Breaking through Outbreaks and Breakdowns: Re-searching Communication and Media in the Pandemic, the conference provided a venue for undergraduate, graduate, and faculty to present and have a meaningful discussion about their research that focused on communication and media in the time of covid-19 and the quarantine.
Two BA Communication undergraduate theses from our department were accepted in the parallel sessions of the conference. The first, Kaka-selpon mo ‘yan!: A descriptive study of Gen Z college students’ feature preferences in CMC applications during the COVID-19 pandemic is by Anjulia (Julia) Juan and Pamela (Ela) Robles. Through their presentation, they highlighted that although there are various platforms that allow Gen Z to stay in touch with their friends, these are still insufficient to fill the non-verbal cues, physical presence, and the dynamism of being in a face-to-face conversation or interaction. Another paper that was accepted and included in the conference Book of Abstracts is Social media in the new normal of governance: Manileños’ perception of Mayor Isko Moreno’s COVID-19 livestreams by Michelle Gador and Leinah Aguilar.
The pandemic and community quarantine has truly challenged the ways in which we do things - be it the everyday mundane or the more academic and professional ones. However, through their thesis and the conference, our students were able to experience how their hard work can go beyond the “required activity” mindset. For Jullia, there is “purpose to what they learn and do in class… because they can get an important message across”. Learning also traverses the limitations of the classroom since for Ela, part of what she enjoyed was being able to engage, dialogue with, and understand the other participants in conversations with them through the conference’s Discord channel after the parallel session.
A few of our second year students attended the event as it was an opportunity to enrich their Communication Theories course for the semester. They are Alliyah Sotto, Claudette Morillo, Julliane Marie Baltazar, Rashel Drew Ronquillo, and Trisha Mae Llaguno. After the conference, Claudette said that the conference was “eye-opening because there were different research papers presented and they all tackled topics that were interesting and relevant. It inspired me that when it comes to making my thesis soon on (sic) 3rd or 4th year I want to put into my work what I learned here”.
From our faculty, Ms. Lynda Catindig-Garcia and Ms. Mae Ann Chua were also in attendance. College Dean, Dr. Maria Margarita Alvina-Acosta, served as emcee for the plenary sessions of the two-day conference.