A Note from Conference/Events Chair Valary Oleinik — May I be one of the many to wish you a very Happy New Year. We are excited for you to be part of what’s ahead in 2023 at USDLA.
Call for Proposals: As previously noted in our last newsletter, our July 2023 National Conference is taking shape and we have opened up the Call for Proposals. If you are looking to share your expertise with like-minded educators, be sure to scroll down for details. As always, be sure to bookmark https://usdla.org/2023-national-conference/ for the latest details.
About the 2023 National Conference — July 17-20: The home for the 2023 conference will be the Wyndham Orlando Resort. This complex is a true resort with more than 500 rooms and dedicated meeting spaces that will provide our attendees with an abundance of networking opportunities. Additional details are forthcoming as conference and hotel registration will open in the coming weeks: Bookmark the 2023 Conference page.
Reminder: Yellowdig Learner Engagement Summit: Don’t miss this no-cost virtual conference starting at 9AM EST on Jan 11th, which will have many great opportunities for you to learn from your peers and discuss the future of education. Click here to register and for more information.
More free stuff for you: You will want to attend the Jan. 6 USDLA Free Friday Webinar when Janet Major talks about Telehealth in our Libraries at 1 PM EST. Following her presentation, at 2 PM EST Kristin DeProspero will answer questions about the $1 million Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine (RUS-DLT) Grant. Scroll down for details, and click here to register: usdla.org/usdla-friday-webinar-series
Interesting and unique: In the spirit of our theme, our 2023 National Conference will be held at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in Orlando, FL. Come join like-minded professionals for several days of keynotes, presentations, team-building and fun in the sun! For those who can’t travel, the conference will be a hybrid event with our content being streamed to a diverse global audience.
Better yet: Some virtual components of the conference experience will be scheduled outside of the July 17-20, 2023 time period to accommodate busy schedules.
Time to Shine: “Many lessons have been learned over the past few years, and countless new participants and practitioners are in the distance and digital learning space,” says USDLA executive director Pat Cassella. “To help us all to reflect on the power and importance of distance education and to collaborate on the ideas and innovations that will move everyone forward, that is why we have selected the theme: “Distance Learning’s Time to Shine.”
Be a speaker: We welcome proposals from all who work in distance or digital education, across constituencies. We have speakers and attendees from corporate, education (higher and K-12), telehealth, government, military, and more. While you may submit any topic you choose, we have received feedback from our community that should be considered when preparing proposals.
The following tracks will be featured this year:
- Policy, Regulation, and Governance in Distance Education
- Distance and Digital Leadership
- Ensuring Quality, Flexibility and Access (OER, Hyflex, and more)
- Innovative Techniques and Technologies (e.g., AR/VR/XR, Gamification, and more)
- Best Practices in Instructional Design and Learner Engagement
- Great IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility Proposal Options Available
Monday, July 17 — Pre-conference and conference workshops: After the popularity of last year’s workshop sessions during the conference, we are offering you the opportunity to submit for either a 2.5-hour pre-conference workshop or a 90-minute workshop that will be scheduled during the conference. These sessions must be hands-on with most of the time spent with participants actively involved. You should provide detailed information in your submissions about the types of interactions and engagement you have planned. Pre-conference workshops will be held on the afternoon of Monday, July 17, 2023; other workshops will be throughout the conference dates.
Concurrent sessions: These 45-minute sessions allow you to give an interactive presentation on a specific topic. Conference attendees expect sessions to provide practical advice and the sharing of experiences. The committee seeks high-quality, thought-provoking, and engaging sessions – not lecture format. Co-presenters are encouraged. Also, the USDLA Program Committee reserves the right to select your proposal to be featured in a panel along with other presenters.
Poster sessions and table talks: Rather than limiting participation to the traditional poster-style sessions, we are opening this category to additional options. Please consider submitting for this category if you want to: present your research; lead a discussion around a topic of interest; demonstrate how you solved a particular challenge; and share best practices in a less formal way than a full concurrent session. This is an excellent opportunity for first-time speakers. Participants will have an opportunity to visit several different presenters during the periods in which the poster sessions and table talks will be offered.
Preparing Your Proposal: The committee recommends that proposals be specific about what will make the presentation valuable to attendees. Any proposal perceived as a “sales pitch” will not be considered. Your proposal should be focused on issues, and innovative working solutions and include information about how you intend to engage attendees. All presenters and co-presenters (regardless of session type) will be expected to register for the full conference.
Note: You may submit more than one proposal and be a co-presenter on multiple sessions. The submission form will ask you for the following, so please gather this information before the time of submission:
- Contact Information: the names and emails of any presenter and co-presenters
- Session Type: Workshop, concurrent, or poster
- Delivery Format: In-person or virtual
- Constituencies: Who would benefit most from attending your session?
- Track: While you may submit on any topic, select the one that best fits your presentation
- Title: A succinct but descriptive title of no more than 10 words
- Abstract: 200 words (or less) –
- Please note: the session abstract will be used to promote your session. Make sure it accurately reflects your session and how it will benefit attendees. This is what draws people to your presentation.
- Description: A clear summary of learning objectives, session content, and takeaways. You are also encouraged to share the types of audience participation you will use (e.g., hands-on exercise, polls, small group discussion, Q&A, etc.)
- Bio: Provide a bio for the lead presenter; you will be contacted for additional information on co-presenters if accepted
Review Criteria: Conference participants will expect well-delivered presentations containing quality information that is of practical value to their day-to-day professional lives. Members of the USDLA Program Committee will look for clear descriptions. Considerable weight will be given to proposals that specify session learning objectives, clearly describe why the content will be valuable to attendees, and how you plan to encourage audience participation.
Specifically, reviewers will look for the following:
- Quality of the presentation: substance, clarity, and consistency between the title, abstract, and description within the proposal
- Measurable outcomes of the presentation and takeaways
- Evidence of innovation and effective practice
- Audience breadth, engagement, and the likelihood of future application
Are you ready? Click here to submit your proposal today: https://usdla.org/2023-call-for-proposals/
Friday, Jan. 6: Telehealth in our Libraries — An Update on this National Trend
Presenter: Janet Major at 1 PM EST
At 2 PM: Stay for a follow-up session on the RUS grant by Kristin DeProspero. Details are below.
About the National Telehealth Trend: The future of delivering healthcare and improving access must include investing in technology and telecommunications connectivity in public places. Space that’s accessible to the public in locations where we can have private conversations about our health, whether we are at our local library, school, or visiting a mobile unit with internet connectivity. Technology + Connectivity can connect everyone in our communities to healthcare, including clinical and educational applications.
In this session: We will explore several state programs and modalities currently being used to provide access to healthcare in our trusted public places for people who often need it most. Investing in and managing technology and devices for those who do not own them is critical to increasing access to healthcare, empowering patients, and eliminating the digital divide. We will also explore several exciting programs from across the United States while sharing best practice protocols that will include everything from delivering telehealth services to our schools, in our libraries as well as the use of mobile units that provide not only technology and telecommunications connectivity but also deliver space and the ability to connect to our communities “anywhere” including the local food bank. The possibilities are endless if you have access to what you need to connect. A wide variety of useful resources will be provided, including potential funding opportunities along with the contact information for the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers (NCTRC) and organizations in YOUR home state who are leading the way.
About Janet Major: As the Associate Director for Innovation & Digital Health for the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) and the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC), Janet’s role includes the planning, development, and installation of the teleconferencing and telemedicine technology used for providing telemedicine services in a wide variety of locations. She provides training for all healthcare professionals in the effective use of videoconferencing for clinical and educational applications used for LIVE interactive and store-and-forward applications. Janet served as President and Chair of the United States Distance Learning Association during her 10-year tenure on their Board of Directors. Ms. Major has been active throughout her career with the network of telecommunications experts of Arizona. She continues to participate in activities that support our state’s broadband office and as an Associate Board Member of ATIC.
Also on Jan. 6, at 2 PM EST: Kristin DeProspero will be back at 2 PM following Janet’s webinar
Topic: Answer additional questions about the $1 million Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine (RUS-DLT) Grant
About the RUS DLT Grants: These are specifically designed to increase access to education, training and healthcare resources for organizations in rural America. Awards range from $50,000 to $1 million and are due Jan. 30, 2023. In this workshop, you’ll learn more about the grant, the application, and more. Don’t miss it!
About Kristin DeProspero: Kristin is the VP of Grant and Adoption Services at Solutionz, Inc. She has been a proven leader in the unified communications field, dedicated to healthcare and education applications, for over 30 years. Using innovative thinking and her specialized knowledge of a range of grant opportunities, including, but not limited to, E-rate, USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant, BTOP, School-Based Health Center Capital Grant, and HRSA grants, Kristin has helped countless schools, institutions, and organization secure funding so they could bring the best tools and resources to their learners. She is also a member of the USDLA Board of Directors.
About the class: EiE®, Museum of Science is excited to offer an all-new computer science professional learning course, Computer Science and Computational Thinking for Elementary Educators.
This course is a collection of five professional learning lessons intended to build confidence in K-5 classroom teachers and STEM educators who are getting started with or need a foundational refresher course in computer science and computational thinking.
Independent of any specific curriculum or tool, each course lesson offers interactive, self-paced activities that provide teachers with innovative strategies and tips for integrating effective and engaging computer science and computational thinking into class time.
Each lesson is expected to take approximately 75 minutes, including online learning and hands-on activities, to plan for and reflect on classroom implementation.
*Free enrollment in this course is limited and contingent upon your agreement to participate in a feedback process both during and after the course is completed. Free participation in this professional learning course requires participants to complete all five lessons between January 9 and February 3, 2023 (total of 9-10 hours) and complete two brief surveys — one on completion of the course; the second in April.
Chosen participants will be notified by email by January 4 and provided with all necessary instructions for participation at that time.