Jan. 10, 2023: You are invited to be part of our July 2023 National Conference

A Note from Conference/Events Chair Valary Oleinik —As I mentioned last week, we are excited for you to be part of what’s ahead in 2023 at USDLA.

Call for Proposals: This month, we opened the Call for Proposals and are eager for you to share your expertise with like-minded educators. Scroll down for details, and for the latest conference details, please bookmark https://usdla.org/2023-national-conference/

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.

Mark your calendar for these upcoming Free Friday Webinars, 1-2 PM Eastern:

We look forward to seeing your conference proposals soon and to connecting at the upcoming webinars! — Valary, voleinik@usdla.org

2023 USDLA Call For Proposals: It’s Distance Learning’s Time to Shine

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. 13: Leadership Perspectives on Rural Distance Learning

Presenter: Dr. Matt Newlin, 1 PM EST

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the countless ways rural and remote students are disadvantaged in higher education, particularly regarding distance learning. While institutions were quickly pivoting to online learning during the pandemic, little thought was put into whether or not some students would even have reliable broadband access once the campuses were closed. As we come out of the pandemic, very few substantive changes have been made to account for students and communities whose access to online or distance learning is restricted by geography or technological limitations. Students still struggle with access to distance learning, creating inequitable opportunities and outcomes for rural populations.

In this session: Participants will learn about the most critical issues for institutions providing distance learning to students who live in rural or remote communities. Discussions will be based on present research and examples of practical changes already being implemented by institutions and organizations. Attendees will have the chance to critique their approach to serving rural and remote students and learn how they address their rural populations’ needs from other colleagues.

Click here to register for the webinar: usdla.org/usdla-friday-webinar-series

Jan. 20: Leadership decisions in faculty training for online teaching and learning

Presenter: Lisa A. Clark, EdD, Senior Product Manager, Learn Ultra

Distance education has evolved into a trusted, necessary, and expected form of delivering higher education content, no longer considered a fad or a new method of instruction. Due to the rapid growth of distance education offerings, early participating faculty needed more training, guidance, or standards regarding building their virtual courses. Fast forward to 2020 and the shutdown of in-person instruction worldwide, most Instructors needed more time to be ready to address the differences between synchronous (traditional face-to-face) and asynchronous (via distance education) learning environments. Now, more than ever, students expect online education offerings at their institutions and may obtain their entire degree program via distance.

In this session: Participants will learn the best ways to encourage training for online teaching and what is truly important to instructors regarding their preference for training and incentives for training. These topics and more will be shared in this session to outline ideas related to leadership decisions for online teaching and learning training.

Click here to register for the webinar: usdla.org/usdla-friday-webinar-series