Important information about ASCILITE 2017 submission requirements

We've had a few questions about ASCILITE submission requirements and we've received a couple of submissions that are incomplete, so we thought we'd highlight a few key points about the submission requirements for this year's conference. If you intend on making a submission, please read on.

What to submit

This is not an abstract-only submission.

All submission types require an extended submission beyond an abstract. These submission requirements vary, and they are all outlined on the submission guidelines page. We have also updated the submission templates to include details on exactly what you need to submit for every submission type. Unfortunately, this means there is a lot of preamble at the start of the templates, but hopefully it will make it easier for you to pull together the content required for the various types of submissions.

Submission templates

There are two submission templates:

One submission template for double blind peer reviewed submissions, which you should use for

  • Full papers
  • Concise papers
  • Digital posters

One submission template for double peer (not blind) reviewed submissions, which you should use for

  • Debate
  • Lightning Talk
  • Lightning Round
  • Fishbowl
  • Experimental Session
  • Workshop (post conference)

We have developed 'minimalist templates' to make it as easy as possible for you to submit. That means we aren't asking you to do any kind of fancy formatting. All you need to do is make sure you use:

  • Arial 10 point font
  • Single line spacing
  • APA 6th style for referencing

That's it!

How to make your submission

Just fill out the fields on the submission template, add your submission content, and submit via EasyChair. All the details are on the Call for Participation page, and we've developed a guide to using EasyChair to help you use the system.

If you have any questions at all about making your submission, don't hesitate to contact the committee. You can email us at ascilite2017@usq.edu.au.


Two weeks to go! Submissions closing 5 June

As the extended due date for ASCILITE 2017 submissions draws nearer, I asked one of my colleagues, Henk Huijser, an educational developer at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in the People's Republic of China, why he keeps coming back to ASCILITE each year. Here's what he had to say.

ASCILITE has developed into the main educational technology and blended learning conference in Australasia over the years, and it has also developed into one of the most social of conferences.

These are the two main reasons why I always want to attend ASCILITE whenever I can. Not only are the key figures in blended and technology enhanced learning and teaching usually at this conference, and you can get details on the main trends, but it is also a great conference to present at, as there is a real ‘community of practice’ feel to it. In other words, the content is broad enough to be inclusive of many researchers’ and practitioners’ interests, but not too broad to become too unfocused. This is further helped by the yearly theme of the conference.

The social element is partly due to the timing of the conference, and the organisers usually put a lot of effort into this. The conference is always in early December, when most of the attendees are winding down towards the end of the year. This affects the atmosphere at the conference and everyone tends to be up for a good time and ready to have a bit of fun, which is important and usually makes it a memorable conference.

In short, if there is one conference to choose from the many available, then ASCILITE is an excellent choice, both for professional and social reasons.

The ASCILITE 2017 call for participation closes on Monday 5 June 2017. You've got two weeks to get your submission in! Check out the call for participation for all the details.


Deadline extended: call for participation

We've had a few requests for extensions on submissions for ASCILITE 2017 so we've decided to extend the deadline for the call for participation til 5 June 2017.

If you haven't started working on your ASCILITE submission, now's the time! You've got just under three weeks to make your submission.

Check out the call for participation and the submission guidelines to see what you need to do to submit. You can choose from a range of different types of submissions, including:

  • Full paper
  • Concise paper
  • Digital poster
  • Debate
  • Lightning talk
  • Lightning round
  • Open fishbowl
  • Experimental session
  • Post conference workshop

You can also get in touch with us to discuss other submission types if you have something else in mind. Just email us at ascilite2017@usq.edu.au.

We're looking forward to receiving your submissions.


My top 5 things to do while you're in Toowoomba

Think Toowoomba's not the most exciting place to visit for a conference? Think again! Over the next few months, we're going to share with you some of the things we love about Toowoomba, to help you with planning your trip.

My early memories of Toowoomba are of a loveable, sleepy country town. But, the “Garden City” has long outgrown this image, boasting a revamped and relaxed CBD, craft beer houses, music, art, modern dining and the hub of a region that has so much to explore and enjoy.  If you have 1 or 2 days after the conference, consider exploring the National Parks, historic farms and eateries in the Darling Downs… It’s so difficult to choose but my 5 top things to do while you are in the Toowoomba region are:

1. Eateries and Bars

Melbourne-esq style eateries

Toowoomba city has followed in the footsteps of Melbourne and is embracing the trend of laneway eateries. Locals start their work day in the city with a caffeine hit, or two, from Ground Up Espresso Bar. This little laneway café is all about perfectly brewed coffee, amazing baked treats, a trendy outdoor setting and friendly staff. It’s also a perfect starting place for a lazy weekend spent wandering through the streets of the city discovering the magical wall murals hidden throughout the streets (mentioned in Carmel’s post). When your legs need a rest, and you need a treat, stop in at Hello Harry for a gourmet burger (and some chips, and a shake!) and wash it down with an ice-cream made using liquid nitrogen at Nitrogenie. The ice-cream menu changes weekly so you never know what to expect – except that the ice-cream is always perfectly smooth and creamy.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat that is a little bit healthier, I like to frequent Full of Life Organics for a fresh juice and a salad packed full of the latest super foods. This café is a quiet place to relax with a shaded outdoor seating area, perfectly located in the CBD for a spot of ‘people watching’.

A short distance from the CBD, but still in easy walking distance is Railway Street - aptly named as it runs beside the railway line. It offers numerous café choices – Ortem, Engine Room café, Homegrown Health and Inbound Brasserie. I tend to gravitate towards Ortem for its delicious fresh foods. Its menu is an ever-changing choice of edgy takes on classic dishes. This place is seriously cool, and loved by Toowoomba locals.

International cuisine

Personally, when travelling I like to try something a little braver. Kajoku Korean & Japanese Cuisine hits the spot every time with its diverse menu. If you have never been to a Korean restaurant this is a great place to expand your culinary horizons. The wait staff are very polite and helpful and will happily show you how to barbecue the meat on your table. If cooking your own meat isn’t your thing (you have to do that enough at home!), I recommend trying the yakisoba or the hot stone mixed rice. Of course, if you decide to enjoy some sake, then you might want to try out their karaoke room after your meal.

Another favourite haunt of mine is Sofra. This is Turkish cuisine at its best and offers a very charming experience with an intimate atmosphere. Sofra is as much about the lively entertainment and over-the-top decoration as it is about the diverse menu and wine list.

Good ol’ country pubs

Toowoomba’s great food doesn’t stop in the city. The country areas around the city are filled with pubs offering deliciously filling, old-school meals. Take a drive past Highfields checking out the rural scenery and stop at Meringandan Hotel for lunch and a cool beer. This pub has a 41/2 star rating on Trip Advisor and deserves each of these stars for the huge homemade meals and friendly staff. Or there’s the Farmer’s Arms at Cabarlah - famed as the longest continually-licensed pub in Queensland (since 1863 the sign out front proclaims!).

Another pub offering a great meal, with a side of fascinating history is Rudd’s Pub, which was built in 1893 and originally known as the Davenporter Hotel. The name change recognises Steel Rudd– famous for the “Dad & Dave” stories.  The pub lets you “eat in a museum” – photographs and memorabilia covering the walls and ceilings telling stories of days gone by. The hardest task is deciding what to eat. With over 50 mouth-watering items on Mabel’s Kitchen menu it’s hard to pick: Dads Mighty Mixed Grill; Dave's Terrific T-Bone; Reef and Beef... and the list goes on.

Bars

A chilled night out in Toowoomba starts at Muller Bros rooftop bar in the Toowoomba CBD. This bar is the epitome of trendy with cocktails, nibble platters and live music all part of its appeal. I mean what could be better than buffalo wings, dips and cheeses with unlimited cocktails/wines/beers?! Muller Bros also offers a Brazilian BBQ restaurant (all you can eat).

2. Boyce Gardens

Toowoomba has many fantastic picnic spots. One of my family’s favourites are the Boyce Gardens – a heritage listed garden established between the 1930-1950s. We often visit the many areas of the gardens– the rainforest, the pine forest, marvelling at the roses, native orchids, proteas, ericas… before spreading the picnic rug under the 150 year old strangler fig.

3. Heritage Homes

No visit to Toowoomba is complete without seeing some of the stately homes that grace the city. These are some of my favourites but why not visit them all and decide for yourself?

My all-time favourite is Ascot House – one of the largest and most elaborate of all the grand Toowoomba residences. Built around the 1870s, Ascot was a single story timber residence set on 32 acres. The grounds now cover just 2 acres but the house also has a tearoom and museum.

The Grange has over 120 years of timeless elegance, so no wonder this home is a favourite for many. The traditional early colonial design includes wide verandahs, pressed metal ceilings, VJ walls, cedar doors and fireplaces.

Bishop's House was designed by the architect Henry Marks. Henry was well known for his inventions– see his pot-bellied ventilation flues and chimney shafts, windows and a walling system in this 1911 residence.

If you love old buildings then the Toowoomba Railway Station is not to be missed. Built in 1874, it was the centre of trade in Toowoomba for many years, welcoming many governors and royalty. Now the station is home to the Inbound Brasserie.

There are so many other majestic buildings to see while you are in town: the Empire Theatre, City Hall, Vacy Hall, St Luke’s Church… the list keeps going!

Toowoomba Railway Station, Qld - 1908 courtesy Aussie~mobs

4. The Bunya Mountains National Park

Need time to unwind away from the distraction of mobile devices? Then consider a picturesque 90 minute drive to the Bunya Mountains. The breathtaking views, native wildlife, and brilliantly coloured parrots make the Bunya Mountains an ideal destination for locals and tourists alike. Be dwarfed by towering bunya pines, stretching 25 metres high and listen to trickling waterfalls. I like nothing better than hiking one of the many walking tracks before relaxing at the Poppies Café with pancakes and bunya nut ice cream. Make sure you have time on your leisurely drive home to visit the historic Jondaryan Woolshed.

Interior of wool shed, Jondaryan, 2 November 1894 courtesy Queensland State Archives

5. Jondaryan Woolshed

The Woolshed lets you step back in time to the pioneering days of the 1850s. Take a self-guided tour through the historic woolshed and the original buildings in the museum grounds, watch the Machinery demonstrations and even pat the Clydesdale horses. The 90 metre shearing shed built in 1859 used 5000 sheets of the newly developed corrugated, galvanised iron and was boasted as ‘the finest in the colony’. A visit to the Woolshed is never complete though, without enjoying traditional damper and treacle, or perhaps the Ploughman’s Lunch. Why not immerse yourself in the rural experience by staying the night in one of the cabins – Wyona Cottage, Wainui Cottage or even a room in the Authentic Shearer’s Quarters?

As you can see you will need to stay a while to enjoy all Toowoomba and the Darling Downs has to offer…

Make a compelling case to your organisation to fund your trip to ASCILITE in Toowoomba this year - get a paper on the program! Check out the call for participation now!


Opening up ASCILITE: a call to action

I’m involved in in what I would call a deeply enviable space for learning and teaching.

"How university open debates and discussi" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by opensourceway

Open education, whilst certainly not a new concept, is starting to gain traction across the Australian and New Zealand higher education sectors (to varying degrees), and the attention it receives makes for interesting and exciting times. There are big issues that challenge practitioners such as institutional and national policy, the business case for open education, promoting and rewarding open educational practice, and even finding ways to recognise that many educators are already teaching openly. The possibilities for collaboration – both nationally and internationally – are extremely promising, and the potential impact on Australian students is positive. Reduced costs that lower barriers to education, better access to resources, more flexible pathways for study and recognition of prior learning, and opportunities to be engaged as co-creators of knowledge are all achievable in an open environment.

However, when we discuss openness, the most common foci are textbooks and learning resources. Why? Perhaps it is because replacing the textbook in a course with an open counterpart can be relatively simple. Repositories exist purely for the purpose of disseminating free and open texts. There is a defined cost associated with publisher texts, and it is easy to demonstrate student savings. Learning resources are already created for courses, and most universities have a repository for Learning Objects. Again, it can be an easy discussion.

The harder side of openness is practice, not resources, and as John F. Kennedy said ‘we do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard’. Recent workshops at the University of Southern Queensland led to very interesting debate on the value of resources for learning and teaching for the contemporary university. Are resources why students engage with a university? Do they select a higher education institution for the quality of the resources? Or is it perhaps something else?
The workshop conversation spent a lot of time on the notion that it is interaction and engagement – not resources – that represent the best value proposition for the student. The chance to interact with lecturers and peers, to receive feedback, and to be credentialed; these were perceived as valuable.

It makes me think that conferences are not that much different.

"community" (CC BY 2.0) by mikemcsharry

ASCILITE, like other conferences, is dependent on content for the schedule (and we’re still taking submissions), but is that where the true value of a conference lies? Or, as a previous post stated, is it about the connections, the discussion, the open sharing of ideas? Is it about testing or reporting your idea through a session and then engaging in questioning and discussions? Perhaps the value of the conference lies in the quality of the coffee?

In previous years, ASCILITE has openly licenced the conference proceedings and made them freely available to world. We’ll continue that tradition this year. One opportunity though, is for open streams for the conference, and the opportunity for open practitioners to gather, discuss and disseminate open education initiatives from across the sector. Openness – like learning and teaching – benefits from a community, and I’d like to see more papers and presentations this year about open education in our region.

It may be your chance to test an idea, meet new collaborators, and make that idea just a little bit bigger.

Like I said at the beginning – it’s a deeply enviable space.


Why I go to the ASCILITE conference

Each year from October onwards, I start getting excited about the ASCILITE conference happening late November or early December. This is a place where I can get together with my tribe, lament the institutional politics and hang with a group who are grappling with the same challenges that I am. Sometimes it’s a reality check: seeing where other institutions are up to, what other people at my level are doing, and catching up with what’s what in the sector.

I’ve been going for the last seven or eight years and the regulars have now become my friends. I look forward to catching up with those people who are working in a similar field to me. What have you found? What have you done? And wow, that’s so cool; maybe we should collaborate on that! The conference dinner is a way to let of some steam and embrace another identity through fancy dress. I’ve noticed that the dance floor fills early and stays full to the very end. Blue hair (Dunedin), pink feathers (Adelaide), and pointed ears (Wellington): this is how I’m remembered.

Beyond the social aspects, it’s a great way to present my research. The world of educational technology moves so fast that it can be too long a time from conceptualising a project, implementing it and collecting the data, to writing it up in an academic journal. And that’s just to get it to a journal. From there it goes out to peer review, changes made and so on. Presenting at the ASCILITE conference allows me to get my research out there faster. It also gives my colleagues a chance to look at what I’m doing, give me some great suggestions, and stop me from heading down some unproductive rabbit holes. These are also the people who will celebrate my wins!

There’s no doubt that seeing what else is happening in ed tech in the sector is worth the price of admission. This is how you see what’s going on, get new ideas, blah, blah, blah. But for me, the most important aspect of the conference is the networking. I’m now doing a funded project with someone I met at the Dunedin conference. I’m co-editing a special issue of the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET) with someone I only catch up with in person, once a year. (‘Sure,’ I said over a glass of wine: ‘how hard can that be!’) The person I write with most is someone I met at the conference (well her and about 45 of her closest friends!). The real value lies in who’s there with you.

So, please do think about coming along and please do come and introduce yourself to me. We could become co-authors, collaborators or just someone to chew the fat with once a year! There’s a nice vibe, a friendly atmosphere and always some laughs to be had.

There's no better way to get institutional support for your ASCILITE attendance than getting a paper on the program. Check out the call for participation or make your submission now!


Oops! What were we thinking?! Revised submission requirements

'Error' by Chameleon Design. Available under a CC Attribution license.

For this year's conference, we decided to do away with a complex template and formatting requirements in an effort to make it simpler for authors to make a submission. In doing so, we decided to have only three formatting requirements: font size; line spacing; and referencing style.

We went with the same maximum paper lengths as previous years (5 pages for short papers and 10 pages for full papers), but we used a larger font size and different line spacing. And in doing so, we inadvertently reduced the volume of text you could fit into your papers.

In response to feedback from authors, we have decided to revise the font size and line spacing requirements to match last year's conference, and to allow you to fit more words into your submissions.

All submissions will need to use 10 point Arial and single line spacing.

We have revised the submission guidelines and the submission templates accordingly.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the change in requirements, but we felt it was important to address this feedback to allow authors sufficient space to write a high quality submission.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact the committee. You can email us at ascilite2017@usq.edu.au.


ASCILITE 2017 wants you!

We're excited to announce that the ASCILITE 2017 call for participation is now live!

This year, there are nine different submission types, including three double blind peer reviewed submission types and six double peer reviewed submission types.

Submission types include the usual suspects: double blind peer reviewed concise papers, full papers, and digital posters.

Rather than curating a program of traditional 'sage on the stage' presentations, for this year's conference, we want to curate a program full of opportunities for engagement. This means we're looking for a diverse range of session types. You can submit a proposal for a

  • Debate
  • Lightning talk
  • Lightning round
  • Open fishbowl
  • Experimental session
  • Post conference workshop

Got something else in mind? We're open to other submission types. Just get in touch with us at ascilite2017@usq.edu.au to discuss.

More information on the submission types is available on the call for participation page. You should also check out the submission guidelines.

Submissions are due 22 May 2017.

We look forward to seeing what you come up with!