Over the next couple of days, we’re allocating submissions to the many ASCILITE reviewers who have stepped up to review for this year’s conference. We’ve prepared Reviewer Guidelines and EasyChair Instructions for Reviewers to help our reviewers work through their allocated submissions. And to inspire our fearless reviewers as they embark on their reviews, Organising Committee member Professor Shelley Kinash is up on the blog today to share some tips for peer reviewing.

Even if you’re not a devoted fan, you have probably watched snippets of The Voice where singing sensations hit big red buttons, sending their chairs whizzing around to face hopeful future stars.

Reviewing conference call submissions is less glamorous, publicised and sensationalised, but there are elements of similarity. The most important question to ask yourself when reviewing a conference submission – whether a paper, poster or panel – is:

Do I feel WOW factor?

Or in other words, does it make me want to ‘spin my chair around’?

Is this a conference session that I would want to attend and/or suggest to my colleagues?

For me, WOW factor in conference submissions happens when:

  • Researchers will be sharing new findings.
  • Educators have tested practical approaches to solving problems for students, graduates or staff.
  • Unexpected or surprise occurrences are ready to be shared.
  • The proposal is creative and imaginative and provokes new ways of thinking about long-standing problems or challenges.
  • The author feels like a leader who can be expected to influence change and impact.

Have you ever noticed that certain types of auditions seldom make the judges spin their chairs around? It may be that the performers are auditioning for the wrong show.

When you are peer-reviewing conference submissions, the next question to ask yourself after feeling your WOW-factor-barometer is:

Is this submission a match with the conference topic and theme?

ASCILITE stands for the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education.

Some examples of the myriad of applicable questions/presentations are:

  • Do students truly learn through ‘mobile learning’?
  • What education technologies have impact on student learning?
  • Are ePortfolios effective approaches to demonstrating graduate attributes?
  • Does BYOD work for regional and/or remote students?

The 2017 theme is Me. Us. IT.

Some examples of questions that this theme compels are:

  • Which educational technologies improve my teaching?
  • How have digital approaches increased interactivity and collaboration?
  • What digital competencies can students learn in tertiary education that will serve as graduate attributes / career skills?

In summary, your key mission as reviewer for ASCILITE 2017 is to ask:

  • Does this submission make me want to turn my chair around?
  • Is this possible-presenter a ‘Voice’ for this particular conference?