Michigan State University

2019 Accessible Learning Conference Call for Proposals

The call for proposals is open! Proposals due September 3, 2019.

Right now, many organizations “do accessibility” because they have to—a culture of compliance. To move beyond that, beyond policies, facts, and figures—to a culture of care—we need to tell stories. The stories of the people at the core of accessibility. Only then can we start to create a truly accessible culture.

This year, the Accessible Learning Conference (ALC) explores accessibility (a11y) storytelling. We’ll highlight the a11y stories of researchers, educators, students, leaders, and advocates from higher education and the broader community. We invite you to join us to listen to others’ stories, tell your own, and create practical, effective solutions that you can use in your work and your scholarship to increase equity and build a culture of accessibility.

Proposal Theme: Storytelling

When you submit your proposal, you’ll be guided through a series of questions. We welcome sessions that embrace the notion of storytelling while addressing, exemplifying, and challenging a wide variety of accessibility-related topics. Our goal is to provide attendees with a broad range of material, innovative ideas, and interesting perspectives to help them understand the full ecosystem of an accessible learning culture and guide them as they design universally accessible courses, websites, and content.

This year’s conference will feature a variety of presentation types in a variety of session lengths to accommodate the wide range of learning and presenting preferences, and we welcome any proposal. Should your proposal be accepted, it may be paired with another similar presentation to be presented as back-to-back session group. If that is the case, you’ll be contacted by a member of the planning committee.   

Tracks and Formats

This year, we’re welcoming presentations in two tracks: Scholarship and Research and Teaching and Learning. The session formats are designed to accommodate various levels of audience engagement and provide flexibility in presentation style. Do you imagine participants engaging in excited discussion or group work throughout your session? Perhaps you’d prefer to lead a session where participants primarily listen, with a question and answer session at the end. Whether it’s facilitating group work and discussion, or a presentation followed by Q&A, you can choose the presentation format and length of time that works best for you.  

We’ll be sharing the presentation format of each session in the conference program, so attendees can make informed decisions about which topics they’re interested in and which types of presentations they’re most comfortable with.

Conference Tracks

Scholarship and Research – Sessions in this track will center on the presentation of research designs, research findings, grant submissions, and ongoing scholarly activity. Proposals for this track may focus on scholarship in any discipline, scholarship of teaching and learning, or research surrounding accessibility. Sessions may be geared toward the sharing of research findings, reporting on ongoing research activity, or even brainstorming about a proposed or pending research project.

Teaching and Learning – Sessions in this track will focus on the teaching and learning ecosystem, from course design to assessment. Proposals may address any of a wide range of topics, including the student experience, the teaching process, content creation, course activities, course redesign, accommodation, or anything else that falls under the large umbrella of teaching accessibly. Sessions may focus on the perspective of either the teacher or the student, and may emphasize specific accommodation efforts or teaching about accessibility more generally.

Presentation Formats

High Engagement – Emphasize collaborative work among the attendees and the presenter: group discussions, workshops, hands-on activities and exercises.Sessions will employ active learning techniques and attendees will be expected to collaborate and discuss, share, etc. with each other throughout the duration of the session. 

Light Engagement – Emphasize guided discussion, facilitated conversations, and interactive Q&A sessions: interactive lecture and small- or large-group discussions. Attendees will both listen and observe, and engage and discuss throughout the session. 

Low Engagement– Emphasize a one-way sharing of information or narrative: lecture, panel presentation, demonstration, or walkthrough (with a possible short Q&A session following) Session attendees will mainly listen or observe during the session, and won’t interact with each other.

Poster – Presenters can showcase an idea, project, or research project during the ALC Engagement Fair without a formal presentation. Attendees are invited to speak with presenters at their own discretion. Some may choose to engage in discussion while others may wish to simply read and listen.  

Session Lengths

There are four different lengths that sessions will take:

Book Report – These are the poster sessions. Presenter(s) share content with individuals or small groups who attend in an open-house format.

Short Story – Lightning sessions, 15 minutes or less. Presenter(s) will share a story or present about a single, pointed topic. There may be audience participation, but it will be limited and need careful time management from the presenter(s). These sessions will be paired with other sessions as groups.

Novella – Quick sessions between 20-30 minutes. Presenter(s) will tell a story about a general topic or concept, and will have time for some minor exploration. Audience participation may be minimal to extensive. These sessions may be paired with a short story session as a group.

Novel – Robust sessions, 45 minutes. They allow for a deep dive into a specific subject or a story or presentation about a broad topic. Audience participation may be minimal to extensive. These sessions will not be paired with any other sessions.

Your proposal may be any session length and any format you choose. Consider the examples below to help you decide about the length and type of session that works best for your content and presentation style.

 Book Report (posters)Short Story (15 minutes)Novella (30 minutes)Novel (45 minutes)
High engagementHands-on demo, collaborative workstationIdeation session, group sharing session, think-pair-share on a problemImprov session, small group discussionsCollaborative writing/storytelling, active learning session, workshop a problem, role playing, Improv session
Light engagementPoster with Q&A, short demo with Q&APanel with Q&A, anecdote with Q&ALarge group discussions, problem-solving session, panel presentation and Q&AStory with large-group interpretation, collaborative brainstorming,
Passive engagementPoster, stand-alone PPTAnecdote with interpretation, readingNarrative, presentation of research findingsStory with background and context, reading, lecture, walkthrough

Submission information

Slide Decks, Presentation Materials, and Poster Files

Accessible Learning Conference materials must be submitted as accessible Google Docs by November 14th to Jeremy Van Hof (vanhofje@broad.msu.edu) and Jessica Knott (JLKnott@msu.edu). This includes accessible slide decks for presentations, and accessible poster files.


Call For Proposal (CFP) Schedule and Deadlines
CFP opens: July 1, 2019

Proposals due: September 3, 2019

Proposal review: September 9, 2019

Accepted speakers notified: October 7, 2019

Session acceptance deadline: October 14, 2019

Accessible presentation files due: November 14, 2019

The call for proposals is open! Proposals due September 3, 2019.

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