Virtual School Meanderings

August 2, 2019

DT&L Is Only Days Away – There’s Still Time To Register!

Note this quickly up-coming conference.

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Image and text collage with the following words: DT&L 35. Register now. Start here. Reach everywhere. Celebrating 35 years.
August 6‑8, 2019 • Madison, WI
Attend from anywhere
Register now for exclusive discount
If you can’t make it to the conference in person, you can still participate online! Register for the virtual conference and watch sessions at your convenience on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Sessions available virtually include “ABCs of DE,” keynote speaker sessions, and featured sessions. Group rates are available.
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July 27, 2019

These New Articles For Distance Education Are Available Online

Note these news articles in the “Articles First” section of the journal.  The first one, while not K-12 focused, is interesting.

Taylor & Francis Online - The new journals and reference work platform for Taylor & Francis
The online platform for Taylor & Francis Online content

New for Distance Education and online now on Taylor & Francis Online:

ArticlesLearning analytics for learning design in online distance learning
Wayne Holmes, Quan Nguyen, Jingjing Zhang, Manolis Mavrikis & Bart Rienties
Pages: 1-21 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2019.1637716Original ArticlesEffects of gamification on students’ online interactive patterns and peer-feedback
Biyun Huang, Gwo-Jen Hwang, Khe Foon Hew & Peter Warning
Pages: 1-30 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2019.1632168

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July 16, 2019

Early-Bird Discount Ends Tomorrow At Midnight!

Note that the tomorrow in this entry actually refers to today, because I received this item in yesterday’s inbox.

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Image and text collage with the following words: DT&L 35. Register now. Start here. Reach everywhere. Celebrating 35 years.
August 6‑8, 2019 • Madison, WI
Don’t miss the savings
Attend a transformative conference at a great price.
Make this summer one to remember. Join us at the 35th annual Distance Teaching & Learning Conference and gain invaluable insights and practical takeaways. Sessions cover everything you need to know, from the basics of distance education to technologies shaping the future.

Don’t suffer from FOMO! Take part in one of edtech’s top 10 conferences for 2019.

Register NOW to take advantage of the early‑bird discount and save over $60. Discount ends July 16 at 11:59pm.

“My first time at the DT&L Conference was awesome! I think everyone teaching an online course at a university would greatly benefit from attending this conference. The information presented was highly relevant and ranged from practical lessons from teachers and instructional designers to research results. The vendor displays were a wonderful opportunity to visit with the companies and get detailed information about products and services that can enhance your online teaching. Networking opportunities were fantastic, and the facilities and staff were top notch. I can’t wait to come back!”
—2018 attendee
Can’t make it to Madison? Try our virtual conference.
Join us online at a time that’s convenient for you.
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July 13, 2019

Distance Education Special Issue: Call for Abstracts – Distance Education Across Critical Theoretical Landscapes

Note this up-coming call for proposals.

Distance Education

Special Issue Call for Abstracts

Distance Education Across Critical Theoretical Landscapes

Mary Rice, Assistant Professor of Literacy, University of New Mexico (Send Queries:
Patrick Lowenthal, Associate Professor of Educational Technology, Boise State University
Xeturah Woodley, Assistant Professor in Learning Design and Technology, New Mexico State University


The purpose of this special themed issue is to provide a venue for scholars, researchers, instructional designers, and classroom teachers to engage with critical theories and diversity in open, flexible and technology-mediated distance learning environments. To provide the most opportunity for inclusion, we invite submissions that consider a wide variety of technologies, pedagogies, modes and settings (e.g., K-12, higher education, and industry/corporate settings). We encourage submissions that represent the theoretical landscape, and which demonstrate the breadth and depth of theoretical lenses that have been historically underrepresented. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: critical race theory, critical pedagogies, disability studies, feminisms, heutagogy, and LGBTQIA+ studies. Finally, we invite a variety of research paradigms as well as theoretical pieces, meta-analyses, and strategic reviews of the literature.


As the use of Web-based learning technologies has greatly expanded in open, flexible, and distance educational environments, efforts to meet the needs of diverse learners and the commitment to expand our capacity for diversity, in all of its forms, has also increased. Barbour and Reeves (2009) argued that the factors that make a student successful using learning technologies are often connected to socioeconomic privilege. In the same vein, Layne, Boston, and Ice (2013) suggested a profile of an adult online learner that used gender, age, and race, and socioeconomic variables to build a theory around retention and engagement. They highlighted computer literacy and navigation skills, electronic connection capabilities, and feelings of isolation as barriers to success. There are also studies suggesting that students who are younger, male, or come from minority backgrounds are less likely to make successful adjustments to learning at a distance with web-based learning technologies (Xu & Jaggars, 2014). However, when scholars have tried to shift conversations in the field towards understandings about social diversity, they are often met with claims that innovations like personalization (under various definitions) and the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework (Rose & Meyer, 2006) will inherently address these concerns both now and in the future (Vignare, 2015). In this issue, we are hoping to open a space for research in frames that consider or even challenge notions of diversity alongside and beyond the UDL and personalization paradigms in distance education. We want to broaden the conversation about online and distance learning research, practice, and even policy about how to make learning with technologies accessible, relevant, and supportive of multiple intersectional identities.

Potential Topics

  • What critical theories or theorists could provide special insight into research on technology-mediated distance education?
  • What role do distance learning technologies play in addressing social injustice based on race, culture, religion, English language ability, gender identities, or other forms of diversity?
  • What are the issues of access and accessibility that stewards of open, flexible and distance education (e.g., instructors, administrators, policymakers) should consider?
  • How can strong personal connections (e.g., learner/learner, learner/teacher, learner subject matter) expand the positive outcomes of open, flexible and distance education for historically marginalized individuals?
  • As personalized learning increases in availability, accuracy, and precision, how do we address issues of diversity and social justice in inclusive ways within open, flexible and distance learning environments?
  • What role does/should data play in creating more critically conscious distance learning environments?
  • What are some examples of programs and practices that honor the literacies or cultural assets of diverse students as they engage in open, flexible and distance learning?
  • What are some examples of ways in which technology-mediated learning technologies are building communities of diverse learners in nationwide or international programs?
  • What are some examples of advocacy efforts being made for supporting the infrastructure to ensure access to technology-mediated distance learning technologies?
  • What are some examples of efforts being made to serve the simultaneous multiplicity of users of distance education?
  • How do any of these above issues play out differently in formal vs. informal learning environments or with different ages of learners (e.g., K-12 v. higher education)?

Those interested should submit a 1-page (300- 500-word) abstract using ScholarOne by August 1, 2019. Please note in your submission that this abstract is for the Distance Education Across Critical Theoretical Landscapes.

Important Dates

One-page abstracts: 1 August 2019
Invitations for full manuscripts: 1 September 2019
Full manuscripts from authors: 1 January 2020
Double-blind reviews completed: 1 February 2020
Revisions from authors: 1 March 2020
Final decisions of acceptance/rejection: 1 April 2020
Final manuscript to publisher: 1 June 2020
Expected Publication: August 2020

Full manuscripts will be submitted through ScholarOne Manuscripts. Please visit the Instructions for Authors page for manuscript preparation guidelines.


Barbour, M. K., & Reeves, T. C. (2009). The reality of virtual schools: A review of the literature. Computers & Education, 52(2), 402-416.

Layne, M., Boston, W. E., & Ice, P. (2013). A longitudinal study of online learners: Shoppers, swirlers, stoppers, and succeeders as a function of demographic characteristics. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 16(2), 1-12.

Rose, D. H., & Meyer, A. (2006). A practical reader in universal design for learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Vignare, K. (2015). Foreword. In M. Rice (Ed.) Exploring pedagogies for diverse learners online: Advances in research on teaching, volume 25 (pp. xvii-xxv). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing.

Xu, D., & Jaggars, S. S. (2014). Performance gaps between online and face-to-face courses: Differences across types of students and academic subject areas. The Journal of Higher Education, 85(5), 633-659.

July 9, 2019

Join Us For The Best Conference Yet!

Note this practitioner-focused August conference.

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Image and text collage with the following words: DT&L 35. Register now. Start here. Reach everywhere. Celebrating 35 years.
August 6‑8, 2019 • Madison, WI
Join us for the best conference yet!
Conference Blended Certificates
Our conference blended certificates will help you build the online teaching skills you need to transform your online courses. Each one includes full conference registration, online coursework, and a face‑to‑face conference certificate session. Pre‑registration is required. Coursework starts July 16.

Choose the certificate that best meets your needs:

Fundamentals of Online Teaching >>Portfolium will be joining us at the 35th DT&L Conference. They will participate in the Fundamentals of Online Teaching certificate as well as participate in a Special Interest group at the conference. Porfolium partners with higher ed institutions to connect students with opportunities. They provide educators and employers with ways to assess learning outcomes, build pathways, issue credentials and recruit.

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Online Education Administration >>
Design Thinking for Learning Design >>
Duarte VisualStory® for DT&L >>
Conference Workshops
Workshops provide practical takeaways and hands‑on experience that can increase your knowledge and skills in a particular area. Sign up for a three‑hour morning workshop, a 90‑minute afternoon workshop, or both! Pre‑registration is required. Already registered for the conference? Add a workshop at any time!

Here are some of our morning workshops:

  • Caring for and connecting with adjunct faculty: Strategies that work
    • Examine the critical elements of recruitment, onboarding, training, and support to ensure that part‑time and freelance faculty receive ongoing training and assistance.
  • Ignite creativity in your student assignments using visual design principles
    • Well designed multimedia projects can effectively replace written assignments and improve student engagement and retention.
  • How to teach online and still have a life
    • Develop strategies for managing workload and prioritizing your time to help balance your “quality of life” and online teaching commitments.

Followed by a few of our afternoon workshops:

  • Improve learning with voice and screencasting feedback to your students
    • Investigate the benefits of providing voice and screencasting feedback to students and experiment with techniques and tools to use in your own online teaching or coaching.
  • Creating personalized, social, and co‑constructed learning experiences
    • Explore changes in distance education as we move beyond the industrial approach to learning and toward a post‑modern, post‑industrial model encompassing personalized, adaptive, and social/connectivist teaching and learning approaches.
  • Career management check‑up
    • You may not be looking for a job right now, but a great job might be looking for you, so keep your professional first impression always polished and at‑the‑ready with power techniques for resumes, CVs, and using LinkedIn.
Don’t miss out on what is to come at our 35th annual Distance Teaching & Learning Conference!
Start here. Reach everywhere.
Questions? Contact
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