January 31, 2019

ITL Proposals FAQ


FAQs: Proposal Process

If you have additional questions, we encourage you to contact Stearns Center (stearns@gmu.edu).  If you wish to discuss your proposal content ideas before submitting a proposal, please contact 2021 Conference Director, Laura Lukes (llukes@gmu.edu).

What’s the format for the proposal?
Session proposals are submitted via a Qualtrics Form. Please see the session descriptions  for the Qualtrics form questions for each session proposal type. (You can see the specifics in italics below each description type.) We recommend writing up your proposal in a word document using the listed questions as a guide and then cutting and pasting onto the form. 

Do I qualify as a presenter? What are the requirements to be a presenter?
We ask that the lead presenter be a current instructor at Mason. Co-presenters should be related to the instructor’s work but do not need to be affiliated with Mason. In the past, this has included other instructors, administrators/staff, graduate student instructors of record, graduate student teaching assistants, undergraduate students, government/non-profit employees, etc. 

I’m a graduate student. Can I present?
Yes. We do ask that the lead presenter be a current instructor of record at Mason. However, there may be situations where it is appropriate for a graduate teaching assistant to be the lead presenter. Graduate students working with faculty on curriculum development or teaching are encouraged to present as a lead or co-presenters.

Can my undergraduate students be presenters?
Yes. We do ask that the lead presenter be a current instructor of record at Mason. However, there are situations where it is appropriate for an undergraduate student to be a presenter. Undergraduate students serving as Learning Assistants or Teaching Assistants or are working with faculty on curriculum development or teaching are encouraged to present as co-presenters. Additionally, students are encouraged to co-present if they who have participated in the teaching strategies or activities that the instructor is presenting.

My teaching idea or activity isn’t long enough for a whole session—should I still propose it? 

Yes! We have created session proposals with you in mind.  

If you have 5-10 minutes to prepare a proposal…consider sharing your insights at the conference as a panelist speaker:  Nominate yourself or a colleague to be a panelist speaker in one of the Stearns Center Showcase Sessions–new this year! These 90-minute sessions consist of a series of 5-minute lightning talks by 4-5 instructors, each sharing their teaching strategies or student learning activities, followed by a roundtable discussion or other activity.  They are organized and facilitated by a faculty or staff member on the following topics:  

  • Strategies for Teaching with Writing Assignments
  • Managing Group Work Activities and Collaborative Student Projects
  • Embedding Experiential or Community-Engaged Learning Projects Into Your Courses
  • Class Activities and Teaching Strategies to Engage Students in Online or Blended Courses
  • Creating Community and a Sense of Belonging in Your Course
  • Pandemic Pedagogy Showcase: Lessons Learned
  • Incorporating Mindfulness and Well-Being Into Your Courses
  • Teaching Sensitive Topics and Managing Politically Charged Class Conversations
  • Teaching Transformation Talks: How Your Teaching Has Changed
  • Strategies for Non-Exam Assessments, Grading and Giving Feedback
  • Transparency in Your Course and Assignments: Making the “Hidden Curriculum” Visible
  • Mason’s Active Learning Classrooms and Online Teaching Technologies
  • Mason Instructor Resources Roadshow & Resource Fair
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Showcase
  • Documenting and Sharing Your Teaching by Creating Open Educational Resources (OER)

 If you have 30-40 minutes to prepare a proposal…consider sharing your insights at the conference via an item the On Demand Collection–only an abstract is needed for the proposal; actual items in this category are not due until September:  

  • Teaching & Learning Artifact (assignment, syllabus, etc.) w/Reflection or Annotation  
  • 5- or 15-minute Video Presentation about a learning activity, your teaching strategies, curriculum (re)design process, or instructional support resources (Mason Offices)   
  • PDF Poster Presentation about a learning activity, your teaching strategies, curriculum (re)design process, or instructional support resources (Mason Offices)   

These shorter sessions might be a better fit. We encourage you to submit and are happy to discuss which format is best. If you wish to discuss your proposal content ideas before submitting a proposal, please contact 2021 Conference Director, Laura Lukes (llukes@gmu.edu). See further details on the request for proposals page. 

I have an idea, but it’s “nothing new or what I’d call innovative.” Will anyone be interested? Should I submit my idea?
Yes! What’s not new to you may be new to someone else. We seek to meet the teaching practice needs of all instructors along a continuum of an instructor new to teaching to an experienced instructor who has been formally trained in educational theory and practice. We also encourage proposals that are built on evidence-based practices. Innovation doesn’t mean having to reinvent the wheel. If you have an “oldie, but goodie” idea, we want to hear those, too.

I have a tip/strategy for my class, but would people outside of my discipline be interested? 

Yes! If it’s something that is helping your students learn, it is likely something that is adaptable to other contexts. We seek proposals that are situated in a context (your class) but could be applied or adapted to a variety of disciplines.If you need help or ideas on how to “translate” your activity or present your idea in a way that is applicable across disciplines, we encourage you to ask the 2021 Conference Director, Laura Lukes (llukes@gmu.edu). 

Can I have an extension/more time to complete and submit my proposal?
We strongly encourage you to submit your proposal on time to guarantee that is considered and reviewed by the selection committee. However, extensions can be granted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Stearns Center if you find yourself in this situation (stearns@gmu.edu). 

I have a couple different session ideas. Can I submit more than one proposal?
Yes! There is no limit to the number of session proposals you can submit. For the main program (workshops, panels, etc.), the review panel generally selects a variety of instructor and discipline perspectives, so you may be limited to 1-2 of these session typesSometimes in order to meet the needs of our community and maximize the opportunity for presenters and attendees, the review committee recommends a proposal for a different type of session than requested. There is no limit on serving as a co-presenter on multiple sessions. Digital posters, videos, annotated teaching artifact are great second or third session proposal ideas to submit as lead presenter. You are also encouraged to nominate yourself for one or several of the Stearns Center Showcase sessions. 

How do I submit my proposal?
Please submit your proposal via the appropriate Qualtrics Form. Please use the submission form links on the RFP page.

 

When are proposals due?
Speaker nominations and interactive session proposals are due Wednesday, February 24, 2021.  Proposals for the On Demand Collection (videos, digital posters, teaching artifacts have been extended to Friday, May 21, 2021.)If you need an extension, please contact the Stearns Center (stearns@gmu.edu). 

How will my proposal be reviewed?
Proposals will be reviewed via a double-blind process by 3-4 reviewers (Mason instructors, administrative faculty, staff, and/or graduate students, in addition to Stearns Center staff) with attention to the following criteria:

  • AUDIENCE:  The topic is broad enough that folks from other disciplines, modalities (online, hybrid, face-to-face), or levels (graduate vs. undergraduate) will find the broader message helpful.
  • TOPIC: The topic is innovative for teaching and learning; reframes previous techniques/theories in a new or unifying way (such as best/evidence-based practices); or is a topic that is likely of interest of many instructors.
  • MASON FOCUSED: The proposal features resources unique to Mason or aligns with Mason-related signature learning themes (e.g., technology-enhanced teaching and learning, teaching in active learning classrooms, designing for engaged learning, strategies for working with international/multilingual students, inquiry and research-based courses, mentoring/advising, strategies for incorporating mindfulness/well-being into learning, writing across the curriculum, and experiential learning).
  • CONTEXT: Relevant context details are present (type of courses or discipline approach tried in; type of students: undergraduate, graduate, majors, non-majors, etc.; if a resource, indication of location/hours/contacts, etc.) and relevant teaching principles informing activity/strategy are indicated, or informing literature is cited.
  • INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE (For interactive sessions only): Session, as described, will provide an interactive experience for participants with opportunities for participants to have at least two of these active types of interactions: participant-presenter; participant-content; participant-participant. Proposal describes specific activities that will engage participants beyond listening to speaker.

When will I find out if my proposal was selected?
We will notify proposers by email in April or early May. We ask that authors of selected proposals confirm their intent to present by mid-May via a Qualtrics Form included in the acceptance email. 


FAQs: Reviewing Proposals

If you have additional questions, we encourage you to ask the Stearns Center (stearns@gmu.edu).

I have or am submitting a proposal, can I still serve as a reviewer?
Yes! There is a place on the reviewer information Qualtrics Form to indicate that you have submitted a proposal. You will not be assigned your own proposal to review.

What’s involved with reviewing?
Proposals this year consist of a 500-word abstract and, depending on the type of session, an additional 1-3 paragraphs that provide contextual information (~1 page of information). You will have a scoring rubric to evaluate the proposals (for audience, topic, theme connection, Mason-focus, and context) with room for comments/suggestions and assign an overall score. Proposal reviews will be submitted through a Qualtrics Form. Typically, we ask people to review 6-10 proposals, and it takes about 1-2 hours to complete. The more volunteers we have, the less proposals we will ask you to review–so please help spread the word. You will be asked to review no more than 10 proposals.

Note: Proposals will not include identifying presenter information, and proposers will receive your review comments without your name attached (double-blind).

How do I submit my reviews?
You will submit your reviews via our Qualtrics Form. We recommend writing your comments in a Word document and then copying and pasting into the Qualtrics Form.

Can I have more time to do my reviews?
If you find yourself needing more time for completing your reviews, please contact the Stearns Center (stearns@gmu.edu). We may be able to grant an extension of a day or two, but due to the tightness of our notification schedule for presenters, we are unable to grant extensions beyond that.

How are proposals evaluated?
Proposals (presenter information removed) will be reviewed by 3-4 reviewers (Mason instructors, administrative faculty, staff, and/or graduate students, in addition to Stearns Center staff) with attention to the following criteria:

Proposals will be reviewed using the following criteria 

  • AUDIENCE:  The topic is broad enough that folks from other disciplines, modalities (online, hybrid, face-to-face), or levels (graduate vs. undergraduate) will find the broader message helpful.
  • TOPIC: The topic is innovative for teaching and learning; reframes previous techniques/theories in a new or unifying way (such as best/evidence-based practices); or is a topic that is likely of interest of many instructors.
  • MASON FOCUSED: The proposal features resources unique to Mason or aligns with Mason-related signature learning themes (e.g., technology-enhanced teaching and learning, teaching in active learning classrooms, designing for engaged learning, strategies for working with international/multilingual students, inquiry and research-based courses, mentoring/advising, strategies for incorporating mindfulness/well-being into learning, writing across the curriculum, and experiential learning).
  • CONTEXT: Relevant context details are present (type of courses or discipline approach tried in; type of students: undergraduate, graduate, majors, non-majors, etc.; if a resource, indication of location/hours/contacts, etc.) and relevant teaching principles informing activity/strategy are indicated, or informing literature is cited.
  • INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE (For interactive sessions only): Session, as described, will provide an interactive experience for participants with opportunities for participants to have at least two of these active types of interactions: participant-presenter; participant-content; participant-participant. Proposal describes specific activities that will engage participants beyond listening to speaker.

How do I become a reviewer?
We are no longer seeking reviewers. Thank you to the faculty, staff, and graduate students who volunteered to review conference proposals.