ITL Session Formats and Criteria


Session Formats

Please tailor your proposal to match one of the following session formats:

Stearns Center Showcase 

New! Nominate yourself (or a colleague) to be an Invited Speaker in one of the new Stearns Center Showcase Sessions 

Each of these 90-minute interactive Stearns Center Showcase sessions have a session convener who will organize and lead the session that runs via Zoom during the conference week. The session convener will coordinate the invited speakers/panelists like yourself, who will start the session by sharing a few brief remarks or a lightning talk presentation (no longer than 5 minutes for each panelist/speaker).  Then the session will shift into a roundtable discussion guided by the convener, polls/chat-based activities, a breakout group activity, or some combination of activities.  Invited speakers are expected to prepare a few brief remarks and interact with participants throughout the session activities.  Conveners will reach out to selected speakers with more session specifics.   

Showcase Session Topics Include:  

  • 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)

Note: You do NOT need to prepare a formal title/abstract to nominate yourself (or a colleague) as a speaker/panelist. Instead, we ask you to provide a few sentences about why you want to speak in the session (or why you think your colleague would be great to speak in the session) and what you plan to share to benefit instructors across disciplines (or what your colleague might share).  However, if selected, you are encouraged and welcomed to later submit supplementary materials (e.g., syllabi, assignment directions, grading rubrics, activity description, list of top ten tips) to be published in the conference proceedings.  

REMINDER: The content of these sessions will be assigned a direct internet link (DOI) and be publicly available through the ITL Conference Proceedings (ITLCP) electronic journal under the Creative Commons-BY Attribute 4.0 license. This allows your work to live on beyond the conference and be accessible to viewers around the world. Last year, the ITLCP journal had over 40,000 unique viewers. Please note: it is the author(s) responsibility to ensure that any content included in the submission follows all copyright laws. If you have questions related to copyright, please contact Mason Publishing Group at publish@gmu.edu.


On Demand 

These sessions are designed to be a stand-alone online collection, however, On Demand presenters have the option to participate in one of facilitated “live” On Demand Presenter Q&A Zoom sessions during the conference. There is an opportunity to indicate your preference on this form. (We’re also exploring tools for asynchronous Q&A between presenters and participants.) 

On Demand Session Types:

· Teaching & Learning Artifact- with own reflective notes about how/why it work. (assignment, syllabus, activity 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) 

How will I interact with conference participants? You can choose to publish your work only in the On Demand format or choose to also participate in a facilitated On Demand Presenter Q&A Zoom session during the conference week.  We are also exploring some technology options for asynchronous Q&A tools.

Why are we offering On Demand sessions? One of the goals of the On Demand session format is to foster inclusive excellence–through increasing conference attendee access to presenter ideas by making a selection of presentations/annotated materials available to attendees at a time that works for their unique schedule.  NOTE: The content of these sessions will be publicly available through the ITL Conference Proceedings electronic journal under the Creative Commons-BY Attribute 4.0 license.

REMINDER: The content of these sessions will be assigned a direct internet link (DOI) and be publicly available through the ITL Conference Proceedings (ITLCP) electronic journal under the Creative Commons-BY Attribute 4.0 license. This allows your work to live on beyond the conference and be accessible to viewers around the world. Last year, the ITLCP journal had over 40,000 unique viewers. Please note: it is the author(s) responsibility to ensure that any content included in the submission follows all copyright laws. If you have questions related to copyright, please contact Mason Publishing Group at publish@gmu.edu.

For traditional video submissions: We encourage you to use Zoom to record your presentation (if you use some other video recording system, please ensure that your final file format is mp4).  

What to include in the video presentation: You may record with or without a video featuring the presenter’s image, but please introduce yourself and any co-presenters (name, affiliation—Mason and department, position title), the session title, and include any references/resources you would like to share with the audience to view in conjunction with your recording.  Presentations should not exceed allotted session time (5-15-minutes- recommended time for On Demand sessions)—please contact us if you need to request additional time length.   

You are not limited to a video—please feel free to also submit any supplementary materials with your recorded presentation (handouts, weblinks, etc.).   

Proposals for this type of session include: session title (10 words max), context (1-2 sentences describing the teaching/learning challenge or issue addressed), detailed content summary for reviewers (500 words max), content summary for program (2-3 sentences), key takeaways for faculty from a range of disciplines (1-2 sentences), and brief description/citations of teaching principles or literature that inform your session. 


Interactive Sessions (Workshops, Panels/Roundtables, or Lightning Talk Showcases) 

We want these live sessions (via Zoom) to be interactive experiences in which participants have opportunities to connect meaningfully with the content you are sharing, with the presenters, and/or with each other—feeling comfortable to share their teaching-related experiences or try out new ideas or tools without the additional stress of being recorded.   If you are interested in leading an interactive session, but are looking for ideas on how to make it interactive, please reach out to the 2021 Conference Director (llukes@gmu.edu) to discuss your ideas before submitting.  Note: We ask the presenters of selected sessions attend a 1-hour Presenter Preparation Session spring semester or in August/September. 

Interactive Session Types:

  • PANEL / ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION (40 or 90 minutes)
    These Zoom meeting sessions are synchronous, yet interactive, conversational spaces centered on a specific topic in which the participant reflection and conversation is facilitated by the presenter-moderator. The discussion could be kicked off by an individual or a panel of selected speakers posing questions, giving their brief opening remarks on the subject, or sharing how they manage a particular aspect of their teaching practice. Think of these as open dialogue strategy-sharing sessions. NOTE: If you would like to propose a lightning talk/roundtable session with a confirmed lightning-talk presenter line-up, this would be the session type you would select. If you have an idea for a roundtable but would like help recruiting diverse participants, the Stearns Center may be able to assist you. 
  • MINI WORKSHOP (40 or 90 minutes)
    These Zoom meeting sessions are synchronous presenter-led opportunities for faculty to create materialsbrainstorm ideas, or practice specific tools/techniques. The presenter or presenter team provides a brief pedagogy explanation or example/ case study and follows with a presenter-facilitated opportunity for attendees to practice an approach and/or create a product or example they could use in their own courses. Proposals that include more involved topic demonstrations (e.g., role-playing scenarios, curricula development) would also be appropriate for this type of session. Frequent, meaningful interaction with the audience and/or between participants is expected for these sessions; participants should leave with a plan for how to implement new ideas into their own teaching. 

You are encouraged and welcomed to later submit supplementary materials or a 1-page summary of presentation to be published in the conference proceedings.  

REMINDER: The content of these sessions will be assigned a direct internet link (DOI) and be publicly available through the ITL Conference Proceedings (ITLCP) electronic journal under the Creative Commons-BY Attribute 4.0 license. This allows your work to live on beyond the conference and be accessible to viewers around the world. Last year, the ITLCP journal had over 40,000 unique viewers. Please note: it is the author(s) responsibility to ensure that any content included in the submission follows all copyright laws. If you have questions related to copyright, please contact Mason Publishing Group at publish@gmu.edu.


Additional information about On Demand and Synchronous session preparation is available on the Presenters Page. 

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.