AECT Research and Theory Division logo

I wanted to let everyone know (and please share this, too) that I will be hosting a short webinar for folks who are interested in finding out more about submitting a proposal to the Research & Theory Division of AECT.  This webinar is co-sponsored with the AECT Graduate Student Assembly!  The Research & Theory Division curates and promotes the most rigorous research throughout AECT, and we provide an outlet to discuss theory and research methodologies.

This short 30-minute presentation will focus on the four (4) proposal categories Research & Theory are considering as part of our call for proposals, and I will highlight some of the best advice for submitting a proposal.  I will also briefly discuss the new direction for featured research within AECT.  Opportunities to ask questions will certainly be included, and I will hang around for all of the questions.  Here are the details below.

Presenter:  Dr. Michael Grant, RTD Past President and Associate Professor in the Instructional Design & Technology program at the University of Memphis

Date/Time: January 30, 2014 at 1:30 P.M. (EDT)

Topic:  RTD Information Session—Submitting an AECT Conference Proposal to Research & Theory


RTD Webinar Image

As editor of The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, I wanted to give a quick update as to where folks are finding value.  In July 2013, IJPBL had 6349 full-text downloads.  The most popular papers were:

IJPBL is an open access journal focusing on inquiry methods, including problem-based learning, project-based learning, case-based learning, anchored instruction, and inquiry.  Our journal continues to be rigorous with an acceptance rate between 6 t0 16%.

As a reminder, this past spring we began a new section in IJPBL to highlight the implementations of inquiry by individuals, teachers and faculty members, schools, departments, and districts.  These “Voices from the Field” articles focus on implementation, are highly contextualized, and include reflections and lessons learned.  You can see the call for manuscripts at


I just received the announcement and call for proposals for the Midsouth Technology Conference.  It will be December 6-7, 2012, this year and at the Cook Convention Center downtown.  The “Call To Present” will be on the Memphis City Schools website soon (this is the site but it still has the 2011 info), and they would like for you to sign up and register to present at the conference. Once again Memphis City School teachers who present will be provided with a substitute for both days if needed.

As I did last year, I am planning to attend and bring a large number of student presenters with me.  I will again put up a Google Docs document to share with everybody and we can work out what presentations we would like to submit.  Let me know if you would like to be part of the group!

The West Tennessee Technology Symposium is currently accepting proposals for their one-day event.  The information and link to propose is below.  This is an informal event and would be a great setting to sharing some practical tips.  In addition, Dr. Robbie Melton will be keynoting.  I’m thinking about going.  If you would like to go and possibly present, let me know.

When: October 24, 2012
Where: University Boling Center, Watkins Auditorium

The West Tennessee Technology Symposium is West Tennessee’s premier conference on technology in education.  WTTS features speakers from around the region on a variety of topics, all centered around the theme of technology in education.

Dr. Robbie Kendall-Melton is the Associate Vice Chancellor for eLearning and Mobilization for the Tennessee Board of Regents, as well as a full tenured professor at Tennessee State University. Dr. Melton formally served for ten years as the administrator responsible for the development and operation of the Tennessee Board of Regents system-wide Regents Online Campus Collaborative: RODP and ROCE and eight years as Associate Dean of Education: The University of Tennessee at Martin.

We are looking for sessions on any technology topic that would relate to education.  To submit a speaking proposal, click here.  Submissions will be evaluated and chosen based on how well the proposal fits the general theme of technology in education. Speakers will be notified of their proposal status by October 1, 2012.

We hope you’ll make plans to attend. For conference registration and additional information visit

We are looking for enthusiastic AECT members to review exciting proposals submitted to the Research & Theory Division for the 2012 AECT Conference in Louisville, KY.  Reviewers are asked to evaluate approximately four to five 700-1000 word presentation proposals (abstracts).  Proposals typically take about 15 minutes each to review. Doctoral students are welcomed to participate with the oversight and leadership of a faculty advisor.

Please complete this short & simple form to help me collect everyone’s information:

As you may know, the submission deadline for the upcoming convention is March 2, 2012.
We anticipate that “your” proposals will be ready for you to review by March 9th.
You’ll have two weeks to complete your reviews (by/before March 23rd).

Thanks in advance for your help.  Your participation is critical for a successful conference with the best possible RTD sessions!

I look forward to hearing from you soon…

Take care,
:::: Michael M. Grant, Ph.D. ::::
Associate Professor
Instructional Design & Technology
The University of Memphis

AECT Research & Theory Division Chair Elect
& Program Planner

From my Inbox:

This message is to encourage you and your advanced doctoral students to submit a Featured Research proposal for the 2012 AECT International Conference. Below you will find some information about this type of session. Specific guidelines for how to submit an AECT proposal can be found at

As the premier professional organization in instructional design and technology, AECT actively fosters the dissemination of important research findings. In order to encourage a greater number of high-quality research paper presentations at our annual convention, the Research&  Theory Division will feature a small number of research paper sessions. The following describes the nature of a featured research study:

  • A featured research paper must report on a completed research study that has not been published in a journal nor previously presented at a conference.
  • The paper should describe an empirical study that used primarily quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods.
  • In all cases, a study must involve the collection of data. Literature reviews, papers describing theories unaccompanied by supporting data, and other non-data-based papers will not be considered for this type of session.
  • A study must have been conducted and the data analyzed at the time a proposal is submitted.
  • Authors of an accepted featured research paper must submit a full paper (not a slide presentation or outline) to their discussant at least 30 days prior to the start of the conference.

For questions regarding a Featured Research submission, contact James Klein at

Best wishes,

Research Section Editorial Board
Educational Technology Research and Development

You may have just read about the new issue of IJPBL in my previous post.  I just wanted to let everyone know about this new call for manuscript proposals for a special issue of The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning. This special issue will celebrate the work of Howard Barrows, who is widely considered the founding father of problem-based learning.  From the call announcement:

The special issue will include papers that:

  • As a collection, represents the diversity of fields in which PBL is used.
  • Investigate PBL or particular facets of PBL, such as simulated patient assessments, or facilitation, in one of the following ways:
    • theoretical papers (limited number accepted)
    • empirical investigations (defined broadly as quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods)
    • literaturereviews (limited number accepted)

In addition the special issue editors (Andrew Walker, Heather Leary, and Cindy Hmelo-Silver) are interested in representing problem-based learning currently as “PBL is used as a label for a wide variety of interventions (1986). We want to represent that breadth as part of the special issue but want authors to be clear about how their own variations depart from Barrows’ norms.”

The deadlines for the submissions are:

  • Proposal (1000 words) submission deadline: November 1, 2011 (extended from previous announcement of October 1)
  • Full paper invitation notice: December 1, 2011
  • Full papers (3000-5000 words) submission deadline: March 15, 2012

If you are doing research in this area, then I highly encourage you to submit a proposal and review the full call on the IJPBL site at

Another call for proposals from my Inbox. This one is particularly appropriate to many of your works. I hope you’re able to take advantage of it.  If this sounds like something we could do together (and you’re looking for a collaborator) let me know, too. 😉

CALL FOR SPECIAL ISSUE on “Creating, Supporting, Managing, and Sustaining Virtual Learning Communities” ( for the Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL)

Guest Editor
Xun Ge, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Instructional Psychology and Technology
Department of Educational Psychology
The University of Oklahoma
U. S. A.


We are living in an information-rich digital age full of wondrous power, capabilities, and possibilities of emerging technologies. Web 2.0 technologies, characterized by participatory information sharing and collaboration and users generating content and creating knowledge in virtual communities, have opened our eyes to a new open world (Bonk, 2009). Examples of web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, video sharing sites, virtual worlds, and digital object repositories. These emerging technologies have provided us numerous possibilities for learning and instruction and for creating engaging learning environments, optimal learning opportunities, and alternative and innovative instructional experiences for K-12 education, higher education, corporate, government, and military training. The world has entered into what Bonk (2009) describes as “We-All-Learn” trends, which encourage open participation and compel educators to reflect on learning and instruction from a new perspective. Learners are no longer passive information recipients, whose role is to memorize or consume information, but rather active participants, whose role is to direct their own learning, construct and create knowledge, and contribute to a virtual community. In this new paradigm, teachers are guides, coaches, and mentors to facilitate learning.

However, the potentials of the emerging web 2.0 technologies have not been fully recognized and tapped. Often we find online instruction simply duplication of face-to-face lectures, in which situation technology is simply an appendage to education instead of playing a more central and transforming role. Many instructors have not changed their mindset to accommodate the participatory culture and the new paradigm of learning and instruction; and little has been done beyond posting syllabi, assignments, and grading to a learning management system or a web site that is supposed to be used for collaborative learning. It is argued that new technologies not only make us more productive, but also help us become more reflective and creative.  Most importantly, technologies have afforded us with tools to accomplish goals we would have not been able to without them. As early as in the 80s, Pea (1985) argued that technology should be used not only to amplify our thinking but also to reorganize our mental functioning. Therefore, we are prompted to fully take advantage of web 2.0 affordances to develop innovative learning environments and build virtual learning communities that will motivate and engage learners meaningfully and interactively, focusing on developing the 21st century skills that emphasize
innovation, creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking,
decision making, and problem solving.

Yet, using emerging technologies to build a virtual learning community (VLC) is a multifaceted innovation. It not only involves the use of new
technologies, but also new methods of learning and new ways of thinking about learning and instruction. It presents multiple levels of challenges to both learners and instructors. Subsequently, there are numerous issues awaiting to be investigated, examined, studied, and addressed, including learners’ perceptions, motivation and identity when participating in a VLC, strategies and methods of designing, building, managing, supporting, and evaluating a VLC in developing students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity, and teachers’ beliefs about participatory culture of a virtual learning environment.

This special issue of the KM&EL international journal is dedicated to the building of VLCs using emerging technologies. In this special issue, a VLC is defined as both informal, such as one that supports ongoing professional development, and formal, such as one as found in a formal course setting that lasts a semester. In this call, we invite manuscripts that report empirical studies (both quantitative and qualitative methods) of investigating issues and challenges related to the building of a VLC, the use or design of tools to scaffold the growth of a VLC, and methods and efforts to create, build, manage, sustain and evaluate a VLC. In addition, this special issue welcomes manuscripts discussing conceptual frameworks or theoretical constructs related to a VLC.  Recommended topics of interest include, but not limited to:

Impact of a Virtual Learning Community
•       Learners/members’ perceptions and their impact on their participation in a VLC
•       Learners/members’ motivation in a VLC
•       Learners’ identity development in a VLC
•       Teacher or a facilitator’s role in a VLC
•       Role of a VLC on critical thinking and problem solving skill development
•       Impact of peer interactions on metacognition and self-regulation in a VLC
•       VLC and reflective learners

Designing, Scaffolding, and Evaluating a Virtual Learning Community
•       Tools and strategies to build, support, manage, and sustain a VLC
•       Tools and strategies to promote identity development in a VLC
•       Tools and strategies to facilitate peer interactions, collaboration and other VLC activities
•       Tools and strategies to facilitate reflection and self-regulation in a VLC
•       Tools and strategies to support complex problem solving in a VLC
•       Tools and methods to evaluate the effectiveness of a VLC

Conceptual Frameworks or Theoretical Constructs about a Virtual Learning Community
•       Community of learners and practice
•       Community of inquiry
•       Types of communities and their characteristics (e.g., task-based, knowledge-based, and practice-based, etc.)
•       Various constructs and factors influencing the success of a VLC

Bonk, C. J. (2009). The world is open: How Web technology is revolutionizing education. Jossey-Bass.
Pea, R. D.  (1985). Beyond amplification: Using the computer to reorganize mental functioning. Educational Psychologist, 20(4), 167-182.

Important Submission Dates
Submission due: 20th August, 2011
Notification of decision: 20th October, 2011
Finalization: 20th November 2011
Publication schedule: December 2011

Submission Instructions
Manuscripts should be sent by email to the Guest Editor, Dr. Xun Ge (
Papers must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently
be under consideration for publication elsewhere. A standard double-blind
review process will be used for selecting papers to be published in this
special issue. Authors should follow the instructions outlined in the KM&EL
Website (

For more information about the KM&EL, please visit the web site: