ISLS Annual Meeting

In 2018, the ISLS Board approved holding a single Annual Meeting. An ad-hoc committee was subsequently appointed by the Executive Committee to develop a structure for this new annual meeting. The ad-hoc committee drew on the efforts of numerous ISLS members (including the CSCL community Committee, ISLS Conference Committee, ISLS Board members, and past CSCL and ICLS conference organizers) who over the course of the past two years have considered how to move the Society toward an annual meeting. That process resulted in the structure of the new ISLS Annual Meeting described here. The new “Annual Meeting of the International Society of the Learning Sciences” will feature concurrent LS and CSCL programs in a joint, annual event.

The first ISLS Annual Meeting under this new structure will take place in 2021.

Structure of the new ISLS Annual Meeting

1. Conference organization

The ISLS Annual Meeting will be jointly organized by an ISLS-approved Professional Conference Organizer (PCO) and the local academic organizers and will be overseen by the ISLS Conference Committee and the ISLS Board. The Annual Meeting will have two parallel programs, each reflecting the distinctive characteristics of the types of work that have traditionally been in the programs of CSCL and ICLS. Each of these CSCL and LS programs will have their own program chairs, program committees, and published proceedings. The two program chairs are expected to collaborate closely to ensure the quality of the joint meeting. Members of other key conference committees (e.g., doctoral consortium, pre-conference workshops, advisory committee, etc.) should be decided by the annual meeting organizers but should aim for representation across the CSCL and LS communities.

2. Conference finances

In the past, local organizing institutions have assumed fiscal management of ISLS conferences, with some financial aspects being handled by the Society (e.g., membership, doctoral and early career consortium support), while local organizers have managed conference registration revenues. The Society will directly assume financial responsibilities for all aspects of the annual meeting. The Society will secure the services of a PCO to manage organization and logistics, paid by the Society. Conference registration revenues will come directly to the Society. Fiscal management of each conference will be handled by a team comprised of a) a member of the ISLS Conference Committee; b) a representative of the PCO; c) local annual meeting chairs; and d) the ISLS treasurer. The ISLS Board will oversee general aspects of the fiscal management of the annual meeting.

3. Theme of the Annual Meeting & Call for Proposals

Annual meetings will be organized under one joint theme for both the CSCL and LS programs. There will be one call for proposals, which will announce the annual meeting and invite submissions to the two programs.

4. Proposal submissions

The Annual Meeting will be comprised of two parallel tracks, CSCL and LS. Most submissions must be submitted to one, and only one, of these two programs. This includes short and full papers, symposia, and posters.

Some submissions will be considered joint submissions, with broad appeal to the membership. These include the doctoral consortium, the early career workshop, and other Society sponsored pre-conference events, reviewed pre-conference workshops, tutorials, and other session types as may be designated by specific annual meeting organizers. These joint events will promote interaction and engagement among all participants of the annual meeting, regardless of program.

Submissions to the Annual Meeting will use the web-based conference submission system approved by the ISLS Board (currently Precision Conference System). The general process for submitting to the Annual Meeting is expected to remain similar to current practices. Ideally, there will be one shared keyword list, with the understanding that some keywords will be more relevant for one or the other program.

5. Reviewing process

Annual Meeting submissions will be reviewed much as they are now, except that there will be some coordination between program chairs to organize a balanced overall meeting program.

In order to construct the two program committees from the pool of program committee members:

  • Each reviewer fills out the same keywords/expertise form and indicates how many submissions for each program they are willing to review.
  • Reviewers can choose to be members of both program committees.
  • Each program committee member will be a member of each program committee for which they agree to review at least one paper.

In order to construct the pool of papers to be reviewed by each program committee:

  • Submissions will be marked with the program to which they are submitted and associated keywords. Submissions will be assigned to reviewers based on keywords and reviewer commitments.
  • The system should show all proposals a reviewer is assigned to for both programs. The program chairs will ensure they do not exceed the number of papers each reviewer has committed to review for their program.

6. Acceptance rates, room scheduling and allocation

Even though a conference’s acceptance rate is important on its own, it also affects room scheduling, especially when resources are tight. The ISLS Annual Meeting should aim for acceptance rates that are similar to the historical trends; final acceptance rates should be coordinated between the program chairs and the Society to ensure quality standards and to ascertain that there is sufficient room allocation for each of the Annual Meeting programs. Each program should record separate acceptance rates, which are then reported to the Society and included in the respective proceedings.

The proportion of session slots allocated to each program should be proportional to the number of submissions received by each one. Since symposia are equivalent to a session with 4-5 papers, they should be weighted appropriately, to ensure that sufficient space is reserved in a fair manner.

After the review process is completed, the program chairs decide on the allocation of rooms for each program, as well as for joint sessions. Sessions of each program can be scheduled at the same time as joint sessions, but competition between sessions within the same program should be minimized wherever possible.

Sessions may have papers from both programs together, but each paper will be marked to indicate the program to which it was submitted. In some cases, it may make conceptual sense for papers that were submitted to different programs to be in the same session. The organization of the papers within sessions and sessions themselves is the purview of the program chairs, who are expected to confer regarding the assignment of papers to sessions.

7. Proceedings

Proceedings will be published in three volumes: one for CSCL, one for LS, and a third for all other joint activities. The CSCL and LS volumes should clearly indicate the name of each program, along with the ISLS logo and other imprint. A different ISBN number will be assigned to each volume.

The program chairs will keep records of the submissions to their respective program, and the acceptance rates, to be published separately for each program.

8. Registration

Members will register for the Annual Meeting, not for a particular program. All registrants will have access to all scheduled events and sessions across both programs, regardless of which program in which they may be presenting. (Events with additional fees, such as pre-conference workshops or banquets, of course are open only to paying participants, as happens now.)

9. Pre-conference workshops

The Society will continue to sponsor the pre-conference Doctoral Consortium, Early Career Workshop, and Mid-Career Workshop. These will draw participants and mentors from both CSCL and LS programs. Applicants will be asked to indicate CSCL or LS upon submission to ensure balanced representation of the membership.

Other pre-conference workshops will be solicited and reviewed by a single workshop committee for each annual meeting, as happens now with Society sponsored conferences. Pre-conference workshops may be solicited with either CSCL or LS focus, and workshop selection will consider a balance between these foci.

10. Keynote speakers

The ISLS Annual Meeting will have three keynote speakers. Program chairs will coordinate to select one keynote of primary interest to CSCL, one of primary interest to LS, and one of broad appeal across both programs. Existing criteria applied to ensure diversity in keynote speakers will continue to be used (gender, geographic region, discipline, etc.).

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