Call for Proceedings Papers

ALT-C 2012 – a confrontation with reality. The 2012 conference of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), 11-13 September 2012, Manchester, England

Call and Guidelines for the submission of Proceedings Papers

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(Those papers accepted will be published as a journal supplement to Research in Learning Technology, the Journal of the Association for Learning Technology)

The call for proposals closed at midnight GMT on Monday 12 March 2012.


1 Welcome and introduction
2 The call for proceedings papers
3 Submission deadline
4 Publication
5 About the Conference
6 Examples of submission topics
7 Requirements for proceedings papers
7.1 Structure
7.2 Other requirements
8 Presentation
9 The refereeing, selection, and acceptance process
9.1 Criteria for refereeing and selection
9.2 Review and selection
9.3 Full acceptance
10 Presentation at the conference
11 Outstanding and Best Paper Awards
12 The online submission system
12.1 Information required from submitters
12.2 Tag list
12.3 The submission process
12.4 Queries about the submission process

1 Welcome and introduction

Welcome. Whether you’ve been involved in ALT for years, are new to the learning technology domain, or are an experienced practitioner, supplier, funder, policy maker, researcher, writer, or presenter from other fields, please take the time to review this call and guidelines document. With your help the 2012 ALT Conference can be a truly outstanding, influential, and enjoyable event internationally.

Speaking in June 1962, John F. Kennedy railed against our tendencies to “hold fast to the clichés of our forbears”, “subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations”, and “enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought”. He called for a “new, difficult, but essential confrontation with reality”. See for the full text of the speech. We are again at a time when we need to confront the realities of the current environment in education: the aspirations of students, the resources available and the technology that can be deployed.

ALT, the Conference Co-Chairs, and the ALT-C 2012 Programme Committee call for high quality proposals for inclusion in the ALT-C 2012 programme.

This is the call and guidelines for Proceedings Papers. The call for abstracts for other forms of presentation is here.

2 The call for proceedings papers

As in previous years, we are particularly interested in innovative and creative papers of wide scope, provided that we are convinced that these will be of high quality, and of interest and value to conference delegates.

In line with the themes of the conference title, proposals which describe changes with some aspects of problem solving, mainstreaming, openness and sharing, sustainability and entrepreneurialism are particularly welcome.
We are again seeking a good mix of “research papers”, “thoughtpieces” and “early announcements”.

A “thoughtpiece” could for instance bring together research, practice and/or policy into an overview which gives new insight into an area, (perhaps by confronting the reality of actual learners or actual resources available) or suggests ways in which practice may develop from current work. An early announcement could be of the results part way through a longitudinal study or those of an evaluation which is not yet complete.

All three forms of output (research paper, thoughtpiece, and early announcement) will need to be submitted in a standard form that permits publication.

ALT defines research inclusively; to encompass informed scholarship and critical reflection, as well as empirical and evidence-based study. Therefore, we will welcome proposals which offer: synthesis and re-interpretation of existing research; critiques of developments in practice; theoretical arguments or conceptual frameworks; critical / reflective analysis; innovative research methodologies; and collaborative research studies which cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.

3 Submission deadline

The extended deadline for submissions is midnight GMT on Monday 12 March 2012.

4 Publication

Accepted papers will be available before the conference in the ALT-C Proceedings. This year these will be primarily electronic although some paper copies will be produced, and lodged with the copyright libraries. A separate "long abstract" for the proceedings paper presentation, submitted as metadata, will appear in the online conference handbook. Subsequently the proceedings will become a journal supplement of the ALT Journal Research in Learning Technology.The conference proceedings will be identified by an ISBN and may be hosted in ALT’s Open Access Repository. Individual papers will be allocated a DOI number.

ALT is committed to an open publication model for conference contributions. By submitting a proposal to ALT-C 2012, authors agree that they or their employer retain copyright, but that the abstract if published will be licensed for use with a Creative Commons “Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)” license (see

5 About the Conference

The time, effort and money that learners invest in their education need to be matched by commensurate learning experiences, improved use of technology in learning, and effective methods of delivery, all underpinned by sustainable business models. Here are three of the hard questions that we face, both as institutions and as individuals, each centered on the development of knowledge about technology in learning:

  • How can learning technology better support the core processes of learning, teaching, assessment, recruitment and retention?
  • What will be the place of open educational resources and other kinds of free, shared, low cost or informal support and organisation in good provision?
  • How should we respond to learners themselves, who are increasingly voluble in their desire for value for money and for effective use of technology?

The conference themes will be:

  • Problem solving – finding effective solutions to technical problems, and using learning technology to solve institutional problems;
  • Mainstreaming – applying learning technology on a large scale in pioneering ways that enthuse learners and are welcomed by teachers and administrators;
  • Openness and sharing – methods and frameworks for collaboration and sharing of knowledge and resources between practitioners and between providers, and the evidence to justify this;
  • Sustainability – of technologies, models, and approaches;
  • Entrepreneurialism – moving resources from where they have low yield for learning and for learners to where their yield is higher.

6 Examples of submission topics 

Here is an indicative list of examples of subjects for submission. In all cases we are particularly interested to receive submissions that are international in scope.

  • Critical studies of the technical problems present and future, being faced by institutions and mechanisms for their solution.
  • Papers that identify accurately, by means of user surveys or otherwise, the reality that we need to confront.
  • Thoughtpiece “war wound” stories of the confrontation.
  • Papers that address mechanisms for and efficiencies arising from collaboration and the sharing of aspects of knowledge and/or resources of learning using open systems or otherwise.
  • Papers that address how the various actors (policy makers, learners, practitioners and suppliers) can work realistically together for common benefit.
  • The emerging results from a longitudinal study of the uptake of a learning technology or new pedagogic methodology.
  • Realistic multi year studies looking at the benefits over time of learning technology models or projects thus addressing sustainability.
  • Thoughtpiece papers on technologies that are changing in response to early skirmishes with reality.
  • Papers looking at the “big win” areas – approaches to courses with large numbers.
  • Policy Papers on how institutions will better support learners through changing models to give better return for institutional investment.

7 Requirements for proceedings papers

7.1 Structure

A guide to the structure for research papers appears below. There is also key guidance on language, style and content, in the 2012 Proceedings Paper template at

Because the Proceedings Papers will be published as a journal supplement, the main requirements are those laid out for the submission of Research in Learning Technology journal articles. These are available at

In addition, we will require a “long abstract” summarising the paper in no more than 450 words as part of the metadata. This should cover how the time will be spent in the 20 minute presentation and should be of use to delegates in deciding whether to attend. (The abstract submitted as part of the paper is 200 words).

7.2 Other requirements

The following requirements apply to all proceedings papers:

  • The maximum word count is 5,000 words. This includes everything, from the title to the references. Longer papers will not be reviewed. Shorter papers are encouraged – you should not “write up” to the limit.
  • A list of tags (similar to keywords) is required for each paper submission, see section 12.2.
  • Authors are required to submit an anonymised version of the paper including the references. This is submitted as a file. Only the paper will be used for reviewing purposes. This is a change on previous years’ practice.
  • The anonymised paper should have all author names, institutions and references to the authors’ work removed. This may mean having some references replaced by the phrase “Author’s own work”. Accepted papers will need to be resubmitted in non anonymised form at a later stage.
  • References should follow Harvard Style (parenthetical referencing – see This is a change on previous years’ practice.
  • A 450 word "long abstract" is submitted as part of the metadata. It need not be anonymised.
  • Papers must not have been published elsewhere, in whole or in part.

In addition, ALT:

  • may approach those submitting proceedings papers to seek clarification or request changes so that they better fit the conference programme (this relates particularly to the presentation overview) below);
  • reserves the right to make sense-preserving grammatical edits to accepted papers during the proof-reading and publication process.

8 Presentation

You will have 20-minutes for presentation (which will be followed by 10 minutes for discussion) in a lecture room environment. Time limits will be strictly enforced. You will therefore need to draw out and focus on key areas or points as covered in your long abstract, which will be published in the online conference abstracts handbook. It will not be used to judge the suitability of the proposed paper as a proceedings paper and will not appear in the proceedings and so there is no need for it to be provided in anonymised form. Furthermore it does not count towards the 5000 word overall limit. You should include in your long abstract at least two sentences explaining why the session you propose is important to the field and likely to be of interest to conference participants.

9 The refereeing, selection, and acceptance process

After review (and, possibly, one cycle of change and re-submission) the proceeding editors and the conference Programme Committee select papers for potential inclusion in the conference. After at least one presenter books to attend the conference, the paper is fully accepted for inclusion in the conference programme and publication.  

9.1 Criteria for refereeing and selection

Proceedings papers for presentation at the conference will be refereed according to appropriate criteria drawn from the following.

  • Relevance to the conference title “a confrontation with reality” and/or to one or more of five conference themes.
  • Usefulness to conference participants including those from outside the UK.
  • Contribution to scholarship and research into the integration of learning technologies into education.
  • Reference to the characteristics and needs of learners.
  • Appropriate reflection and evaluation.
  • Clarity and coherence as well as conformance with the requirements and guidelines.

In the above, education is considered broadly and includes formal and informal learning settings in schools, colleges, universities, the workplace, homes and communities, at any stage in learners’ lives, including continuing adult education.

9.2 Review and selection

Anonymised papers will initially be refereed by two anonymous referees, and then the editors of the proceedings (David Hawkridge, Stephen Verjans and Gail Wilson) will work with members of the conference Programme Committee to select papers for the conference.

Some papers may be selected subject to making changes to the paper. The authors will be provided with details of changes required through feedback which should be provided to you by early May 2012. Changes submitted will then be considered by editors in order to assess whether the comments have been addressed satisfactorily. An agreed non anonymised version will then be generated outside the OCS system.

9.3 Full acceptance

After selection for inclusion in the conference, at least one presenter must book to attend the conference. When this booking has been made, the paper will be accepted for the conference.

10 Presentation at the conference

Guidance on presenting will be provided on the conference web site or by email closer to the conference. Please keep ALT updated on any changes to the presenter(s) for an accepted paper via

11 Outstanding and Best Paper Awards

All presented papers will be considered by ALT for an Outstanding Proceedings Paper Award. To receive this award, the judges must all agree with the statement “This paper presents work that strongly advances the field of learning technology”.

If there is no agreement on the words “strongly advances” then the judges may make a Best Paper Award.

12 The online submission system

The online submission system for ALT-C 2012 will be available through the ALT website from mid January 2012.

Anyone submitting a potential contribution to the conference must create an account on the online system. If you are submitting more than one proposal you can use the same account for each submission.

You can change the metadata after submission (long abstract, tags, authors etc.) but not the file itself. If you need to change that you withdraw it and resubmit. To withdraw please email This is a change on previous years' practice.

It follows that you will not be able to "build up" your submission on the OCS site - submission is a "one shot" process and you should keep copies of the paper you have submitted for subsequent resubmissions.

12.1 Information required from submitters

The submission form will require the following information.

  • Title of your proposed paper.
  • The conference theme under which it falls
  • The “long abstract” of up to 450 words – see 7.1 and 8 above.
  • The long abstract should contain some details of the intended audience(s) (e.g. practitioners, institutional managers, international, academic). 
  • Your paper, in anonymised form including references and including a standard 200 word abstract as a file.
  • Name(s) of the author(s) and their affiliations, in the order you wish them to appear in the programme. Note that this year no distinction is made between authors and presenters - any author that subsequently registers to attend the conference will be assumed to be presenting or at least present at the session.
  • A set of tags to help in assigning reviewers, and to help people who are considering attending the session to understand its focus. Please choose these tags carefully before you start the submission process, and read carefully the tag specification in section 12.2.
  • Note that the OCS system allows word limits to be exceeded on input. However longer papers or abstracts will be rejected subsequently as part of the review process. The onus is on you.

12.2 Tag list

Please give the tags associated with your submission carefully. These will be used to allocate appropriate reviewers and, if your paper is accepted, to help us group papers suitably into sessions, and to supply information to conference participants.

You can chose any tags that you wish but you may find that the inclusion of some from the lists below will enable easier and more relevant assignment of both reviewers and session and make it more likely that you will attract a reasonable audience.

Your tag list must be in this format.

  • Tags are separated by a semi-colon and start with a small (lower case) letter.
  • Tags which are constructed from multiple words are elided with second, third, etc word initially capitalized, with a similar treatment for numbers, for example: learnerExperience or web2.0.
  • The plural form is used for tags describing physical objects, for example: tabletPCs or eBooks.
  • The singular form is used for concepts and approaches, for example: costBenefit or socialConstructivism or learnerExperience.
  • Acronyms that normally appear in capitals are retained as such, possibly pluralised. Only common acronyms can be used, for example: LT or VLEs or JISC or CPD.

Possible tags to include that could help demonstrate alignment with the themes are – this list is not exhaustive:

confrontingReality; problemSolving; effectiveness; effectiveSolutions; addressingInstitutionalProblems; largeScaleLT; mainstreaming; pioneeringUses; enthusingLearners; savingMoney; helpingAdministrators; sustainability; sustainableModels; sustainableApproaches; sustainableTechnologies; entrepreneurialism; futureproofing; shiftingResources; highReturns; openness; sharingKnowledge; sharingResources; scalability; longTermValue; international; ALT; CMALT; movingLearners; systemWideImprovements; efficiency; yield; returnOnInvestment

Other common tags could include – this list is even less exhaustive:

ethics; evaluation; evidence; learnerVoice; immersiveLearning; disciplineBased; VLEs; CPD; OER; training; experience; futureLibraries; web2.0; learningDesign; methodology; research; initiativeResults; ethnographic; languages; technology; informalLearning; transfer; savings; quality; benefits; repositories; openSource; privateProviders; enterpriseArchitecture; uptake; caseStudy; tools; preservation; digitization; DFE; BIS; JISC; national FundingBodies; lifeWithoutBECTA; LSIS; learningObjects; MOOC; reusability; HEARs; transcripts; recordingAchievement; assessment; NSS; impact; mobileDevices; peerSupport; support; mentoring; staffDevelopment; socialNetworking; podcasting; evaluation; onlineTutoring; onlineCommunities; learningPlatforms; handheldDevices; learnerAcceptance; schools; FE; workBasedLearning; distanceLearning; openAccess; openContent; OER; openEducationalPractices; onLineLearning; simplification; selfDirectedLearning; cloudServices; fees

12.3 The submission process

This year we are using a new system – OCS, provided by the Public Knowledge Project at Simon Fraser University in Canada. We intend there to be all the help on the system that you will need.

The system will be open until the deadline of midnight GMT on 12 March 2011. Thereafter you are “frozen out” from the system until the reviewing is complete. If you are subsequently asked to change things then the same interface may be used or it may be taken outside the system.

Should you wish to resubmit your paper you need to withdraw the previous submission and resubmit. This is a change on previous years’ practice.

12.4 Queries about the submission process

If you have any other queries about the submission process or you want to withdraw from the process please contact a conference administrator at:

Last updated 13/03/2012

© The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) – – but licensed under a Creative Commons “Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)” license (see