Call for Research Papers

altc2013 - Building new cultures of learning. The 2013 conference of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), 10-12 September 2013, Nottingham, England

Call and Guidelines for the submission of research papers

The call for proposals closed at midnight GMT on Sunday 10 March 2013.

Track the progress of your submission using Open Conference Systems.


1 Introduction
2 The call for research papers
3 Publication
4 Requirements for research papers
5 Presentation
6 The refereeing, selection, and acceptance process
6.1 Criteria for refereeing and selection
6.2 Review and selection
7 At the conference
8 Outstanding and Best Paper Awards
9 The online submission system
9.1 Information required from submitters
9.2 Tag list
9.3 The submission process

1 Introduction

Everybody learns, but the ways in which we learn are changing rapidly. The 20th annual conference of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) sets out to explore and contribute to building new cultures of learning. From learning tailored to the requirements of one individual to courses educating tens of thousands, the conference will examine evolving learning cultures. The five themes are:

  • It’s all about the learner: the role of student pioneers, learners as change agents, partnerships with learners, learners in control, learner contracts, everybody is a learner, lifelong learning journeys;
  • Making technological innovation work: pedagogic strategies for using technology effectively, the importance of technological developments for strategy, institutional practice, the importance of senior management, learning from techies;
  • Big data: making sense of big data, student analytics, big research, can we predict the future?
  • In the Open: Open Educational Resources, Open Access research and publishing, MOOCs;
  • Global learning cultures: crowd-sourcing, collaboration, global competition, educational policy and politics, new educational powers in the global market

This document is the call and guidelines for research papers which are submitted in full with a view to being published as part of the proceedings of the conference. The call for non-research abstracts is here.

2 The call for research papers

We encourage submission from researchers from all sectors in particular from research workers in Further and Higher Education, industry, government and lifelong learning.

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

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. We are seeking a good mix of “research papers” and “thoughtpieces”. A “thoughtpiece” could for instance bring together research with practice and/or policy into an overview giving insight into an area or suggesting ways whereby practice may develop from current work.

3 Publication

Accepted papers will be published in a Special Issue of Research in Learning Technology (RLT), as the Proceedings of the ALT annual conference 2013. Research in Learning Technology is an Open Access Journal.  By submitting a proposal to altc2013, 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 In case the licences are updated before publication, the most recent equivalent will be used.

The special issue will be published online and in print in September 2013 in time for the conference. The proceedings will be edited by David Hawkridge, Steven Verjans and Gail Wilson.

ALT is committed to an open publication model for conference contributions.

4 Requirements for research papers

Because research papers will be published as a special issue of RLT, the author guidelines are those laid out for the submission of Research in Learning Technology journal articles. These are available at There is also a template for research papers at

In addition to the full paper, we will require an “extended abstract” summarising the paper in no more than 500 words as part of the metadata required as part of the submission process. This should cover how time will be spent in the 20 minutes (of a total 30 min) allowed for presentation and should be of use to delegates in deciding whether to attend. (The abstract submitted as part of the paper is 200 words). It will be published as part of the abstracts handbook.

The following requirements apply to all research 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 9.2.
  • 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. 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 System (parenthetical referencing – see
  • A 500 word “extended 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.
  • ALT may approach those submitting research papers to seek clarification or request changes so that they better fit the conference programme (this relates particularly to the presentation overview below) and ALT also reserves the right to make sense-preserving grammatical edits to accepted papers during the proof-reading and publication process.

5 Presentation

You will have up to 20-minutes for presentation (which will be followed by at least 10 minutes for discussion) in a classroom 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 research paper and will not appear in the proceedings and so there is therefore no need for it to be provided in anonymised form. 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.

6 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.

6.1 Criteria for refereeing and selection

Research papers for presentation at the conference will be refereed according to:

  • Relevance to the conference title “Building new cultures of learning” and 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.
  • Appropriate reflection and evaluation
  • Clarity and coherence and conformance to guidelines.

Here 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.

6.2 Review and selection

Anonymised papers will initially be refereed by two anonymous referees, and then the editors of the proceedings 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. Changes submitted will then be considered by editors in order to assess whether the comments have been addressed satisfactorily. A non anonymised version will then be generated.

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.

7 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

8 Outstanding and Best Paper Awards

All presented research papers will be considered by ALT for an Outstanding Research 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.

9 The online submission system

ALT uses the Open Conference System (OCS).

Anyone submitting a potential contribution to the conference must create an account on the online system. If you have submitted a proposal in 2012, you will be able to use the same account.

If you need to rework a submission before the deadline you will be able to do this by logging in, accessing the submission and amending the meta data or uploading a new file.  Withdrawal is done by emailing

9.1 Information required from submitters

The submission form will require the following information.

  • Title of your proposed paper.
  • The conference theme (track) under which it falls.
  • The “extended abstract” of up to 500 words – see 4 and 5 above.
  • The extended 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 there is no distinction made between authors and presenters – any author signing up to attend the conference will be assumed to be presenting or at least present at the session.
  • A set of tags (similar to keywords) 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 9.2.

9.2 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 choose 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 spaces and start with a small (lower case) letter.
  • Tags which are constructed from multiple words are elided with second, third, etc word initially capitalised, 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:

largeScaleLT,  enthusingLearners, openness, ALT, CMALT, studentPioneers, learningCulture, learnersInControl, changeAgents, learnerCentred, partnershipsWithLearners, pedagogicStrategy, institutionalPractice, bigData, studentAnalytics, bigResearch, predictingTheFuture, openAccess, openPublishing, OERStrategies, crowdSourcing, PFCulture, MOOCs, globalMarkets, differentiatingCultures,  politicsOfEducation,evolvingCulture,

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, language, technology, informalLearning, transfer, saving, quality, benefits, repositories, openSource, privateProviders, uptake, caseStudy, tools, preservation, digitization, DFE, BIS, teachingFellows, national FundingBodies, LSIS, learningObjects, OObjects, reusability, HEARs, KIS, transcripts, recordingAchievement, assessment, NSS, impact, mobileDevices, peerSupport, support, mentoring, staffDevelopment, socialNetworking, podcasting, evaluation, onlineTutoring, onlineCommunities, learningPlatforms, handheldDevices, learnerAcceptance, schools, FE, workBasedLearning, distanceLearning, openAccess, openContent, openEducationalPractice, onLineLearning, simplification, selfDirectedLearning, cloudServices, fees       

9.3 The submission process

After the submission deadline of midnight GMT on 10 March 2013 you will be “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.

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 20/2/2013

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