Call for Abstracts open

Call for abstracts

The theme of ODLAA’s 2019 conference is Open Thinking, reflecting on the growing area of interest, research and practice in recent years that has centred on the concept of ‘openness’. Openness in education has emerged in the context of Open Educational Resources (OERs), Open Universities, Open MOOCs, Open Badging and more, all of which have been previously explored by ODLAA through presentations or publications.

Our theme of Open Thinking is therefore intended to allow reflection on the learnings to date around the concept of openness and its application to education – from the specifics of pedagogy through to wider philosophical considerations regarding the industry and the impact of openness. What has been achieved so far and what does this indicate for the future possibilities of openness? Has openness been disruptive, or does it remain a pipe-dream yet to be fully embraced? Are the ground rules changing for education or does the concept of openness exist within a niche area of education with application for some and not others?

This conference will explore these questions under the broader topic of Open Thinking. Open thinking enables us to go beyond discussing programs and strategies, to asking the bigger question: what if we could do things better or differently in education? This theme will also allow for the consideration of the benefits of Open Thinking from other contexts of openness beyond education (crowd-sourcing, food rescue, social enterprise). What could education learn from these contexts, or how could they be applied?


Sub-themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • the strengths and weaknesses of being open (research and evidence-based examples)
  • the multiple contexts of openness and open thinking
  • openness for education in a changing world and society
  • openness as disruption
  • open thinking as a wicked problem
  • open thinking strategies in education
  • open thinking for inclusion (diversity/accessibility)

Submission Options

To ensure a diverse and engaging conference experience we provide a range of submission options. All submissions will be peer-reviewed. Abstracts of accepted submissions of all types will be included in the conference program.

Full paper

A full paper can be research/evidence based, theoretically driven, or a significant literature review related to any of the conference sub themes.

Authors of accepted full papers are also invited to submit their paper for inclusion in a peer-review process for consideration for publication in the Distance Education Journal.

All full papers presented at the conference will be entered for the Best Papers Award, which will be presented at the conference. This award is for a paper that represents significant and innovative piece of work in research, development, or practice related to any of the main conference sub themes.

Length of presentation session: 20 minutes presentation and 10 minutes questions/discussion

Speed Session

A speed session allows you to present a short, concise session which highlights one idea or strategy or tool.

Length of presentation session: 10 minutes presentation and 5 minutes questions/discussion


Workshops are intended to be lengthier sessions that are hands-on and interactive. Workshops are likely to be held on Sunday afternoon 3 February 2018 but may be able to be accommodated during the 2 day conference event.

Length of presentation session: 2 1/2 hours (longer workshop proposals will also be considered)

Showcase of innovation, practice or policy

This option allows presenters to engage delegates in an interactive session which showcases innovative practice or policy.

Length of presentation session: 1 hour (including interaction)


This submission type allows presenters to present research/practice in visual form. Posters will be displayed in a prominent place, and a dedicated time for poster presenters to discuss their work will be included in the program.

Posters should be sized AO, or A1; have a minimum of 18 point font size for body text; include images where possible to illustrate key ideas.

For technologically enhanced poster presentations, you will need to bring your own display device.

Submission requirements

Abstracts for all submission types should be 500–750 words in length.

The call for abstracts is now open.

Submissions should be original, and comply with usual copyright requirements. Submitted abstracts will be peer-reviewed by the conference review panel and notifications to authors of successful submissions will take place during November 2018.

Submissions are accepted on the basis that at least one presenter must register and attend the conference. Early bird registration (by 23rd December 2018) is recommended for presenters and ensures the presentation is included in the conference program.

Accepted authors will have the opportunity to submit full papers for consideration for publication in a special edition of Distance Education, vol. 1, 2020. These submissions will be due after the conference, by the end of May 2019.

Summary of key dates:

Call for Abstracts Close: 22 October 2018 (extended to end November 2018)
Author Notifications: November 2018
Early Bird Registration Closes: 23 December 2018
Presenter Registration Deadline: 14  January 2019