Hybridity Plan

ISLS 2024 Annual Meeting online participation plan

We recognize that in today’s world, technology is changing conferences, and that many people have come to depend on virtual or hybrid forms of exchange to be able to participate in professional events, especially international events.

Our philosophy is to treat this year’s online strategy as one attempt to iterate towards hybrid engagement in the future. We recognize that a fully hyflex format (one in which all participation is supported in either face-to-face or online modalities with the freedom to switch between them seamlessly) is beyond our grasp and might not even achieve our goals of having the most productive, meaningful, and inclusive professional meeting. Indeed, attempts to use technology to include some audiences may unintentionally exclude others. In addition, a well executed but modest strategy is likely to produce more progress than something more ambitious and more untried. Therefore, ISLS 2024 will have a core emphasis on the in-person meeting experience, but will also undertake a multi-pronged approach of setting up systems for using online participation to support equitable inclusion, and modest experimentation with hybrid formats. Special attention will be paid to learning from our experiences, in conjunction with the Hybrid Engagement Committee of ISLS.

Experimental online formats

Hybrid symposium track

We invite proposals for hybrid sessions which take up an entire program timeslot (i.e., symposia or other similar formats, rather than individual papers). These sessions will be “born hybrid” with proposers selecting the hybrid track and describing their aims and strategies for hybrid engagement. The sessions would be reviewed holistically for both content and format. Excellent proposals with a clear value-added from online hybridity will be prioritized over proposals in which the online component does not intrinsically add value. Inclusion of targeted audiences might be one such value-add; another might be novel CSCL approaches to conference formats. Technology needs must be specified during submission (we anticipate providing a baseline of computer projection, two-way sound, and a room camera or cameras); human facilitation should be specified and staffed by submitters. In addition to the requirements for the traditional symposia (see above), submitters need to describe their aims and strategies for hybrid engagement in their proposals in one additional page (this format page will not be included in the published proceedings).

Hybrid symposia will be scheduled earlier in the day, US Eastern time, to facilitate participation across time zones, unless otherwise explicitly requested in the proposal format description.

Keynote recordings

Keynotes will be recorded for time-limited asynchronous streaming. The ISLS Hybrid Engagement Committee will be announcing opportunities for shared engagement with these recordings.

Ad-hoc online experimentation

As a field with substantial experience with online knowledge building activities, ISLS annual meeting attendees may wish to experiment with online engagement beyond the in-person experience. Presenters who wish to enhance their in-person sessions with ad hoc online experimentation should coordinate with their session chairs, once assigned. Session chairs will be provided with detailed descriptions of technology available in their assigned rooms, and rules and best practices to ensure a safe annual meeting experience (e.g., avoiding zoombombing, ensuring adherence to the meeting code of conduct, etc.).

Online participation via individual accommodations

The annual meeting aims to be inclusive through the use of technology where warranted by people with particular needs, whether related to disability, visa eligibility, or other specific and individual challenges that prevent participation. Online participation, of course, will be only one way to provide accommodations for inclusion; other ways might include assistive technology, funds from the ISLS hardship committee, or non-technological accommodations. This accommodations approach is intended be responsive and tailored, rather than attempting to be monolithic and all-encompassing. In the absence of participation in the hybrid track or requesting and receiving online accommodation, presenters are required to attend in person to have their presentation included in the proceedings.

Presenters who can not attend the annual meeting in person for one of the listed reasons below can submit to ANY track of the annual meeting and request individual accommodations to allow participation.

Reasons for accommodation

Accommodations will be available due to:

  • illness/disability
  • caregiving responsibilities
  • travel restrictions (e.g., inability to get a US visa)
  • last minute emergencies (e.g., flights cancelled due to weather, family emergencies)
  • other similar unavoidable hardships or restrictions

Accommodations may be available where they would enhance inclusion at the meeting for other reasons, subject to timeline, resources, and facilities. Personal preference or convenience is not sufficient justification for presenting online in lieu of in-person. Financial limitations preventing participation will be referred to the ISLS Hardship Committee.

Types of accommodation

As stated above, accommodation through online participation is only one approach at our disposal. The local organizers are committed to doing the best possible to mitigate barriers to participation within the limits of time, resources, and facilities. Which options are possible will depend on how much advance notice is provided. For example, a last-minute request for accommodation due to illness preventing travel may not allow sufficient time to ensure the scheduled presentation room is set up for live online interaction, and might require showing a prerecorded video of the presenter, where advance notice might have allowed for interactive online webconferencing.

The inclusion of a presenter with online participation as an accommodation does not mean the session is now hybrid for all participants. Where presenters and session chairs wish, such sessions may invite broader online participation as part of the ad-hoc online experimentation process, but this is not required.

Requesting accommodation

Individuals who know they need accommodation (whether remote participation or in-person supports) are encouraged to identify that need at the time of submission as this will allow the best possible response. Requesting accommodation will not influence the review process. While the local organizing committee will avoid requesting intrusive documentation, participants requesting accommodation will have to share enough information to help the organizers negotiate a reasonable accommodation including the broad category of their reason for the request. Requests for accommodation related to health status or disability that the local organizers can not address alone and which fall under the US legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act may be referred to the University at Buffalo’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for further engagement if needed.

To request accommodation at the time of proposal submission follow the link provided in the easychair submission system. If the need for accommodation arises after proposal submission, a separate request form will be set up for requesting accommodation post-submission. If you need accommodation to utilize the submission system (e.g., if you have an accessibility issue with easychair), please email [email protected].

Submitters who request accommodation will be contacted when the final acceptance decisions are being made to discuss the plan to accommodate their needs. If you need to discuss your request for accommodation with the organizers prior to that time, please email [email protected].

Online participation for non-presenting attendees

Further details on online participation options for non-presenting attendees, including the process for requesting accommodations for online attendance, will be posted when registration opens.