More Than a Degree:
Merging the Classroom
and the Real World

Proposal Deadline: June 30, 2020 

Call for Proposals

TLC 2020 engages in the ongoing discussion of the value of traditional liberal arts versus career-focused curricula: Must education in the 21st century take an either/or approach to what will prepare students to be ethical and productive contributors to society?


The conference will investigate how merging the learning experience with real-world professional issues can address this question. To create interdisciplinary dialogues that result in actionable ideas, TLC 2020 invites focused proposals to participate in the following panel tracks and for individual presentations on key themes in online higher education.

ePosters - November 2, 2020

Live Event - November 3 - 5, 2020

Call for Proposals Open

Please use this form to submit your proposal. Deadline is June 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm.

Panel Tracks


Fostering Professional Self-Advocacy: How to Help Students Communicate Soft and Hard Skills to Employers  

Students acquire skills throughout their academic careers; they do not become official only after graduation. Especially for students who go to school while working, knowing how to articulate their skills as they’re gaining them is critical to their ability to build their careers. What theories, programs, or tactics – both in and out of the college classroom – help students communicate their academic and professional growth in real time to prospective employers?


Key Themes: Innovation in the Classroom; Student Services, Policies, and Support; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Multidisciplinary Research; Career Competencies/NACE Competencies

Overcoming Psychological Barriers: Preparing students for face-to-face professional interactions after online learning

Online education has the capacity to break down geographic, demographic, and cultural barriers by offering a venue for collegial communication among diverse students, faculty, and staff. However, breaking down the psychological barrier that stems from students’ acclimation to written internet communication over face-to-face interactions remains a challenge. How can online educators ensure that students are prepared for and comfortable with the verbal and non-verbal nuances of in-person professional exchanges? How can classroom technology productively model face-to-face scenarios like interviews and presentations?


Key Themes: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Innovation in the Classroom; Student Services, Policies, and Support; Multidisciplinary Research; Career Competencies/NACE Competencies   


Beyond the Discussion Forum: Giving the modern student timeless communication skills

Through innovations in learning management systems, discussion forums easily connect students to course material, to their faculty, and to each other. But, in an environment dominated by brief communication through tools that are reminiscent of social media, giving students opportunities to refine fundamental communication skills – like articulating clear, organized, and well-supported arguments – is a challenge. How can online educators, regardless of the assignment or modality, foster the communication practices that remain critical to engaging with people professionally and ethically?

Key Themes: Institutional Strategy; Innovation in the Classroom; Student Services, Policies, and Support; Student Assessment; Multidisciplinary Research; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Course Design with Career in Mind: Building career competencies into coursework and course materials

Students with jobs, dependents, military obligations, financial and health challenges, etc., often can take courses only intermittently. How can institutions offer these students useful and marketable skills with each course they take, so that they achieve ongoing tangible professional growth no matter the time to degree completion?


Key Themes: Institutional Strategy; Innovation in the Classroom; Student Services, Policies, and Support; Student Assessment; Multidisciplinary Research; Career Competencies/NACE Competencies


From Theory to Practice: Helping faculty incorporate career readiness into any classroom

The old saying that “those who can’t do, teach” couldn’t be further from the truth now, especially as students seek professors’ guidance based on experience and content expertise. Still, for many scholar-educators, the transition between the theoretical world of research to the practical needs of the classroom is daunting. What faculty development approaches ease the transition to help faculty create balanced learning environments that bridge content expertise to real life experience?


Key Themes: Institutional Strategy; Innovation in the Classroom; Faculty Development; Multidisciplinary Research


The Resilient Professor: Approaches to overcoming online teaching burnout

Reflected in the very nature of the TLC 2020 theme, online faculty wear many hats for their students: scholar, professional mentor, administrative guide, counselor. The pressure of fulfilling these roles can lead to teaching burnout. What tools and strategies allow online faculty to work with students efficiently so that they have sufficient time for self-care? What faculty self-care practices, in turn, allow them to better support their students?

Key Themes: Institutional Strategy; Innovation in the Classroom; Faculty Development; Multidisciplinary Research; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Offering More Than a Degree: The future of higher-ed distance learning in a changing world

Political, environmental, and economic crises have always shaped the way the world learns because they redefine societies’ priorities and the nature of their resources. Distance education is capable not only of adapting to but also of leading these changes, evidenced in the mass shift to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst political, environmental, and economic unpredictability, what will be the priorities of higher-ed distance learning in the future? What will distance learning resources look like? How will these elements, in turn, reshape the world?

Key Themes: Institutional Strategy; Innovation in the Classroom; Multidisciplinary Research; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Important Dates

  • June 30: Proposal deadline

  • July 30: Invitations to presenters

  • August 15: Deadline for presenters to accept invitations

  • September 15: Schedule is published

  • October 20: Presentation outlines due to chairs

  • November 2: ePosters launch

  • November 3-5: Live conference

Downloadable Proposal Form

For your convenience in planning your proposal, please click on the button download a PDF of the proposal submission form. Note that you will need to complete the web version of this form for your actual proposal submission.

Evaluation Rubric

To aid presenters in crafting their proposals, we have included access to the evaluation rubric.

Contact Us

Do you have questions about the theme, tracks, or delivery options for this year's TLC? Send us an email!.

Delivery Options

The TLC 2020 steering committee will review all proposals and offer invitations to those whose content and engagement strategies are most applicable to the conference's aims.

Panel Track (Two 30-minute live presentations)

Panel track participants will share their own work pertaining to their panel topics in a 30-minute individual live presentation. Then, they will return to contribute to a 30-minute chair-moderated discussion with their fellow panelists. Panels allow participants to engage with other thought leaders in interdisciplinary dialogues toward actionable ideas.

Individual Live Presentation (30 minutes)

Live presentations are opportunities to share topics of interest, lessons learned, foresight, or evidence of impact related to one of the key themes in online education. Maximum of four presenters.

ePoster (Maximum 10 minutes)

The ePoster format provides presenters the option to examine an issue through informal, brief presentations of effective practices, research findings, or technical solutions. Presenters will prepare a prerecorded presentation on their topics not to exceed 10 minutes in length. The pre-recorded ePoster will be due October 3, 2020. Maximum of two presenters.

Interactive Workshop (30 minutes)

Interactive workshops offer audiences deeper examinations of teaching and learning best practices. In workshops, audiences and presenters work together by practicing new tools and discussing approaches to challenges they face in their fields. Maximum of three presenters.


TLC Steering Committee

TLC is planned and organized by passionate educators and higher education professionals. Thank you to this year's steering committee!