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Connect, prepare and adapt: 37th Distance Teaching & Learning Conference focuses on a changing world

Adult woman teleconferences to meet with her colleagues

If a long year of unparalleled times has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected, which is why the University of Wisconsin­–Madison’s 37th Distance Teaching & Learning Conference (DT&L) is focused on the importance of adaptation. This year’s event is fully virtual and takes place August 2–5.

Wendy Fritz, director, Distance Teaching & Learning Conference
Conference director Wendy Fritz says attendees can expect a dynamic virtual experience in 2021.

“DT&L isn’t just a conference,” says Wendy Fritz, UW–Madison director of learning design, development and innovation (LDDI), who serves as the conference director. “It is an invigorating, inspiring and intentionally intimate experience within a community of thought leaders from around the world, willing to connect and share directly with you.”

This year’s conference theme, “What’s Next? Connect, Prepare & Adapt,” will allow attendees to reflect on how COVID-19 shaped distance learning and what the future holds for the field.

“Now that most educational institutions have experienced remote instruction, it’s time to shift from emergency-response mode and take advantage of decades of best practices in the online and blended-learning field,” explains Thomas J. Tobin, LDDI program director at UW–Madison. “The DT&L conference is a one-stop way to go from ‘good enough’ to ‘leading the field’ in distance education.

Where big ideas come to life

The 2021 Distance Teaching & Learning Conference models best practices, tools and cutting-edge learning theory for participants in a variety of sessions. Pre- and post-conference workshops offer opportunities to develop hands-on skills, earn credentials and to learn from inspiring, internationally recognized speakers.

This year’s keynote speakers, Siân Bayne, Jeremy Knox and Maha Bali, will host innovative talks on how to create immersive online experiences that inspire while practicing care, equity and agency.

Opening keynoters Bayne and Knox, both from the University of Edinburgh, are director and co-director, respectively, of the Centre for Research in Digital Education. They will discuss educational technologies and highly engaged teaching based upon their book, The Manifesto for Teaching Online, which promotes opportunities for the academic community to develop a more scholarly approach to studying education, while finding new, engaging methods to teach online.

Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at American University in Cairo, Bali writes about social justice, critical pedagogy and open and online education. Her closing keynote will focus on ways that we can promote a fair, caring environment within the education system.

Four days. One accessible rate

Event organizers wanted to make the 2021 DT&L Conference affordable and accessible to all educators, administrators, instructional designers and those that support them, so this year’s registration rate has dropped from last year to $329 for all attendees. University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty, staff and students with a wisc.edu email address may register at a discounted conference rate of just $99.

Registration opens on Wednesday, April 14. Last year the event was attended by a record-breaking 1,000 attendees from K–12, higher education and workforce organizations around the world.

Join your global colleagues for this year’s inspiring and practical DT&L Conference! To register, see the conference website. To learn more about  courses and custom programming for distance educators, visit this website, call 608-265-2679 or email dtl@dcs.wisc.edu.