Innovative educators are invited to SUBMIT A PROPOSAL to present at the 2018 On Course National Conference. Be part of the excitement of this professional development festival for learner-centered educators! QUESTIONS? Send an email to

Submit your proposal directly from this web page. Simply fill in the form (below) and click the “submit” button.

Deadline for submitting Proposal: October 30, 2017

To read session descriptions from last year’s program, click HERE.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Proposals Committee’s priority is to ensure that the sessions offered are excellent models of learner-centered designs that empower students to become active, responsible and effective learners. The Committee will give the highest consideration to session proposals that include complete Design Outlines and that have been previously presented, assessed, and revised. The Committee seeks session proposals of the following four types:

1) Strategies Sessions: One or more facilitators leading an active learning strategy. (The majority of conference sessions will be of this type.)

In Strategies Sessions, facilitators will lead participants through a learner-centered experience designed to empower students to become active, responsible learners. (Session leaders will not be reading papers or presenting a lecture.) Activities might be creative adaptations of On Course strategies or strategies designed by the presenter to actively engage students in their learning. Sessions may be either 60 or 75 minutes in length (your choice).

Example Titles from Previous Conferences:

  • Cooperative Learning in the College Classroom
  • Promoting Students’ Emotional Effectiveness
  • From Seabiscuit to Dr. Suess: Strategies for At-Risk Students
  • Spreading Creator Talk with Parables
  • STEM Program: Helping Students Achieve Success in Math and Science
  • Student Learning Outcomes for College Success
  • How to Write an Effective Case Study
  • Taking your Course Online
  • The Personal Responsibility Game: Changing Victims into Creators
  • Journaling for Academic Success
  • Overcoming Math Anxiety
  • Teaching Success with Hollywood Movies

Click HERE to read session descriptions from last year’s program!

2) Program Sessions: One presenter, as part of a panel, describing an innovative student success program or initiative.

In these informational sessions, presenters will be allotted 15 minutes to share the experiences and outcomes of an On Course or other learner-centered program or course that has evidence (e.g., data, student testimonials, etc.) of improved student outcomes (e.g., retention, academic success, shift in student attitudes and/or effort, etc.). The Proposal Committee will combine each presenter with one or two others to form a panel. Two-person panels will present in a 60-minute session, with 30 minutes for discussion and Q&A (facilitated by an On Course Ambassador). Three-person panels will present in a 75-minute session, with 30 minutes for discussion and Q&A (facilitated by an On Course Ambassador). Panelists should provide sufficient information that attendees can replicate the program at their campus. Remember to include a learner-centered activity.

Example Titles:

  • On Course with TRIO students
  • First Year Success at Compass College
  • On Course & Learning Communities
  • Getting Students Off Probation and On Course to Graduation
  • Developmental Students: Increasing Retention with On Course
  • Adult Trait Hope Scale: How On Course Affects Students’ Hope
  • Incorporating Service Learning in Your Course or College

Click HERE to read session descriptions from last year’s program

3) Poster Sessions: One or more facilitators explaining the results of a strategy, program, or tool using a visual display.

Poster Session presentations take the form of an exhibit and are delivered primarily through the use of graphs, diagrams, pictures, data, and narrative text displayed on posters. During their assigned time period, participants informally discuss their presentations with conference participants by making brief remarks, sharing information, and answering questions about the presentation topic. Presenters are encouraged to consider including a (very) brief activity that engages the participants. Conference participants are free to move from one presentation to another during the Poster Session. Presenters are encouraged to have ample handout materials available for participants. PLEASE NOTE that electrical outlets will not be available for Poster Sessions. Poster Sessions cannot accommodate equipment other than a presenter-provided, battery-operated laptop and the poster display itself. A table will be provided.

Example Poster Session description:

Ready, Set, Click!

Clickers are designed to elicit student participation in classrooms. This Poster Session, through the use of charts and graphs, demonstrates how clicker questions in a for-credit information literacy course increase student participation and engagement. In addition, the benefits and drawbacks of the personal response systems are displayed and discussed.

4) Special Sessions: One or more facilitators exploring…?

If you have an idea for a special session that doesn’t fit the criteria for a Strategies or Program Session, here’s your opportunity to be creative. Special Sessions may be either 60 or 75 minutes in length (your choice).

Important Dates:

    We will accept submission proposals for the 2018 conference beginning in October, 2017.

  • October 30, 2017: Final deadline for submitting Proposals
  • November 13, 2017: Notification of proposal acceptance
  • November 27, 2017: Presenters must complete their registration for the Conference
  • April 12-14, 2018: The Conference

Proposal Submission Form

IMPORTANT: A few people have reported difficulties submitting proposals through this web page. First, write your proposal as a Word document; then copy/paste your proposal into the form below and submit it directly from this web page. If the message “Thank you for your submission” appears below the submit button, the submission is complete. Some browsers receive an Error message; if that happens to you, email your proposal as a Word document directly to (and accept our apologies for the extra step).

We will send an email confirmation when we receive your proposal. If you do not receive an email confirmation from the conference office within 72 hours, please email us at If you do not receive a confirmation, we cannot guarantee that we have received and reviewed your proposal.

Fill in the spaces below and click the “Submit” button at the bottom.

***IMPORTANT*** For Boxes 1-13, please use your TAB key or MOUSE to move to next box. (Pressing Enter will submit your incomplete form.)

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  7. (valid email required)
  8. The committee will consider innovative new session designs, but will give highest priority to established sessions that have been previously presented, assessed, and revised.
  9. Click HERE to read session summary descriptions from last year's program!
  10. Abstract: Here's where you show the Proposal Committee that your session is a must for the On Course Conference. Remember, we're gathering to exchange best practices that empower students to become active, responsible learners and, ideally, these practices lead to demonstrable improvements in academic success and retention. Whatever else you may offer, please identify as many of the following as possible: 1) the educational issue or problem you're addressing, 2) the educators (e.g., student success instructors, retention specialists, English instructors, etc.) who will want to attend your session, 3) the positive experiences and outcomes your participants will enjoy, and 4) any evidence (data, anecdotes, video interviews, etc.) you will offer to give credence to your strategy and/or program. (400-word maximum)
  11. Outline of Your Design (not needed for Poster Sessions): The Presentation Committee wants to feature Learner-Centered designs with minimal lecture, especially in the Strategies and Special Sessions. Thus, we request that you identify the steps of your design, indicating the approximate time you anticipate for each. Presenters are encouraged to address a variety of preferred ways of learning in their design. Incomplete design submissions will not be accepted for the conference. By way of illustration, for a 60-minute Strategies Session titled "Teaching Success with Hollywood Films," your outline might look like this:
  12. 1. Brief Lecture: Why I use Hollywood films to teach college success. (5 min) 2. Video clip: Show scene from the film “The Edge” in which two characters (played by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin) are stranded in a remote wilderness and are stalked by a bear. Effectively dramatized is how differently the characters take or do not take responsibility for responding effectively to their difficult situation. The Baldwin character responds to the adversity as a passive Victim, while the Hopkins character responds as a pro-active Creator. (10 min) 3. Guided Pair Conversation: Participants pair up and discuss prepared questions designed to draw out the different ways the two characters respond to the adversity (i.e., Victims or Creators). (10 min) 4. Whole-Group Discussion: Draw out the two ways of responding to life’s challenges that are depicted in the film. (15 min) 5. Brief Lecture: Provide examples of student journal entries written after viewing and discussing scenes from “The Edge.” Journal entries show how students applied the "lesson" of the film to their own adversities in college and in life. (10 min) 6. Whole-Group Brainstorm: Ask participants for their examples of other films that could be used to teach college success. (10 min)
  13. IMPORTANT NOTE: The above 60-minute design is predominately learner-centered, containing only 25% lecture. The proposals committee does not schedule sessions that contain more than 20-25% of lecture; lecture includes the presenter speaking, showing PP slides, reading, leading Q/A sessions where learners ask questions of the presenter, and any other activity in which the presenter is actively "professing" rather than guiding an experience in which the attendees are engaged actively in thinking/learning.
  14. Audio/Visual Needs: Check the items you will need. NOTE: A/V is very expensive to provide. Please request only a/v equipment that is essential to your presentation. All sessions will have Internet access provided if requested (presenter and attendees wifi). PowerPoint presentations will require the Presenter to bring a laptop computer. Poster Sessions will NOT be provided with A/V equipment.
  15. COMMITMENT: I understand that the Proposal Committee has a goal to create an extraordinarily valuable learning experience for all participants and that my proposal submission represents a commitment on my part to present at the conference if my proposal is accepted and to participate in the entire conference.

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