Proposal Formats: Interactive Symposium

An interactive symposium is an integrated session that features interaction between and among a panel of presenters and the audience to advance knowledge of a particular research problem. Rather than present the results of a series of discrete research studies (as in a topical paper session), participants in an interactive symposium session should draw from their research-based expertise to engage in interactive dialogue that advances session attendees’ knowledge of:

  • How to best address a particular research problem;

  • An emerging issue in a specific area of research, policy, or practice; or

  • An emerging educational theory or research methodology.

The names and backgrounds of presenters should be included in the proposal. A typical interactive symposium session might begin with brief presentations from the panelists (or interactive Q&A between the moderator and panelists) about the session’s research problem, followed by ample time for discussion among the panelists and between the panelists and other session attendees. The proposal should identify and designate a session moderator.

Proposals for interactive symposium sessions should describe as many of the following as are applicable, preferably in this order:

  • Objectives of the session;

  • Importance of the theme or topic to ASHE members;

  • Backgrounds of the presenters as related to the session’s research problem;

  • Expertise or perspective that each presenter will contribute; and

  • Structure and format of the session, including the designation of a moderator and strategies to facilitate audience discussion.

Interactive symposium session proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Contribution to knowledge (that is, the extent to which the session addresses an important problem and gap in current knowledge);

  • Originality;

  • Clarity of focus;

  • Integration and coherence of panelists’ perspectives as a group;

  • Range of knowledge and/or points of view represented by panelists;

  • Strategies for involving audience in the discussion and promoting interactive; and

  • Intentional facilitation of learning among participants.


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