General Information

Organizational News

The annual conference of the International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning is scheduled for October 15-17, 2015, in Savannah, GA. The Call for Proposals is currently available. ISETL encourages college and university faculty and practitioners from all disciplines to develop, study, and apply learner-centered principles of teaching, learning, and assessment in innovative, yet effective and practical ways. ISETL conferences provide a professional forum for those who have something to share, and the informal and interactive nature of the presentations makes learners and teachers of us all.

Significance of the ISETL Logo

The ISETL tree has taken several forms over the years. The original tree design was commissioned in the late 1970's at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It was a somewhat gnarled but leafy tree which bore fruit resembling apples. When ISETL began purchasing conference bags in the 1990's, a more stylized tree with an umbrella-like shape was selected to grace the bags. The most recent tree appears on the ISETL polo shirts and is a cross between the fruit-bearing tree and the umbrella-shaped tree. All three trees continue to be fitting in that they bear metaphoric meanings related to ISETL: ISETL members are dedicated to the fruition of knowledge, and we enjoy an umbrella of warmth and camaraderie within the society.

A Brief History of ISETL

In 1970, the International Audio-Tutorial Congress (IATC) was born with Sam Postlethwait as the first president. Over the ensuing thirty-three years, the name of the organization has changed several times, from the International Congress for Individualized Instruction (ICII), to the International Society for Individualized Instruction (ISII), to the International Society for Exploring Teaching Alternatives (ISETA), to its present International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning (ISETL). Concurrently, there emerged other organizations which were also dedicated to improving the teaching and learning process. The most widely known of these organizations, whose names represent the teaching methodology advocated by its members, are Guided Design (GD), the Personal System of Instruction (PSI), and Computer-Assisted instruction (CAI). Although GD operated in conjunction with ICII/ISII, PSI and CAI evolved more independently.

In retrospect, the Tenth Annual Conference of ICII at the University of Windsor, Canada in 1980 was a milestone in the history of the Society. At the conference, the creators of Guided Design (Wales), PSI (Keller), and Audio-Tutorial Instruction (Postlethwait) gathered to participate in a special Honors Symposium at which they decided to merge their organizations into one. In 1982, ICII was renamed ISII to reflect this on-going collaboration which was now more than just a coming together at the annual conference. Past Presidents of ISII -- Wales, Wold, Marlin, and Klopfenstein -- adopted the name ISETA. In 1984, George Semb, the acting President of ISII, emphasized the computer as a central theme within the organization. Thus the last decades have witnessed the evolution of a number of media-oriented interest groups into our single society, which continues to grow and act as a valuable resource for educators who want to improve the teaching and learning process.

Throughout the years, the Conference Proceedings have documented the direction of the organization. ISETL members, as educational reformers, continue to do research on topics relevant to instructional design, instructional technology, and instructional strategies. ISETL members also examine issues such as active learning strategies, the teaching of large classes, distance learning, the relationship between society and technology, team-teaching, teaching evaluations, teaching related to promotion and tenure, economic constraints at learning institutions, the optimal use of evolving technologies, the development of process skills, and the reassessment of standards in education. Our broadening base will endure continued progress and will act as an incentive to attract new members to the Society. (Joseph E. J. Habowsky)

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