Virtual Congresses

About this Event

The 1st Hispanic Virtual Congress on “Blending Technology, Cultural Diversity and Distance Learning in Hispanic Higher Education” is an initiative of the Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System (HETS), together with and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). Other organizations collaborating with this activity are WCET, CONAHEC and CREAD.
This Virtual Congress will foster and support an open online discussion about issues and best practices of information technology and distance/online learning as these relate to Hispanic higher education, cross cultural communication and cultural diversity. The wide spectrum of organizations supporting this event anticipates a great diversity of participants from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, and the United States.
Participants will be able to submit proposals and deliver presentations in either English or Spanish through the Virtual Congress platform of This environment should facilitate a greater acceptance and use of technologically mediated communications to network people across distances and overcome geographical and time limitations for meeting face-to-face. Presenters will help generate asynchronous discussions through electronic forums, thus contributing to create knowledge about pertinent issues that can lead to setting up a research agenda about information technology, online learning and cultural diversity as they relate to insuring the success of Hispanics/Latinos and other minority sectors in higher education.
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Objectives of the Virtual Congress
  • Discuss the emerging trends in information technology, distance learning, and online pedagogy as ways to increase the access, retention, and academic success of Hispanics to higher education and training opportunities in order to meet the challenges of diversity, equality, and excellence in higher education.
  • Identify best practices and exemplary distance learning initiatives that are benefiting college students, particularly in Hispanic-serving institutions.
  • Expand and strengthen networking and communication among diverse academic communities to facilitate greater collaboration for research and innovative projects that can better serve Hispanic/Latinos through technology and distance learning.
  • Secure and classify the proceedings of the event (papers, presentations and forum discussions) in an electronic archive to make them accessible on a permanent basis through the web to other members of the academic community worldwide.
  • Outreach representatives from the larger and diverse academic, public and business communities interested in sharing theoretical perspectives, lessons learned, best practices and expertise about distance learning, technology and cultural diversity.
Key Note Speaker
October 19, 2005 – Opening of the Hispanic Virtual Congress
Sally M. Johnstone is the executive director of WCET, the Cooperative advancing effective use of technology in higher education. WCET is part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) in the U.S.A. Internationally recognized, Dr. Johnstone´s special areas of expertise include: the effects of the integration of technology on higher education institutions and system organizations, collaborations, quality assurance issues, project development and evaluation, international projects, open educational resources, and generally supporting WCET members in the planning for and implementation of eLearning.
October 26, 2005
José Silvio, teaches and coordinates doctoral dissertations in the Educational Technology and Distance Learning program, of the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at NOVA Southeastern University. A long standing international consultant in distance education and e-learning, Dr. Silvio served, until recently, as the General Program Coordinator for UNESCO?s International Institute of Higher Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, hosted in Caracas, Venezuela. He retired from UNESCO´s Headquarters in France after many years of international work in the areas of educational research and educational policy and planning. He was also a professor and researcher at the Central University of Venezuela in the areas of management of academic telecommunications networks and the utilization of information and communications technologies in higher education. Author of the book The Virtualization of the University: How to Transform Higher Education with Technology, published in Spanish by UNESCO, Dr. Silvio is also editor of three other books: Virtual Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean; Quality, Technology and Globalization in Higher Education; and A New Way to Communicate Knowledge, all published by UNESCO.
Central Theme & Topics
Over 1.9 million students were studying online in the fall of 2003 in the United States, and overall, many colleges and universities expect online enrollment growth to accelerate. Higher education institutions now consider that “online learning is critical to their long-term strategy”. (See Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004, Sloan Consortium.) Challenges and opportunities for expanding asynchronous online learning networks in higher education will require academic and industry sectors to deal with crucial factors related to cross cultural communication, language, and overall diversity.
The 1st Hispanic Virtual Congress on “Blending Technology, Cultural Diversity and Distance Learning for Hispanic Higher Education” will offer participants the opportunity to discuss the role of information and communications technology, and distance learning for advancing the success of Hispanic higher education in the 21st century. The following topics (with examples) are suggested to guide proposals and presentations.
Topic 1: Online Teaching and Learning
  • Providing faculty development programs that emphasize instructional design, online teaching, and student learning assessment with cultural awareness.
  • Addressing differences in learning styles and cross-cultural communications issues for the diverse students.
  • Applying constructivist teaching approaches to online learning.
  • Creating a development team (faculty, instructional designers, assessment experts, technologists) that works together and shares responsibility for creating online courses and programs.
Topic 2: Quality and Assessment
  • Using information technology to enhance academic success of Hispanic and other culturally diverse learners.
  • Employing student assessment models that transcend cultural and online boundaries.
  • Appropriateness of online assessment strategies for culturally diverse students.
Topic 3: Support Services for Distant/ Online Learners
  • Designing effective online support services that address the cultural diversity of distance students.
  • Creating new services that assist Hispanic and other diverse learners in successfully making the transition to online learning.
  • Forging virtual learning communities with culturally diverse students.
  • Identifying new populations of Spanish-speaking students who can be served by online learning.
Topic 4: Infrastructure and emerging technologies
  • Building the necessary capacity for Hispanic-serving institutions to serve their online student population.
Topic 5: Institutional challenges, and policy issues and collaboration initiatives
  • Forming consortial and inter-institutional initiatives to expand access and improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of offerings at partnering institutions.
Who should participate
Faculty, researchers, administrators, graduate students, and industry persons involved in any of the following areas are welcomed to participate in this Virtual Congress:
  • Higher education management and Institutional change
  • Distance learning, e-learning, online teaching, instructional design
  • Information and telecommunications technology
  • Online learning communities
  • Inter-institutional and academic collaboration
  • Hispanic leadership development
  • Training and development
  • Cultural diversity and bilingual issues
  • English for non-native speakers
  • Minority educational affairs
  • Corporate diversity groups
How to Participate and Submit Proposals
Prior to submitting a paper or presentation, participants will be required to submit a proposal to a Selection Committee for evaluation and acceptance. All proposals should be submitted through the Virtual Congress website starting on May 23 and until June 30, 2005. Proposals can be presented either in English or Spanish. Language of the proposed paper or presentation should be the same as the one used for submitting the proposal. Participants may present research papers, case studies, best practices, and projects reviews related to the main theme and the related topics of the Virtual Congress. The following information is required to submit a proposal:
  • A short working title
  • The selected topic
  • An abstract of 300 words about the research paper or project to be presented during the Virtual Congress, including the strategy to interact online with attendees (e.g. guiding questions, chat, discussion forum).
  • A brief statement of the presenter´s academic and professional background as it relates to the topic, as well as the presenter´s contacting data (phone number, mailing address, and e-mail), and language of the presentation.
Submit your proposal online as early as possible to increase its chances of being accepted. The Selection Committee will review and approve proposals electronically. You will receive a notification via email from the Committee accepting or declining your proposal. If your proposal is accepted, you will receive instructions on how you should proceed to uploading your final paper or presentation, and information related to the activities of the Congress´ proceedings.
Selected presentations will be posted in the Virtual Congress and will be available for online, asynchronous discussions by registered participants through October 19 to 31, 2005. The Virtual Congress will be open through this period to ensure that attendees have ample opportunity to see all the presentations, ask questions, obtain answers, and network with others anytime during this period.
Invited keynote speakers or panels may have an additional synchronous component, such as a PowerPoint presentation with a moderator, audio for voice, and a live chat for questions. Archives of the Virtual Congress will stay public after the conference presentations to provide others permanent access to conference papers and presentations, discussion topics and other information as a contribution to research and academic projects.
Register today at
Due dates:
Call for Proposal Abstracts:
May 23 – June 30,2005
Evaluation of Proposals:
May 23 – July 31, 2005
Notification of Selected Proposals:
July 15, 2005
Full Proposal Submission:
October 1, 2005
Call for Registration:
August 15 – October 18, 2005
1st Hispanic Virtual Congress
October 19 – 31,2005
Deadline for Registration:
October 30, 2005
Although English will be the main language of the Congress, participants are welcomed to submit proposals, papers and presentations in English or Spanish. Attendees will be able to access and read all the selected presentations, regardless of their language, and to interact with any presenter depending on their language proficiency and/or preference.
All interested speakers and attendees are required to register online as SPEAKER or ATTENDEE. Registration will be available starting on August 15, 2005 from the webpage of the Virtual Congress.
Registration is free of charge.
Register today at
About this Event
Key Note Speaker
Central Theme & Topics
Who Should Participate
How to Participate and Submit Proposals
Call for Proposals
View the CFP
(PDF, 45KB)
Call for Proposals
Your expertise is strongly required
Now available in Spanish
Time is running out…
Queda poco tiempo…
Hispanic Heritage Month
Mes de la herencia hispana
Hispanic Heritage Month (2)
Mes de la herencia hispana(2)
Master Lecture by Sally Johnstone – Save the date
Conferencia Magistral por Sally Johnstone – reserve la fecha
Conferencia Magistral por Jose Silvio – reserve la fecha
Thank you for your participation – Gracias por su participación
Partners & Collaborators
Press Kit (Zip, 310KB)

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