“Inclusivity, Accessibility, Community: Teaching Business Communication Online”

deadline for submissions: 
March 7, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
The Modern Language Association and The Association for Business Communication
contact email: 


“Inclusivity, Accessibility, Community:

Teaching Business Communication Online”


Conference: Modern Language Association Convention

Location: Seattle, Washington

Dates: 09–12 January 2020

Full name of organization: Association for Business Communication

Contact email: wbrown@midland.edu 

Due date for abstracts: 07 March 2019

Call for papers/abstracts: A recent report by the National Center for Educational Statistics notes the increasing prevalence of online classes in higher education:

Approximately 49 percent of the 1.4 million students enrolled at for-profit institutions were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses, as were 18 percent of the 4.1 million students enrolled at nonprofit institutions and 11 percent of the 14.7 million students enrolled at public institutions. (Ginder, Kelly-Reid, & Mann, 2017, p. 4; see also p. 9)

Business, professional, and technical communication programs reflect these increasing numbers of online education offerings. For instance, between 11 percent (Meloncon qtd. in Virtue, 2017, p. 217) and 15 percent (Meloncon 2017, p. 256) of professional and technical communication programs are offered completely online. Recent issues of Business and Professional Communication Quarterly have discussed the importance of student engagement in online settings (see Cummings, 2016; and Virtue, 2017). Technical Communication Quarterly also recently devoted an entire special issue to "Online Teaching and Learning in Technical Communication" (Hewett & Bourelle, 2017).

This year's MLA panel sponsored by the Association for Business Communication seeks to further these conversations on distance learning.  The MLA Liaison Committee requests proposals for papers on "Inclusivity, Accessibility, Community: Teaching Business Communication Online." Topics include but are not limited to proposals on the following issues related to business/professional/technical communication (BPTC):

  • accessibility, inclusion, and diversity in online BPTC courses
  • promoting a sense of community in the online BPTC courses
  • academic freedom in online BPTC teaching
  • innovative practices in teaching BPTC online
  • plagiarism-proofing online BPTC courses
  • social media and online BPTC courses
  • service learning in online BPTC courses
  • competence and retention of skills and knowledge in online BPTC courses
  • controversies in online BPTC teaching

Submission: Submit a 300-word abstract, including references, for a 15-minute presentation to William Christopher Brown at wbrown@midland.edu by 07 March 2019.  Selections will be made through blind review. All identifying information should be removed from submissions. 

Required memberships: To participate in this panel, all participants must be members of both the Association for Business Communication and the Modern Language Association by 07 April 2019.


Ginder, S.A., Kelly-Reid, J.E., and Mann, F.B. (2017). Enrollment and employees in postsecondary institutions, Fall 2016; and financial statistics and academic libraries, fiscal year 2016: First look (provisional data) (NCES 2018-002). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.

Hewett, B.L., & Bourelle, T. (Eds.). (2017). Special issue: Online teaching and learning in technical communication: Continuing the conversation. Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(3), 217-359. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2017.1339531

Meloncon, L. (2017). Contingent faculty, online writing instruction, and professional development in technical and professional communication. Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(3), 256-272. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2017.1339489

Virtue, D. (2017). Increasing student interaction in technical writing courses in online environments. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 80(2), 217-235. https://doi.org/10.1177/2329490617689880