Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning
AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATION
Special Interest Group:
Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning (ARVEL)
NAME OF THE SIG
The name of this Special Interest Group (“SIG”) is the Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning (ARVEL) SIG, (hereinafter, the “SIG”).
AFFILIATION OF THE SIG
The SIG is a Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (hereinafter, “AERA” or “Association”) established to facilitate the formation of research specialties of an intra- or cross-divisional nature and to increase the exchange of knowledge within research arenas of special interest, and for other purposes in keeping with achieving the mission and objectives of the Association.
GOVERNING AUTHORITY OF THE SIG
The SIG shall be governed by the Association’s Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and policies, as periodically amended. The Bylaws, decisions and actions of the SIG shall not conflict with the Association’s Bylaws and policies, including the SIG Handbook and all guidelines, procedures and policies associated with the Association’s Annual Meeting and its program.
PURPOSES OF THE ARVEL SIG.
The purpose of the SIG is to develop a robust community of educators, scholars, and practitioners dedicated toward research within and regarding immersive virtual learning environments. Using a variety of research methods we support a diverse approach to understanding the optimal use of virtual worlds and environments for educational purposes. We're interested in developing a comprehensive research agenda, intended to encompass the breadth and scope of learning potentialities, affordances, challenges, and shortcomings of immersive virtual learning environments.
MEMBERSHIP IN THE SIG
Section 1. Eligibility. Membership in the SIG shall be open to any AERA member who supports the purposes of the SIG and who pays the specified SIG dues and all additional fees required of SIG members by the Association.
Section 2. Joining the SIG. AERA members shall join the SIG by paying SIG dues and Association fees through the AERA Central Office using the appropriate AERA print or electronic form.
Section 3. Members in Good Standing. SIG members are considered ‘in good standing’ immediately upon the recording of their dues paid in full by the AERA Central Office.
Section 4. Length of Membership in the SIG. The length of membership in the SIG shall be from the date membership dues are recorded by Central Office to the end of the AERA membership year as established by the Association. AERA members may join the SIG at any time, but SIG membership expires simultaneously with AERA membership.
Section 5. Voting Rights. All SIG members in good standing, with fully paid SIG dues, shall be entitled to vote for SIG officers and on any other matter where a vote is required or taken.
Section 1. Required Officers. The SIG shall have a Chair and Secretary/Treasurer who shall be elected and shall serve as the two required officers. The SIG shall have six (6) other full officers that its members from time to time chose to designate. One (1) honorary ex officio position is extended to the immediate Past Chair, though he/she is without the power of a vote on matters decided by the Executive Committee.
Section 2. Other Officers. The other officers of this SIG shall be Chair-elect, Program Chair, Associate Program Chair, Awards Officer, Publications Officer, and Communications Officer.
Section 3. Eligibility to Hold Office. All members in good standing of both AERA and the SIG and who are not restricted from holding a particular office due to requirements in the Association’s or the SIG’s Bylaws and policies shall be eligible to run as candidates for election or to be appointed as officers and for any office within the SIG.
Section 4. Length of Term of Office. The terms of office for all officers shall be two years. SIG officers elected to Chair-elect will serve one year in that role prior to assuming the position of Chair for two years, followed by a year spent in the position of Immediate Past Chair. SIG members selected by the Executive Committee to serve in the role of Associate Program Chair will serve one year in that role and the successive two years in the role of Program Chair. The term of each officer shall begin the day following the close of the AERA Annual Meeting and end on the last day of the AERA Annual Meeting appropriate to their term.
Section 5. Eligibility to Succeed to the Same Office for Consecutive Terms. Elected individuals shall not be eligible to be nominated and to succeed themselves to the same office for consecutive terms.
Section 6. Automatic Succession of Offices. There shall be an automatic succession of the following offices, from Chair to Immediate Past Chair in that order so that the person elected as Chair shall automatically assume the office of Immediate Past Chair following the completion of two terms as Chair; from Chair-elect to Chair, in that order, so that the person elected as Chair-elect shall automatically assume the office of Chair following the completion of one term as Chair-elect; and from Associate Program Chair to Program Chair, in that order such that the person elected as Associate Program Chair shall automatically assume the office of Program Chair following the completion of one term as Associate Program Chair.
Section 7. Limit to Length of Service in One Office. No person may serve in the same officer position for more than three consecutive years. The Chair of the SIG shall be charged with ensuring that this requirement is met.
Section 8. Officers as Members of AERA for Entire Term. All individuals serving as officers of the SIG shall be members of AERA during their entire term of office.
Section 9. Vacancies. Whenever any elected office is vacated for any reason before the term of that officer has been completed, the Chair shall on advice from the Executive Committee appoint a replacement until new elections are held. This replacement shall assume the full duties and responsibilities of that office immediately upon appointment. In the case of the Chair position being vacant, the Executive Committee shall by majority vote elect an individual to complete the term of the Chair.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE OFFICERS
Section 1. Chair. The Chair shall be responsible for the general administration of the SIG, for ensuring that the SIG Bylaws are followed, and shall act as liaison between the SIG and AERA and the SIG and the SIG Executive Committee. The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee and at the Annual Business Meeting. The Chair shall act as parliamentarian or shall appoint a SIG member to serve in that role for each meeting. The Chair shall appoint ad hoc committees as needed. Unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws, the Chair of the SIG shall appoint persons to assist officers, to chair committees or to carry out other work of the SIG.
Section 2. Chair-elect. The Chair-elect shall assist the Chair to frame, prepare for and conduct affairs for the SIG, compiling and disseminating official SIG information by email or via the SIG’s website at least twice a year. The Chair-elect shall be also be responsible for developing and conducting the occasional survey to query membership about matters of importance determined by the SIG Executive Committee.
Section 3. Immediate Past Chair. The Immediate Past Chair shall be an honorary ex officio (non-voting) member of the ARVEL SIG Executive Committee. The SIG Past Chair may be called upon for matters of advice and commentary when needed. The Past Chair shall preside over the Nominations Committee for the SIG each year, as appropriate.
Section 4. Secretary/Treasurer. The Secretary/Treasurer shall be responsible for managing and reporting on the financial accounts of the SIG, for assisting the SIG Chair to create a budget for the SIG, and for the safe keeping of all financial documents of the SIG. He/she will also be responsible for taking minutes for all meetings and disseminating those to the SIG Executive Committee in a timely fashion. The Secretary/Treasurer is responsible for contributing to and maintaining a historical record of SIG activities to be handed down from Secretary/Treasurer to the succeeding Secretary/Treasurer and made available upon request in full within one week to any member of the Executive Committee for review.
Section 5. Program Chair. The Program Chair shall be responsible for soliciting competitive proposals and reviewers for ARVEL presentation slots, coordinating their review/ranking by all members of the SIG ARVEL Executive Committee, and notifying competitors of the final disposition of each proposal. The Program Chair shall also be responsible (along with the Associate Program Chair) for suggesting modifications to presentation times/allocations based upon quality and quantity of proposals received.
Section 6. Associate Program Chair. The Associate Program Chair shall assist the Program Chair to develop the annual AERA program as appropriate. The Associate Program Chair shall also be responsible for polling the membership regarding most appropriate uses of SIG presentation slots (invited speakers vs. competitive submissions, etc.). The SIG Executive Committee shall appoint volunteering SIG members to the role of Associate Program Chair at the Annual Business Meeting, as appropriate.
Section 7. Awards Officer. The Awards Officer shall be responsible for ARVEL SIG’s annual awards program. The Awards Officer will work with the Executive Committee to refine the selection criteria for each year's SIG award consistent with the annual theme and within the AERA guidelines. Upon approval by the SIG Chair and Program Chair, the Awards Officer will post the annual Awards Guidelines to the SIG website and embed it within the respective SIG “Call for Proposals” and other communications as necessary. The Awards Officer will also notify the authors of the top-ranked submitted papers that they are eligible to compete for the respective annual award. Only papers completed by a reasonable date decided upon by the Awards Committee facilitated by the Awards Officer may be considered for these awards. He/she shall organize a second peer-review of the top-ranked papers and notify the ARVEL SIG Executive Committee of the results. The ARVEL Awards Officer shall also put out a call to the SIG membership for nominations for the Outstanding Contributions Award. The SIG Executive Committee shall appoint volunteering SIG members to the role of Awards Officer at the Annual Business Meeting, as appropriate.
Section 8. Communications Officer. The Communications Officer will advocate for the SIG by identifying and stewarding official SIG related communications via listservs, email, websites, virtual worlds platforms, and other channels. The Communications Officer will also be responsible for developing capacity for the SIG's representation in virtual environment platforms, as approved by the Executive Committee – with occasional input from the membership. The SIG Executive Committee shall appoint volunteering SIG members to the role of Communications Officer at the Annual Business Meeting, as appropriate.
Section 9. Publications Officer. The Publications Officer will work directly with the Communications Officer and the Program Chair to focus on describing and coordinating the vetting, publication, and quality of SIG-related research represented within and across the variety of SIG Media (e.g. newsletters, websites, special issues of journals, and in-game presentations). The Publications Officer will manages the ARVEL SIG Editorial Board, comprising members of the ARVEL SIG membership – which may include Executive Officers, should they wish.
OTHER LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
Section 1. Non-Officer Leadership Positions. The SIG may from time to time establish important leadership positions that are not officers of the SIG.
Section 2. Titles of Non-Officer Leadership Positions. The SIG shall appoint or elect individuals to the following non-officer leadership positions to carry out leadership or task assignments of the SIG for the benefit of the SIG:
Nominations Committee Member, Special Projects Committee Member
Section 2a. The current qualifications, eligibility requirements, duties, responsibilities, term limits, and manner and timing of appointment or election for each non-officer leadership position shall be posted on the SIG’s website and shall not violate these Bylaws or those of the Association.
Section 2b. Individuals serving in non-officer leadership positions may not serve, make motions or vote on the Executive Committee, although they may, from time to time and at the discretion of the Chair, be invited to participate and provide reports to the Executive Committee.
Section 3. Eligibility. All members in good standing of both AERA and the SIG and who are not restricted from holding a particular non-officer leadership position due to requirements in the Association’s or the SIG’s Bylaws and policies shall be eligible to run as candidates for election or appointment to any non-officer leadership position within the SIG.
Section 4. Length of Term for These Leadership Positions. The term of each non-officer leadership position, whether stated herein or on the SIG website, shall be for one year. The term of each non-officer shall begin the day following the close of the AERA Annual Meeting.
Section 5. Eligibility to Succeed to the Same Non-Officer Position for Consecutive Terms. Individuals shall be eligible to be appointed or nominated and to succeed themselves, if elected, to the same non-officer leadership position for consecutive terms.
Section 6. Limit of Length of Term in the Same Non-Officer Position. No person may serve in the same non-officer position for more than three consecutive years. The Chair of the SIG shall be charged with ensuring that this requirement is met.
Section 7. Non-Officers as Members of AERA for Entire Term. All individuals serving in non-officer positions of the SIG shall be members of AERA during their entire term of office.
Section 8. Vacancies. Whenever any non-officer position is vacated for any reason before the term has been completed, the Chair shall appoint a replacement until the date of the next elections or appointment cycle for that position. This replacement shall assume the full duties and responsibilities of that position immediately upon appointment.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF NON-OFFICERS LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
Section 1. Nominations Committee Member. The Nominations Committee Member shall work with the current Past Chair, who is the Chair of the Nominations Committee, to select at least two (2) members of the SIG in good standing for each available elected position within the SIG for the forthcoming year.
Section 2. Special Projects Committee Member. The Special Projects Committee Member shall work with the SIG Chair on projects and activities that further the mission of the SIG yet are beyond the scope of the normal activities of the SIG outlined within the SIG bylaws that have been approved by the SIG Executive Committee.
Section 1. Membership. There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the SIG Chair, Chair-elect, Program Chair, Associate Program Chair, Secretary/ Treasurer, Awards Officer, and Communications Officer. The Immediate Past Chair may sit at the Executive Committee in an advisory ex officio capacity without voting privilege.
Section 2. Responsibilities and Powers. The Executive Committee shall have responsibility and powers to provide leadership and to direct and review the general affairs of the SIG within the limits set forth in these Bylaws.
Section 3. Meetings. The Executive Committee shall hold at least one meeting each year in person and shall communicate as needed throughout the year. This meeting will be set during the Annual Meeting following the Business Meeting. The Chair shall be responsible for setting the time and place of this meeting and for creating and distributing the agenda for this meeting.
Section 4. Quorum and Decision-making. A majority of the members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum, and decisions of the Executive Committee shall be by a majority of those present, provided a quorum is present.
NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS
Section 1. Oversight of the Nominations and Elections Process. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for setting up, monitoring and providing other oversight duties regarding all aspects of the nomination and election processes of the SIG.
Section 2. Nominations Committee. The Nominations Committee shall consist of The Immediate Past Chair and at least one other member of the SIG in good standing. The SIG Immediate Past Chair shall be the Chair of the Nominations Committee.
Section 3. Nominations and Nomination Process.
Section 3a. The Nominations Committee shall seek eligible individuals to serve as candidates for each elected officer position.
Section 3b. No SIG member may nominate an individual for any SIG office without the prior consent of the individual to be nominated.
Section 3c. The SIG Chair shall ensure that the Nominating Committee elicits at least two candidates for each position to be elected. No election may be held or will be certified by AERA for any elected position unless there are at least two candidates nominated and placed the ballot for that position.
Section 3d. By the deadline set by the Association, the Nominations Committee shall submit the names of the candidates and any other information required by AERA for inclusion in the AERA electronic ballot system. The deadline for this submission shall be determined by the Association.
Section 4. Date for Completion of Election Tabulation. All election processes and tabulation of votes for designated officers for the following year shall be completed within the timeline and by the deadline established by AERA in conducting its electronic election of Officers of the Association.. The Chair of the Nominations Committee and the SIG Immediate Past Chair, shall receive the results of the balloting from the Central Office.
Section 5. Notification of Results. The Chair of the SIG Nomination and Election Committee – the SIG Immediate Past Chair shall be responsible for reporting the results to the membership.
Section 1. Annual Business Meeting. The SIG shall hold its Annual Business Meeting in conjunction with the AERA Annual Meeting. Decisions during this meeting shall be made by the majority of SIG members present and voting.
Section 2. Other Meetings. The SIG may hold other official business meetings at times and places approved by the Executive Committee and vote of the SIG members. The SIG may conduct SIG business and vote on motions in person, electronically, or by e-mail or mail.
Section 3. Officer and Committee Meetings. The Officers and Committees of the SIG shall meet when, where and as needed to conduct the business of the SIG or carry out the charges of the committee within the parameters and requirements of these Bylaws. The SIG Chair, other SIG officers and committee chairs shall set the meetings and notify all officers of the date, time, place and agenda or purposes of the meetings.
Section 4. Notice of Meetings. Announcement of day, time and place of any official business meeting of the SIG membership shall be made as far ahead as is reasonably possible. In all cases notice shall be communicated to members at least three weeks in advance of a meeting.
Section 5. Rules of Order. In all cases to which they apply and do not conflict with the provisions of these Bylaws and the Association Bylaws, Robert’s Rules of Order (current edition) shall govern all business meetings of the SIG.
DUES AND OTHER FISCAL CONCERNS
Section 1. Dues. The amount of dues for the SIG shall be decided by a majority vote of those members voting at a duly called Annual Business Meeting or a majority of the membership by postal, e-mail, or electronic voting. This vote will be administered by the AERA Central Office.
Section 2. Effective Date of Dues Increases. All increases in dues shall go into effect for all categories
of SIG membership for the following membership year as determined by the Association.
Section 3. Allocation of SIG Assets. The Chair, the Executive Committee or majority of members voting at the Annual Business Meeting or by electronic vote shall authorize the expenditure of SIG funds for any allowable purpose that is requested and approved. In instances where the Executive Committee or majority of the membership approved a standing maximum expenditure as funds permit, such as to cover the costs of awards or refreshments as part of the SIG reception following the Annual Business Meeting, the Chair and Treasurer shall jointly be responsible for giving final consent to commit SIG funds up to the amount approved.
Section 4. Overseeing the Allocation of SIG Assets. The Chair and the Treasurer shall have the joint responsibility to ensure that all SIG assets, including money collected via dues, are allocated and spent in ways and in a timely manner to fulfill commitments made by the SIG members or Executive Committee, to pay fees to the Association, to pay debts and to enhance and promote the SIG and the purposes, goals and objectives of the SIG and the Association.
Section 1. Name of the Awards. The SIG shall present on an annual basis, when merited, the following three awards as approved by the AERA Council: (a) Best Paper Award, (b) Best Graduate Student Paper Award, and (c) Outstanding Contribution to Research in Virtual Environments Award.
Section 2. The Best Paper Award. This award shall be presented to the individual(s) who have submitted the most exceptional research paper accepted for presentation at the following Annual Meeting. This award may be given annually, when merited.
Section 2a. The Best Paper Award is presented to the individual or individuals who meet the following criteria as approved by the SIG and Council: The top five rated paper proposals are considered for this award, based on the criteria used to evaluate all proposals, including the quality of the research problem, its relationship to ARVEL SIG's goals, the theoretical and literature framework, and the execution of appropriate research methods. Additional criteria imposed on this award may be determined annually by the Awards Committee, led by the SIG Awards Officer.
Section 2b. The process for determining the individual or individuals deserving of the Best Paper Award is as follows:
* Nomination Process: Authors of the top five rated paper proposals are contacted, after they have been notified of acceptance. They are invited to submit their full paper for consideration for the annual ARVEL SIG Best Paper Award. They must submit the paper in early February.
* Review/Selection Process: All papers are then sent for blind review by at least two scholars, evaluated against standard research paper criteria (rationale, literature, theoretical framework, appropriate methods, data sources, and analysis techniques, as well as adherence to academic writing conventions), and scores are determined.
* Form of Recognition: Certificate of Recognition
Section 3. The Best Graduate Student Paper Award. This award may be given annually, when merited. The same process and criteria shall be followed as is proscribed for the Best Paper Award. Recipients shall be awarded a certificate of recognition.
Section 4. Outstanding Contribution to Research in Virtual Environments Award. This award may be given annually, when merited.
Section 4a. Nomination Process: Any member of the SIG may nominate any member of the research community who has made a significant contribution to research in virtual environments for learning for the Outstanding Contribution to Research in Virtual Environments Award. The scholar nominated for this award need not be a member of SIG ARVEL. Once an individual receives this award, she/he shall be eligible for this award again after ten annual meetings have passed. The Past Program Chair shall send a nomination form to all SIG members at the same time that outstanding paper candidates are notified.
Section 4b. Review/Selection Process: A three-to-five member ad-hoc committee selected and facilitated by the Past Program Chair shall consider nominations for the Outstanding Contribution to Research in Virtual Environments Award for ARVEL SIG.
Section 5. The SIG may give non-AERA sanctioned certificates of recognition for service to the SIG.
Section 6. All award recipients shall be listed on the SIG’s website each year, along with the name of the award and, if applicable, the title of her/his paper or description of accomplishment. This list of recognized awardees shall remain on the website as long as the SIG exists.
TERMINATION/DISSOLUTION OF THE SIG
Section 1. Membership Decision to Voluntarily Dissolve the SIG. Should it be decided that the SIG is no longer meeting the needs and serving the purposes for which it was founded, the SIG shall be voluntarily dissolved by a majority vote of the members present at a SIG Business Meeting followed by a two-thirds vote of those SIG members voting in a postal, e-mail, or electronic administered by the AERA Central Office within 30 days of the vote to terminate passed at the Annual Business Meeting. A message of the results of this election shall be sent in writing to the SIG membership, AERA Central Office and Chair of the SIG Executive Committee by the SIG Chair within one week of the counting of the votes.
Section 2. Other Circumstances that May Result in the Dissolution of the SIG. The SIG may automatically be dissolved should its membership fall below the minimum number established by Council for active SIGs; should its members approve the merging of the SIG with one or more other SIGs, or for other reasons pursuant to the Bylaws of the Association and the SIG. In addition, a Special Interest Group may be dissolved by the AERA Council for good and sufficient reasons.
Section 3. Distribution of SIG Assets. Should the SIG be discontinued for any reason, its assets shall be used to pay all outstanding debts and obligations. Any remaining funds shall be returned to the AERA.
RATIFICATION AND AMENDMENTS
Section 1. Approval Process of the Initial Bylaws. The process for approving the initial Bylaws shall be as follows, with the actions of AERA Council noted for the information of membership:
Section 1a. The officers of the SIG shall decide the process for the construction of a draft of the Bylaws, and offer SIG members an opportunity to comment on this draft. The officers shall be responsible for making specific revisions, additions and/or deletions in the Bylaws based upon the feedback and suggestions.
Section 1b. After the membership has provided feedback and input on the draft of the Bylaws, the Chair shall submit a copy of the draft to AERA Central Office for review. Central Office may send it back to the SIG Chair with comments for revisions or may forward the Bylaws to the SIG Executive Committee for review and recommendation to the AERA Council for approval. The SIG Executive Committee may return the Bylaws to the SIG Chair to address specific concerns before making a recommendation to Council.
Section 1c. The AERA Council may require changes or revisions in the language of the Bylaws or amendments thereof prior to final approval. Once approved by Council, the Chair shall be notified that the Bylaws are in effect and will stay in effect until notification in writing to Central Office of the favorable or unfavorable vote of SIG members. The SIG Chair and officers, with the assistance of the AERA Central Office, shall then complete the process of getting approval of the Bylaws by a vote of SIG members. The SIG Chair shall have 30 days to convey in writing to Central Office and the Chair of the SIG Executive Committee the dates and manner of voting decided upon by the SIG officers.
Section 2. Ratification. After Council approval, these Bylaws shall require a majority vote of those members voting electronically, such voting to be administered by the AERA Central Office on behalf of the SIG. The AERA Central Office shall transmit in writing the manner, dates and results of this vote to the SIG Chair within 10 days of the final count of the votes.
Section 3. Effective Date of Implementation. These Bylaws shall take effect immediately upon receipt in writing to the AERA Central Office by the SIG Chair acknowledging the Central Office’s written statement of the favorable vote of the SIG membership for the presented version of the Bylaws or amendment(s) thereof.
Section 4. Amendments to the SIG Bylaws. These Bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of those members voting at a duly called Annual Business Meeting and a majority of the members voting by postal, e-mail, or electronic voting as designated by the Executive Committee or elsewhere within these Bylaws. Amendments to the SIG Bylaws must be approved by the AERA SIG Executive Committee and Council.
POSTING OF THE SIG BYLAWS
Within 30 days of the membership’s adoption of the SIG Bylaws approved by the AERA Council and all amendments to the Bylaws, the entire set of Bylaws shall be posted on the AERA website for the SIG with the date of Council’s approval included and the Chair shall send an electronic communication to all SIG members announcing the posting of the Bylaws on the SIG website.