Autodesk University 2021 Location Announced and Call for Proposals Opens

Fresh off the heels of the first 2022 product releases, today Autodesk opens its annual Autodesk University call for proposals. Typically, Autodesk hosts Autodesk University as a three-day in-person conference. While many cities have hosted Autodesk University over the years, Las Vegas was the host city from 2007 until 2019. Although at the end of Autodesk University 2019, Autodesk announced Las Vegas as the host city for the 2020 conference, the global coronavirus pandemic changed those plans about this time last year.

Looking Back at Autodesk University 2020

A Look Back at Autodesk University 2021

Because of the global coronavirus pandemic, Autodesk University 2020 became the first all-digital Autodesk University event. Although I certainly missed connecting in-person with industry friends I’ve made over the years, I was pleasantly surprised by the 2020 conference. Despite being an all-digital conference, it still offered impactful keynotes, opportunities for attendees to connect, and of course, some of the highest caliber presentations on design technology.

The Second All-Digital Autodesk University

Although, at least here in the United States, vaccines are providing hope that the coronavirus pandemic will soon be behind us, there’s still a long way to go. While I hope fall resembles some semblance of pre-pandemic life, far too many unknowns remain. As such, while details such as the date and cost to attend have not yet been announced, Autodesk has announced that Autodesk University 2021 will be an all-digital event once more.

While I will undoubtedly miss connecting with industry friends in-person for a second year, I do support and agree with Autodesk’s decision to prioritize safety over preference. I remain hopeful that 2022 will let us gather in-person once again but will certainly look to get some additional mileage off the lessons I learned from presenting at Autodesk University 2020.

Call For Proposals Survival Guide

Autodesk University 2021 Call for Proposals Website

In preparation for this year’s conference, today Autodesk opened its annual Call for Proposals cycle. Anyone interested in presenting at Autodesk University 2021 can submit their proposal between today, March 30th, 2021, and April 30th, 2021.

As with any year, I strongly encourage anyone interested in submitting a proposal to read the Proposal Requirements FAQ and Proposal Worksheet documents published on the Autodesk website. Although you can undoubtedly draw many parallels between the 2020 and upcoming 2021 conferences, there are some notable differences. Some key points that stuck out to me as I read the FAQ document include:

  • Only English language proposals are being accepted at this time.
  • Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced level of experience classifications have been replaced with Foundational, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Not Applicable.
  • The current Call for Proposals is for classes only, not other content types like theater talks and articles.
  • Technical requirements are not yet finalized but include “a good computer, microphone or headset, web camera, and reliable internet connection.”
  • The honorarium for speakers remains $500 as it was for Autodesk University 2020.
  • Autodesk will accept fewer than 300 proposals this year. They traditionally receive over 2,000 proposals, meaning the acceptance rate will be about 1:7.
  • Some classes will be pre-recorded and available on-demand, whereas others may be live-streamed.

Community Voting Now Open

In addition to the Call for Proposals process opening today, the Community Voting process also opens today. For those unfamiliar with the community voting process, it’s pretty simple. Autodesk University is fundamentally an end-user conference. As such, Autodesk is interested in knowing what you would like to see at your conference.

Autodesk allows prospective attendees to vote on the presentations they would like to see included at the conference to achieve this. Throughout the Call for Proposals window and until May 12th, prospective attendees can cast their vote for any proposal submitted.

Since the Call for Proposal and Community Voting windows overlap until April 30th, the list of sessions you can vote for will change until Call For Proposals closes on April 30th. As Autodesk receives session proposals, those proposals will be forwarded to the community voting portion of the Autodesk University website for any community member to vote.

In Summary

While it saddens me that we will not experience an in-person Autodesk University for a second year, my objective self wholeheartedly supports the decision for a second all-digital conference. I have several session proposal ideas in my head and will commit them to paper in the coming weeks. Should I be so fortunate, I look forward to applying the many presentation lessons I took away from the 2020 conference to the conference this fall.

What about you? Do you plan to submit any proposals this year? If not, what sessions and topics do you hope to see included as part of Autodesk University 2021? Sound off in the comments below to share your thoughts.

Donnie Gladfelter
Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie is author of the book and Autodesk Official Press, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, a columnist for AUGIWorld Magazine, Autodesk University speaker, and former member of the AUGI Board of Directors.

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