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OLC Conference Provides Useful Online Education Insights

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The Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC’s) annual international conference, Accelerate, takes place online next week during September 20-24. There will also be a live conference in Washington, DC, on October 5-8. This conference brings together thousands of educators, managers, administrators, and instructional designers to share and learn about “the most impactful research and effective practices” in online education.

Why Should You Attend the OLC Conference?

The OLC Conference features hundreds of live sessions, which you can attend online during the virtual conference in September or live in the October face-to-face meeting. The main sessions are “education sessions,” which are much more like a presentation with some interaction between speakers and audience members. These sessions are about 45 minutes long.

There are also workshops, which are even more engaging and interactive, as well as master classes, summits and discovery sessions. Discovery sessions are virtual poster sessions where a practice or research is shared in a pre-recorded platform that OLC Conference attendees can peruse at their leisure.

Seven tracks at the OLC Conference feature hot topics in online education today, such as access, equity, open education, technology and future trends. As an attendee, you will benefit from a wide array of topics, session types, and other options designed to elevate your educational practices and inspire future goals for you and your department.

As a bonus, you can opt to also attend the summits, which focus on leadership, research, instructional design and online learning. Whatever your chosen topic or session type, you will come away with a sense of community by engaging with others around the world who teach and work online.

Featured Sessions and Keynote Speakers of the OLC Conference

Some of the highlights attendees can enjoy during the virtual conference include featured sessions and keynote speakers. One featured session by Becki Elkins of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse focuses on students recovering from substance use who seek to maintain their sobriety.

Another session by Dale Johnson of Arizona State University explores moving from the mass-production model of online education and into the mass-personalized approach. A third  conference session looks to the future with “What Comes Next May Surprise You: The Future of Work and Learning” by the OLC’s Chief Academic Officer and VP of Learning Angela Gunder and several others.

Sessions that stand out on the roster of live sessions in Washington, DC, include a presentation by Mike Kincaid of NASA about how to inspire future explorers. There will also be sessions focused on accessibility to reach all learners, such as “Teach Access: Eliminating the Accessible Skills Gap,” presented by a team from Michigan State, Iowa State, and University of Mount Union.

Several of Our Own Faculty Members Are Speaking at This Conference

From our own University, several faculty will bring their expertise and practical tips to share with the international audience. World Languages faculty members Roiann Baskin and Karolina Kopczynski will share “Interactive Tools To Engage Participation and Increase Retention in the Online Classroom,” illustrating three specific tools to increase student engagement in online courses.

Philosophy faculty member Andrew Israelsen will present an education session focused on a strategy to lead “passionate, organic, and internally motivated student engagement.” A group of Communication faculty will offer their process of collaborative course development in a discovery session, and a group of our faculty from the art, music, religion, and English departments will discuss mentoring students in a general education course.

To attend the virtual or live event, visit the OLC Consortium’s Accelerate registration page. There are many options available to individuals and groups (including a special rate through Sept. 17 for group registrations), as well as options to add a master class or breakfast (on-site only). 

Dr. Bethanie Hansen is a Professor and Department Chair for the School of Arts, Humanities, and Education and a Professional Certified Coach. She holds a B.M. in Music Education from Brigham Young University, an M.S. in Arts & Letters from Southern Oregon University, a D.M.A. in Music Education from Boston University, a Certified Professional Coach credential from American Public University System’s Center for Teaching and Learning, and a Certified Life, Career and Executive Coach credential from Goal Imagery Institute-International School of Coaching Mastery. She is an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and an educator, presenter, writer, and musician with 25 years of experience helping others achieve their goals.

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