5 Reasons to Attend the OLC Instructional Design Summit

Jennifer Paloma Rafferty, MA MEd, Director of the OLC Institute for Professional Development
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instructional design word cloudInstructional designers have no shortage of opportunities for professional development, both at their institutions and through organizations and conferences. At OLC Accelerate this year, we’ll be offering an Instructional Design Summit, developed especially to provide professional development that addresses a variety of issues in the field and provide lots of networking opportunities. The summit has something to offer anyone interested in or working in an instructional design role, and is a great way to meet new people, learn from peers and experts, and start off your conference week. This pre-conference session is on the morning of Wednesday, November 20th at the OLC Accelerate Conference in Orlando, Florida, from 9am-12 noon, and is included in your conference registration. Still considering? Here are five top reasons to join us at the Instructional Design Summit.

The agenda was crowdsourced from the ID community.

About a year ago, The OLC Institute for Professional Development staff started discussing the idea of hosting an event dedicated to instructional design and we have been planning the pre-conference session for several months with a dedicated group of volunteers along with the community.  First, we reached out on Twitter with our event hashtag #olcidsummit to gather topics for our break out groups.  Then, we tapped into the instructional design Slack community, Pedago.me, for more ideas and input.  Finally, to continue shaping the agenda to fit conference attendee needs and interests, session registrants have the opportunity to share their ideas and suggestions.  You can still weigh in by registering for the (free!) ID Summit pre-conference and completing the ID Summit Attendance survey.

The panelist lineup is amazing!

We are excited about the first activity on the agenda because four emerging leaders in the field of instructional design will join us for a discussion about the current state of instructional design.  Jason Drysdale (University of Colorado Denver), Kasey Ford (University of Texas at Austin), Sam Gist (University of North Texas), and Angela Gunder (University of Arizona) will be present to answer questions about their professional pathway as IDs as well as to discuss the evolving field of instructional design.  We will also have Slido on deck to make the experience more interactive and to ensure the audience can ask questions.  Stay tuned for a panel discussion pre-reading list, which will become available the first week in November!

Group discussions on key topics will provide networking, sharing, and problem-solving opportunities. 

After we wrap up our panel discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to break out into smaller groups for topical discussions.  As noted earlier, these topics have been selected by our community, and group facilitators have developed guiding questions to help launch the table conversations.  Scribes will be in each of the breakout groups to take notes on Google docs for a report out to the larger group later in the morning. We are still uncertain which topics attract the largest number of people, but as it stands now, the discussion groups will focus on the following topics: tools for instructional design, the future of the instructional/learning design profession, project management, accessibility and Universal Design for Learning, and instructional designer/subject matter expert collaboration. 

Screen shot of ID Summit Planning Committee meeting on Zoom.

Virtual attendees will be able to participate in the ID Summit.

The planning committee has given careful thought to how we can best engage our virtual attendees for this event.  To that end, the panel discussion will be streamed live and virtual attendees will be able to make use of Slido in the same way our onsite attendees do.  We will also have Google doc links shared on our ID Summit landing page so that viewers can see the notes that are generated in the discussion groups.  Twitter will also play an important role in connecting both onsite and virtual attendees with a carefully crafted networking challenge.

There will be creative networking activities.

One of the challenges of attending any large conference is making meaningful connections with other peers in our field.  While a conference seems like the ideal place to network, it can be challenging at times because OLC Accelerate is a big event and there are so many concurrent sessions taking place.  You meet someone for a few minutes, you exchange business cards, and then you don’t see them again. For this reason, one of our volunteers has designed a fun Twitter scavenger hunt challenge that will be incorporated into the entire three-hour event.  You can participate in all of the challenges, you can buddy up with someone else if you don’t have a Twitter handle, or you can pick and choose which challenges to do. The more challenges you complete, the better your chances will be of winning one of the raffle prizes we will have for you!  

Now that you have learned a bit more about the ID Summit at OLC Accelerate, we hope you will consider joining us on November 20th.  Not only will you have a chance to gather new ideas and resources from your peers, but you will also have a chance to network with others and provide us with feedback about how OLC can better support the instructional design community.  We hope you can join us!

Jennifer Rafferty provides leadership in researching, scoping, managing, and evaluating a full range of professional development solutions for multiple audiences within the OLC Institute for Professional Development. She has worked for over 15 years supporting online learning initiatives in higher education and in the adult basic education system. Jennifer assumed this role at OLC after working for over seven years as an instructional designer at Quinnipiac University Online in Hamden, Connecticut. During her time at Quinnipiac University, Jennifer was also responsible for spearheading the development of the first online Spanish course at the University. She continues to teach this specialized curriculum for the School of Nursing and presents both nationally and internationally on the topic of online foreign language instruction. Prior to working in higher education, Jennifer was the project manager for the Massachusetts Adult Basic Education Distance Learning Project. In this role, she collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Education and Project IDEAL to research and identify best practices for distance learning programs serving adult GED and ESL students. Jennifer holds a Masters of Education in Instructional Design from UMASS Boston, a Masters of Arts in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an undergraduate degree in Romance Languages from Mount Holyoke College.


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