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Participants at the summit should register for INNOVATE 2018 and blend their participation in the summit with the rest of the OLC INNOVATE conference. There will be no additional fee for participation in the summit.

HBCU Affordable Learning Summit 2018

Practitioners Summit for Advancing  Open Education Resource (OER) Affordable Learning Solutions and Quality Online Education and Best Practices for HBCUs at the OLC/MERLOT INNOVATE Conference in April 2018

About the HBCU Summit:

The goals of the Summit include:

  1. Awareness, Opportunities, and Challenges of Open Education Resources (OERs) as ‘Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$)’ for addressing the high costs of textbooks and other student related learning materials,
  2. Research, demonstration, and presentations of OER-AL$ for enhancing teaching and improving learning,
  3. Utilization of OER-AL$ for SkillsCommons in supplementing workforce training and careers,
  4. Hands-on sessions to assist in developing strategic customized AL$ Campus Deployment Plans and
  5. Discussion sessions for recommending strategies to OLC and MERLOT in advancing and sustaining support for HBCUs and in their implementation of affordable learning solutions and online education.

The Summit is the 2nd annual meeting of HBCU’s at INNOVATE where HBCU’s will present and share their AL$ strategies and outcomes, along with other online education initiatives that emerge as priorities for HBCU’s.  The Summit will be blended within the INNOVATE conference which will provide forums for informative and stimulating presentations and discussions on strategies that can assist in the creation of a sustainable partnerships in online learning environments, as well as explore issues related to faculty and student engagement and raising awareness about next generation courseware.

Leveraging HBCU Leadership:  

There are 105 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States, all of which are invited to participate in the symposium. California State University, and MERLOT will share practices, strategies, and resources for reducing the costs of instructional materials for students, making higher education more affordable for more students in Historically Black Universities (HBCUs) in the United States, as well as in Higher Education Institutions across the globe. Leaders from Tennessee State University, Southern University, and California State University/MERLOT will facilitate a series of leadership sessions, strategic planning, and hands-on workshops that will be embedded in the annual INNOVATE conference co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and MERLOT in Nashville, Tennessee April 17-20, 2018.

Note: Southern University System has recently launched their Affordable Learning Solutions initiative (www.suol4ed.org) and will share their strategies for planning and implementing this initiative with their fellow HBCU colleagues. The summit will include presentations from Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Bethune Cookman University, Fort Valley State University, Morehouse University, and two pilot community colleges; Volunteer State Community College and Southwest Tennessee Community College’s on how they designed and are implementing their locally customized and sustainable AL$ program. *The faculty and the leadership of these institutions will facilitate the sessions and workshops at the conference.

Tuesday’s pre-conference workshop is invitation-only. If you are  interested in attending this deep-dive into piloting an OER program at your HBCU, please email Moustapha (Moustaphadiack@smedprogram.org) or Robbie (rkendal1@tnstate.edu) for more information. 

Fisk University Address: 

1000 17th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208

615.329.8500 (Contact: Shirley Brown, Fisk On-Site Host)
Jubilee Hall / Appleton Room
*Emergency Number: 615-260-1615
 Registration Hosts: Tokesha Warner  (TSU) & Trina Jordan (TBR)

If you are an Innovate 2018 attendee, there is no additional cost to attend the workshop. If you are interested in attending only the Tuesday workshop, the cost will be $75 (payable at the door, checks can be payable to Fisk University). 

HBCU Summit Schedule:

HBCU Pre-Conference Summit at Fisk University Fisk University
1000 17th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208
615.329.8500 (Contact: Shirley Brown, Fisk On-Site Host
Jubilee Hall / Appleton Room
*Emergency Number: 615-260-1615
Registration Hosts: Tokesha Warner (TSU) & Trina Jordan (TBR)
10:00am - 10:15am Welcome Fisk University
Welcome Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR)
Welcome Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Welcome Tennessee eCampus
Welcome Tennessee State University (TSU)
Joseph Watkins, Chief of Staff to the President
Shirley Brown, Dean
Wendy Thompson, Vice Chancellor, Org. Effectiveness
Brittany Mosby, Director of HBCU Success
Gregory Sedrick, Associate Vice Chancellor, TNeCampus
Alisa Mosley, Provost, Tennessee State University
10:15am - 10:30am Introductions of Pre-Conference Participants Robbie Melton, HBCU Summit Conference Co-Host
- Professor, TSU Technology Strategic Consultant
10:30am - 10:55am The National Problem and Challenges of Attending College: “Rising Costs of Textbooks”
- Review the CSU’s Affordable Learning Solutions Strategies & Planning Templates
Gerry Hanley
- Executive Director of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Academic Technology Services for the California State University, Office of the Chancellor
10:55am - 11:15am Leveraging California’s Affordable Learning Solutions
- Showcase CSU Program
- Ingredients for successful programs
- Provide examples of HBCU implementations
Leslie Kennedy
- Director, Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) at the CSU Office of the Chancellor
11:15am - 11:30am Possibilities and Opportunities of Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) for HBCUs
- Research Agenda and Showcase
Moustapha Diack, HBCU Summit Chair – - - - Associate Vice President for Online Learning Services – Southern University System (SUS) of Louisiana & Director Faculty Professional Development – Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR)
11:30am - 12:00pm Leveraging Tennessee State University Affordable Learning Solutions
TSU College of Ed.-Department of Teaching and Learning
Clara Young, Department Chair, Teaching & Learning
Panel: D. Tiller, K. Bryan, N. Arrighi, J. Asamani, L. Johnson
12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch – Special Recognition: **Dr. Gloria Bonner
1:00pm - 2:15pm MERLOT and OER New Orleans Style-- A Sip and Share Event to Introduce OER
New Orleans Educational Telecommunications Consortium hosted a workshop to introduce area higher ed faculty to OER and provide resources and funding opportunities. OLC attendees will interactively experience selections from these presentations (via gamification, etc.) and leave with a blueprint for hosting their own event plus a toolkit for next steps.
Karen Nichols
-Distance Education Coordinator at Xavier University of Louisiana

Rona Tyger
-Director of Academic Technology at Dillard University (New Orleans)
2:15pm - 2:30pm Break
2:30pm - 3:15pm Deployiing A Co-modal Course Delivery Model Adapted To African Context: Case Of The Virtual University Of The Republic Of Senegal -West Africa
The Virtual University of the Republic of Senegal referred here as VUS was launched in 2014 by the Senegalese Ministry of Education and Research. The VUS uses a unique model of distance education adapted to an African context with very scarce resources and internet bandwidth challenges. The presentation will address the pervasive problems related to access to technology, the poor Internet connectivity common to many African countries, the autonomy and motivation of newly recruited online students, often ill-prepared. The model uses Teaching Assistants, Tutors, located at the Open Digital Spaces to provide tutorial sessions and coaching to distance education students.
Alassane Diop
-Professor-Researcher and Director of the Training and Pedagogical Engineering (DFIP) of the Virtual University of Senegal (UVS)

Moustapha Diack
-Associate Vice President for Online Learning Services – Southern University System (SUS) of Louisiana & Director Faculty Professional Development – Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR)
3:15pm - 3:30pm Break
3:30pm - 4:15pm National Alumni Organization to Establish Online Entertainment and Education Platform
The Southern University Alumni Federation through its Entertainment and Education Chapter, has negotiated an agreement with Aperion Global Institute to enter the field of entertainment and recording industry management training. The goal is to combine the content talents of SU Alumni with the Aperion online LMS to deliver students hands-on and anytime/real-time learning immersion.
Robert Ford
-CEO of DRF Industries LLC
Preston J. Castille
- National President, Southern University Alumni Federation
4:15pm - 4:30pm -Summarization of Pre-Conference
-Overview of Day 1 HBCU Summit
-Special Acknowledgement to Fisk University
Gerry Hanley
Robbie Melton
Shirley Brown
4:30pm - 5:30pm Reception: Fisk Art Gallery Fisk University
Networking Dinner
*Nashville Area Restaurants
Sign up during the day or at the reception. Cost of dinner is on your own.
HBCU Summit at OLC/MERLOT INNOVATE Conference (Opryland Hotel)
7:30am - 8:30am Breakfast Gathering Ryman C/F

8:30am – 8:45am Welcome
Tennessee Board of Regents
Ryman C/F

Wendy Thompson, Vice Chancellor, Org.Eff.

Gerry Hanley, AL$ Vice President, CSU
Leslie Kennedy, AL$ Project Director, CSU
8:45am – 9:00am Overview HBCU Strategy for Affordable Learning Solutions and the HBCU Summit at INNOVATE:
- Challenges: Cost of textbooks and learning resources
- Solutions: Open Education Resources (OER) – AL$
- Goals: Short term and Long term for AL$
- Strategies: Supporting existing campus priorities and strengthening existing capabilities

National Digital Equity Initiative: www.digitalequity.us

AL$ HBCU Model Campus: Recognition of Southern University

Pilots AL$ Schools: Acknowledgements
- Tennessee State University (TSU)
- Bethune Cookman University (BCU)
- Fisk University (FU)
- Fort Valley State University (FVU)
- Morehouse University (MU)
- Southwest Tennessee Community College
- Walters State Community College (WSCC)
- Morris College (MC)
- Morgan State University (MSU)
- Jackson State University (JSU)
- Virginia State University (VSU)
- Xavier University (XU)
Ryman C/F

Moustapha Diack
Associate Vice President for Online Learning Services – Southern University System (SUS) of Louisiana & Director Faculty Professional Development – Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR)

Robert McLaughlin, Executive Director
National Collaborative for Digital Equity

Robbie Melton, HBCU Summit Co-Host
Professor & TSU Technology Strategic Consultant
9:00am – 9:40am Enabling Educational Quality and College Affordability Through a System-wide Initiative The Southern University System just received an Innovation gr ant funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents to develop a faculty development model for designing OER-based courses aligned to the Quality Matters Standards. The project entitled “Enabling Educational Quality and College Affordability Through a System-wide implementation of Zero-Textbook-Cost Courses and Degrees” aims at offering an Associate degree in Criminal Justice at the Southern University Shreveport campus, a community college member of the SUS. This presentation will discuss the project deliverables and lesson learned while implementing the innovation grant. Ryman C/F

Moustapha Diack,
Associate Vice President for Online Learning Services – Southern University System (SUS) of Louisiana

Veronica McEachin, Director Online Learning, Southern University in Shreveport

Frederick Jackson, Chair Criminal Justice Program, Southern University in Shreveport

Mary Adewunmi, Graduate Student, Doctoral Program in Science Math Education (SMED), SUBR
9:40am – 10:00am Questions, Answers, Discussions Focus on issues and questions raised from audience about the programmatic, policy, and political topics that need to be addressed when planning an Affordable Learning Solutions initiative Ryman C/F

Moustapha Diack
Robbie Melton
10:00am - 10:30am Networking Coffee Break Ryman B1-B3
10:30am – 11:15am Starting Your Own Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative: Getting Buy-in

Opportunities and Needs in Tennessee (Panel Presentation)
- Tennessee Board of Regents
- Tennessee State University
- Fisk University
- Bethune - Cookman University
- Fort Valley State University
- Southwest Tennessee Community College
- Morehouse University (MU)
- Walters State Community College
- Motlow State Community College
Ryman C/F

Robbie Melton
Gregory Sedrick
Clara Young
Shirley Brown
Arletha McSwain
Andrew Lee
Denise Malloy
Jeff Horner
Michael Torrance
11:15am – 12:00pm Starting Your Own Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative: Leveraging and Customizing
- Building your organizational infrastructure for success and aligning to campus priorities
- Leveraging tools and templates to plan your AL$ program
- Answer questions
- Participants work in small groups to start their planning
Ryman C/F

Leslie Kennedy
Moustapha Diack
12:00pm - 12:45pm Innovate Welcome Lunch Tennessee Ballroom
1:00pm - 1:30pm OLC Quality Scorecard: Getting Started
- AL$ advances online learning and OLC Quality Scorecard can help
- Benchmarks and standards to help you evaluate your online learning program
- First steps with campus leadership
Ryman C/F

Kaye Shelton, Director-Doctorate of Educational Leadership; Assoc. Professor of Online Education Consultant Lamar University

Karen Pedersen, Chief Knowledge Officer at the Online Learning Consortium
1:30pm - 2:15pm Group Networking and Planning Session
2:15pm - 2:45pm OLC Quality Scorecard: Getting Started, Part II
Small group discussions
focused on drafting strategies that participants can take back to their institution and implement
Sharing campus strategies with larger group
- Scoping institutional goals for the next year - Expected challenges and strategies to overcome challenges
Ryman C/F

Kaye Shelton
Karen Pedersen
2:45pm - 3:30pm Networking Coffee Break Room Ryman B1-B3
3:30pm - 4:15pm Online Piano Lessons: Making Meaningful Connections
Technology is making distance learning a “clear and present” option for teachers. This session will present the challenges and many opportunities of distance piano instruction, as well as the tool and strategies in how to adapt curriculums for this new medium of long-distance instruction.
Ryman C/F

Joao Paulo Casarotti
4:30pm - 5:30pm Attend Innovate Conference Opening Keynote: "Campfire Stories" Tennessee Ballroom
5:30pm – 7:00pm Innovate Welcome Reception Ryman B1-B3
*Dinner Networking Opportunities
7:30am – 8:30am OLC/MERLOT Community Breakfast Tennessee Ballroom
8:45am – 9:30am Challenges in Adopting OER at HBCUs Demonstrations Opportunities: Hands-on exploration of OER MERLOT’s Resources and Services
The HBCU-Innovate panel will discuss the same five challenges Navin Pathak addressed in his 2015 blog on; Barriers to adopting OER by Colleges in Developing Nations” as these challenges are very much the same facing HBCU’s.
Ryman C/F

Karen Nichols
Rona Tyger
Jean-Jacques Medastin
Tracy Barley
9:30am - 9:45am Break
9:45am - 10:30am Introductory hands-on workshop on free & open educational resources by CSU/MERLOT
- Participants get practical experience in how they can use MERLOT in their own AL$ initiative
Ryman C/F

Gerry Hanley
Leslie Kennedy
Moustapha Diack
Robbie Melton
10:30am - 11:00am Networking Coffee Break Ryman B1-B3
11:00am - 11:20pm MERLOT and SKillsCommons: Workforce Training & Careers
- OER Resources for Career and Workforce Development
Ryman C/F

11:20am - 11:50am Hands-on AL$ Workshop on OER (Connecting to Your Planning Activities)
- Exploring HBCU AL$ portals
- What are some initial organizational and political steps to take in your planning?
- Using the AL$ planning template to draft a program
Ryman C/F

Gerry Hanley
Leslie Kennedy
Moustapha Diack
Robbie Melton
12:00pm - 1:20pm OLC/MERLOT Awards Lunch Tennessee Ballroom
1:30pm - 2:15pm Customizing your AL$ program for your Institution: Overview
- Shaping AL$ to SUS’s culture and organization
- Pilot AL$ Schools: Examples - Fort Valley State University
- Leveraging CSU-MERLOT’s services
- Developing a communication campaign
- Using the AL$ planning template to draft a program
Ryman C/F

Gerry Hanley
Leslie Kennedy
Moustapha Diack
Robbie Melton
2:15pm - 2:30pm Break
2:30pm - 3:15pm Changing the View and Closing the Gaps
Problem: Historically, traditional textbooks have been written from the perspective of the dominant culture (white/male).

Solution: OER are revisable and adaptable, so teachers and faculty at HBCUs and Tribal Colleges can revise or add examples from the students’ culture. Examples of leaders, historical perspectives, languages, images—can all be adapted to suit the needs of the course objectives and campus. There are many advantages to replacing traditional textbooks with OER and Open Textbooks (such as cost savings, and that they are available on the first day of class to all students), but one of the most important aspects for equity and inclusion is the ability to adapt and revise OER.
Ryman C/F

Tanya Spilovoy, Director of Open Policy – WCET

Moustapha Diack, Associate Vice President for Online Learning Services – Southern University System (SUS) of Louisiana
3:15pm - 4:00pm Networking Coffee Break Ryman B1-B3
4:15pm - 5:30pm Keynote Presentation at Innovate Conference Tennessee Ballroom
5:30pm – 7:00pm Innovate Social Event - ProctorU Post-Keynote Party: "Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ" Happy Hour And A Half (all attendees) Tennessee Lobby A
7:30am - 9:30am Continental Breakfast Tennessee Ballroom
8:15am – 9:30am Keynote Presentation at Innovate Conference Tennessee Ballroom
9:45am - 10:30am 1:1 Consulting on implementing your own AL$ program Davidson B

Gerry Hanley
Leslie Kennedy
Moustapha Diack
Robbie Melton
10:30am – 11:15am Final Networking Coffee Break Ryman B1-B3
11:15am - 12:00pm Attend recommended OLC Innovate session Breakout Rooms
12:00pm - 12:30pm OLC/MERLOT Innovate 2018 Closing Celebration Event: Failing Forward Tennessee Lobby A


The Wed through Friday HBCU Summit is included in the cost of registration for OCL Innovate 2018.  

There is a special registration discount available for HBCU affiliates. Please contact us at conference@onlinelearning-c.org for more information or to request the discount code if you are an HBCU affiliate. You may also contact Ms. Reshonda Corley (reshonda_corley@subr.edu) for the registration code. 

HBCU Affiliate Onsite Attendee Options Price
HBCU Affiliate code required. $670
 Individual Virtual Attendee Options
HBCU Affiliate Individual Virtual Attendee $120
Group Virtual Attendee Packages
HBCU Affiliate Buy 2, Get 1 Free  $240
HBCU Affiliate Unlimited Group Package $995


Non-HBCU Affiliates are welcome to attend the HBCU Summit at the Innovate conference. Non-affiliates will pay OLC/MERLOT member or non-member rates as usual for the conference. There is no additional fee for the HBCU Summit.

All attendees wishing to attend the HBCU Summit (HBCU Affiliate or not) should indicate that they plan to participate in the HBCU Summit when prompted during the registration process.


Registration Instructions for HBCU Affiliates

We are pleased you will be joining us in Nashville.  The HBCU Summit at OLC Innovate 2018 includes special HBCU sessions throughout the conference. HBCU attendees are invited to attend HBCU-focused sessions or any regular Innovate program session as desired.  

Attendees from HBCU institutions may register following these instructions.  Note – there is a code that must be entered at checkout in order to receive a special HBCU rate of $670.

When you register to attend OLC Innovate 2018 and the HBCU Summit in Nashville, please follow these steps:

Register Onsite Button

  • Complete required fields.  
  • Select Individual Attendee (Onsite) in Registration Type dropdown menu.
    • If you qualify for an ACADEMIC Affiliation, please register using your email ending in .edu
  • Select Full Conference – Onsite Attendee for your Registration ITEM

Session Registration Page:

  • Be sure to indicate you will be participating in the HBCU Summit

Cvent View

From Optional Items Page:

  • If you select any Optional Items such as a pre-conference workshop on Tuesday or an Awards Lunch ticket, you will be responsible for the cost of these at checkout

On the SUBMIT PAYMENT page, enter discount code in the box and APPLY:  IN18HBCU   (this code reduces the conference fee to $670)

Discount Code Field

Add your Payment Method


**Conference materials are accessible on the OLC Innovate website.  Attendees are granted permission with a user role that is linked to your registration.  You must have an OLC User Account in order to have this permission to view the recorded sessions (post-conference) and access any session materials uploaded by presenters.  Please be sure you have an OLC user account.  If you do not have an account, create one today –  a community membership is free.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact laurie.lulow@onlinelearning-c.org.

We look forward to seeing you in April!


Committee Members

  • Moustapha Diack, Southern University in Baton Rouge (SUBR)
  • Carlos Thomas, Southern University in Baton Rouge (SUBR)
  • Francesca William, Southern University in Baton Rouge (SUBR)
  • Dawn Ventress Kight, Southern University in Baton Rouge (SUBR)
  • Cynthia Bryant, Southern University in Baton Rouge (SUBR)
  • Sundée Winder, Louisiana Dept. Public Health || Tulane University
  • John Williams, Prairie View A&M University
  • Janue Johnson Seaton, Hampton University
  • Hamilton Eldrie, Grambling State University
  • Rona Tyger, Dillard University
  • Karen N. Nichols, Xavier University
  • Jean-Jacques Medastin, Central State University
  • Colita Fairfax, Norfolk State University
  • Tracy Barley, North Carolina Central University
  • Alassane Diop, Senegal Virtual University – SENEGAL
  • Moussa Lo, Senegal Virtual University – SENEGAL
  • Arletha McSwain, Bethune Cookman University
  • Coral Rojas, University Central Florida
  • Veronica McEachin, Southern University in Shreveport
  • Shelia Wood, Southern University at New Orleans
  • Gerry Hanley, California State University (CSU)
  • Dr. Ray Belton, President Chancellor
    Southern University System of Louisiana
  • Pr. Marie Teuw Niane, Ministry for Higher Education and Research
    Republic of Senegal, West Africa
  • Dr. Luria Young, Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs & Provost 
    Southern University System & Southern Ureniversity Baton Rouge
  • Dr. Robbie Melton, Associate Vice Chancellor of Mobilization Emerging Technology
    Tennessee State University
  • Pr. Lamine Gueye, President and Rector
    University of Bambey, Senegal, West Africa
  • Dr. Gabriel Fagbeyiro, Associate Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer
  • Prof. Victor Wacham A. Mbarika, President, Board of Trustees, The ICT University(ICT-U); Executive Director, International Center for IT and Development
  • Dr. Robert Blaine, Associate Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Dean of Undergraduate Study for Cyber Learning
    Jackson State University
  • Mr. Mike Abbiatti, Executive Director
    WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET)
  • Dr. Robert Ford, CEO
    DRF Industries, LLC