Overview | Preparing for the Conference | At the Conference |   Meet the Committee



As we celebrate 25 years of Accelerate, it is extraordinary to think of the advances society has made during the last 25 years in the areas of inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility.  In 1994, the Americans with Disabilities Act was still in its infancy but would grow to challenge physical and online spaces, including online learning, to be more accessible for all. The 1990s also saw the introduction of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, a framework that continues to influence our design decisions.

The 1990s also saw the appearance of the first LMS’s in the United States.  We were introduced to companies like Blackboard, D2L, Canvas, and open source learning platforms like Moodle.  These systems, including the introduction of Web 2.0 technologies, have made it possible for more people to access quality online learning than ever before.

Finally, we have evolved to recognize the uniqueness of all people and appreciate how our differences are our greatest strengths.  Though this may continue to be a work in progress for our society, we are proud to say Accelerate is a place for everyone, where everyone is welcomed and honored.  Yet, like society, we are not done, neither at Accelerate nor with online and digital learning. As such, we challenge you to look ahead to the next 25 years and ask yourself, “What can I do to create educational opportunities that encourage, nurture, and grow inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility?”

The IDEA Committee for Accelerate 2019 broadly defines diversity and inclusion as honoring all individuals for who they are, where they are. It also means connecting with each other and creating an environment where everyone feels like they are part of the Conference community.   


As details of the conference are finalized, we’ll provide up-to-date accessibility and inclusion information to help you prepare and get the most out of the conference. If you require 1:1 consulting to address your accommodation requests in order to ensure you are able to fully participate in the conference, please indicate your accommodation needs during the registration process. We will work with you individually and with the appropriate vendors and/or the hotel to make sure that your specific accommodation needs are addressed. If you have questions or would like to discuss your accessibility needs or concerns, please email us at conference@onlinelearning-c.org.

This year we will also be offering several informal opportunities for OLC Accelerate attendees to provide recommendations and suggestions on how to improve our work in inclusion, diversity, equity, and advocacy. We will be promoting these events as opportunities within the conference programming, and we look forward to collaborating with each of you on this important initiative.

This page will continue to be updated as we approach the conference and more information becomes available. 


Preparing for the Conference

During Registration

Dietary Restrictions

The conference registration process includes a question asking you to identify any special dietary needs (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, pork-free). The hotel labels everything on buffets/stations with the most common dietary restrictions. Standard labeling on all buffets includes: Contains Dairy, Contains Gluten, Contains Nuts, Contains Seafood, Vegetarian, Vegan.

There is also space in the registration form to indicate if you have a life threatening food allergy.  All life threatening food allergy information will be provided to the event banquet manager, who will review the list with the chef to determine who is not accommodated by each menu and would require a separate meal. If your life threatening allergy is not accommodated by each menu, we will provide you with a special meal ticket for any functions for which you require something other than the main menu.

Accommodation Requests

During the registration process, you will be asked to identify if you require an accessibility accommodation.  You will be contacted in October by OLC for a 1:1 consultation to discuss arrangements needed to maximize your conference experience.  If you missed this during the registration process, or are unsure whether or not you will need an accommodation, please contact the OLC Conference Team at conference@onlinelearning-c.org.

Requests for captioning and other on-site accommodation needs may be submitted to the conference team at conference@onlinelearning-c.org. OLC will strive to make accommodations to the best of our ability based on available resources. 

Presenters: Inclusive Presentation Materials and Formats

If you are a presenter, please attend the training session for your presentation type for guidelines to best accommodate all attendees in your session. Find more information by visiting the OLC Presenter Services page.

Presenters should ensure that their presentation materials will be accessible for individuals across attendees’ various needs. Follow web accessibility guidelines to ensure everyone in the room can benefit and that the presentation materials are accessible.

If you are presenting and need an accommodation in order to be able to conduct your presentation, please let us know. Both high and low tables are provided for Discovery Session stations.

Live Streamed Sessions

While presenting live, presenters should plan to briefly describe their slides, visual demonstrations, or videos to the audience for any attendees with visual impairments. Presenters should repeat any questions that have not been asked through the microphone for any attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing. Additional support and guidelines for presenters in live streamed sessions will be provided through Presenters Services guides prior to the conference. Each live streaming presentation room will also have the support of a session chair to assist interaction with the virtual audience.


The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort meets ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements and follows ADA accessible guidelines. Wheelchair accessible rooms can be requested at the time of making your hotel reservation. The hotel has a limited number of ADA rooms with two beds in the event that a conference attendee needs to bring an assistant. Please let us know if you would like to make a specific request for an ADA room with 2 beds by emailing conference@onlinelearning-c.org.

Getting There

Mears Transportation has ADA vans that can be requested ahead of time for transportation from the airport to the hotel.  

Disney Parks

Disney shuttle buses for transportation between Disney properties are equipped with wheelchair lifts. All Disney parks meet ADA requirements and follow ADA guidelines.


At the Conference

We want to make participating and the conference experience simple, accessible, and inclusive for all of our attendees. Please review areas of accommodation we have worked to incorporate below, and if you need additional accommodations not noted, please reach out to us at: conference@onlinelearning-c.org.

Facilities and Meeting Space

To better accommodate your needs, we are happy to provide you with an accessible meeting space map and tour.  Simply stop by the Field Guide Station to learn more.

In addition, the information below is being provided in advance to answer some of our more frequently asked questions..

Q.  Are there elevators available to the conference areas?

A. Yes, guest convenience elevators in the conference area can be found at:

  • Level 1 – exhibit hall level – Atlantic  C Foyer
  • Level 3 – main lobby level – Europe Foyer (across from Europe 1)
  • Level 5 – upper level – Across from Southern IV

Q.  Do you provide gender-neutral as well as standard restrooms at the conference?

A. No worries. Guests are welcome to use public restrooms that are most appropriate for their gender identity. The restrooms in the Southern Hemisphere Foyer (outside of Southern Hemisphere I) are designated as gender neutral. There are also single occupancy gender neutral restrooms located in the Australia 1-2 Foyer.

Q.  Will there be a nursing room available?

A. Of course! Nursing mothers simply need to inquire at the registration desk for access to the Mother’s Room.

Q.  If I have mobility issues, will I be able to easily access the sessions?

A. Yes! General session and breakout session rooms are set with wide aisles in the center per ADA accommodation requirements. Designated accessibility seating sections can be located in the front of the room.  

Unplug and Refocus

Everyone needs a break and time to decompress when at a large conference. Take advantage of the opportunities to unplug and refocus.

“The Sanctuary” room is a quiet, reflective space – (Europe 2) – available for all conference attendees to use. This is a quiet space room.  No cell phone conversations allowed. Please keep face-to-face conversation to a minimum or at a very low level so as not to disturb others in the room.

Begin your day with positive intentions by doing slow flow yoga in ASIA 2 at 6:30AM daily (Wed-Fri).


Recommended Events

IDEA Engagement Map with recommended sessions during the conference


OLC IDEA Leadership in Digital Learning Luncheon

Northern Hemisphere C
Thursday, November 21, 12:00pm – 1:15pm
$55 registration fee provides lunch and supports the scholarship fund 

You are cordially invited to a luncheon and networking event to help raise funds for the OLC Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Advocacy (IDEA) Leadership Scholarship fund. The luncheon is open to ALL conference attendees.

Sponsored by



IDEA Drop-Ins

Atlantic Hall Speed Networking Lounge
The IDEA Drop-Ins serve as an opportunity to discuss opportunities to continue to make OLC conferences and events inclusive. Come chat with IDEA staff during networking breaks to share your thoughts on ideas on how we can continue to transform the conference experience.

  • Wednesday, 3:00pm-3:45pm
  • Thursday, 10:30am-11:15am
  • Thursday, 2:00pm-3:00pm


Janet Smith  

Janet Smith

Janet Smith serves as an Instructional Designer leading quality assurance initiatives at the University of Arizona with the Office of Digital Learning. She manages a multitiered and collaborative quality assurance process to ensure that courses developed for Arizona Online are designed for student success and engagement. Janet works with partners across campus to integrate best practices around course design, copyright, UDL, and accessibility into the instructional design process and leads the Quality Matters program for the university.

Jennifer Paloma Rafferty  

Jennifer Paloma Rafferty

Jennifer Paloma Rafferty is the Director of the Institute for Professional Development at the Online Learning Consortium. She has served on strategic planning committees for inclusion and multiculturalism in higher education and she has worked as an advocate and interpreter for immigrant and refugee communities.

Sherri Restauri

Sherri Restauri

Dr. Sherri Restauri has served in academia for 17 years. During this time, she has served as an instructional designer, faculty member in the field of psychology and other areas, and also as an administrator over Online Learning at several universities. Dr. Restauri joined the Coastal Office of Online Learning as their Director in July 2016. Her research focus is on improving the teaching and learning process across all teaching modalities through the use of technology, with specific interest in pedagogical practices to increase student engagement, and best practices in online pedagogy.