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



The Diversity & Inclusion Committee acknowledges that the site of this year’s OLC Innovate resides on the traditional land of the Arapahoe and Cheyenne Peoples, ceded in the Treaty of Fort Wise in 1861.

OLC Innovate grants us the yearly opportunity to gather and continue to push the envelope in online learning. As we shift the conference to Denver, this year’s theme: Moving Mountains in Digital, Blended, and Online Learning probably resonates with many of us with respect to the work we do on our respective campuses: Moving mountains in technology; Moving mountains in pedagogy; Moving mountains in research; Moving mountains in perspective.

For the Diversity and Inclusion committee, we also aim to move mountains in creating an inclusive conference experience. The Diversity & Inclusion Committee for Innovate 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 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 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.

We are happy to provide suggestions on what you can do at the conference to bring diversity and inclusion to OLC Innovate 2019.

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 March 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. 


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 with a wide range of disabilities. 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. If you need a low table to present your Emerging Ideas Session, please be sure to request that in advance of the conference.  

Presenters should plan to describe their slides, visual demonstrations, or videos to the audience for any attendees with visual impairments. Please conduct an accessible and inclusive session and repeat any questions that have not been asked through the microphone for any attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing.


The Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center 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 Gaylord 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.


At the Conference

We want to make participating and the conference experience simple, accessible, and inclusive.

Facilities and Meeting Space

Stop by the Ranger Station for an accessible meeting space map and tour.

Guests are welcome to use public restrooms that are most appropriate for their gender identity. The restrooms in Maple/Spruce foyer (Level 1) and Aurora Ballroom D entrance (Level 2) – far side of registration) are designated as gender neutral.

Nursing mothers should inquire at the registration desk for access to the lactation room.

General session and breakout session rooms are set with wide aisles in the center per ADA accommodation requirements. Designated accessibility 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 Serenity Lodge” room is a quiet, reflective space – Mitzner Boardroom – 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.

Meditation & Mindfulness

  • Tuesday, April 2                    12:15pm – 12:45pm
  • Wednesday, April 3              7:30am – 8:00am; 3:00pm – 3:30pm
  • Thursday, April 4                  7:30am – 8:00am; 12:00pm – 12:30pm; 3:00pm – 3:30pm
  • Friday, April 5                       7:30am – 8:00am

Join us in the Serenity Lodge for some quiet time to decompress, reconnect mind and body, and practice some self-care as we turn our focus inward for a short while. Mindfulness, has been defined as a practice of “bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment” (Baer, 2003). Join Clark Shah-Nelson for some guided mindful meditations. These sessions will be geared toward centering ourselves on higher levels of consciousness so that we can experience OLC Innovate in a healthy and present way together.

Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical review. Clinical psychology: Science and practice, 10(2), 125-143.


Recommended Events

3rd Annual HBCU Summit: Wednesday-Friday

Come join the 3rd Annual HBCU Summit to join the conversation on affordability and quality in online education. There is no additional fee to participate in the Wednesday-Friday portions of the summit- all are welcome!

IDEA Night Celebration and Costume Party: Wednesday 9:00pm-10:00pm

We’re celebrating Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Advocacy at this special event featuring music, dancing, and a costume competition. Bring your colleagues to enjoy a fun evening and to support advocacy for equity in our field. There will be prizes awarded for wittiest t-shirt, best costume of a historical woman, best just-in-time costume (made at the event), and best group costume.

This event is open to participants of any gender and role – if you are a champion of diversity and inclusion within digital learning leadership, and want to participate in a gathering for a good cause, please accept our warm welcome to attend.

There is a $35 required donation to attend the celebration, which includes one drink ticket and a dessert reception. The ticket fees collected will go towards the IDEA Leadership in Digital Learning scholarship fund. Add a ticket to your conference registration to attend Wednesday evening’s Campfire Gathering.

Networking Break #4: Thursday 3:00pm-3:30pm

Come to the Speed Networking Lounge in the Exhibit Hall for the final networking break. Continuing the conversations and connections from the Evening Campfire Gathering IDEA Night, we will define concrete action items that we can work on together to complete that will support diversity and inclusion in our field. We will engage in futurecasting to determine how we might continue to move the needle towards equity, and then plan our next steps as a group. All are welcome to attend, regardless of whether you attended the Evening Campfire Gathering or not, but you should come to the IDEA Night too!

Innovate Movie Night: Thursday 8:00pm-10:00pm

Does the thought of going out on the town or hanging at a hotel bar after the end of two long conference days leave you cold?  Come hang with the exhausted people and join us for our brand new Innovate Movie Night. Relax and unwind while snacking on popcorn, candy and soda.

D&I Drop-Ins

Spruce 1
The D&I Drop-Ins serve as an opportunity to discuss opportunities to continue to make OLC conferences and events inclusive. Come chat with D&I staff during networking breaks to share your thoughts on ideas on how we can continue to transform the conference experience.

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


Joshua B Steele  

Joshua Steele

Joshua Steele is the Senior Director of Arizona Online, striving to increase educational opportunities for fully-online students at the university through student-focused processes, operational excellence, and an expansive support strategy. He considers himself a “history nerd” with a seafood obsession (tragic, as a desert dweller).

Amy Lomellini headshot  

Amy Lomellini

Amy Lomellini serves as an Instructional Designer at Molloy College. She has been a driving force for physical and digital accessibility initiatives in higher education, vocational services, and within professional organizations. Amy utilizes her knowledge and personal experience to design resources, brainstorm ideas, and facilitate courses, webinars, and workshops that spread awareness about Universal Design for Learning, digital inclusion, and accessibility.

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.

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.