Overview  |  Schedule  |  Committee

What is Speed Networking?

The OLC Speed Networking Lounge is an informal space that allows participants to connect with fellow attendees through lightweight, collaborative activities.  Everyone is welcome to join us for these networking opportunities and they are included in your conference registration.   Arguably one of the best features of conference attendance is the ability to network with colleagues from across the country. From sharing ubiquitous challenges to collaborating on solutions and innovations, these connections allow us to scale the impact of our work supporting students. But how do you make your time networking meaningful, especially if you are a person who finds it to be awkward or intimidating?  Our goal is to create a space that removes as much of the awkward and intimidating as we can by having fun, short activities to bring people together, give your brain a break, and meet some new colleagues.

Accelerate Virtual Speed Networking

Accelerate into new connections using the Virtual Speed Networking lounge.  You will be able to interact with other virtual attendees from the convenience of your digital device. There will be one Speed Networking session each day. Attend one or all! This will be an informal opportunity to connect and discuss topics of interest with folks all around the country!



There are different activities set at different times, so take a look at the schedule below to get a sense of when you might best engage in the OLC Accelerate 2020 Conference Speed Networking Lounge. 

Note: All scheduled times are listed in US Eastern Standard Time Zone

9:45am - 10:15am Virtual Speed Networking Lounge - Equity & Inclusion Welcome Grab your coffee and join us for a special welcome from our Equity & Inclusion (E & I) committee. In this informal meet-up, members of the OLC Community will share some exciting updates on new initiatives around equity and inclusion in our field.

11:15am - 11:45am

Virtual Speed Networking Lounge: Mad Lib Bios

Host: Cheryl Fulghum

Mad Libs are fill in the blank stories. Participants will choose words, parts of speech, as directed, to fill in the blanks in a create-an-interesting-bio exercise. The result is a creative and fun take on the professional bio that is sure to help you stand out at your next professional event. First rule about Mad Libs Bios: Don’t look ahead! It spoils the fun.
1:45pm - 2:15pm

Virtual Speed Networking Lounge: Technology Test Kitchen Preview

Hosts: Dorothy Loftin & Romana Hughes

Interviewees: Adam Davi, Krys Ziska-Strange

Have you ever wondered what goes into creating the Test Test Kitchen? What kind of work fills the buckets of two nerds that enjoy breaking, poking, and using technology in learning? And what does a kitchen have to do with ANY of this? Join us for an insightful, we hope, look into the inner workings of the 2020 Accelerate Tech Test Kitchen and the chefs that create the delectable learning experiences in it!
1:45pm - 2:15pm

Virtual Speed Networking Lounge: Family Feud

Host: Sherri Braxton

Here is your chance to participate in the online learning version of Family Feud! This game is modeled after the TV show and will give you a chance to introduce yourself and then play with your team. Watch connections grow as you work together as a team to get all of the answers for each category!
10:00am - 10:30am

Virtual Speed Networking Lounge: Looking to the Future - Breakout Collaboration

Hosts: Dorothy Loftin & Romana Hughes

While we don’t have a crystal ball, we can take what we’ve learned and experienced as we look towards the future. Let’s talk about it! Some questions we might address:
If you knew today that COVID-19 was coming, what would be your plan?
What will Fall 2022 education look like?
What was missing/what new technology is needed?
What new best practices have you implemented?
4:15pm - 4:45pm

Virtual Speed Networking Lounge: Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Hosts: Mary Beth Messner & TBA

Join a team and work together as you scramble to collect items for this virtual scavenger hunt! Race other attendees and see which team will complete their list first to win a prize! The hunt is on!
10:00am - 10:30am

Virtual Speed Networking Lounge: Once Upon a Story

Hosts: Maria Sanders & TBA

In this fun story building game, you will get to interact with other people and work on building a story together. How these stories end is up to your group!
9:15am - 9:45am

Virtual Speed Networking Lounge: Geo Guesser

Hosts: Brandon Haas

Work together with a team to figure out where in the world the image that you are looking at is from. Use those Carmen San Diego skills from your childhood to sleuth out the image on the screen. Don't worry about bringing your own teammates, we will split everyone up into teams once the session starts!

Sponsored by

Examity Logo           HP logo            

        Respondus Logo        Wiley logo


Committee Members 

Maria Sanders


Maria Sanders: Speed Networking Co-Chair
Plymouth State University – Associate Professor of Philosophy

I love to travel and had the opportunity last fall to travel to all 50 states in 5 months exploring how people convert spaces to meaningful places while filming for a new television show called “The Looking Glass”. As an applied ethicist, I have taught philosophy at the college level for 30 years and enjoy public philosophy endeavors such as hosting the Philosophy 4 Life Radio show, the Happiness TV show, and blogging on Exploring US. When not philosophizing, you can find me on the golf course, kayaking , or spending time with family and friends.

Cathy Russell


Cathy Russell: Speed Networking Co-Chair
University of Arizona – Instructional Designer
Lonestar College – Adjunct Professor

Currently I spend the majority of my time being a taxi driver for my 3 children, who are all actively pursuing their passions for sports, horses, and show pigs.  In my spare time, I have worked for over a decade as an instructional designer and adjunct instructor.  In the few hours that are left, I love to bargain shop, bake, or binge watch a good show.

Sherri Braxton


Sherri Braxton: Speed Networking Committee
University of Maryland, Baltimore County – Senior Director of Instructional Technology

I’m the mother of two high-schoolers and have worked in higher education for over 20 years at a number of institutions in a variety of roles including full time faculty member, special assistant to the provost, instructional designer, director of distance education, and my current position. In my free time I enjoy traveling (my favorite destination is Turks & Caicos) and riding my horse, Indigo.

Cheryl Fulghum


Cheryl Fulghum: Speed Networking Committee, OLC Innovate Community College Summit Chair
Instructional Design and Online Learning Coordinator, Haywood Community College, NC

A champion of digital learning, instructional modalities, and creative educational methods, Cheryl describes her main role at her institution as faculty cheerleader. She is passionate about empowering faculty with the support of instructional designers and administrators to provide better online programs. In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors of the NC mountains. 

Mary Beth Messner


Mary Beth Messner: Speed Networking Committee
Walsh University – Director of Elearning

While my day job is Director of Elearning at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, my nighttime gig is running the Messner Institute of Technology (MIT) from my kitchen island as my two daughters navigate remote learning this school year.  Instructional design has been my passion through career adventures in higher education, healthcare, and corporate environments. I believe you can’t have a bad day if you’re wearing something pink, I love reading books by Elin Hilderbrand, and I always say yes to donuts.