Building Bridges in Digital, Blended, and Online Learning

Welcome to OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual Conference

Welcome to OLC and MERLOT’s first ever all-virtual conference.  Despite the cancellation of the onsite gathering in Chicago this April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are very excited to instead host this conference in a modality that exemplifies the best practices in online teaching and learning.  Thank you for your patience and support as our staff and team of volunteers worked to update the program in order to deliver it in this new virtual presenters-to-virtual attendees format.

During the two week conference (June 15-26), the most important item you need to know is how to access the conference.  It is very important that ALL attendees read through the log-in instructions below.

How to Log in to the Conference Daily

OLC and MERLOT will be offering two avenues of access for attendees to join the Innovate 2020 program: Classic and Beta.

Classic Access: Available to all registered attendees, this provides entrance to conference sessions through the OLC Innovate website. This is the standard view that previous virtual conference attendees would be familiar with. To access via the Classic view:

  • Log in to your OLC User account (that you used to register for the conference). 
  • Once logged in, you will see a blue stripe that says “The OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual Conference is underway. Classic Access” at the top of the page.
  • Click “Classic Access”.
  • You are now in the conference venue.  Click on Program/Sessions in the navigation bar in the top menu.

OLC Innovate 2020 program view

  • Find the session you wish to view (watch the video for many ways to search for a session).  
  • Click on the session title.
  • Click on the orange “Watch This Session” button in the upper right-side panel. 
  • This will launch Zoom and your session will begin at the scheduled time (Eastern Daylight Time Zone).
  • If you log in prior to the session start time, you will see a box “The meeting is scheduled for xx date – start at xx time – and the session title”. Links will be active approximately 15 minutes prior to the session start time.
  • Remember – Discovery Sessions are held asynchronously and may be viewed at any time.  Clicking on a Discovery Session title will take you to the Discovery Session in VoiceThread.

For additional guidance on accessing and navigating sessions in the Classic view, please watch this video:

Beta Access: You are invited to access the conference in a new platform that the Online Learning Consortium is beta testing for this conference. Our hope is that you will find the new platform provides easier navigation of conference sessions, access to resources, and more interaction through our virtual exhibit hall. To access via the Beta view:

  • Log in to your OLC User account (that you used to register for the conference)
  • Once logged in, you will see two blue stripes at the top of the page:
    • The top blue stripe provides access in the Classic View. 
    • The bottom blue stripe will take you to our new beta conference platform. We recommend you select this link labeled “Beta Access”. 
  • After you click the link, you will be redirected to the sign in page. Sign in with the email you used to register for the conference.

OLC Innovate 2020 Beta Access

  • You will then find yourself on the Home page of the beta site.
  • Click on “Sessions” box which takes you to the list of sessions coming up for the day.
  • Click on the session title you wish to view.  (watch the video for many ways to search for a session).  This will open a pop-up box.
  • Click on the red “Attend” button. This will take you to a full session description.
  • Click on the green “Join the Webinar” button.
  • This will launch Zoom and your session will begin at the scheduled time (U.S. Eastern Daylight Time Zone).
  • If you arrive prior to the session start time, you will see a countdown clock above the “Attend” button. You won’t be able to enter the session room until 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.

For additional guidance on accessing and navigating sessions in the Beta view, please watch this video:


Attendees please note: As you enter a session in either “Watch Now” (Classic view) or  “Attend” (Beta view), remember that links will be active 15 minutes before the start of each live-streamed session. Each room does have a maximum capacity of 1000 participants, so we encourage you to arrive a few minutes early to ensure you get a “seat” in the session. If you find that the capacity of the room has been reached, please select another session to attend during that time block and come back to view the on-demand recording at a later date.
Presenters and session chairs please note: You will enter your assigned presentation room the same way you would enter a session as an attendee, depending on which system (Classic or Beta) you are using. Please plan on entering your presentation room 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start time (as soon as the link is available). 

Note to ALL Attendees:

We will send Daily Update emails throughout the two week conference. Included in those daily updates will be a reminder of the access options with log-in instructions.   

If you have access questions, please contact us at for assistance. Post-conference, we will ask OLC members via the post-conference survey for feedback on the beta test.  

Planning Your Schedule

  • All sessions are listed on the website in U.S. EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME ZONE. Be sure you are calculating the correct time to join a session.
  • Sessions are held Monday through Friday both weeks. Times range from approximately 8:00am-8:00pm ET daily, depending on the schedule that particular day.  
  • As you plan which sessions to attend, don’t forget to include Networking coffee talks, Virtual Speed Networking Lounge events, meditation sessions, OLC Live sessions, evening events, and other social and networking opportunities throughout the conference. Be sure to visit our Sanctuary Lounge whenever you need a little refreshing break. Now more than ever, we need the time to recharge, refresh, and enjoy the community of each other whenever possible.
  • If you miss a session or join late, don’t worry…all sessions are being recorded and will be available to you for on-demand viewing for one (1) year post-conference.  
  • There are nearly 300 sessions available to you, including those presented live as well as our Discovery Sessions and Innovation Studio and Escape Room presented asynchronously. Join us as often as you can for live sessions, but know that you can also go back to watch the on-demand recordings and participate in the asynchronous sessions at your leisure over the 2 week period and for 1 year post-conference. No matter what your schedule looks like, you won’t miss a thing!
  • To pre-plan sessions you wish to attend:
    • Classic View: In order to pre-plan in this view, you must download the conference mobile app in order to use the “My Schedule” feature.  
      • Go to My Schedule in the app          
      • Click on All Sessions at the bottom
      • When you find a session you are interested in, click on the flag on the left side of the session listing
      • Click on My Schedule at the bottom, and it will show you your flagged items
    • Beta View: Easily bookmark sessions and items of interest by clicking on the star icons throughout the beta venue. You can star sessions, exhibit booths, and contacts to add to your “Followings” list. Review your bookmarked selections by selecting “Followings” from the profile drop-down options. 
    • Note to all users: Discovery Sessions are asynchronous and available at any time throughout the two weeks. You can “flag them”, but they don’t have an assigned time. Just access them at your convenience.

Additional Items of Note

Special Events

Note that there are 4 special program events throughout the virtual conference.  Make sure to visit their overview pages and bookmark the sessions you are interested in attending. These include the Community College Summit, HBCU Affordable Learning Summit, OLC Leadership Network Event, and OLC Research Summit. There are also many networking and evening social opportunities available, so don’t forget to look for those as well.  

Need Help? Field Guides are here to help

Our volunteer Field Guides are here to help answer your questions as you navigate the Innovate conference. In addition to joining us at each Monday’s Field Guide Power Hour, we encourage you to post questions/ start conversations in the Innovate Field Guide Slack channel. If you haven’t already joined the Innovate Slack community, learn more.


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