A virtual event focusing on the broad opportunities to contribute to the knowledge and practice in the field of online education, featuring presentations, small group discussions, and networking. 

OLC Research Summit: Research is for Everyone!

Research forms the foundation of practice across the online learning landscape – but who does this research, how are topics and trends determined, and how does it impact theory and/or practice in the diverse range of higher education professionals that work in online education?  We often think of research as a formal investigation and publication process completed by faculty and/or dedicated researchers. While this empirical work is certainly one (very important!) way to define research, the study of online education is unique in that there are broad opportunities to contribute to knowledge and practice in the field (which is the very purpose of research).  Not only can research take various forms, many of us are engaged in some form of research without realizing it (and without realizing how we can use it to impact the field).

This OLC Research Summit will begin with an overview and audience-engaged discussion of current online education research overall, including the identification of emerging trends and how participants in their various and diverse roles are part of, or impacted by, this work (and consideration of what remains to be addressed).  Following this interactive discussion, a panel of professionals representing a variety of roles that produce or regularly engage with research will talk about the various ways that research is defined and used by different professionals in online learning, from faculty/researchers to instructional designers to administrators and leaders.  Participants will be provided with resources, methods of approach, and dissemination avenues for the range of opportunities (or current work) that may contribute to knowledge and practice, followed by the opportunity to discuss and begin to develop, or further expand, their own work in collaboration with or for solo presentation and publication work in the field.  

Registration for the OLC Research Summit is included in your OLC Innovate 2020 conference registration.

OLC Research Summit Panelists

Dr Jessica Knott
Jessica Knott, Ph.D., Applied Researcher, Michigan State University
Seth Porter
Seth Porter, Assistant Director of Digital Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship at Princeton University
Jean Mandernach
B. Jean Mandernach, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center For Innovation and Research in Teaching, Grand Canyon University
Jeremy Dean
Jeremy Dean, Director of Education, Hypothesis

OLC Research Summit Moderators

Lynette O'Keefe
Lynette O’Keefe, Ph.D. Director, Research, Online Learning Consortium – Moderator
Sherri Restauri
Sherri Restauri, Ph.D.,  Director of the Coastal Office of Online Learning, Coastal Carolina University – Moderator

OLC Research Summit Welcome

Peter Shea
Peter Shea, Ph.D Board Member, Online Learning Consortium
Jennifer Mathes
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.,  Chief Executive Officer, Online Learning Consortium



The Research Summit event is open to all OLC Innovate participants and held in three parts on Tuesday, June 23. Attendees can attend one or all of the sessions, and are encouraged to bring colleagues from their leadership teams to attend as a connected cohort across the event.

June 23, 11:15am – 12:00pm US EDT – Research Is for Everyone

Research is foundational for a variety of roles and practices across the online learning landscape. This session will focus on talking about what ‘research’ is and means, the current state of research and emerging trends, and a panel discussion about professionals’ experiences, engagement, with, and use of research in a variety of roles. 

  • Moderator: Sherri Restauri
  • Panelists: Jessica Knott, Seth Porter, Jeremy Dean, and Jean Mandernach


June 23, 1:30pm to 2:15pm US EDT  – Research and Collaboration

Participants will break into small groups based on their research interests and goals. Collaborative work, including the use of digital annotation for enhanced and effective co-work, will include the development of current or potential opportunities to contribute to knowledge and practice.

  • Breakouts led by panelists and moderators.
  • Wrap-Up moderated by Sherri Restauri


June 23, 3:45pm to 4:30pm US EDT – Preparing for Practice and/or Publication

A short panel discussion on choosing a dissemination outlet (applied practice, publication, presentation, etc.) and navigating the process will precede small breakouts where participants refine their discussions and annotations with an orientation toward preparing for dissemination.

  • Moderator: Sherri Restauri
  • Panelists: Jessica Knott, Seth Porter, Jeremy Dean, and Jean Mandernach



  1. Research: Why is Research Important to Successful Digital Learning?
  2. Accessibility and Equity: Access and Accessibility in Online Learning Issues in Higher Education and K-12 Contexts
  3. Quality in Digital Learning: A Cross-institutional Study of Instructional Characteristics and Student Outcomes: Are Quality Indicators of Online Courses Able to Predict Student Success?


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