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



Education Reimagined is a theme that we can all relate to given the changes of this past year.  The shift to remote work and virtual learning had a drastic impact on many of us. That this shift was contextualized by a global pandemic and the nation’s long overdue reckoning about racial inequality only reinforces the importance of addressing equity and inclusion within the context of online learning. We are proud that this conference brings together people with a diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and varied levels of experience in remote environments to “reimagine” education and ensure that we are meeting the needs of students, faculty, staff, and the broader communities we serve.

We aim to build bridges amongst our conference attendees in creating an inclusive conference experience. The EI Committee for Innovate 2021 virtual conference broadly defines inclusion, diversity, equity, and advocacy as honoring all individuals for who they are, and where they are: in so doing, both recognizing and also honoring the whole person. Equity and inclusion also means connecting with each other in meaningful and helpful ways to create an environment where everyone feels part of the conference community.  We are always looking for individuals to help us shape and expand this mission, so please reach out to us if you have an interest in service with us in this event or future OLC events. 

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including those with disabilities, to engage fully in the virtual conference. If you need individual assistance to address your accommodation needs to ensure you can fully participate in the conference, please contact us. We will then work with you individually and with the appropriate vendors to make sure that your specific accommodation needs are addressed. Closed captioning will be provided in all the live and on-demand recordings. If you have questions or would like to discuss your accessibility needs or concerns, please email us at conference@onlinelearning-c.org.

And, for all conference participants – attendees and presenters alike – we are happy to provide suggestions on what you can do during the conference to bring diversity and inclusion to OLC Innovate 2021 Virtual Conference.


Preparing for the Conference

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, as well as refer to our specific Presenter Guide on Equity & Inclusion. You may find more information by visiting the OLC Presenter Services page.

General EI Presenter Guidelines:

  • Presenters should ensure that their presentation materials are accessible for all participants.
  • Follow web accessibility guidelines to ensure everyone in the virtual room can benefit and that the presentation materials are accessible. Please feel free to use the OLC conference presenter slide template, which is accessible, available from the Presenter Services page
  • Please use a headset with microphone if at all possible to ensure the quality of your sound during your presentation.
  • Presenters should plan to describe their slides, visual demonstrations, or videos to the audience for any attendees with visual impairments. To best conduct an accessible and inclusive session so that all attendees may engage, it is recommended that presenters repeat any questions that have been asked in the chat using the microphone for any attendees who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
  • If you are presenting and need an accommodation to effectively conduct your presentation, please let us know. There is a space for you to indicate that you have an accommodation request when you claim your presentation slot.
  • Closed captioning will be provided in all the virtual live and on-demand recordings.

Additional tips will be presented to speakers in the presenter webinars leading up to the conference as well as in our Presenter Guides.

We want to make participating in the conference experience simple, accessible, and inclusive. One of the ways we work to do this is by generating Engagement Maps; these maps highlight specially-curated sessions in themes such as instructional design, leadership, equity & inclusion, and much more, and attendees indicate that these focused and themed session guides help them to better engage at the conference with individuals who have similar interest areas. Consider attending sessions that have been carefully curated for you by OLC volunteers in our Engagement Maps that match your interests–OR–branch out to a brand new area and meet new people, and learn new information. That is what building bridges is all about. 


During the Conference

Unplug and Refocus

Everyone needs a break and time to decompress during a long conference. Take advantage of the opportunities to unplug and refocus.

Our Sanctuary is a quiet, reflective space available for all conference attendees to use. The Sanctuary page is asynchronous and open at all times. Please refer to the schedule for live mindful meditations in the Sanctuary room.

What does E&I look like at OLC Innovate 2021 Virtual Conference this year? 

Within the context of the E&I work at OLC Innovate 2021, we have worked to create intentionally inclusive spaces. Here’s how you can enjoy:

  • Visit the virtual Sanctuary Room, asynchronous and open at all times.
  • Join us for the conference’s Virtual Speed Networking Lounge: Equity & Inclusion Welcome.
  • Closed Captions will be available in all virtual live and on-demand sessions. Discovery sessions in VoiceThread will also be captioned. 
  • Let us hear your feedback regarding how OLC is doing with our Equity & Inclusion initiatives, and how we might improve. Please complete this quick survey to provide us with your feedback. 

Additional E&I Resources for Attendees & Presenters:

Please attend our conference sessions with a special focus on Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Diversity at our conference. Check out this curated-by-us selection of sessions by reviewing our E&I Engagement Map (coming soon). OLC Innovate 2021 presenters are also encouraged to review the Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility Guide as you prepare for your presentation, to ensure it is designed and presented in an inclusive manner for all attendees. Presenters should also review and incorporate the OLC Slide Template, review the OLC Slide Design Guide, and upload all digital materials to the OLC presentation repository prior to and/or after the presentation.

Julie Evey      

Julie Evey

Dr. Julie Evey was a full-time faculty member in psychology for 17 years at the University of Southern Indiana serving as Department Chair and Assistant Dean.  She currently teaches at Kent State University, Geauga in Psychology.  She has reviewed for MERLOT for 10 years and currently serves as an Associate Editor on the Psychology Editorial Review Board.  She has been teaching online for more than 10 years.   

Monica Simonsen headshot

Monica Simonsen

Dr. Monica Simonsen is the Education Program Director at University of Maryland Global Campus and has more than twenty years in education and online learning. Dr. Simonsen is a graduate of the Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Education (IELOL), a founding member of the Collegiate Online Research Leaders (CORAL), and a member of OLC’s Equity and Inclusion committee. Her current research related to online learning focuses on embedding inclusive pedagogies into online learning and identifying effective leadership structures and practices for online program management. Dr. Simonsen also studies the impact of family engagement and collaboration to promote seamless transition outcomes for students with disabilities and personnel preparation of transition specialists.