OLC Accelerate Field Guide Program - Navigating the Field Together

About  |  Innovation Crews  |  Engagement Maps  |   Gatherings 
Power HourFirst Time Attendee FAQ  |  Committee


New to OLC Innovate? Attended previous OLC conferences and want to share your knowledge and expertise? Interested in connecting with others to discuss particular topics like instructional design, blended learning, faculty development, emerging technologies, or digital literacy before, during, and after the conference?

The Innovate OLC Field Guide program is designed to enhance the virtual conference experience for first-time conference attendees and for anyone looking for additional networking opportunities at OLC conferences. A visit to the Field Guide Station will help you learn more about the OLC Community and introduce a variety of synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for you to build connections by engaging with others, all the while sharing stories of the positive impact being a part of OLC can have on your practice! Core facets of Field Guide offerings include things you might recognize from the past, like Engagement Maps to help you plan out your conference experience and a Power Hour to orient you to the Field Guide Station and get your conference bearings. New this year, the Field Guides will be offering two additional programs:

  1. Innovation Crews. These are groups of conference attendees clustered by interest, facilitated by a “Crew Leader” for ongoing check-ins and community building.
  2. Gatherings. These are synchronous and asynchronous opportunities to connect with others, share ideas, and make your plan of action. 

This year, we’re utilizing a “camp” theme as a way to conceptualize and describe the ways you can engage with Field Guides during OLC Innovate 2021. At the station, Field Guides will share your “Camp Innovate 2021 map,” a virtual hub that helps you learn more about all the ways Field Guides can support your experience this year! If you’ve joined us in the past, “Camp Innovate” is this year’s instantiation of the (now virtual) Field Guide Stations you know and love from previous face-to-face programs, in tandem with our new Innovation Crews and Gatherings information!


Innovation Crews

One of the wonderful things about attending conferences is building relationships with new colleagues and having the opportunity to debrief or brainstorm applications of an idea after a presentation or experience. This year we’re offering a new Field Guide Program: Innovation Crews! You’ll select a group that aligns with your interests, have an opportunity to meet other participants, and join a cohort of colleagues dedicated to both navigating OLC Innovate together and co-constructing a meaningful learning experience. Innovation Crews will be facilitated by “Crew Leaders” (i.e. Field Guides), who will share updates, offer moments for the group to gather, and provide a crew-specific virtual background (for Zoom sessions) and a “frame” for social media engagement. 

To kick this exciting program off, we’ll be gathering around 5 major areas of focus. Some of these are role-based, others are topic-based, but each will be a great way to build community with other who share those interests/experiences. If you notice similarities between this list and the Engagement Map list, you are correct! We’ve intentionally aligned the Innovation Crews to the Engagement Maps to build in additional points of cohesion and connection for your 2021 OLC Innovate experience. Don’t feel like joining a crew? No worries, you can still participate in the activities and gatherings that suit your interests.  

Join an Innovation Crew today by completing the Innovation Crew Sign-Up Form

Not sure which Innovation Crew is the best fit for you? Spend some time reviewing the Innovation Crew Descriptions to learn more about who each of these unique Innovation Crews is for.


Engagement Maps

Engagement Maps are curated conference guides centered around a popular theme or movement in the world of online, blended, and digital learning. These maps, crafted by seasoned conference volunteers, are pathways or routes to navigate the conference. As an attendee, you might choose to follow a given engagement map based on your interests and professional development needs.

As you will see when you engage with the maps, you can view either the primary / main map or engage with the personalized maps developed by each map creator. There you will find their personal stories and learn a little more about their process for developing a given map. Regardless, each map creator was tasked with helping to design custom pathways for your conference journey.

Ready to get started? Take a look at the topics you can engage in and across during this year’s OLC Innovate and click on the trail names below to access the Engagement Maps (linked via individual Google Sheets).

Please notice that several of the Engagement Maps align to the Innovation Crews; this was intentional. That said, you don’t have to join an Innovation Crew to engage with those particular Engagement Maps. Likewise, if you have jumped in and joined an Innovation Crew, this message is for you: “Don’t feel obligated to stick to your crew’s pathway!” We encourage you to explore and try-out any number of Engagement Maps you wish.

Trail Marker

Use it to find/tag your crew on Slack or Social Media 

Trail Name

Engage by role, topic, or experience level 

#ID Instructional Designers
#TEACH Instructors
#ADMIN Administrators
#DATA Researchers
#IT Instructional Technologists
#STUDENT Students
#COVID19 Covid-19 Response
#DEI Allies (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)
#N2O “New” to Online
#PLAY Gameful




Navigating a new conference space can be challenging, especially when the conference is virtual! In this evolution of the a Field Guide Program classic (the “Talk Abouts”). Gatherings provide both synchronous and asynchronous spaces for you to connect your experiences at the conference with your outside work, responsibilities, and role. This conference is dedicated to sharing innovative ideas, and we know how exciting it can be to discover new things and make new connections. By taking part in the Field Guide Gatherings you will have access to short, asynchronous videos of important engagement spaces. Watch these videos to learn more about the space, meet the volunteers, and get comfortable with navigation! Here you can also access collaborative notes, documents to engage with others and share jottings from your own experiences. Additional synchronous sessions facilitated by some Crew Leaders, aim to provide an informal space where you can process your experiences with others. In alignment with our 2021 Camp Innovate concept, you will be able to access the recorded gatherings, collaborative notes documents, and see the schedule of synchronous events. More details on how to access this content and what exactly the experience will look like to come shortly!

If we know anything, it’s that your time at OLC’s Camp Innovate will certainly be fun and exciting. We want to make sure when you leave, you have a plan for putting what you’ve learned into action. One tool this year’s Field Guides will provide is a fill-in-the blank, ad-lib style, action plan. Stay-tuned for more details on how to access this action plan. Just like you might send postcards to friends or family from camp, we hope this part of the 2021 Field Guide offerings will help you make a plan for when you head home!


Power Hour: Getting Your Bearings

Join your volunteer Field Guides for the synchronous Field Guide Power Hour, where they will help you plan your conference experiences based on your areas of interest, help you connect with an Innovation Crew, and navigate our clickable Camp Innovate Map (coming to this page soon!). During this power hour, you’ll have the chance to organize your conference schedule and select presentations and activities you want to attend. The OLC Field Guides will be there to suggest interesting presentations and virtual social activities, train you on the use of the OLC Innovate Virtual conference venue and website, and point out Engagement Maps designed to help with your program planning. Throughout the conference, you can access a collection of asynchronous informational videos and artifacts in VoiceThreads, aimed at helping answer your conference going queries. 

The synchronous Power Hour will be on Monday March 15, 2021, from 9:00am to 9:45am (Central Time).

Questions? Contact us at conference@onlinelearning-c.org.



Committee Members 


Rolando Mendez


Rolando J. Méndez Fernández (he/him), Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Field Guide Program Co-Chair

Rolando is the Director for Online Academic and Student Services at the Inter American University of Puerto, where he helps the institution’s faculty immerse, navigate, and master online learning through mentoring and training. He also ideates and implements solutions to improve the experiences and support services for online students. Rolando is passionate about empowering faculty and students through meaningful, accessible and inclusive online learning experiences. 


Makena Neal


Makena Neal (she/her), Michigan State University, Field Guide Program Co-Chair

Makena is a Learning Experience Designer at Michigan State University’s Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology where her personal passions for adult learning and community-based knowing intersect with institutional educator development. Makena earned her doctorate in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, and continues to seek out ways to enact positive cultural shifts that center adults as learners and organizations as spaces for ongoing growth and development. 


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