Before each OLC conference, steering committee members, with ample input from OLC members, reach out to the best and brightest in the field of online learning to invite them to present their work and ideas at our conference. These featured speakers have been selected to present at OLC Innovate because they are guiding lights leading the way forward.

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Dan Millman

These thought leaders in our field join us at Innovate this year to share their visions for building the future of online learning. We invite you to make special note of these sessions (that means blocking off time in your calendar!) to ensure your attendance. In order to help you make time to attend, this year, the featured sessions will take place during time slots with no other sessions scheduled. There will be one featured session scheduled for each day of the conference. We look forward to learning with these talented educators. Join us!



Monday, March 15 – 12:15pm – 1:30pm US CT

Dimensions of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Leading with Care in the Online, Blended and Digital Learning Environment

Presenters: Monica Simonsen (University of Maryland Global Campus), Amanda Kraus (University of Arizona), Tina Rettler-Pagel (Madison College), Kate Miffitt (California State University Office of the Chancellor)

In this session, we bring together a panel of leaders from across the field to guide participants in an exploration of the various dimensions of care. In the style of a fireside chat, the invited speakers will share prevalent challenges, cases of leading with care across the field, and meaningful calls to action. Participants will leave with new insights and opportunities for collaboration around reimagining our teaching and learning contexts as centered in care that can be sustained well beyond the pandemic.


Tuesday, March 16 – 12:15pm – 1:30pm US CT

Lunch And Learn Featured Session: Taking @OLCToday Into Tomorrow: An OLC Twitter Chat

Presenters: Madeline Shellgren (Online Learning Consortium), Angela Gunder (Online Learning Consortium)

Twitter Chats (as seen by #edtechchat and #UDLchat) are great ways to reflect as a community, share resources, crowdsource ideas and strategies, and connect with new colleagues. At this year’s OLC Innovate, we’ll be leaning into this model to gather as a community virtually with the goal of not only deepening the dialogues we have at the conference, but additionally beginning to imagine together what it might look like to sustain them beyond the live event. Not on Twitter or unsure what a Twitter Chat is? No worries, this session is designed with that in mind and will include ways for you to participate regardless of your previous Twitter experience. Follow us at @OLCToday and using the hashtag #OLCInnovateChat to access the chat prompts in preparation or simply join the live Zoom session and await further instructions on how to join in on the fun!


Wednesday, March 17 – 2:00pm – 2:45pm US CT

Creative Strategies For Equitable Engagement In Online Classes

Presenter: Tazin Daniels (The Pedagologist)

In this interactive synchronous session, participants will explore principles and practices for cultivating an equitable and engaging virtual learning environment. Through a series of activities and reflections, they will explore common challenges around student engagement and develop strategies to build community and design high impact virtual experiences for individual and team-based learning.


Thursday, March 18 – 11:30am – 12:30pm US CT

Fight: Personalize The Protest With Antiracism And Universal Design For Learning

Presenter: Andratesha Fritzgerald (Building Blocks of Brilliance)

Controversy is born the moment dreamers begin taking actions to invite the marginalized ones into the secret society of success. It takes bravery to dream beyond the locked gates of educational access for all. When we say “all” we need to be brave enough to identify the students who the system has not traditionally served. It’s more important than ever that we recognize that our systems are not socially just or equitable for our Black and Brown students. The time is now to FIGHT!


Friday, March 19 – 9:00am – 9:45am US CT

Experiential Learning Forum

Presenter: Madeline Shellgren (Online Learning Consortium)

In August of 2020, a group of STEM educators gathered virtually to discuss and collaborate around the realities and possibilities for online STEM labs. Central to the design of the event (“OLC Ideate Labs for Online STEM: Innovating STEM Education”) was the acknowledgement that while educators around the world were shifting with the move remote, some — namely those engaged in experiential learning — were unsure if / how they could proceed at all in the online context. In this featured session, educators and partners from that event reconvene to showcase the ways in which they’ve leveraged the unique affordances of digital, virtual, and distance learning to innovate in the lab context. They’ll be joined by other experiential learning educators (across the arts and even athletics/sports) to dialogue around their experiences and practices. We invite you to collaborate with us as we engage in stories of successes and failures, but also as we discuss strategies for intentionally incorporating online experiential learning into our educational spaces into the future. Additionally, come reflect with us as we explore the types of things we can do together in convenings such as this to drive support around experiential learning. Finally, if you are an experiential educator, we welcome you to bring your own examples and practices to share with others and add to our digital experiential learning community showcase.


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