Now is the time to share your innovative ideas with your global network of colleagues, your community, and those who inspire and seek inspiration.

The Online Learning Consortium and MERLOT are accepting presentation proposals for the OLC Innovate 2022 conference (Virtual: March 28 – April 1, 2022 and Dallas, TX: April 11 – 14, 2022).

We’re looking for proposals that reflect and showcase our vibrant community of practice — promoting theory, research, methodology, or applied effective online, blended, and digital teaching and learning practices.

To help you with the submission process, we’ve put together a series of documents to help you prepare your presentation proposal:



Important Dates

  • September 29, 2021 (by 11:59pm ET): Proposals due
  • November 12, 2021: Notification of acceptance
  • December 6, 2021: Deadline for presenters to accept
  • January 14, 2022: Deadline for presenters to register/edit abstracts
  • March 14, 2022: Deadline for presentations to be uploaded to the conference system


Track Descriptions

Please review the track titles, descriptions, and example topics to find where your ideas, research, demonstrations, or conversations might fit best within the program! Please note that all submissions to the tracks listed below must have at least one academically-affiliated presenter listed.

Surfacing effective practices for strategically integrating face-to-face and online environments in support of student success.

Submissions to this track should focus on blended course/program models and design(s), with an emphasis on research-based best practices, effectiveness, efficiencies, innovation, and scalability. Topics in this track might include:

  • methods and resources for redesigning courses for the blended format;
  • strategies for engaging students online to prepare them for face-to-face activities;
  • discipline-specific approaches for blended courses/programs;
  • non-traditional assessments that motivate and engage blended learners;
  • intersections of flipped and blended approaches;
  • microlearning models that support flipped classroom activities;
  • teaching condensed or accelerated blended courses;
  • research methods and theories of innovation in blended teaching and learning;
  • faculty development, training, and support for blended teaching and learning;
  • institutional practices, policies, and approaches to blended programming;
  • blended practices, initiatives, and research that was enacted in response to COVID-19.

Designing workforce development and career pathways with technologies, services, and online opportunities that are experiential, connected to career success, and supportive of lifetime learning.

Proposals for this track should focus on innovations in pedagogy, curriculum, technology, learning assessments and certifications, and collaborations with industries and professional organizations that increase the number of learners becoming successfully employed. Proposals from community colleges, career and technical training institutions, and organizations supporting workforce development through the use of online and digital education are encouraged. Some ideas to get you started:

  • collaborations between educational institutions, industries, non-profits, and workforce development organizations;
  • reimagining technical and experiential teaching and learning for the online and blended learning environments;
  • pedagogical innovations in workforce training and resiliency;
  • alternative and accelerated pathways to degrees and credentials; micro-credentialing, leveraging the blockchain;
  • competency-based education and prior learning: Strategies that are working for students, institutions, and employers;
  • student support, mentoring, coaching and engagement initiatives;
  • leveraging accessibility, universal design, and inclusivity to support a variety of learners and learning experiences;
  • addressing challenges for active duty military: portability, asynchronicity, adult learners, student leadership.

Highlighting the emerging and innovative gadgets and gizmos that support pedagogical innovation in the digital and online learning spaces of higher education.

Proposals for this track focus on emerging and innovative tools that can create new possibilities and pathways for online teaching and digital learning. This track is especially for conference participants to share fresh perspectives on the use of tech tools to support both learning outcomes and student engagement, to explain the results of related media studies, and to describe inventive instructional approaches for all learners. Some potential topics could include:

  • the role of emerging technological tools in supporting pedagogical innovation;
  • technologies that support individualized instruction at scale;
  • technology to assess student engagement and success;
  • tools that redefine the spaces and places where learning occurs (virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms);
  • tools that enable community building and collaboration;
  • the impact of assistive technology on teaching and learning;
  • mLearning, mobile apps and ubiquitous access to technology;
  • tools with a significant freemium model that would lower economic barriers to adoption.

Spotlighting the spaces and groups that foster strategic visioning and change work within online, blended, and digital learning./p>

Proposals for this track should focus on structural innovations and collaborations required amongst leaders and allies within online and digital education. What are some initiatives, strategies, or implementation plans your institution is using to move the needle? Some ideas to get you started include:

  • innovative leadership initiatives, programs, or structures that promote institutional ecology;
  • supporting individuals, stakeholders, and teams in making positive institutional changes;
  • scaling innovations across departments, institutions, and systems;
  • social impact / transformation: ways institutions are driving societal change, recognizing and challenging power-dynamics, supporting diverse communities, and solving community issues;
  • rethinking definitions of academic and educational success;
  • advocating and driving change around accessibility, universal design, and inclusivity;
  • the use of data analytics to foster innovation;
  • rethinking the organizational structure.

Driving the creation and sustainability of open learning spaces (physical or digital; MOOCs), open scholarship, open access, open pedagogy, open research, and open educational resources.

Proposals for this track should focus on the creation and integration of open (created, shared, and accessible) educational resources. In addition to open textbooks, we welcome submissions on open online courses, open resources for facilitating classroom experiences, and open pedagogy to give students a voice in the negotiation of their learning. Examples that qualify for this track include, but are not limited to:

  • utilizing and managing affordable learning solutions to minimize financial burden for students;
  • open educational practices and collaborations within teaching and learning;
  • adopting, adapting and creating open educational resources (OERs) into courses;
  • connective open online courses (i.e. MOOCs) and open learning networks that include multiple stakeholder groups (faculty, students,
  • researchers, allies);
  • open pedagogical practices that foster equity and inclusion;
  • open research practices and the ethical sharing of empirical research and data;
  • accessibility, equity, and inclusivity in all aspects of learning environments.

Spotlighting the cyclical nature of defining and defeating obstacles to innovation in digital and online learning. What do you recognize as a problem at your institution and how does that problem manifest in other areas of education? Are the processes or practices that you have implemented that you feel address this problem in a particularly useful, novel or interesting way?

Proposals for this track focus on identifying challenges inhibiting innovation in online and digital learning environments, detailing processes that solve those challenges, and highlighting practices that make those solutions sustainable. Proposals should address the process of planning innovations, implementing them, and/or assessing their effectiveness. Some ideas to get you started include:

  • process and cycle of innovation; defining problems and challenges, iterating towards solutions;
  • design Thinking and human-centered approaches to design;
  • forging and maintaining cross-functional partnerships;
  • learning through failure and establishing growth mindset culture;
  • innovation readiness, institutional culture, and the agony and ecstasy of change;
  • addressing the dark side of innovation – digital divide, barriers to equity, privacy, cybersecurity, oversight, authentication, intellectual property;
  • incorporating accessibility, universal design, and inclusivity into the institution;
  • the students’ role in innovation.

Showcasing formal research and in-progress studies in the scholarship of online teaching and learning.

This track is reserved for presentations that showcase data, analysis, and outcomes on the scholarship of online teaching and learning with technology and that expand the role of research in online learning. Share your research journey and aim to bridge the gap between your results and real world application. Consider the best ways to communicate your work with other researchers, educators, and practitioners in online digital learning. Your findings help demonstrate how innovation and research drive change and improvement are a necessary partnership in online education today’s world of online and digital learning. Some potential topics could include:

  • research questions, designs, and methodologies in digital and online learning;
  • measurement, validity and reliability considerations of current research in digital and online learning;
  • communities of teaching and learning research; the role of instructional designers in research;
  • translating research data and outcomes into new practices in teaching and learning;
  • designing accessible research projects and presentations.

Creating effective approaches to practices for online teaching and digital learning with technology including active learning, game design, and more.

Proposals for this track should focus on models or methods for online teaching and digital learning in online, blended, or technology-enhanced courses and programs. We welcome sessions that address any aspect of pedagogical practice, learning design, collaborative curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Examples that qualify for this track include, but are not limited to:

  • inventive, groundbreaking, or exploratory online course or program design methods;
  • curriculum/program reforms (Academic Transformation);
  • student engagement methods, practices, assessment activities, and approaches;
  • innovative approaches to blended/hybrid learning and teaching with technology;
  • accessibility, universal design, and inclusivity in technology-enhanced learning;
  • strategies for addressing performance gaps to promote success across all populations;
  • game-based learning, game design, storytelling, and role-playing.

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Session Types and Descriptions

Different topics need different presentation affordances! This list describes our session types, their key features, and what you can expect from them either as a presenter or an attendee. As you craft your proposal, explore which option works best for you and your audience.

Attendees should expect to listen to lecture-like material before having group discussion during Education Sessions.

Education Sessions provide an opportunity for presenters to share their work, innovations, or new opportunities to the OLC community. The presenters are responsible for driving the conversation and encouraging deep thinking about a topic, sharing practical applications of their work, or providing new and varying perspectives. There are two primary formats for this session type: presentations and panel sessions. Although these are more traditional formats, the presenters/panelists should strive to make the sessions as engaging as possible through polls, audience discussions, and other forms of interaction.

Key Features:

  • 45 minutes total. Time allotments may vary but each session should include approximately 5 minutes for introductions, 35 minutes for the main presentation, and 5 minutes for questions.
  • 1-4 individuals conducting the session (panel sessions must include a moderator).
  • Presentation style is similar to a lecture, while a panel session is similar to an interview.
  • Interactivity can range from simple to highly engaging. Uses strategies to engage the audience in active learning.
  • Accompanied by a slide presentation (important for accessibility purposes and for virtual audience viewing should your session be selected to be live streamed)

Note: With education sessions, there is a strong preference for proposals that include unique strategies for engaging the audience.

Attendees should expect to be actively involved in discussions and activities during Conversations, Not Presentations. This means participating in question and answer sessions, potential group work, and interactive activities.

These 45-minute facilitated Conversation, Not Presentations should propose an issue, challenge, or idea pertinent to the track description to discuss with participants. This session type should be highly interactive, with discussion, activities, and participant engagement. Presenters organize the conversation around a few key points to facilitate discussion, and the audience explores the topic you present or even helps solve the dilemma or otherwise contribute to meeting the challenge. Your proposal should include the conversation topic and engaging questions for discussion.

Note: These presentations will be “slide-free” or single-slide proposals. Be sure to make a plan for assistive technology or accommodations for folks that rely on slide decks (handouts, interactive activities, conversations, etc.). The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee is available to provide support if needed. Email conference@onlinelearning-c.org if you would like to request assistance from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.

Attendees should expect to watch and interact asynchronously during this Discovery Session in PlayPosit.

Discovery Sessions will be either fully virtual or onsite presentations that allow presenters to share their work, ideas, and innovations through the use of an interactive video-based tool to a virtual audience. These sessions allow for a greater exchange of ideas and facilitate new points of connections through in-depth asynchronous conversations about topics important to the OLC community. The best Discovery Sessions are those anchored around a specific provocation through storytelling and can move forward existing works in progress, research ideas, collaboration opportunities, best practices and practical applications, or pilot projects.

Through this format, Discovery Session presenters have the capacity to sustain audience engagement and dialogue well beyond the conference, as well as direct the audience to new or additional content that is otherwise beyond the scope of the unique session. PlayPosit’s interactive elements afford presenters the space to ask follow-up questions, incorporate discussion spaces, poll the audience, and more, marking these sessions as uniquely not sit-and-get, but rather strategically designed for asynchronous engagement.

Key Features:

  • An asynchronous opportunity for virtual presenter to virtual audience using PlayPosit or in an onsite format.
  • Allows opportunities for interaction using a presentation style that is conversational, sharing concise but impactful information in an online or onsite modality.
  • Presentation style is similar to a lecture, while a panel session is similar to an interview.
  • Interactivity is personalized based on audience members visiting your PlayPosit presentation. Allows for deeper connections and more detailed discussions.

Note: Each presenter will prepare a digital presentation through video, uploads, and added interactions using PlayPosit. Each accepted presenter will register for the conference in the modality they are electing to present their discovery session – either onsite or virtual. Due to their pre-prepared nature, presenters have the time, space, and support to refine and revise their discovery sessions prior to the start of the conference.

Attendees should expect to be actively involved during Innovation Studio Design Thinking Challenges. This means participating in question and answer sessions, potential group work, and interactive activities.

These 45 minute design thinking challenges take place in an active learning space. Proposals should explore a specific challenge, pedagogical strategy, technological tool, research method, industry innovation, or leadership approach for participants to learn more about, experiment with, and implement immediately at all skill levels. Innovation Studio Design Thinking Challenges should be comprised of the following segments:

  • Prompt: a 5-minute facilitated, quick-start conversation to kick off the studio session.
    • e.g. – The facilitator presents a “how might we …” challenge to solve a particular problem.
  • Brainstorming: Understanding the Challenge – a 20 minute divergent brainstorm session to generate new ideas and solutions to the challenge.
    • e.g. – Presenter facilitates brainstorming session with planned activities and brainstorming approaches.
  • Prototyping: Working Towards Solutions – a 20-minute convergent session for participants to process, refine, vote on, and even paper prototype the concepts and practices shared.
    • e.g. – Teams present solutions, narrow down top choices, identify practical next steps, and consider how they might apply in their own instructional context.

Proposals for an Innovation Studio session should address the following questions:

  • How will participants work collaboratively to prototype a meaningful solution to a particular problem using design thinking?
  • What is an applicable deliverable with which participants will leave the session?
  • How will the session assist participants to identify emerging trends in educational technology and their potential uses?

Attendees should expect to be actively involved during Workshops. This means participating in question and answer sessions, potential group work, possible project completion, and interactive activities.

Proposals for this session type should be interactive, 90-minute workshops designed to engage a group of participants in an activity related to one of the conference tracks. Non​-​traditional, cutting-edge ​interactive workshops that are forward thinking are desired. Example topics for Workshops may relate to innovations in design thinking, makerspaces, conducting educational research in online and digital learning, designing experiential online activities and labs, removing barriers to online learning, and other related topics of interest aligned with this year’s tracks.

Workshops should be designed with 2-4 meaningful and measurable participant learning outcomes (LOs) with opportunities explicitly outlined by the presenters showcasing collaborative and/or interactive group activities​ that will be used during the session to achieve stated learning goals​.

Proposals for workshops should clearly address the following questions for reviewers:

  • ​What are the explicit participant learning outcomes for the workshop?
  • What types of collaboration or interactivity will occur during the workshop with the instructor-participants and within the participant-to-participant group themselves?​ Please outline time allotments for any presentation vs. interactivity (i.e., 15 minute presentation; 65 minute interactive workshop; 10 minute Q & A).
  • How will workshop participants be able to apply the effective practices shared in the workshop at their home institution?
  • Who do you envision as the primary audience types who would get the most out of this session and why do you believe they will benefit?
  • What activities, take-aways, and/or activities will your workshop participants engage in that make your workshop unique, innovative, and relevant to the OLC Innovate 2022 themes and track you have selected?
  • What materials are required for the presenters, and what materials are required of those in attendance? This must be clearly outlined within the proposal submission.

Presenters must provide an opportunity for questions, answers, and/or whole or small group discussion within the course of the workshop and must describe how this element will be used to best engage participants. Elements of the workshop may be flipped to extend the amount of time participants can engage with the workshop content. Sessions that​ ​offer the opportunity to earn a​ ​credential, badge, or certificate are encouraged.

Workshops are offered free to all participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that computers are not provided for this or any session at OLC Innovate; therefore, all sessions are designated at BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Each presenter must bring his/her own laptop/device and must specify in advance what device and/or software requirements (i.e., mobile device or laptop required for participation, required apps for full participation) are expected of participants attending the workshop. The program committee reserves the right to change a workshop’s proposed presentation type if another is deemed more appropriate for engagement and participation given its content.

Competition for workshop slots is highly competitive at Innovate 2022. Please understand that you may be considered for an alternative format session instead of a workshop at the program committee’s discretion.

Attendees should expect to be moderately involved in discussion in career forum roundtables. This means that there is likely to be some active conversation in these sessions, and potentially some small group work.

Proposals for a 45 minute roundtable discussion should address the following questions:

  • What specific EdTech career issue, challenge or opportunity will the proposed Career Forum address? (The proposal should lead with a clear statement of an issue, challenge or opportunity of significance.)
  • Who is the target audience for this Career Forum?
    • Example target audiences might include faculty (full-time and adjunct) at varying stages of their careers, university administrators, instructional design professionals, consultants, and entrepreneurs.
  • What major discussion points will be covered? Do these points reflect contemporary EdTech trends and issues? Do they connect with current workforce innovation trends or opportunities? [A brief discussion protocol would be useful to include.]
  • What specific career-related takeaways (e.g., lessons learned, resources) will the Career Forum attendees glean from their participation?

Attendees should expect to watch and interact asynchronously during this Discovery session in PlayPosit.

Proposals may include works in progress or completed research results. Discovery Sessions provide an excellent opportunity to present your ideas to your peers in a community forum.

We seek submissions by students currently enrolled in or recently graduated (within one year) from a Graduate (Master or Doctoral) program whose research is relevant to online teaching and learning. The proposal submission must follow the guidelines of the OLC Innovate 2022 conference sessions. Those presenting as a graduate student through this CFP process will receive a discounted registration rate of $175 for virtual attendance or $300 for onsite attendance.

Key Features:

  • An asynchronous opportunity for virtual presenter to virtual audience using PlayPosit.
  • Allows opportunities for interaction using a presentation style that is conversational, sharing concise but impactful information in an online modality.
  • Interactivity is personalized based on audience members visiting your PlayPosit presentation. Allows for deeper connections and more detailed discussions.

Note: Each presenter will prepare a digital presentation through video, uploads, and added interactions using PlayPosit. Each accepted presenter will register as a virtual attendee. If you are an onsite presenter, you can also present a Discovery Session in the virtual- to- virtual modality. Due to their pre-prepared nature, presenters have the time, space, and support to refine and revise their discovery sessions prior to the start of the conference.

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How to Submit Your Proposal

Step 1: Login or create an OLC user account. You need to be logged in to your OLC user account in order to submit a proposal. Once you have logged in to your OLC user account, select “Conference Profile” from the left-hand sidebar menu. You will be directed to the OLC Conference Management System to submit your proposal and update your conference profile.

Step 2: Ask co-presenters ensure their OLC conference profile is complete. All additional co-presenters also need to have OLC conference user accounts and should be added to the proposal at the time of submission. Please keep in mind that once you have registered or submitted a paper, all conference-related information can be found here at the OLC Innovate 2022 website.

Step 3: Navigate to the OLC conference management system. Once you are logged in to your OLC user account, proceed to the conference management system, you will be able to submit a proposal by clicking on “OLC Innovate 2022” in the top menu navigation within the OLC conference management system.

Step 4: Select the Correct Conference. Select “OLC Innovate 2022 > Submit Proposal” to begin. Please note that you will need to be logged in to see the “Submit Proposal” button. If you do not see this button, please log into your OLC user account to begin. 

Step 5: Submit Your Proposal. Fill out the submission form. You may find our proposal planning template useful as you plan and gather your proposal information.

Step 6: Fill out/Update Your OLC Conference Profile. When submitting, please include as much information as possible in your OLC conference profile. Include your biography, a profile picture, and your most current contact information. (*Note: Your conference profile is housed in the conference management system and is separate from your OLC user profile at this time.) 

Step 7: Click “Save” to submit the submission form. Clicking save submits your proposal. Note: You may edit your proposal up until the submission deadline, after which all submissions are considered final. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

For more detailed information about the conference, please visit the OLC Innovate 2022 webpage. The pages under the Program and Engagement tabs will be updated regularly as information becomes available. If you have any questions that are not addressed on the website, please send an e-mail to conference@onlinelearning-c.org.

  • September 29, 2021 (by 11:59pm ET): Proposals due
  • November 12, 2021: Notification of acceptance
  • December 6, 2021: Deadline for presenters to accept
  • January 14, 2022: Deadline for presenters to register/edit abstracts
  • March 14, 2022: Deadline for presentations to be uploaded and conference presenter profile to be updated

All submissions are sent notification emails, regardless of acceptance status. Notifications are sent to all presenters listed on each submission. Please be sure to add the @onlinelearning-c.org domain to your accepted emails filters to ensure you receive these messages. If you do not receive a notification email by November 17, 2021, please contact us at conference@onlinelearning-c.org.

Yes, absolutely! We are always looking for session reviewers, session chairs, OLC engagement crew members, and more. Contact Jessica.Knott@onlinelearning-c.org to discuss volunteer opportunities with OLC conferences!

Yes. All OLC conference proposals are double-blind reviewed by a network of experts in the field of online, blended, and digital learning. This is why we ask that you not include identifiable information such as names and institutions within your submission, to maintain the integrity of the blind review process. We also ask you to complete your conference profiles so that we can match everything up, and get everything coordinated and where it needs to be!

Presentations are evaluated using five major categories:

  • Relevance to the conference
  • Clarity of topic and outcomes for attendees
  • Audience appeal
  • Interactivity
  • Alignment to session specific criteria

Yes, all accepted presenters must register for the OLC Innovate conference. Pricing information will be made available on the OLC Innovate 2022 webpage.

Best-in-Track awards are selected by conference attendees, and calculated based on attendee feedback. Each presentation offers attendees the opportunity to provide feedback to speakers. From these responses, we calculate the best-in-track winners from the CFP-accepted, non-sponsored sessions. By putting the Best-in-Track award selections in the hands of attendees, we aim to give you, our community, a larger voice in letting us know what you appreciate and find valuable in regard to programming.

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