At the Online Learning Consortium, we believe that a good conference doesn’t just include high quality sessions. Beyond a full program of sessions led by experts across the field, a good conference should value programming intentionally designed to bring community together (and have some fun along the way). And we’ve done just that! Organized by our OLC Accelerate 2023 Engagement Team,  this year’s programming is catered to meet your conference needs. We fundamentally believe that engagement is programming, and that programming should be engaging. Join us for a custom (and fun) journey; leave with new ideas, models, resources, and friends.


At OLC Accelerate, there are so many ways to engage outside of the formal keynotes and sessions. That’s why we’ve created this guide to acquaint you with the activities that align with your goals and however you’re identifying at any given moment. One minute you’re a noob and the next minute you’re a social butterfly. Get an engagement planning guide that can keep up with you.

p.s. In past years, we’ve called these planning guides “Engagement Maps.”

Artificial Intelligence

Looking to connect with others interested in AI? Join the AI Innovation Crew! (We’re also in Slack: #artificial-intelligence-crew)

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Looking to connect with others interested in DEI? Join the DEI Innovation Crew! (We’re also in Slack: #diversity-equity-inclusion-crew)

Online Belonging

Looking to connect with others interested in Online Belonging? Join the Online Belonging Innovation Crew! (We’re also in Slack: #online-belonging-crew)

The Eternal Scholar

You’re here to soak up everything  and take it with you. You can be found recording and sharing key takeaways with anyone who will listen.

The Social Butterfly

“It takes relationships and collaboration to make impactful innovation. You’re here to find deep connections and grow your projects and passions together.

The Noob

“Hi, I’m new here,” you find yourself saying. A lot. Welcome! You’re ready to get the full sampler platter of OLC – A little of this, a little of that…

The Maker

Your hands are moving at all times. Is that a doodle of a superhero? Did you just code something? Get creative at Accelerate!

The Escapist

Of course you’re here for enlightenment but also: you need a break from your day job and/or family to be still, forget stress, and have fun. Ah, privilege!

The Competitor

Game on! Did we just see a pack of playing cards fall out of your pocket? Do you like getting points for no reason? Play all day at Accelerate!


Not sure if a persona-based Engagement Track is for you? Check out OLC Accelerate 2023’s engagement programming by exploring each opportunity individually.

Field Guides

Orient yourself to the conference and more importantly the OLC community.

Speed Networking

Connect and network with other OLC community members.

Innovation Crews

Find your people and do meaningful things together.

Technology Test Kitchen

Playfully explore how EdTech can support your work.

OLC Live

Engage in attendee voices and programming – live just-in-time – during the event.

Watch Parties & Community Dialogue

Join community in discussing what matters to you, live during the keynotes and plenaries.

Block Party & Happy Hour

Have fun, play, learn, and build community during OLC’s unique engagement event.

All engagement activities are included in the interactive conference schedule. Prefer to view all engagement activities in one place? Check out our printable Engagement Schedule! Questions? Need help navigating engagement options? Join Slack and message the Engagement Team in the #engagement-support Slack Channel!


Our OLC Accelerate 2023 Engagement Team consists of a group of fantastic volunteers, led by co-chairs Carmen Beck and Laura Geringer and OLC’s Director of Community Strategy and Engagement, Madeline Shellgren.

Engagement Team Leads

Laura Geringer
Engagement Co-Chair


Laura Geringer helps education leaders engage communities and create collaborative outputs through graphic facilitation and project design. Pen and (digital) brush in hand, Laura walks with practitioners and communities all the way from visioning to sharing their work with the world. Her work centers around the belief that we can creatively bring about positive change in and through learning – and do so in a way that supports and energizes the people involved. Designing collaborative, value-centric projects, processes, and experiences and leveraging the power of visual thinking and communication makes this possible. With a master’s degree in international higher education and undergraduate work in film production, Laura created PumpkinBerry Consulting to better serve education practitioners and organizations in creating outputs for positive learning futures.

Carmen Beck
Engagement Co-Chair


Carmen Beck has collaborated with faculty and colleagues to make student-centered and engaging learning experiences since 2009. She currently serves as an instructional designer with Academic Partnerships and has experience developing and teaching face-to-face, online, hybrid/blended, and self-paced courses, as well as developing courses and workshops related to online course development and teaching. Carmen was recognized for her instructional design achievements with the University of Missouri Outstanding Online Course Design award in 2017 and the Association for Distance Education and Independent Learning (ADEIL) College-Level Course Award in 2014. When not meeting with faculty or chasing down the latest research on making connections in an online course, you can find Carmen enjoying time with her family. They love bowling, exploring parks of all kinds, and serving their community. 

Cynthia Pascal
Community Facilitator and OLC Live Coordinator


Dr. Cynthia Pascal is the Associate Vice President of eLearning at Northern Virginia Community College’s online division, overseeing Faculty Services, Instructional Design, Student Services, and Educational Technology Support Services for over 550 faculty and 28,000 asynchronous students. She and her team prioritize inclusive, culturally responsive practices to promote student success through authentic engagement and open pedagogy. When not serving NOVA, she supports higher education leaders in designing holistic support services, policies, and practices to better serve marginalized and non-traditional populations.

Drew Santorello
Events Coordinator


As the Senior Instructional Technologist at the George Washington University’s College of Professional Studies Drew wishes he had a shorter title as it’s always so exhausting to say. Title aside, Drew works with instructors and instructional designers to create rich multimedia content and experiences for adult and professional learners. Drew has been volunteering with OLC for a few years now, serving as a Technology Test Kitchen volunteer and subsequently a Co-Chair. Drew likes to think and test new, creative and fun ways to present content to students, always putting emphasis on retaining a high quality product while still maintaining a level of functionality. When not filming lectures, you can find Drew filming weddings in the DC and NY metro area and flying his drone (@dsantorello on instagram). Drew also spends most of his time with his wife and three wacko children playing and exploring.

Eric Loepp
Field Guides Co-Chair


Eric Loepp is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics, Government, and Law and Director of Learning Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He is especially interested in using technology tools to enhance traditional forms of instruction and communication in college courses. He is the recipient of American Political Science Association’s 2018 CQ Press Award for Teaching Innovation, and has served as a Mentor and Innovation Crew leader at previous OLC events.

Yan Xu
Field Guides Co-Chair


Dr. Yan Xu is Associate Professor of History, Online Undergraduate Program Director at Spelman College, and the first director of the eSpelman Online Enterprise. She leads Spelman’s summer and winter online courses for college students and eSpelman online certificate courses for working adults. Prior to this role, she served as the chair of Spelman’s History Department. She is an alumna of OLC’s Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL). She co-found the HBCU Digital Leadership Network in LinkedIn and enjoys working closely with leaders from other institutions in building and expanding a network of connections across the online learning and minority education fields. She is an active volunteer at Project Management Institute working on promoting diversity in project management education. She holds a B.A. from Nanjing University (China), Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, and the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. She is a mother of three daughters.

T. Adam Baldry
Innovation Crew Co-Chair


T. Adam Baldry is an Instructional Technologist at Pima Community College. He holds an MA in East Asian Studies and is a PhD student in Higher Ed at the University of Arizona. His research focuses on EdTech and equity in International Higher Ed. Adam uses his 10+ years of online and in-person teaching experience to inform his approach to EdTech management and innovation. As a trained humanist, Asianist, technologist and teacher, he seeks to incorporate simplicity and humanity into his work.

Catherine Manly, Ph.D.
Innovation Crew Co-Chair


Catherine A. Manly is Assistant Professor of Higher Education–Data Analytics for Fairleigh Dickinson University’s online Ed.D. program. She earned her Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and did postdoctoral research with the City University of New York’s Equity Through Education Research Group. Her research addresses how flexibility of educational design and delivery can address under-acknowledged needs of students traditionally underserved by higher education. She brings a social justice lens to quantitative investigation of transformational innovation, with particular interest in changes possible because of online and educational technologies. Her work often utilizes aggregated institutional data (“big” for education), including through analytics. She was formerly Director of Educational Technology and Distance Learning at Manchester Community College and worked in Information Technology at Amherst College. She is an alumna of the Online Learning Consortium’s Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) and EDUCAUSE/CLIR’s Leading Change Institute.

Jason Reed
Speed Networking Co-Chair


Jason is the Department Chair, Program Manager and Associate Professor of information technology at the State College of Florida.  He enjoys researching, testing, and deploying new technologies in the classroom to further engage students and help facilitate learning.  He is passionate about finding and testing new technology to enrich people’s lives and sharing it with his students, co-workers or anyone who will listen.

Maddy Kadish
Speed Networking Co-Chair


Maddy Kadish leads the Instructional Design (ID) Team at The George Washington (GW) University to develop online learning and support teaching with technology. She is also the Chairperson of the Instructional Innovation Committee, a centralized resource for IDs and other distance education professionals across GW to share information and ideas related to online and hybrid teaching. 

Maddy has spent her career designing and developing online learning. Prior to coming to GW, she managed online learning for PBS in Arlington, VA, worked as an Instructional Designer for Pearson Education in Boston and London, and produced hours and hours of educational video in disciplines such as calculus, Spanish, psychology, and biology. Maddy is an indie film buff and has written about film and film festivals for The Independent, MovieMaker Magazine, IndieWire, and No Film School. She holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an Ed.M. from Harvard University’s program in Technology, Innovation, and Education. She lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and daughter.

Chris Pilgrim
Technology Test Kitchen Co-Chair


Chris is the Assistant Director of Distance Learning and program manager for online undergraduate degree programs for the College of Business at Mississippi State University.  In this role Chris has worked extensively with faculty and staff regarding course planning, program development, and implementation of new/emerging online technology. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Chris’ research interests include the role of technology and remote work environments in relation to leadership development within higher education.

Jennifer Culver, Ph.D.
Technology Test Kitchen Co-Chair


Jennifer Culver is the Sr. Academic Technology Services Director for the Simmons School and the Manager of Southern Methodist University’s Online Production Services Team. Jennifer confers with faculty on teaching, research, and creative pursuits and drives online learning content to utilize best practices whether the content is for credit or non-credit. Jennifer helped launch the OLC Mercantile Café in Dallas, and is helping in the Technology Test Kitchen for the first time this year.

Engagement Team Sub-Committee Members

Christopher Addo


Mr Christopher Addo is the Senior Assistant Registrar of the E-Learning Center at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science, Ghana, a novel center that promotes the use of cutting-edge e-learning technologies and pedagogical strategies to facilitate teaching and learning, knowledge creation, and service to the university. 

He has a background in Information and Communication Technologies and is a certified professional in integrating elearning and problem based learning. He has more than 10 years of expertise in online learning design and deployment in higher educational institutions. He has also served as a consultant for digital diagnostic study for five universities in four countries in West Africa. Christopher Addo has facilitated numerous workshops both inside and outside of Ghana on quality assurance in the E-Learning Ecosystem.

Bryan Aylward, PsyD


AVP, Office of Academic Innovation, Operations & Technology
Dr. Bryan Aylward is the AVP, Office of Academic Innovation, Operations & Technology for the University of Arizona Global Campus. Bryan’s division encompasses the Academic Innovation and Technology department, Faculty Scheduling department, Contracts & Payroll Compliance, Academic Project Management, as well as the Academic Systems & Data department for the university. Bryan has over 15 years of experience in higher education operations across numerous departments including student services, registrar, curriculum and instructional design, and academic operations. In addition to this experience, Bryan has been an adjunct faculty member for the Forbes School of Business and Technology since 2012 with focused instruction on leadership and management courses. Bryan is an advocate of high-quality education, with experience in the online, traditional classroom, as well as hybrid classroom formats (Online and Classroom), and is well versed in the challenges that exist for both students and faculty. Bryan received his Doctorate in Psychology with a focus on Business & Organizational Leadership from the University of the Rockies in 2017.

Heather Burke


Heather Burke is an Associate Professor of English at Hondros College of Nursing where she teaches College Composition. With 15 years of teaching experience, including 11 years teaching online, she is an educator who is a strong supporter of quality assurance and the student experience. In addition to teaching, she has worked closely with faculty members to improve their online courses, and she has delivered multiple faculty development sessions, including those with a focus on accessibility, online course design, and student engagement. She has presented at numerous conferences, sharing her passion for humanizing online education, quality course design, nontraditional student retention and completion, and first-year composition. She resides in Northeast Ohio with her husband, 8-year-old son, and amazing four-footed office assistants: Bailey, a beagle-mix from Kentucky, and Larry, the cat who believes that he is a dog.

Veronica Estrada


Dr. Veronica Estrada is a distinguished academic and educator with expertise in leadership, psychology, and artificial intelligence integration. As core faculty at Pacific Oaks College’s School of Human Development, she oversees the Educational Leadership and Human Services concentration. With over 15 years of teaching experience across community college, bachelor, and graduate levels, she is a highly regarded college professor.
Dr. Estrada’s academic achievements include an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from the University of Southern California, an M.S. in Counseling with a specialization in Student Development in Higher Education from California State University at Long Beach, and a B.S. in Developmental Psychology from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo.
Furthermore, Dr. Estrada’s dedication to innovative teaching methods has earned her recognition, as evidenced by the 2021 Effective Practice Award from the Online Learning Consortium for her research on leveraging innovation and technology to enhance student engagement and learning through online discussions.
Dr. Estrada has presented at various international, national, and state-wide conferences, showcasing her dedication to sharing knowledge and innovative teaching methods. Her passion for enhancing student engagement through technology further solidifies her reputation as an accomplished educator and influencer in multiple fields.

Heather Frederick, Ph.D.


A first-generation college student, Heather Frederick received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Brandeis University. An expert in doctoral education, she is the Director of Institutional Research at United States University, a higher ed consultant, host of the Happy Doc Student podcast, and author of The Happy Doc Student Handbook: 7 Steps to Graduating with Your Sanity, Health, and Relationships Intact. When she’s not working on her mission to change the way doctoral education is delivered and experienced (by students, faculty, staff, and administrators) you’ll find her walking outside barefoot, dancing to live music, and making memories with her favorite people.

Paul Kahenya


Paul is the director of online learning at Africa Nazarene University, a Christian liberal arts university in Kenya. I manage and coordinate faculty, staff, and students’ training and delivery of online offerings. In particular I am involved in course design, planning, delivery, assessment , and evaluation plus designing policies and procedures for effective online offerings. A fellow of higher education academy of UK, and awardee of Supporting Technology-enhanced Learning by SEDA (UK). Paul has authored several modules for the OER-Africa and Handong Global university project of South Korea. He co-development an asset during the IELOL Global 2022 Core program on leadership designed by Online Learning Consortium, OLC. Paul has vast experiences in facilitating on-site and online learning for both faculty and students. I enjoy family moments and fruit-gardening.

Angela Knoerr, M.L.I.S. & M.Ed.


Ms. Knoerr is an undergraduate academic adviser serving the Missouri School of Journalism. Knoerr’s goal is to enhance the undergraduate student experience through innovative use of technology and advising strategies.She earned two master’s degrees from the University of Missouri: one in library and information science and the other in educational technology with an emphasis in online instruction. In her previous role, Ms.Knoerr has worked for Missouri Online as an instructional designer, where she helped instructors integrate technologies into teaching and learning activities, increase course quality through assessment alignment, provided professional development, provided course design and development support, and assisted with troubleshooting course technology as it applied to instruction.

Jessica Krentzman Ph.D


Dr. Jessica Krentzman brings over 15 years of experience into her role as the Senior Manager of Instructional Design at Academic Partnerships. Her doctoral research focused on instructional strategies to promote interaction in online learning environments, with particular research into second language learners. Prior to her current position, she worked overseas and served in a consultative role integrating curriculum development, instructional design, and instructor training. Jessica enjoys working closely with an amazing team of instructional designers and faculty across the country and can always be called on to discuss interaction, engagement, and online learning. When not at her desk, she can be found with her family in the mountains or beach or traveling to a new country.

Olysha Magruder


Dr. Olysha Magruder is the Director of Learning Design and Faculty Development in the Center for Learning Design and Technology, Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. She manages a team of instructional designers who design and develop courses for over 22 master’s degree programs and other engineering programs. She also directs the Faculty Forward Academy, which provides workshops, webinars, courses, and programs to engineering faculty. She teaches as an adjunct faculty member at JHU’s School of Education and the University of the People, and facilitates workshops for the OLC Institute for Professional Development. Dr. Magruder has experience as an instructional designer, an online course instructor, and a classroom teacher. She received her doctorate degree from the University of Florida, focusing her studies on faculty development to support online teaching and learning.

Pankaj Mehrotra


Dr Pankaj Mehrotra completed his Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Applied Zoology from University of Delhi, India with a Gold Medal for securing first rank in University at Annual Examination  He further pursued Master of Science in Integrative Genomics from Black Hills State University, South Dakota, United States of America. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Sciences from Institute of Medical Sciences from University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom funded by European Marie Curie Research Commission working on immunological properties of Candida albicans, Candida aureus and Candida haemulonii affected by differential expression of signal transduction genes.  This early stage fellowship also involved visits to collaborative fungal research laboratories in Spain, Germany and Denmark. His research findings have been presented at various international conferences.

At Centre for Science and Mathematics Education at The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi, United States of America he was introduced with science education and worked as Lecturer for undergraduate courses. He has published his research findings on Scientific and Science Education research in international journals. He has also published a textbook on Biology – Fundamentals of Biology with an American Publisher Top Hat which has received an ISBN number. He is  currently working as a Biology & Health Science Instructor of University of the People, Pasadena, California, Teacher for Aquinas International Academia, California, Infectious Disease Professional & BioRiskReduction Instructor for BIoRiskReduction, ICARUS AI Teacher – Professor for ICARUS AI, California, Teacher at Global Pathways Academy, Florida and Instructor at Global Pathways Career Institute, Florida.

He is also Member of working group at:

  1. Biology Board Reviewer for MERLOT, California
  2. Speaker Selection Board Committee, Society for Advancement of Biology Education Research, California
  3. Citizen Science Network, North Carolina 
  4. BIOME, QUBES- BIOQUEST consortium funded by National Science Foundation.

Also completed the STEM Equity Leadership program from STEM Ed Innovators and Science Policy and Advocacy program from FASEB funded by Genetics Society of America.

Zoaib Mirza


Zoaib Mirza is an Associate Vice President of Curriculum at Ultimate Medical Academy with prior experience of 22 yr working for non-profit, for-profit, and ivy league education institutions. As a faculty and facilitator for over 15 years, he has taught and developed various Technology, Education, and Management courses in K12, undergraduate, and graduate schools both locally and internationally. He is scheduled to complete his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from DePaul University in 2023. He completed his MA in Applied Professionals Studies, MS in Applied Technologies, MS in Information Systems from DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, and his Bachelors of Science, Computing, with Honors from Staffordshire University the United Kingdom. He is the recipient of various recognitions and awards like Best Effective Practice by Online Learning Consortium, SLATE Star Award, TEACH award, The Diversity Scholarship by the Adult Higher Education Alliance, and more.

Christine Oskar-Poisson, Ed.D.


Dr. Christine Oskar-Poisson is an Assistant Professor of Trauma-Informed Education in the MEd/ Trauma-Informed Education program at Columbia College. Dr. Oskar-Poisson holds a BA in English teaching and a MAT in secondary English education from the University of New Hampshire. She maintains current licenses in Secondary English and Curriculum Administration. She earned her EdD in K-12 leadership from New England College, where her research explored the ways New Hampshire institutions of higher education prepare secondary English educators to teach rhetorical analysis to promote civic discourse through writing. Dr. Oskar-Poisson’s current scholarship explores the ways vicarious trauma impacts college composition faculty. Dr. Oskar-Poisson is a 2019 recipient of the Pericles Leadership fellow for her course titled Teaching Literature for Social Justice. She was selected to be the 2020-2021 Mellon Periclean Faculty Leader in the Humanities and continues her work authoring new courses that infuse themes of social justice.

Blair Stamper, EdD


Dr. Blair Stamper is an award-winning and published Instructional Designer (ID) with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is known as the Instructional Design Rockstar. As an ID, she works with faculty to create student-centered and active online courses that align with high-quality standards. Her passions and research lie in student success, active learning, and access, equity, and inclusion in online courses. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Michigan State University and Arizona State University. Blair shares her expertise with her online blog, social media (Instagram & LinkedIn), podcast, and through mentoring.

Allison Rief


Dr. Allison Rief is an Associate Professor and Department Chair in the School of General Studies at the University of Arizona Global Campus. Allison earned a Doctorate of Education with a specialization in Teacher Education in Multicultural Societies from the University of Southern California, a Master of Education from the University of California Los Angeles, and a Bachelor of Arts in Literatures in English at the University of California San Diego. Dr. Rief began her career as an elementary and preschool teacher. She maintains a National Board Certification and was awarded the Teacher of the Year for both the Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles County. Within higher education, she has had experience launching new programs and revising existing programs, developing courses, providing professional development, and working with collaborative teams across the university. Currently, Dr. Rief is a member of the Change Advisory Group, Student Conduct and Community Standards Committee, Forbes Center for Women’s Leadership, and oversees the partnership with No Excuses University schools. Beyond the programs she leads, she also serves on Doctoral committees and teaches the Doctoral In-Residence.

Katrina Vollmer


Katrina Vollmer is an Instructional Designer Associate with EdPlus at ASU Online where she assists instructional designers and faculty in the design and development of online courses and course materials. Prior to her role as an instructional designer, she worked as an educator accumulating more than 10 years of instructional experience and curriculum development. She also supported online students in higher education of various backgrounds and disciplines as a Success Coach.