30 Years of Magic: Envisioning a New Era of Digital Learning

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 invites you to submit a presentation proposal for the OLC Accelerate 2024 conference (November 18-21). Join us as we return to sunny Orlando, Florida to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this conference.  Come experience the magic with us!

We’re looking for proposals that reflect and showcase our vibrant community of practice — promoting theory, research, methodology, and/or applied effective teaching and learning practices in online, blended and digital learning environments. New this year is the inclusion of engagement program proposals in our Call for Proposals.

Please note, all proposals for Accelerate 2024 are for onsite sessions in Orlando.  There will be no virtual program associated with the conference this fall.  

All individuals (presenters, co-presenters, and authors) submitted on a conference proposal must have a current OLC User account with name, title, and institution.  You will also be asked to upload a photo (optional but strongly recommended) and short bio (required) for each presenter. When submitting the proposal, you will select your co-presenters by using their OLC user account email addresses. The system will only allow you to select individuals who have an OLC account with name, title and institution information included.  If you or your colleagues do not have an account or, if you need to update your information, visit OLC user account – a community membership is free.

To make the submission process quick and easy, be sure to collect all the necessary proposal information in advance using the template provided (Proposal Planning Template) so that you can easily cut and paste information into your submission form. The template will also guide you through the information you will need to obtain from your collaborators (including email addresses) prior to submitting your proposal.

We’ve put together a series of documents to help you prepare your presentation proposal:

Important Dates

  • March 28, 2024: Call for Proposals opens
  • June 3, 2024 (by 11:59pm ET): Proposals due (extended deadline)
  • August 1, 2024: Notification of acceptance
  • August 19, 2024: Deadline for presenters to accept
  • August 26, 2024: Full program published
  • October 1, 2024: Deadline for presenters to register/edit abstracts
  • November 1, 2024: Deadline for presentations to be uploaded

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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.

Pioneering the Future of Online Education Through Technology and Creativity

This track explores the intersection of cutting-edge technologies and innovative pedagogical practices that redefine online learning. It invites contributions to the deployment of AI, VR/AR, and mobile technologies to create engaging, interactive, and effective learning experiences. Emphasis is placed on leveraging these technologies to support online course design, STEM education, and the exploration of new trends in digital education environments.

  • AI-supported pedagogies and methods
  • Mobile learning and applications
  • Game-based learning and gamification
  • Digital courseware for adaptive and personalized learning
  • Trends in instructional design for online STEM education and other experiential disciplines
  • Innovative methods for supporting equitable uses of educational technology
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality in education

Crafting Accessible and Engaging Online Learning Experiences

Focused on the art and science of online learning design, this track covers the strategic planning, development, and assessment of online courses. It delves into effective practices for enhancing engagement, ensuring accessibility, and measuring the success of online learning. Special attention is given to DEI principles, UDL, and the integration of open educational resources to enrich online learning environments.

  • Online, blended, and digital course design for engagement and impact
  • Instructional strategies promoting engagement and student motivation
  • Instructional design processes and methods to support the modern learner
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and accessibility
  • Open educational practices (OEP) and open pedagogy
  • Evidence-based practices in digital learning
  • Effective practices for curriculum development
  • Innovative and inclusive assessment strategies
  • Microcredentialing, competency-based instruction, lifelong learning, and competencies for reskilling/upskilling the future workforce

Building Inclusive and Accessible Online Learning Communities

This track emphasizes the critical importance of fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the digital learning space. It invites discussions on policies, practices, and technologies that support equity and access, promote cultural responsiveness, and ensure educational materials are accessible to all students, including those from traditionally marginalized groups.

  • Culturally responsive teaching in digital environments
  • Inclusive student support, particularly for diverse learner populations (i.e. BIPOC, LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, first generation, poverty-affected learners)
  • Institutional strategies for enhancing access to digital learning through the expansion of technology infrastructure (computer access, internet access, mobile-friendly learning experiences)
  • Implementing DEI principles in online education
  • Accessibility and affordability of educational technologies
  • Sustainable actions related to equity, access, diversity, and social justice

Empowering Leaders and Fostering Innovation in Online Education

This track focuses on the development of leadership and collaboration skills essential for advancing online and blended learning. It covers strategic planning, faculty development, and fostering interdisciplinary collaborations to innovate and improve digital education practices. Contributions that highlight effective leadership models, diverse professional development offerings, and collaborative initiatives are encouraged.

  • Creating inclusive pathways for emerging digital leaders
  • Effective practices for managing up, down, and across
  • Building sustainable and comprehensive digital strategy
  • Collaborative initiatives between institutions and industries
  • Innovative leadership practices in the digital education landscape
  • Strategies to identify/expand resources and opportunities to drive academic innovation
  • Policy and practice for the future of digital learning
  • Faculty development for online teaching excellence

Enhancing Student Success and Well-being in Digital Environments

Dedicated to showcasing effective strategies for supporting students’ academic and emotional well-being in online and blended learning contexts. This track explores advising, mentoring, support services, and initiatives that humanize the digital learning experience, with a focus on creating inclusive, supportive communities that cater to the unique needs of all students.

  • Student affairs and building community for diverse populations of online learners
  • Online advising and success coaching
  • Mental health and well-being support services
  • Inclusive and equitable support models
  • Approaches to peer-to-peer learning, mentoring, and tutoring
  • Humanizing online learning experiences
  • Career pathways for current students and alumni of online programs

    Elevating the K-12 Student Experience in Digital Learning Environments

    This track is focused on sharing best practices, innovative teaching methodologies, and other creative ideas tailored for K-12 education. It includes a spotlight on the effective use of technology tools, strategies for student engagement within the learning ecosystem as well as contributions centered around AI integration, gamification, fostering digital citizenship, facilitating the transition from K-12 to higher education, nurturing critical thinking abilities, and empowering students with essential skills to navigate their digital landscape. ***Sessions will also be selected from this track for the K-12 Symposium. .

    • K-12 EdTech Innovations
    • Strategies for Engaging K-12 Students Online
    • Cultivating Digital Citizenship in Young Learners
    • Pathways from K-12 to Higher Education
    • Critical Thinking among Online Learners
    • Building Digital Learning Competencies

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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.

    • Discovery Sessions allow presenters to share their work, ideas, and innovations in a more personal format. Using a laptop, these sessions allow for a greater exchange of ideas and in-depth conversations about important topics to the OLC community. These digital presentations can include works in progress, research ideas, collaboration opportunities, best practices and practical applications, or pilot projects.

      Note: Each presenter must bring his or her own laptop. A small table for your laptop and power to the table will be provided. Wireless Internet will also be available to allow for further exploration of related Discovery Session content.

      Key Features:

      • Typically 5-7 minutes of information sharing by the presenter, followed by discussion. (Presentation is repeated 2-3 times over a 45 minute timeframe).
      • 1-3 presenters engaging in meaningful conversations with attendees.
      • Presentation style is conversational, concise and impactful.
      • Interactivity is personalized based on audience members stopping by the presentation display. Allows for deeper connections and more detailed discussions.
      • Presenters are expected to bring their own laptops and provide handouts. OLC will provide tables and power strips.

    Proposals may include works in progress or completed research results. Graduate Student 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 Accelerate 2024 conference sessions. Those presenting as a graduate student through this CFP process will receive a discounted registration rate of $300 for onsite attendance.

    Graduate Student Discovery Sessions allow presenters to share their work, ideas, and innovations in a more personal format. Using a laptop, these sessions allow for a greater exchange of ideas and in-depth conversations about important topics to the OLC community. These digital presentations can include works in progress, research ideas, collaboration opportunities, best practices and practical applications, or pilot projects.

    Key Features:

    • Typically 5-7 minutes of information sharing by the presenter, followed by discussion. (Presentation is repeated 2-3 times over a 45 minute timeframe).
    • 1-3 presenters engaging in meaningful conversations with attendees.
    • Presentation style is conversational, concise and impactful.
    • Interactivity is personalized based on audience members stopping by the presentation display. Allows for deeper connections and more detailed discussions.
    • Presenters are expected to bring their own laptops and provide handouts. OLC will provide tables and power strips.
  • Attendees should expect to listen to lecture-like material before having group discussions during Education Sessions.

    Education Sessions provide an opportunity for presenters to share their work, innovations, or new opportunities with 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).
    • The 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.

    Your engagement activity proposal should breathe life into the spaces between our scheduled events (i.e. during networking breaks, lunches, evening events). Whether it’s an early morning mindfulness session, an engaging activity during the breaks between concurrent session blocks, or a lively evening social, we’re seeking proposals that break the mold. Think unconventional: networking games and icebreakers, quick design sprints, meditation sessions—all are welcome here. If you’re submitting an activity that feels like it could be a presentation at your standard educational conference, it’s probably a better fit for our regular academic proposal and not an engagement session.Ultimately, your session should be a catalyst for conversation, collaboration, and community-building in a format that sits outside of the standard presentation format.

    We are particularly interested in proposals for activities that showcase innovative methods for building connections, fostering meaningful collaborations, and encouraging participants to interact beyond attending sessions at the conference. Whether you have successfully implemented unique icebreakers, utilizing cutting-edge technologies to enhance networking, or have a love of playing games, you are what we are looking for! The ideal engagement session should feature an activity that serves as a platform for forging lasting connections and promoting a sense of camaraderie among our diverse community of online learning professionals. We invite you to bring your creativity, expertise, and passion for fostering connections to our conference.  At the end of your extended abstract, please include details on room set-up and supplies needed for your proposed activity.

    These sessions are designed to provide the attendees with an opportunity to explore a new skill, strategy, or technology. By offering practical, hands-on learning activities, participants are fully engaged in the learning process. Facilitators provide both group and 1-1 guidance as necessary during the session. Attendees should walk away from the session feeling as though they have acquired a new skill, have developed an action plan, or have gained significant insight into a new technology. Proposals must include measurable outcomes and activities.

    Note: Presenters are responsible for providing all Express Workshop materials. Instructions for uploading materials will be provided to all accepted presenters. Presenters are also responsible for ensuring all attendees can actively engage in the session. Please see the Presenter Services site for resources on making the session fully accessible.

    Key Features: 

    • 45 minutes total; typically consists of 3-5 minutes of introductions, with the remaining time consisting of multiple explanations/demos and hands-on activities.
    • 1-3 presenters facilitating a hands-on learning experience.
    • Presentation style is similar to an exploration in which the presenters engage the attendees in a “try it yourself” format.
    • Interactivity is high. The entire session is focused on activity based learning.
    • Facilitators are expected to provide any materials (instructions, worksheets, etc.)  to ensure a successful session.
    • If presenting virtually, be sure to think about how to incorporate group work and hands-on activities in a virtual environment.
  • These sessions engage both the presenters and the attendees in a fun and unique OLC conference experience. Moving beyond traditional styles of presentations, attendees and presenters of this session type will have the ability to connect with the content and each other like never before. Presenters may draw upon well known games as example formats or inspiration for their engaging sessions. Because these sessions tend to draw large audiences, please be sure all attendees can be accommodated with the strategies used.

    Key Features:

    • 45 minutes total; typically includes 5-10 minutes of introductions and 35-40 minutes of game based interaction involving the content and participants. (Attendees should be able to ask questions during the session or additional time may need to be allotted at the end for Q&A.)
    • 1-4 presenters facilitating highly active sessions with an emphasis on game play and interactivity.
    • Presentation style can vary, but must include elements of game based learning.
    • Interactivity is extremely high. Both presenters and attendees should be actively participating. Proposals must disclose the game format being used and how it will be implemented.
  • Lightning Sessions are short, 15 minute presentations that offer opportunities for authors to showcase their research and practices in a format that captures audience attention and provides opportunities for reflection. These presentations should focus on a well developed topic that supports innovation and provides resources for audience take away. Proposals for a lightning session must align with the field while compellingly presenting the highlights of their work.

    Note: Presenters are responsible for providing all Lightning Session materials. Instructions for uploading materials will be provided to all accepted presenters. Presenters are also responsible for ensuring all attendees can actively engage in the session. Please see the Presenter Services site for resources on making the session fully accessible. 

    Key Features:

    • 15 minutes of presentation in-person, in the style of a TED Talk or Ignite Talk, with no Q&A
    • Presentation style is conversational, sharing concise but impactful information
    • Lightning talks are focused on sharing one key idea that leads to participants making broader connections to the talk and their work
    • Attendees should leave with a driving question to answer for themselves that connects the talk to their own contexts within online and blended learning

    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 takeaways and/or activities will your workshop participants engage in that make your workshop unique, innovative, and relevant to the OLC Accelerate 2024 theme 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 Accelerate; therefore, all sessions are designated as 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 Accelerate 2024. Please understand that you may be considered for an alternative format session instead of a workshop at the program committee’s discretion.

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    Special Session Designations 

    Our conferences recognize the rich diversity of interests, community groups, and learning formats that contribute to the vibrancy of our educational landscape. In an effort to provide tailored experiences that resonate with individual needs and areas of focus, we have introduced special session designations. These targeted categories allow presenters to align their sessions with specific themes, such as blended learning, or particular community groups like minority serving institutions (MSI), historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), and community colleges. Additionally, they highlight unique formats, such as presentations of findings from empirical research studies. Participants are encouraged to explore these special designations as they submit proposals, allowing for a more personalized and engaging conference experience that speaks to their passions and expertise. Check the appropriate designations that best describe your session as you prepare your submission.

      • Focused on Blended Learning
      • For Educators at Community Colleges
      • Focused on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)
      • For Educators at HBCUs
      • For Instructional Designers
      • For Leaders and Administrators
      • For Educators at MSIs
      • Focused on Open Education
      • Presenting Original Research
      • International
      • K-12
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    Frequently Asked Questions for Presenters

    • Selecting a session: Attendees are free to select any session to attend during a particular time slot. Other than for pre-conference master classes, the K12 Symposium, and the Leadership Network Symposium, there is no advance registration for sessions. Depending on the interest level for your session and other sessions during your time slot, you may have anywhere from 10-100+ people in your session.
    • Engagement and technology: We encourage presenters to take as universal an approach to the design of their sessions as possible, keeping in mind that attendees will come to their sessions with unique goals and levels of anticipated engagement. Access and accessibility are important considerations here. If presenters are expecting attendees to have access to or utilize specific technology, this should be explicitly detailed in your session abstract. Participants are responsible for bringing their own devices. Wireless connectivity is provided for onsite participants.
    • Session materials: Attendees will be expecting presentation handouts, slides, and other related materials to be available in the conference repository. Since there are a large number of sessions occurring throughout the conference, attendees will want to view in advance the conference repository to determine their session selection and find materials for those they will miss. Materials that are uploaded in advance also contribute to the accessibility of sessions.
    • Rooms will be primarily set in banquet round seating. There will be a podium and head table for presenters in the front of the room. Some rooms have two entry points, others only have one. Discovery Session presenters share a larger space for concurrent presentations. Each Discovery Session “station” includes a high table, a low table, a chair, and a monitor.
    • Each room is equipped with an LCD projector (16:9 aspect ratio), wireless Internet connection, laptop audio output capability, a podium, and a screen. Rooms are not equipped with computers; presenters must provide their own computers and adaptors. The conference does not provide laptops for presenters. Please bring any specialized conversion cables and adaptors along with you, such as Mac adapters, if needed to connect to HDMI. Microphones, including a mic at the podium (gooseneck or lav, depending on the room), are available for the lead presenter and co-presenters will have use of mics on stands on a head table. Some rooms are of a size where it is deemed microphones are not needed.
    • Exception – Discovery Sessions: Presenters are provided a 32″ monitor to plug their laptop into and a power drop to charge devices, but are otherwise responsible for bringing any other technology they require for their session.
    • Technicians will be roaming the rooms to assist if needed. Presenters will also have hall monitors who can secure assistance should a technician not be readily available. Additionally, conference staff and volunteers will be available onsite for other support such as navigating the conference space and registration questions.
    • We encourage all presenters to either attend or review the recording of the presenter services webinars for more guidance on what to expect as presenter.

    All sessions have a unique evaluation link in the conference platform. Submitted evaluations are used in the determination of Best-in-Track awards. The OLC values session and conference feedback and uses the evaluations collected as a source for continuous improvement between events. To encourage attendees and presenters to engage in session evaluation practices, we run a prize drawing. In addition to the random drawing for session attendees, presenters are also entered into a separate prize drawing. We recommend  presenters download our “Session Evaluation Reminder Slide” (.pptx – coming soon) and insert at the beginning and end of presentation content to encourage attendees to complete session evaluations.

    No, OLC does not cover any other conference-related expenses for presenters. As a non-profit, OLC is unable to provide assistance for registration, travel, or lodging expenses to presenters. Presenters are responsible for their own registration fees, travel, and lodging expenses, including all taxes and fees on said travel and lodging expenses.

    The conference website will have a complete listing of sessions where you may find the date and time assigned for your presentation. After the schedule is published, you may search for your presentation date/time/room assignment. You may search a number of ways – by track, by presentation type, date, etc. – to find your presentation.  Please refer to the conference website if you are uncertain about your presentation type or length. It will be listed as part of your presentation description. Be sure to check back frequently as presentation rooms, dates, and times do change. If attending onsite, we recommend that you plan to stay through the end of the conference and make your travel arrangements accordingly.

      No, only the session owner (who submitted) the session has the ability to see and edit the proposal submission.

        The session owner (the person who submitted the proposal) has the ability to edit the proposal until the Call for Proposals closes (June 3 at 11:59pm U.S. Eastern Time Zone). Once the call for proposals closes, all edits (title, abstracts, presenters, additional authors) must be submitted to the OLC Conference Team at conference@onlinelearning-c.org.

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          Frequently Asked Questions for Submitters

          For more detailed information about the conference, please visit the OLC Accelerate 2024 webpage. The pages under the Program tab 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.

          • June 3, 2024 (by 11:59pm ET): Proposals due (extended deadline)
          • August 1, 2024: Notification of acceptance
          • August 19, 2024: Deadline for presenters to accept
          • August 26, 2024: Full program posted
          • October 1, 2024: Deadline for presenters to edit abstracts
          • October 1, 2024: Deadline for presenters to register
          • November 1, 2024: Deadline for presentations to be uploaded to or linked in the conference system

          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 August 1, 2024, please contact us at conference@onlinelearning-c.org.

          Yes, absolutely! We are always looking for session reviewers, engagement volunteers, and more. Please complete our volunteer opportunities form to indicate your volunteer interests for OLC conferences or other areas within OLC.  As a non-profit organization, most conference volunteer positions are filled by paid attendees of the conference who chose to give back to the OLC community through volunteer activities pre-conference and during the onsite and/or virtual conference weeks.

          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 and pay the published registration fees for the OLC Accelerate conference. Pricing information will be made available on the OLC Accelerate 2024 registration 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.

          Vendors are allowed to submit proposals for academic sessions. However, in order to be considered for the academic program, an academic co-presenter must be listed as a presenter on the session proposal. The academic co-presenter, along with any vendor presenters, are required to register for the conference, and the academic presenter must take the lead and be the primary presenter for the session. Sessions submitted by vendors for the academic program must be academic in nature and are prohibited from being sales promotions for their product.

          Vendors who are sponsors are provided a 45-minute Industry Showcase Session (which can be a demonstration or a presentation) as part of their sponsorship package. These sessions are not submitted through the Call for Proposals and instead are submitted via instructions from the OLC Conference Team. These Industry Showcase sessions may be available to exhibitors on a space available basis only.

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