Flocking to the Community College Summit


Cheryl Fulghum, Instructional Design and Online Learning, Haywood Community College, OLC Innovate 2020 Community College Summit Chair

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I am a confessed OLC conference junkie. I admitted this in a previous blog post. I love everything about them: the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the feels that come when birds of a feather flock together. A mindful practice I’ve developed to help me absorb as much as possible from the conference experience is to enter a session room, close my eyes, and listen to the hum of networking and whir of idea exchange. I never want to miss a thing.

OLC Innovate’s Community College Summit is a conference highlight for us two-year college members of the crowd. (Did you know a gathering of birds is called a crowd?) It’s a time to rub elbows – er, um, wings – with those who can relate to the design and development challenges unique to community college institutions. Unless I arrive early for a pre-conference workshop, it’s typically my first session of the conference. So, I do my mindfulness thing: I walk in, stand still, close my eyes, and listen. I engage before I even join a table of my peers and begin introductions. It’s flocking at its finest. It’s a birds of a feather moment that never disappoints.

I’m beyond disappointed we didn’t get to gather and wing-bump in Chicago this spring. I needed a seasonal fix of innovation, a burst of academic adrenaline, and a dose of attagirl affirmation that what I do for my community college matters. In the hubbub of emergency-remote instruction, my online director administrative wings have been so furiously flapping that I am in need, now more than ever, of a restorative flight with the OLC flock.

Although a virtual Summit does not afford the same sights and sounds of physical space, a shared purpose and exchange of ideas will provide all the energy needed for our community of colleges to gather. When like-minded elearning leaders gather, regardless of format or dimension, ideas will be exchanged, conversations will take place, innovation will be championed, and even toasts will be raised during a virtual happy (half) hour. Has the Summit’s design challenge been reconceived from its original form? Sure. Does the new format challenge us to follow our own lead of what it means to design in a visionary way? Absolutely. Will we stretch our wings to build and rebuild and design and redesign our programs to help online education at our respective institutions soar? You betcha!

Flock to the Community College Summit at OLC Innovate on Tuesday, June 16. Real-life design challenges await us in the coming year, so let’s get our webbed feet wet through the 20/20 Visionary Design: So You Think You Can Build virtual edition. Learn more.


Cheryl Fulghum

Cheryl Fulghum, Instructional Design and Online Learning, Haywood Community College, OLC Innovate 2020 Community College Summit Chair

Cheryl Fulghum oversees Instructional Design and Online Learning at Haywood Community College in western North Carolina. In this role, she is responsible for instructional design through faculty development, online course design, emerging technologies research, accessibility compliance, and the administrations of several learning platforms. She describes her main role as faculty cheerleader, empowering faculty to become 21st century teachers despite self-identified low-tech skills and fear of the unknown. Prior to her work in the online learning field, she served as full-time faculty in the commercial arts and worked as project manager and media content creator for Shadowbox Design, an educational technology company specializing in online ancillaries for higher education textbook publishers. She has degrees in Broadcast Communications, Journalism, and Educational Media: Curriculum and Instruction.


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