Our Entry for the 2016 Online Learning Consortium Solution Design Summit

Last spring I had the honor of teaming up with two of my colleagues, Tracy Stuntz (lead LMS trainer at California State University, Fresno at the time) and Jean-Marie Venturini (Instructional Designer for Otis School of Art & Design) to present our work at the Solution Design Summit at the Online Learning Consortium Innovate conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.


OLC Innovate is the big cheese of online learning conferences, and the Solution Design Summit is an opportunity for small teams to bring their ideas to the conference, work on them with industry experts and professionals, and present them to a group of their peers. These ideas are challenges that their organizations face, and ones that benefit greatly from creative multi-disciplinary approaches.

So how did we get involved?

I was scheduled to attend OLC Innovate 2016, and it turned out that two of my colleagues from graduate school were also going to the conference. Tracy took the lead and suggested that Jean-Marie and I team up to further develop a presentation we had built for school and submit it for consideration for the Solution Design Summit. The problem we chose to address for our presentation, “If You Build It, Will They Come,” was how to overcome learner barriers and resistance to ensure not only participation in training and development opportunities, but learning as well. We thought that a team made up of representatives from a public university, a private university, and a corporate environment would provide a unique perspective.

In February (about two months before the conference) Tracy completed the application that included basic information, including: abstract about the challenge and solution, team member bios and roles, potential ideas for the solution or approach and who might benefit from the solution. We received notification that our proposal was accepted, and the next step was to create a short video pitch to be posted to the OLC website for comments and review. Our video was just a little too edgy, and required a small edit to make it more palatable for the masses. Oops. There was also a 30-minute online web conference prior to the event to make sure that we all knew what we were supposed to be doing.

When we arrived at OLC Innovate, a whole morning was set aside for Solution Design Summit preparation, and the organizers did a great job of planning all of the activities. The was an overview of what was going to happen, and plenty of opportunities to practice our pitch with experts that were brought in, and they gave a lot of constructive feedback. During these meetings one of us (not me) came up with a cool acronym to base our pitch around, and that we should hold our learners CAPTIV (Collaborative, Available, Personalized, Timely, Incentivized, Virtual). By the way, our team name was Shark Attack, and if you have ever been to the Tropical Isle in the French Quarter, you will understand why.

From there, over the next three days there were sessions for each team to present their pitch for real, and to receive questions and feedback from real-live audiences. We only had ten minutes, and it went by really quickly, but I though we did a great job and I am really proud that I got to work with Tracy and Jean-Marie on this project.

We did well, but did not win the competition with the judges. But… we did receive the most votes from audience members, and OLC presented our group with the Community Voted Award!

The OLC Innovate Solution Design Summit was a lot of fun, and if you have colleagues that are interested in participating for 2017, I highly recommend it! OLC is working a bit further ahead this year, and the application date has been moved up to November 2, so you had better get started. 

Solution Design Summit offers collaboration with multi-disciplinary teams across the country

SDS team discovers new implementations for home-grown assessment solution

by Katrina Wehr, Instructional Designer, Penn State University


In April, my colleague Alex Boyce and I presented Capture Studio, a tool we developed along with Bryan Ollendyke and Brad Leve at Penn State University, at the Solution Design Summit at OLC Innovate. The tool provides a solution for Professor Leve to asynchronously assess students’ impromptu speaking progress throughout his introductory-level entrepreneurship course. Capture Studio lets instructors define a set of random prompts, which can be image or text based, and set an allotted response time. Students receive a randomly assigned prompt, record their speech, and discuss one another’s submissions all with one click.

After SDS, we returned to Penn State with a better idea of how we could take the technology behind Capture Studio and apply it to other disciplines. While at the conference, we met and discussed our project with other SDS teams and heard their feedback, as well as feedback from the judges. Most helpful to us was hearing other teams get excited about Capture Studio and our application of it, and listening to them think of ways that such a tool could be useful in their work.

For instance, members of the team from Muhlenberg College thought of the idea to let students practice and give each other feedback on recorded performances in distance drama classes. Another judge mentioned the idea of potentially turning the technology around for asynchronous video discussion forums, where instructors can create one-click submission experiences with predetermined response times for students.

Since our presentation at SDS, Capture Studio Capture Studio is now part of ELMS Learning Network’s ecosystem of eLearning tools and we continue to work with the ELMS LN team to refine the studio experience to allow for all the expanded use cases we discovered while working with the other teams at SDS sessions in New Orleans.

We are still utilizing Capture Studio in Penn State Smeal College of Business’s hybrid Entrepreneurial Mindset class. This is the third iteration for the tool, and we’ve been able to refine it to improve the user experience of recording end and providing feedback. ELMS LN, which handles the commenting/feedback portion and to assign blind/double-blind critiques, has also undergone major improvements in functionality that streamline the organization of conversations around submissions.