#OLCINNOVATE – Keynote Speakers Discuss Future Trends in Online Education

Attendees from OLC Innovate 2016 and OLC Accelerate 2016 conferences enjoyed listening to several remarkable keynote speakers, including author Angie McArthur, Minerva School’s Stephen Kosslyn, SNHU’s Dr. Michelle Weise, and academic activist Dr. Jamila Lyiscott. 

The theme of this year’s Innovate 2017 conference is “EDUCATION REIMAGINED.” Online education is changing at an increasingly rapid pace, and our conference keynotes will provide a glimpse of the future by exploring topics such as:

  • EdTech
  • Big Data analytics
  • Affordability
  • Accessibility
  • New regulations
  • Accountability
  • Alternative providers
  • Credentialing
  • …and more

According to Conference Chair UMKC’s Devon Cancilla, PH.D., “Change leads to innovation, and innovation responds to change.”

OLC Innovate provides many opportunities to learn from and network with leaders who are shaping the future of online teaching and learning, as well as the instructors and facilitators who practice on a daily basis.

Here are the keynote speakers we will have the pleasure of seeing at OLC Innovate 2017:

John Kao
Founder of EdgeMakers

Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” by The Economist, John Kao’s titles include past Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on Innovation and Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative. The U.S. government calls him “the Innovation Sherpa.” John has advised the countries of Finland and Singapore and companies such as Nike, Intel, and BASF on innovation strategies. 

As the CEO of Edgemakers, John is a serial entrepreneur, an angel investor in emerging technology, and a Tony-nominated producer of film and stage. He produced the Broadway play, Golden Child and the movies Sex, Lies and Videotape, and Mr. Baseball.

John’s keynote address, entitled “Innovating Education, Education for Innovation,” will outline his theory that “Innovation is one of the most overused, but poorly understood terms in our lexicon.”

John doesn’t feel you can learn innovation by reading a book or hearing a lecture: you have to live it. As he says, “you don’t learn how to play piano by seeing pictures of pianos.” Watch how John approaches innovation.

John will also lead a Master Class at OLC Innovate:  Building a Campus Culture of Innovation: How to Develop an Innovation Action Plan for Your Institution.

Darlene Cavalier
Founder of SciStarter

Darlene is a professor at Arizona State University’s Center for Engagement and Training.  She has also founded several forward-thinking organizations, including SciStarter and Science CheerleaderSciStarter is an online hotspot that connects people to Citizen Science Alliance projects around the world, Science Cheerleader is an organization consisting of current and former professional cheerleaders pursuing STEM careers.  Darlene is also co-founder of ECAST, a network of think tanks focused on enhancing science policy making, and is the author of The Science of Cheerleading.

Recently Darlene spoke with the OLC Innovate Steering Committee about how the public can get involved in her #CitizenScience project. In this short video, she reveals her interest in awarding a level of accreditation for the formal and informal experiences participants have in the Citizen Science Alliance world. Watch now.

In addition to her keynote address, “Citizen Science: How Everyday People Are Reshaping Scientific Research And Discovery,” Darlene will also be holding a Workshop and Master Class at OLC Innovate:

Lightning Talks – Various Speakers

Our Lightning Talks are fun and engaging keynote activities that have become a highly-anticipated series of events. This year’s Lightning Talks include:

These are just a few of the many opportunities you may enjoy at OLC Innovate 2017.

Can’t attend in person?  Attend virtually: OLC provides innovative options to interact with our keynote speakers as well as attend nearly one hundred conference sessions, including access to these recorded sessions for one year following the conference. Unlimited group packages and discounts are still available. You can still register to attend virtually!

Preparation Tips

Tips for Getting the Most out of the OLC Innovate 2017 Conference

Attending conferences can be overwhelming at times – what sessions and workshops should I attend?  How much time should I spend networking? 

Many attendees report that the most exciting moments of any conference are the unique, personal, and insightful conversations they have with other attendees. While keynote addresses and lectures may provide new ideas, it’s the inspiring people they meet in hallways and attending special programs that make the experience memorable.

“Not only did OLC Innovate in New Orleans provide an unusual and wonderful backdrop to connect with my colleagues, but the Emerging Ideas sessions and the Plugin Lounge created an environment that fostered networking and connecting with folks in similar positions with similar issues and allowed for highly useful brainstorming sessions.”

OLC conference attendees frequently reference the interactive nature of the conference and the wide range of topics presented.

“I love OLC conferences because they allow you to tailor the event to your specific development needs as well as interact and network with valuable colleagues from across the world.”

The best way to get the most out of the conference is to make a plan for what sessions you would like to attend, which participants or presenters you would like to meet, and then to remain open to the variety of new opportunities as they present themselves.

A few events we would like to highlight include the Community College Summit, the HBCU Affordable Learning Summit, and the TAACCCT Summit

All of these summits are included in the OLC Innovate 2017 conference schedule at no additional charge, so be sure to consider adding them to your schedule. 

The Community College Summit

Colleagues and peers will be gathering on Wednesday, April 5th for a half-day exchange about the ways community colleges are supporting the diverse needs of their learners – both within and beyond – higher education. We are very excited about the collaborative activities we have planned to aid in identifying challenges and creating effective practices regarding program access, student success, diversity, and quality measurement.
Learn more about the Community College Summit

The HBCU Affordable Learning Summit

Leaders from the Southern University System, California State University, and MERLOT will share best practices, strategies, and resources for reducing the costs of instructional materials to students and making higher education more affordable for students in Historically Black Universities (HBCUs) in the US and for those in Higher Education Institutions in Africa (HEIA).   

See the HBCU/HEIA Summit schedule and get more information.


The TAACCCT program provides grants designed to increase the ability of community colleges to address the challenges of today’s workforce.  They are instrumental in driving innovation and developing model training programs for America’s community colleges and universities. Now in its second year, SkillsCommons brings us the TAACCCT Summit at OLC Innovate, enabling TAACCCT grantees to advance sustainable and transformative workforce development programs and share and review OER content.

You can connect with TAACCCT grantees, higher education institutions, technology companies, and other helpful organizations.  Support from SkillsCommons and others in the TAACCCT Learning Network will assist you in getting the most from your grant.

Learn more about TAACCCT.

In addition to these summits, OLC has learning and networking opportunities for educators and administrators of every kind. Learn more about OLC Innovate and register to attend virtually.

Looking forward to seeing you in New Orleans in April!