Frequently Asked Questions about IELOL


Who is the ideal candidate for participation in IELOL?

There is no single profile that is the best fit for the program. Many of our applicants may already have some supervisory experience and are looking to advance their career and/or online learning within their institution. In some cases, senior level leaders participate in order to better understand the context of online learning and their desire to establish a network in the field. In many other cases, participants are identified and supported by senior leadership who recognize the need for successful leadership planning within their institutions. Job titles have included, but are not limited to, instructional designer, technology evangelist, associate provost, provost, dean, program manager, administrator, faculty developer, and faculty.

How many applicants are accepted per cohort?

We have discovered that 60 is the optimum number of enrollments to sustain the type of interactions we seek without overwhelming the participants.

What is the acceptance rate of IELOL?

The acceptance rate is completely dependent upon the number of applications in a given year. We seek to fill the available slots with the most qualified individuals who will both gain from and contribute to the quality of the program.

Who should I seek to write a nomination letter for my application?

You should request a nomination from an individual who is familiar with your work and your leadership aspirations. This individual should be able to speak first hand about your work and potential within the institution. This process serves two objectives. The first is that it provides us the evidence that you are connected into the leadership framework within your institution. Additionally, it provides you with a platform from which to engage in leadership discussions with your own senior leadership.

Can I be self-nominated without a supporting letter from a senior leader?

Yes, we have had individuals self-nominate to participate in IELOL. Be certain to explain your reason for doing so in the application form so we are aware of these circumstances.

What if I do not yet have the funding committed from my institution, can I still apply?

Yes, please feel free to apply and indicate that the funding is being sought. You can let us know later when the funding is assured.

Does it matter when I apply, sooner or towards the end of the application period?

All applications received before the deadline will be reviewed equally. Applications received after the application period have significantly less probability of acceptance.

Are there scholarships available for IELOL?

Yes, there is one scholarship per year for students outside the United States. Please visit IELOL Scholarship for additional information. This is a needs-based award and does require additional information beyond the standard program application.

I’ve heard mention of something referred to as a “legacy application,” what does this term mean?

A legacy application simply refers to an applicant from the same institution as an IELOL alumnus. Where possible, we do give special consideration to these individuals because of the network established in the program. If this pertains to you, it is advisable to include the name of the IELOL alumnus in your application.

Participation & Workload

If I am not interested in certain parts of the program, can I elect to step out or select the components that most interest me?

No, IELOL is constructed as a cohort-based program. This means that the experience will be richest for both you and the other participants when everybody contributes and participates in all aspects of the program. This is not a conference-style program, but an institute of engaged learners. As a leadership institute, it is an active program and requires your full engagement and participation in ALL phases of the program.

How do I prepare to make the most of the IELOL program?

There are several things you can do to prepare for your participation in IELOL. Learning as much as you can about the governance, organizational structure, culture, and traditions of your own institution will be very beneficial. Understanding the pressure points, challenges, issues and concerns about advancing online learning within the context of your institution will help guide your focus on those issues within the program. These issues may also become part of your subsequent IELOL Post-Immersion Project and help to contribute to addressing a specific institutional challenge.

Keep in mind that IELOL provides an opportunity to extend your network both within your institution and within the program. Before attending the Immersion component of the program, you should consider sending the individual who nominated you a note regarding your participation in the program and indicate that you intend to provide a follow-up report on your experience.

How confidential is the information shared in IELOL?

IELOL operates on “Chatham House Rule,” which states that while you may share your experience generally about the program – and we hope you do! – we do require that anything of a personal nature such as names and attributions is NOT made public outside of the group without the express permission of the person quoted. We adopt these rules to allow for the free flow of ideas and information during the program without fear of consequence. These rules not only encourage sharing, they also build trust and respect among the group.

Am I required to attend the IELOL Masters Class Pre-Conference Workshop as part of the OLC Accelerate Conference?

The Masters Class is the capstone of the entire IELOL experience. We hope that everyone enrolled in IELOL also participates in the IELOL Masters Class pre-conference workshop that is held as part of the Online Learning Consortium’s Accelerate conference. If you have any issues participating in the Masters Class, please contact the IELOL co-directors as soon as possible.

What technology do I need for the Immersion experience?

A portable device is highly recommended for use during the Immersion component of the program. Laptops, tablets, etc.* are all welcomed and can be connected to the conference center’s complimentary wifi.

*Please be sure that your device is enabled to join external networks.

What is the dress code for IELOL?

The dress code for the program is business casual*, there is no need for formal wear, suit jackets and/or ties (unless you prefer that attire). Keep in mind that T-shirts, shorts, and/or anything that can be considered “beach-wear” would be considered too casual. Please note that as part of our final evening event we will be meeting with guests from a senior leadership committee. For this occasion, you may wish to have a nicer set of clothes, but it is not required.

*Layers are advised if you tend to be chilled in conference room settings.

Will we have free time during the Immersion component of IELOL?

The 4-day IELOL Immersion component is time- and energy-intensive. From the start of the program until the very end we will run on a tight schedule packed with class time, small group projects, and social activities.

This program sounds like hard work requiring lots of energy and effort, any chance we will have fun?

IELOL is as much work (and fun) as you’d like to make it, of course, the more you put in the more you will take away. We do try to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Puns, bad jokes, and a little friendly bantering make the experience rich and enjoyable! You are joining a wonderful community of professionals that can become lifelong colleagues and friends!

Program Design

Is IELOL taught like a college credit class (lectures, quizzes, exams)?

IELOL has some elements of a typical blended “course” without the quizzes and exams. For example, there are modules with content in the OLC Institute Learning Management System, active discussion boards, and even assignments related to individual personal growth and leadership in higher education. The estimated time for participation is about 4-6 hours per week during the online Pre-Immersion, and past successful participants have reported that the more they participated in each activity the more they gained. A PDF certificate for completing the Pre-Immersion (online) and Immersion (in-person, 4-day intensive) phases are awarded. A digital badge* is awarded for the full completion of the entire program (i.e., active participation and full attendance during the pre-immersion, immersion, post-immersion project, and Masters Class, all four phases must be successfully attended and completed to earn the badge).

*Please note that digital badges cannot be retroactively issued for IELOL years prior to the 2019 program.

What kind of assignments can I expect as part of the IELOL program?

Part of the intent of IELOL is to enable your leadership within your home institution. Assignments are directed toward the goals of becoming visible as a leader and being aware of the institutional challenges and issues your institution currently faces. During week one of the IELOL Pre-Immersion Experience, you will be asked to schedule an appointment with a senior leader at your institution to discuss your participation in the IELOL program. Past participants have indicated this step helped them gain visibility within their institution and better understand the issues facing their institutions.

You will be encouraged to talk to your president or vice president about the context of online learning within your institution. We advise you to schedule that meeting as soon as possible. After the meeting, you will also be asked to write a short statement about the context for online learning at your institution that will be shared online with other participants. There are multiple discussion forum assignments as well, which are a part of the modules in the IELOL Pre-Immersion Experience.

Does our cohort ever collectively meet at the same time for the online components of IELOL?

Yes, the immersion program is held in person at the host institution (and online for those who elect to participate in that modality), and the two online components of IELOL are designed as asynchronous experiences. Team-related projects (following the Immersion portion of the program) have used synchronous meetings.

Is there group work in IELOL?

Yes, we conduct a team exercise, the Digital Learning Council (DLC) Meeting, starting during the Pre-Immersion and is the culminating event during the Immersion portion of the program designed to provide access and interactions with higher education senior leadership. This exercise uses the format of researching and reporting on a particular educational technology or innovation in higher education to senior leadership.

What is the Post-Immersion Project all about?

The Post-Immersion Project, which occurs after your Immersion experience, is an opportunity to apply what you have learned to a real-life institutional issue or challenge. It is a wonderful opportunity to gain visibility within your institution and to address the real concerns or challenges facing leadership as you advance online learning. Keep in mind you will have access to world-class consultants in both your IELOL faculty and fellow participants. This network provides incredible access to individuals who will help you advance your initiative.

Program Outcomes

Do I receive an IELOL certificate?

Yes, all participants receive an IELOL PDF Certificate of Completion suitable for framing. The certificate will be made available at the completion of the pre-conference workshop at the OLC Accelerate Conference.

Participants will also receive a digital program badge* for successfully completing all required parts of the program (PLEASE NOTE: requirements include full participation AND attendance during the virtual pre-immersion activities, attendance at the immersion, completion of the post-immersion project, and attendance at the master class).

*Please note that digital badges cannot be retroactively issued for IELOL years prior to the 2019 program.

Will I learn about the best practices for developing an online program?

The purpose of IELOL is not a technical training program designed to share the best practices for building an online educational program, there are other programs that address those needs. IELOL is designed as a professional development program to enhance your leadership skills within the context of online learning. That said, the faculty and colleagues you are gathered with as part of the program have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience. There will certainly be time and opportunity for participants to discuss new ideas, best practices, etc. throughout the program.

Is IELOL focused on a specific discipline, a field of study, and/or type of institution?

The program draws from a wide and diverse field of institutional types including for-profits, non-profits, community colleges, military educational services, religious, private and large publics. One of the major benefits of this diversity is the range of perspectives represented by the participants.