The Online Learning Consortium constantly strives to create new points of engagement amongst educators across the field of online, digital and blended learning.  From world-class conferences to engaging workshops and courses to personalized consulting, we are dedicated to supporting the advancement of quality online teaching and learning experiences that extend access to education for all learners.

Over the course of two weeks (April 21 – May 1), the OLC held a series of open salons (a casual and inclusive space with discussions organized and facilitated by a salon leader) that offered educators of all levels the opportunity to listen to emerging ideas and effective practices from their peers.  These casual discussions were designed to specifically encourage reflection, co-creation, and synthesis, with connections to future OLC events for further collaboration.

*Recordings are available to OLC Professional and Institutional members. 

Overview How It Works Schedule Recordings*

Your support means a great deal to us. Please consider making a donation to help keep events like this one openly available to our community.


Recent fears surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have led many institutions down a path of emergency preparedness in the wake of temporary campus shutdowns.  As we continue to receive requests from institutions for support with professional development and guidance on planning for continuity of instruction, we recognize the opportunity to engage our diverse and robust community of educators in conversations and collaboration around best practices for ensuring quality in online teaching and learning.

OLC Ideate makes its goal to both surface and model effective online engagement to educators, designers, practitioners and leaders of all levels and arenas.  Moving past the notion of a passive, “sit-and-get” online experience, each salon will focus on inspiring participants to leverage the power of online and digital learning with the goal of extending impact and access to education.  The OLC wants to support educators in creating a landscape where institutions are able to serve their learners without obstacles or disruption, particularly in this time of increased conversations of emergency preparedness and instructional continuity.  Our hope that in bringing people together for these salons, the effective practices and methods shared will serve as a model of what is possible in terms of collaborative and constructivist engagement in the online learning environment, staying with educators well beyond times of crisis.

Additionally, each salon is meant to serve as a lead up to our spring conference, OLC Innovate, which has been rescheduled for June and will be held fully online.  The connections made in each salon will become a springboard to the larger conversations and collaborations held a few months later, and we invite you to join us there as an attendee, fueling the fire of the ideas sparked in the salon discussions.

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How It Works

In planning the format of the salons, we led with a driving design question – how might we make our online experiences together truly valuable and interactive?

Borrowing from emerging session styles (including our own popular OLC Collaborate events), we envisioned a series of salons that would require hosts to consider how they might balance the following elements in thirty (30) minutes:

  • A brief explanation or provocation that ends with a challenge or driving question
  • A series of activities to engage participants in reflection and collaboration
  • A synthesis of the collaborative work of the group with a closure or call to action
  • The production of some sort of new idea, resource or artifact to be shared out after the salon

Part lightning talk, part collaborative session, and part design sprint, each salon is structured to be highly interactive and participatory.  Salon leaders will guide participants through discussions on topics related to a series of themes that the OLC identified as central to research and initiatives within digital learning innovation.  

These themes include: 

  • Adaptive learning
  • Open educational resources
  • MOOCs
  • Gamification
  • Online design

  • Learning spaces and the LMS
  • AR/VR
  • Mobile learning
  • Continuity planning

Additionally, we will feature a series of salons on the connection between digital learning strategy and continuity planning, and hope that salon leaders consider weaving in continuity planning as a sub theme throughout all discussions.

Over the course of eight days, OLC Ideate will showcase the power of online pedagogy, practices and tools that support high-quality learning experiences, and will provide resources that institutions may use to plan for instructional continuity in emergent situations, and beyond.

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Schedule at a Glance

As we finalize the full schedule with session leaders and topics, we invite you to explore the general schedule at a glance below.  We have four distinct ways for participants to connect during OLC Ideate:


Discussion Salons are structured 45 minute blocks with a leader guiding the entire group through a series of provocations and discussion prompts.
Cohort Salons are informal 45 minute blocks with a series of leaders in breakout rooms. Participants will work on a driving question in small breakouts and then share out with the larger group.

Community Salons are larger 60 minute blocks with a series of online leaders. They are similar to a panel session and are conversational in style.

Social Saloons are casual 45 minute meetups featuring informal topics, online games, and lightweight ways to connect with colleagues. Western wear is encouraged!

General Schedule at a Glance

All times listed are Eastern. All sessions held online in Zoom.

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How to Get Involved


Participate in any of the salons by registering for OLC Ideate.  There is no charge to participate live. If you are an institutional or professional member of the OLC and you miss a session, you will be able to access the recordings afterwards.  Not a member? Become one today!

Once you register for IDEATE, you will be given further instructions about how to access the salons in OLC’s Learning Management System.  

OLC will send an email a day before the start of IDEATE (April 20, 2020) with reminder information about how to access the salons.

Registration is now closed. 


Volunteer to serve as a guide for any of the salons, which include a structured 45 minute discussion block, an interactive networking session, or a 60 minute large-scale group discussion.  Select a topic you’d like to address from the list (adaptive learning, open educational resources, MOOCs, gamification, online design, learning spaces and the LMS, AR/VR, mobile learning, or continuity planning) and let us know your specific topic and plan for facilitating your salon.  You are more than welcome to repurpose a past presentation to use for a session, or bring in a completely new topic. And if you need help crafting a session, let us know. We are here to help you make an amazing salon.

We’ll be reviewing salon lead requests through April 9, 2020, and will notify leaders who’ve been selected on April 12, 2020.  The full schedule will be posted on April 13, 2020.

Salon Lead Sign Up Form


Every party needs a good host, and our salon moderators serve in this role.  You’ll help us by welcoming the group, introducing our sponsors, and helping to make sure that people know how to participate in the session.

Moderator Sign Up Form


In an effort to keep this event completely free to our participants, we are inviting organizations and institutions to consider sponsoring individual salons. Sponsors get the chance to share a few remarks at the beginning of each salon, are recognized on our site under each salon link, and immortalized in the recordings archived and shared with OLC members.

Sponsor OLC Ideate

Your support means a great deal to us. Please consider making a donation to help keep events like this one openly available to our community.

More Information

We’re delighted to be able to extend the OLC’s suite of offerings to include this new opportunity to deeply engage with your colleagues in a series of salons.  If you have any questions or would like to share comments or ideas on how we might make this event as impactful as possible, please reach out. We welcome your suggestions, and cannot wait to see you at the salons!

More OLC Ideate Info

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