Adaptive Learning, Universal Design, Non-Traditional Students Among Best-in-Strand Topics at Upcoming OLC Accelerate 2017

OLC Accelerate 2017 (Nov. 15-17, Orlando) will gather thousands of online learning researchers, practitioners and EdTech innovators from around the world to share and discover effective practices and evaluate technologies for teaching and learning online. OLC Accelerate 2017 Logo

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (Aug. 9, 2017) — The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) anticipates nearly 2,000 online learning leaders from around the world will gather in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 15-17, for OLC Accelerate 2017 (#OLCAccelerate). In its 23rd year, OLC’s annual international conference is one of the largest and longest-standing conferences in online teaching and learning.

“This conference continues to grow its appeal among online learning leaders around the world who want to understand the latest innovative strategies and technologies that are impacting online teaching and learning,” said Executive Conference Chair Kathleen Ives, CEO and executive director of the Online Learning Consortium. “We aim to continue this tradition of excellence in offering a quality program and overall conference experience designed to inspire and facilitate opportunities for networking and collaboration.” 

Announcing Best-in-Strand Sessions at OLC Accelerate 2017
OLC Accelerate promotes innovative research and practice across the online and blended learning community — encompassing education, leadership, instructional design, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), technology innovation, User Experience (UX), and beyond. These focus areas are represented in the Best-in-Strand sessions announced today:

  • Implementing Adaptive Learning: Multiple Perspectives from Practitioners, Leadership and Researchers (Strand: Innovations, Tools and Technologies) – Presenters: Baiyun Chen, Thomas Cavanagh, Chuck Dziuban, Patsy Moskal, Corrinne Stull, Jessica Tojo, Debbie Kirkley, Debbie Hahs-Vaughn, Marwan Shaban and Craig Tidwell, University of Central Florida
  • Enhancing Online Program Quality Assurance (Strand: Institutional Strategies and Globalization) – Presenters: Roy Bowery and Trey Martindale, University of Memphis
  • Tips and Tools for Universal Design (Strand: Learner Services and Support) – Presenters: Yinning Zhang, Angela Brodsky and Christy Talley Smith, University of West Georgia
  • What About Me? Non-Traditional Student Perceptions of Belonging in an Online Course (Strand: Learning Effectiveness) – Presenter: Cynthia Kimball Davis, Southern Utah University
  • Developing Campus Leaders: A Hybrid Leadership Development Program for Faculty and Staff (Strand: Professional Development and Support) – Presenters: Melisa Ziegler and Christie Fierro, Tacoma Community College
  • What We Can Learn from Successful Online Students (Strand: Research) – Presenters: Carol Gering and Daní Sheppard, University of Alaska – Fairbanks 

"We congratulate our Best-in-Strand presenters and thank them for sharing their inventive approaches to developing quality online learning experiences with attendees of OLC Accelerate 2017,” said Conference Co-Chair Frank Tomsic, OnCourse Learning.  

Top Speakers, Important Topics, Hands-On Experiences
OLC Accelerate features 400-plus sessions on a wide range of topics, including EdTech, proctoring, accessibility, gamification, K-12, open educational resources, OLC Quality Scorecard, leadership, policy development, and more. It also includes a tradeshow floor with 80-plus brands, entrepreneurs and innovators providing access to the latest education solutions.

The program includes keynotes by two highly accomplished individuals who are sure to inspire. On Wednesday, Matthew Luhn, a 20-year Pixar story veteran, brings his experience creating and developing 10 blockbuster films at Pixar, and provides practical strategies that teach and inspire people and teams to connect more effectively with audiences. Friday’s keynote will be delivered by Dava Newman, former deputy administrator of NASA, who will draw upon recent space science missions to Pluto and Jupiter, the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, and orbital missions to monitor Spaceship Earth, in her special presentation about advancing humankind.

“The conference team has updated many aspects of this year’s program, including an expansion of innovative and creative venues and sessions, like the OLC Global Quality Summit and our new Field Guide program for first-time attendees,” said Conference Co-Chair Laurie Dringus, Nova Southeastern University. “We are excited for the international online learning community to come together in Orlando to build and strengthen our global network of expertise, increase collaboration and engagement among researchers and practitioners, share and discover new and emerging effective practices, and test and evaluate technologies for teaching and learning online.”

OLC Accelerate 2017 includes a number of exclusive elements, including a special convening of the OLC Leadership Network, an invite-only program for senior digital learning leaders, co-hosted by OLC and Inside Higher Ed. This half-day program features a robust schedule of content and networking, including highlights from the 2017 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology, guest speakers, facilitated sessions, and a panel discussion on cultivating a culture of faculty acceptance, engagement, and excellence in online education through policy, professional development and research-to-practice initiatives. For more information about this program, email OLC’s Sr. Director of Research & Innovation Jill Buban at

The conference also features the return of the popular Technology Test Kitchen, an exploratory installation run by “chefs” who guide attendees through hands-on exercises focused on practical applications of technology to solve unique pedagogical challenges. The TTK will include an Iron Chef Battle competition, pairing exhibitors and educators on teams to battle for bragging rights over who can create the most exciting new recipe for technology. 

Visit the OLC Accelerate website for all conference details, including online registration and speaker and program updates.

About Online Learning Consortium
The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of online learning worldwide. The member-sustained organization offers an extensive set of resources for professional development and institutional advancement of online learning, including, original research, leading-edge instruction, best-practice publications, community-driven conferences and expert guidance. OLC members include educators, administrators, trainers and other online learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies and corporate enterprises. Visit for more information.