Online Learning Community to Gather in Dallas, April 22-24 for 8th Annual ET4Online Conference, Presented by OLC and MERLOT

Highlights: Key speakers; Best-in-Track sessions; Launch Pad program for EdTech startups

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (March 3, 2015) — The latest annual Survey of Online Learning (Grade Level) reveals online enrollments are growing faster than overall higher education. Many of the academic and EdTech leaders who are driving this trend will gather April 22-24, in Dallas, for the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium (ET4Online), jointly presented by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), formerly The Sloan Consortium, and MERLOT.

“As emerging technologies continue to be embraced and are changing the way people socialize and learn, we are presented with new opportunities for leveraging EdTech and pedagogy to shape the next generation of teaching and learning,” said Michelle Pacansky-Brock, ET4Online Symposium chair. “But emerging technologies are reshaping more than pedagogy. Wearable technologies, analytics, an increased appreciation for openness, connected learning, global collaboration, social technologies and the increasing need to encourage experimentation in order to innovate are also impacting how we train, support, and incentivize faculty; design learning environments; and lead within a higher education organization.

The ET4Online program features two new program tracks, an increased emphasis on hands-on learning, the addition of Teacher Tank, a high-energy “pitch-style” session for Launch Pad startups, and a tremendous lineup of speakers, who will provide provocative and meaningful insight about how emerging technologies are impacting higher education, including:

  • Keynote Speaker Mimi Ito, University of California, Irvine
  • Plenary Speaker Bonnie Stewart, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Plenary Speaker Gardner Campbell, Virginia Commonwealth University

ET4Online will also feature hands-on workshops and a range of sessions highlighting emerging practices and practical applications of technology in higher education by educational institutions around the world.

Early bird registration for the conference ends March 4. Information about ET4Online, including registration links for onsite and virtual attendance, is available at

Best-in-Track Sessions 

The Best-in-Track designation is awarded to the session proposal in each track that has achieved distinction in the review process. The Best-in-Track sessions for the ET4Online conference program are:

  • Effective Teaching and Learning Pedagogy Track: “Gamification as an Engagement Strategy in Online Courses,” Kenneth Pierce and Sunay Palsole, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Learning Environments and Frameworks Track: “Designing, Developing, and Implementing Rule-Based Adaptive Learning Simulations,” Matthew Marzullo and Samantha Coen, Saint Leo University; David Schonstein, Smart Sparrow
  • Organization, Leadership and Challenges for Innovation Track: “Why We Need a Consortium and Tools for Cross-Platform Learning Analytics,” Alan Girelli, University of Massachusetts Boston and Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Open and Collaborative Education Track: “Networking Groups in a Professional Social Network for Education,” Tami Seifert, Kibutzim College of Education; Smadar Bar-Tal, MOFET Institute and Levinsky College of Education
  • Evidence-Based Learning and Assessment: “Enhancing Instructional Quality Via Data Analytics,” B. Jean Mandernach, Grand Canyon University

Launch Pad

Launch Pad is a dedicated space at ET4Online that showcases a select group of qualifying EdTech startups focused on improving higher education. Companies involved infuse the conference with the energy of EdTech entrepreneurs, creating a more robust ecosystem for innovation and heightened opportunities for learning and reflection. Launch Pad participants will be announced in March.

A new feature of Launch Pad this year is “Teacher Tank,” in which a panel of online learning thought leaders will provide constructive feedback in a lively on-stage exchange with Launch Pad startups, much like the popular TV show “Shark Tank.” 

About Online Learning Consortium

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), formerly The Sloan Consortium, 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.  


Media Contact:
Eileen Pacheco