My Time In IELOL: A Panel Of Lived Experiences

Concurrent Session 1
Streamed Session Leadership OLC Session

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Brief Abstract

The Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) program brings together colleagues from around the world to explore the opportunities and barriers to advancing local and global online learning. This session brings together IELOL-USA  grads as well as grads from the new IELOL Global Program to discuss their experiences in the program, what they learned, and how the community they’ve built has been transformative for their professional growth and the impact of their leadership.

Maddie Shellgren will be joined by selected IELOL and IELOL Global graduates for this panel.



Pronouns: she, her, hers Twitter: @MaddieShellgren As the Director of Online Engagement, Madeline (Maddie) Shellgren serves as the lead innovator, designer, and project manager of the OLC's portfolio of online engagement opportunities. Known for her love of storytelling, play, and all things gameful, Maddie thrives on facilitating and designing meaningful ways for people to connect, learn, and grow together. Within the OLC, she has served on steering and operations committees for several of the organization’s conferences (including as Technology Test Kitchen and Innovation Studio lead, as well as Engagement Co-Chair) and has had the distinct honor of being the mastermind behind the OLC Escape Rooms. She looks forward to continuing supporting OLC community building efforts, is committed to sustainable, equitable, and anti-oppressive ecologies within education, and is genuinely excited to leverage her interdisciplinary scholarly and professional backgrounds as she helps lead the OLC towards truly innovative and transformative models for what’s possible for online and digital engagement. Maddie joins the OLC from Michigan State University (MSU), where she has served as the lead on numerous student success initiatives related to instructional design and technology, accessibility, and equity and inclusion. Over the past eleven years, Maddie has dedicated her professional life to teaching and learning related initiatives and has strategically sought out opportunities that give her a multi-dimensional perspective on teaching and learning, including working as a Standardized Patient training medical students, serving as Program Director for Teaching Assistant development, taking lead on a number of cross-institutional educator onboarding and professional development projects, and teaching across online and face-to-face contexts. She most recently worked as an Assistant Rowing Coach for the MSU Varsity Women’s Rowing Program. There she was given the opportunity to help redesign a community from the bottom up, story the team's new journey together in fun and multimodal ways, lead in the co-construction of community expectations and norms, help ensure alignment across a variety of stakeholders and initiatives, and develop and operationalize strategic structures for long-term sustainability (such as entirely new social media, marketing, communications, and content management strategies). She had the privilege of seeing the impact of her human-centered and equity-oriented approach each and every day as the team reimagined what it meant to be a Spartan on the MSU Rowing Team. With her move to the OLC, she will continue on as a volunteer coach, still supporting these efforts and the team, and is excited to get back on the water.

Extended Abstract

The Online Learning Consortium features two core leadership development programs: The Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (USA) and The Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (Global). Designed to speak into each other in important ways, both programs offer the OLC community an opportunity to develop not only an in depth understanding of what leadership looks like in our local contexts, as well as in global collaborations, but also the skills required to engage in leadership across these contexts (including the critical development of professional networks which help to sustain this work). 

IELOL-USA is a unique leadership development program that was originally launched in 2009 as a way to support the professional growth and preparation of the next cadre of digital learning leaders.  IELOL participants collaborate with colleagues from around the globe to explore and understand both the opportunities and barriers to advancing local and global digital learning.  In its 13th year, the IELOL-USA program now has over 390 graduates who have joined a network of leaders in digital and online education.  Focused on improving and advancing the impact of digital learning in all aspects and formats of education, IELOL-USA graduates form personal and professional bonds with fellow graduates that extend beyond the IELOL-USA experience.    

Inspired by the collective need for the field of online, blended and digital learning to address ubiquitous issues of access to education more broadly, OLC gathered the first cohort of IELOL-Global in 2020. This new offering was focused on the transformative power of global collaborations in enacting change work in digital learning at the local and global levels. Now in its second year, IELOL-Global is designed to build global communities of practice around transformative and sustainable digital transformation that collect and amplify international perspectives. Through the program, participants engage with exemplars of impactful cross-institutional/regional collaboration through global coalitions by iterating with and learning from partners from around the world. They also contribute to the curation and dissemination of participant-created artifacts, use cases, and other resources that contribute to connected and aligned global change work. Its ultimate goal is to support the growth of a community of leaders dedicated to collaborative global change efforts.

This panel of IELOL (USA + Global) graduates will highlight key leadership challenges and opportunities that they have encountered across a variety of institutional contexts.  Panelists will discuss how they have honed essential leadership competencies through collaborations and networking both within their institutions and in the larger digital learning landscape. Participants will learn from IELOL graduates themselves, why an intentional focus on leadership and leadership development is key to the future of online, digital, and blended learning. Importantly, through this panel, participants will learn that leadership is not “one-size-fits-all” and that there are different considerations we have to take into account when considering the impact of the contexts and communities we are working in and with.