Accelerate 2021 Closing Event: An Odyssey Wrap-Up

Brief Abstract

Join us to celebrate and collectively share the unique accomplishments, connections and learning from OLC Accelerate 2021! Meeting both in person and streaming online, this hybrid closing event will playfully encourage reflection and sharing of key takeaways from Accelerate 2021 as we share, play, dance, and close the conference loop. 



Clark Shah-Nelson serves as Assistant Dean of Instructional Design and Technology for the University of Maryland School of Social Work and is a doctoral student in Evidence-Based Management/Business Administration. Clark is an eLearning instructional design development professional with 25 years experience in educational technology innovations: teaching, designing leading award-winning online and distance learning teams for learning management platform implementation, training, end user support, professional development and engagement. He has presented at numerous online learning and ed tech conferences, was co-founder of the Blend-Online Educause constituent group, co-founding master chef of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Technology Test Kitchen, and has recently volunteered as Conference Co-Chair for OLC Innovate and Engagement Co-Chair for OLC Accelerate Clark has authored chapters on synchronous tools for teaching and learning support and co-authored a chapter on professional development installations. As a consultant, Clark has worked on several international projects in the realm of blended and online learning.
Megan Kohler is a Learning Designer with the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute at Penn State. She has presented at international conferences, such as Open Ed 2010 in Barcelona, Spain, the International Conference on Arts and Humanities in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Online Learning Consortium in Orlando, Florida. Megan relies on her training and experience as a professional actor to create a fun and engaging experience within her presentations and design work. Among her professional accomplishments, she is recognized for her work as the lead instructional designer and project manager on Penn State’s highly-rated Epidemics MOOC. She conceptualized the MOOCs by Design Webinar series and served as the pedagogical lead for the Penn State Digital Badges Initiative. She continues to explore interesting opportunities focused on improving the online learning experience for higher education.

Extended Abstract

The story...

The year is 2021. Accelerate conference attendees have embarked on a long journey of exploratory learning over the past several days. The journey has challenged, inspired, and even transformed the attendees. Now, equipped with new knowledge they prepare to return to their natural work environments for further exploration and research. But before the next chapter of their story emerges, they will gather together in celebration of the successful completion of their conference mission; To provide better learning experiences for their online, digital, and blended learners. 

Every attendee came to the Accelerate Conference with different goals in mind. Some came to share their research and strategies. Some came to connect and expand their networks. And others attended with a single goal in mind - to learn. Together as a community of dedicated professionals, they were able to support one another and create a unique dynamic for growth. This resulted in a one of a kind journey for all attendees. A journey that should be celebrated. 

The celebration...

Before attendees slowly depart, there is one last opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and to celebrate our accomplishments from the past few days. The closing event has always been a fun filled celebration, but after the pandemic, gathering together to celebrate the work that has saved so many organizations and institutions seems overdue. Join us to celebrate the conference which was indeed An Odyssey into the Future of Online, Digital, and Blended Learning. This 2021 space odyssey will include interactive live trivia game (with prizes!), reflections and mad libs, select captured moments and quotes from OLC Accelerate 2021 social media and more!

Enjoy a glass of champagne and join us in toasting another successful Accelerate Conference. We’ll share highlights from the inspiring discussions that occurred, bust a robotic move on the dance floor, and enjoy playing games to commemorate the event. We hope to see you there.