OLC Accelerate: Have you considered the Research Track for your proposal?


 OLC Director of Research & Research Track co-chair Lynette O’Keefe

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This is an exciting time for online learning and higher education. Traditional ways that we’ve thought about teaching and learning, and even online education itself, are being reshaped as digital transformation, online strategy, pedagogy, design, and student outcomes specific to the online space have become priorities for a large and growing number of institutions.  This has created an expanded opportunity for exploration, innovation, and research.

The OLC Accelerate tracks – Leadership & Institutional Strategies, Learner Services & Support, Professional Development & Support, Teaching & Learning Effectiveness, Tools & Technologies, and yes, Research – all include opportunities to showcase research and effective practices across the diversity of needs in the online community. The Research Track is unique from the others in that it is designed to provide an outlet for work that addresses any aspect of online learning in an empirically-focused way.  The Research Track is dedicated to presenting well-developed studies that include a research problem or question, methodology, and results (or potential results) that will impact practice, theory, or further research.

Who should submit proposals to the Research Track?

All presenters with a proposal that is based in research should consider submitting to the Research Track.  This track is a great way for researchers at all levels to share their work and to create collaborative communities.  At its base level, proposals for the Research Track should include the traditional elements of a research problem or question, methods for studying it, and data/outcomes that can be evaluated.

Faculty, researchers, and/or graduate students in any discipline or with any topic related to online learning and leadership may find particular value in this track, but many practitioners (Instructional Designers, Administrative Leaders, etc.) are also engaged in research (even though it may be framed in more applied terms), and these perspectives all add value to the overall research and practice in the field.  

How do I decide whether my proposal is best-suited to the Research Track?

While all tracks at OLC Accelerate provide an opportunity to disseminate research, proposals for the Research Track are distinguished by one or more of the following:

  • Focus on research questions, methodology, and results
  • Application of theory and/or data to inform new directions
  • Provide opportunities for continued or expanded exploration of the topic
  • Open new opportunities for collaborative inquiry

Successful proposals for the Research Track will all have a defined research problem or question and clear methodology for studying the topic and/or implementing solutions.  Results may or may not be available at the time of proposal, but proposals should show what data will be collected and evaluated, and consider potential findings. Proposals may be quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods, and may address any aspect on online learning and leadership.  Diverse topics and methods are encouraged, and presenting through the Research Track provides an avenue for both increased personalization and value for attendees as well as a few distinct opportunities for presenters.

What unique opportunities does the Research Track provide?

For those with a presentation based in research, the Research Track provides an opportunity to connect with attendees on practical implications of the work, as well as on theory, new directions, or expanded potential for the topic.  Especially in a field as complex as online learning and leadership, collaborative and even interdisciplinary perspectives on research are incredibly valuable, but can be difficult to find. The Research Track provides a space for those interested in research as well as application to share insights, information, and ideas.  

In addition, presenters are strongly encouraged to submit their original research papers to OLC’s flagship journal, the Online Learning Journal.  The OLJ promotes the development and dissemination of knowledge at the intersections of pedagogy, emerging technology, policy, and practice in online environments.  The journal adheres to double-blind peer review standards, and while proposals are accepted year-round, there is a special issue each year based on research presented at OLC conferences.

The Research Track is a great opportunity for both experienced researchers and those just beginning to explore the research potential in the online learning space to showcase a project, network with others, share findings, and expand their work.  For more information about proposals, view the on-demand OLC Accelerate 2019 Call for Proposal Information Session Webinar, where Program Chairs and representatives from OLC Presenter Services discuss how to submit a winning proposal to OLC Accelerate.

Proposals are being accepted until May 22, 2019. Submit today!

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