Online Learning Consortium Announces the Winners of the OLC Innovate Awards

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The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is pleased to announce the winners of the OLC Innovate Award for outstanding achievements in online, blended, and digital learning. Recognized for their innovative approaches and significant impact on educational practices, this year’s winners exemplify excellence across several categories.


Excellence in Design Practice

Institution: Savannah College of Art and Design

Project: SCADnow Design Sprint Model

Recipients: Kristen Wheelock, Shannon Buck, Caleb Hanan, Andy Fulp, Eric Bryan, Nick Garrett, Sarah Adams, Tiwanna Blakley, Anthony Boulier, Nancy Dai, Brianna Howarth, Je’Lisa Miller, Echo Qi, Sarah Walters

This project showcases a transformative agile design sprint approach, integrating innovative technology to develop HyFlex courses rapidly and efficiently. Its effectiveness is evident in significantly enhancing student learning experiences across virtual environments​​.

Excellence in Online and Blended Student Support

Institution: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Project: NinerLink: The First and Only AI-Powered Online Student Support Community

Recipients: Heidi Echols, M.F.A., Jordan Register, Ph.D., Kiran Budhrani, Ed.D., Samantha Suptela, Ph.D., Tonya Bates, M.S.

NinerLink revolutionizes peer-to-peer engagement through a unique AI-driven platform, fostering a sense of belonging and significantly improving student success metrics in line with UNC Charlotte’s strategic goals​​.

Excellence in Online and Blended Learning Innovation

Institution: Unitek Learning

Project: FYE100: Foundations of Success

Recipients: Jamie Holcomb, Ed.D., Kristy Johnson, M.Ed., Elizabeth Bruner, M.A., Abdel Yosef, Ph.D., RN, CNE

The FYE100 course is a pioneering first-year seminar that equips online, adult healthcare students with essential tools and resources, integrating CliftonStrengths assessments and creating a direct linkage between academic skills and professional healthcare applications​​.

Excellence in Data and Learning Analytics Design

Institution: King Khalid University 

Project: ELD Report

Lead: Hamed Alqahtani, Ph.D.

This project involved deploying an extensive beneficiary opinion survey to gauge the satisfaction levels among users of the Deanship of E-Learning services, with results driving enhancements in service delivery and user experience​​.

(King Khalid University was unable to attend the onsite presentation of awards.)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarship

Institution: Highline College

Recipient: Laura Adele Soracco, Ph.D.

Laura Soracco, an English composition educator at Highline College, leverages her unique background to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in online learning environments. She actively engages in transformative pedagogical practices, advocating for anti-racist and inclusive teaching methods. Her recent Ph.D. work delves into fostering community in asynchronous online classes, emphasizing educational equity for minoritized communities. Soracco has significantly contributed to the college’s mission as a minority-serving institution, developing impactful programs like the Puente Project and initiatives focused on Latinx and AANAPISI student communities. Her efforts to humanize online learning environments and her dedication to closing equity gaps through professional development and personal mentorship exemplify her commitment to inclusive education​.

The OLC Innovate Award winners not only lead in educational innovation but also set benchmarks for effective practices in online learning. Congratulations to all the awardees for their exemplary contributions to the field.

Innovate 2024 Conference Chairs

Finally, we want to recognize the conference committee chairs for their incredible dedication and service in supporting the design and development of Innovate 2024. 

Engagement Co-Chairs: Cynthia Pascal, Ed.D., and Jennifer Zaur, M.A.

Program Co-Chairs: Allison Rief, Ed.D., and Bryan Aylward, Psy.D.

Conference Chair: Morgan Johnson, Ph.D.

The Conference Operations Committee have ensured the smooth running of every aspect of this event, curating the sessions, speakers, and activities that have and will continue to enlighten us well beyond this conference. Thank you for making this conference not just a gathering, but a community of learning, sharing, and growth. 

About the OLC Awards

Since 2001, the OLC has recognized and celebrated the innovative efforts of educators worldwide. Submissions for the Accelerate 2024 awards are now open. For more details, please visit our website.

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