Date and TimeTitle
Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Applying Millers Pyramid of Competence Assessment to an Online Health Informatics Curriculum

An online Master’s in Health Informatics program applied Millers Pyramid of Competence to analyze assignments, assessments and learning outcomes.  Faculty defined competencies and mapped courses to these competencies.  Goals were to focus the curriculum beyond being knowledge-based, to include skills and professional attitudes that employers are seeking. 

Extended Abstract

In this session, participants will learn how one program innovated to transform a curriculum to meet the ongoing need for relevancy in the dynamic field of health informatics (HI).  The challenges included meeting new accreditation requirements for the curriculum to become competency-driven; defining competencies for the UIC program, professional development education for faculty to learn about competency-driven approaches and move to a new paradigm of student-centered active learning. 

University of Illinois at Chicago was the first accredited program in health informatics in 2010.  Over the years the program grew into one of the largest in the US, now graduating more than 150 students with the MSHI per year.  Since 2010, the HI field has matured and emerged as a dynamic new area within healthcare that plays a central role in connecting providers, patients and technology used in healthcare.  Beyond meeting accreditation requirements, transforming to a competency-driven curriculum provided an opportunity to improve quality and innovate to approaches that ensure that the program remains relevant considering the rapid advancement of the field. 

The Millers Pyramid of competence assessment provides a framework that has been used to assess clinical competence in medical education and can assist clinical teachers in matching learning outcomes with expectations of what the learner should be able to do at any level of the pyramid.  The Millers framework was adapted and used to assess the current HI curriculum for gaps in meeting the competencies.

The UIC faculty defined competencies for 10 knowledge domains that aligned with the curricular identity of the UIC program.  Workshops focused on defining the competencies, assessing the current curriculum for gaps in meeting the competencies, designing “scaffolded” assignments within and across courses to meet the competencies and assessments to measure the learning outcomes.  When assignments from multiple courses combined to meet the competency (“at the time of graduation the graduate student will demonstrate . . . ”), faculty collaborated and negotiated to redesign assignments that would scaffold and build towards meeting the competency. 

This presentation will benefit all audience levels and be of particular interest to educators who are moving from traditional pedagogy to innovative, active learning approaches in the online environment.  Slides will be used during the presentation and will be submitted to the conference proceedings to be available to all attendees.  The Miller framework used to define competency will be shared and can be adapted for use by other types of programs.  A timeline of events and project milestones, examples of tools developed for faculty workshops and methods for analyzing curriculum data will be shared.   

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Seeing the Light(board): High Quality Lecture Capture with a Low Learning Curve

See how the installation of a lightboard has brought out the creativity, passion, and expertise of one community college’s faculty and staff. A lightboard combines the familiar process of lecturing/storytelling while writing on the board with innovative video creation. Hear experiences, watch examples, and try a mini-board for yourself!

Extended Abstract

In Fall 2019, Harper College, a large community college outside Chicago, purchased a lightboard for faculty use. A lightboard is an illuminated, clear panel, behind which faculty can stand and write with paint markers while delivering a lecture.  The lecture is recorded, and the image is flipped in post-production so that it appears in the correct direction for the viewer. The result is a sleek, engaging instructional video that has a fairly low learning curve for the faculty member while providing a polished product for the student.    

The lightboard was set up in a designated recording studio at Harper College and full support for recording, post-production, and hosting is provided by an instructional technologist and instructional designer within Harper’s center for teaching and learning. To promote the use of the lightboard, an open house session was conducted in Fall 2019 and workshops to train small groups of faculty were launched in Spring 2020.  Within 7 months of installation, faculty and staff have produced over 130 videos in accounting, chemistry, physics, college initiatives and more.  

Faculty that express interest in using the lightboard attend a planning meeting, during which they receive best practice guides, planning templates, example videos and a chance to practice on the lightboard. The majority of faculty find that they become comfortable recording with the board after just one practice session. 

In this Discovery Session, a full-time faculty member will present her experiences as the “beta” faculty member on the lightboard and how she went on to record an entire series of videos for use by her whole department and beyond.  The instructional technologist and instructional designer team that supports faculty in the use of the lightboard will present best practice guides, examples, and resources used to get faculty up and running quickly with the technology, as well as be available to answer questions about costs, set-up, and production. 

Participants in this session will receive a recording best practices handout that can be useful to institutions even without a lightboard available.  Participants will also be able to view example lightboard videos and try writing on a mini lightboard for themselves!

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Press Record: Strategies to Encourage Faculty Collaboration and Communication through FlipGrid

Innovative strategies for improving virtual collaboration amongst graduate non traditional full time and adjunct faculty will be highlighted to improve curriculum instruction. FlipGrid, a web 2.0 tool, will be discussed, and participants will have the opportunity to engage in it beyond the session.

Extended Abstract

Session Purpose

The purpose of this session is to discuss innovative strategies for improving virtual collaboration amongst full time and adjunct faculty.  

Background/ Relevance

Master of Public Health (MPH) programs train students on disease prevention and health promotion of communities.  Our program is one of the largest fully online MPH programs in the country, and follows a unique model where faculty load is based on number of students, not credit hours.  We have three full time faculty and over 30 adjunct faculty. However, there may be a gap in faculty and adjunct communication amongst the delivery of the curriculum. It is imperative to improve standardization of courses and teaching methods to enhance student learning and engagement.  Therefore, connecting all non-traditional graduate faculty that live and work throughout the United States for the MPH program in a viable space is essential.

An MPH Faculty FlipGrid was created to serve as a virtual space for all faculty (FTF and adjunct) to interact, learn, and ask questions.   FlipGrid was chosen as a platform because of its accessibility on various devices and the ability to share information easily and quickly via video.  Four topics were chosen to start the FlipGrid. The topics included 1) Faculty introductions, 2) How do I use flipgrid, 3) Announcements and 4) Help.

The FlipGrid was launched through an email communication. The email discussed the goal of the FlipGrid, what FlipGrid is, and how to access it. Once the FlipGrid was live, FTF began posting weekly.  To date, two adjunct video submissions have been received.

Due to the low participation in the FlipGrid, FTF are interested in researching best methods for communication amongst faculty.   Through presenting at OLC, FTF wish to gain insight from other institutions in regard to streamlining and standardizing communication and improving collaboration. 

Plan for Interactivity

Prior to the conference, a FlipGrid will be created with 5 session specific topics and pre-recorded videos.  Instead of a PowerPoint presentation, the FlipGrid will be used throughout the presentation to showcase the platform and give participants the opportunity to see its functionality.  To begin the session, presenters will introduce the conference FlipGrid and play pre-recorded videos in which presenters introduce themselves and provide a background for the session.  Throughout the session, presenters will play videos highlighting different scenarios to prompt the discussion. The session outline including scenarios and questions for collaboration are listed below.  At the conclusion of the session presenters will encourage participants to continue the discussion centered around the 4 scenarios on the FlipGrid throughout the conference. Participants will be given the FlipCode and a 1 page handout on how to use FlipGrid. Faculty will respond to videos throughout the conference.

Session Outline

  • Presenter Introduction (3 min, presented through FlipGrid)
  • Scenario 1 (8 min, presented through FlipGrid): Faculty are located throughout the country with no or limited opportunity for face to face interaction. 
    • Questions for Scenario 1: How important is it to engage faculty? How do you engage faculty and through what medium?
  • Senario 2 (8 min, presented through FlipGrid): You receive a communication from a student upset about the way you grade participation. The student said prior instructors did it differently.  
    • Questions for Scenario 2:  How can we standardize our feedback and yet still individualize instruction?
  • Scenario 3 (8 min, presented through FlipGrid): You host quarterly calls to provide adjuncts announcements and allow them to ask questions. Participation is low.  In addition, you send emails and disseminate information, but rarely hear from faculty.
    • Questions for Scenario 3: What communication barriers do you have with faculty? How do you communicate important updates to faculty and how well is it received?  What have you found to be the best strategies for connecting adjunct faculty to full time faculty?
  • Scenario 4 (8 min, presented through FlipGrid): You create a FlipGrid to engage faculty. You feel this will be a great way for faculty to receive updates and ask questions on their time. However, the response rate is low.
    • Questions for Scenario 4:  Does your institution promote the use of technology as best practice? Have you heard of web 2.0 tools such as FlipGrid? How do we get faculty to press record?
  • Presenter Conclusion (3 min, not presented through FlipGrid): 

Participant Takeaway

Through participation in this session participants will be exposed to FlipGrid, a web 2.0 tool which can be used to increase collaboration and communication amongst students and faculty. In addition, participants will discuss the importance of faculty connection, and learn best strategies used across institutions for the promotion of collaboration of online faculty to improve curriculum instruction and standardization.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Promoting Inclusivity Through Collaborative Design Conversations

Drawing on a model for collaborative interactions between faculty and instructional designers (Drysdale, 2019) along with inclusive design practices, a team of instructional designers formulated a set of questions intended to elicit conversations with faculty about inclusivity in their online course designs. Join and learn our strategies.

Extended Abstract

Instructional designers are regularly working to build positive, trusting relationships with faculty. These relationships often involve a process of discovery through questioning, where the instructional designer is seeking input from the faculty member on the course content, and the faculty is seeking expertise on course design, often for an online environment. Asking questions is essential to a productive and effective working relationship (Berger, 2018). However, questions aren’t--or shouldn’t be--just a means to an end. Thoughtful questioning can lead to improved collaboration and, as a result, stronger working relationships. But, why stop there? How can we, as instructional designers, ask questions that not only elicit answers and build trust, but also elicit important conversations on inclusivity in online courses? When working with faculty, what strategies can we use to facilitate these conversations?

While we recognize that there are resources for learning about inclusive teaching, most opportunities are tailored to faculty teaching in face-to-face environments. Moreover, instructional designers work with faculty who have varying levels of familiarity with inclusive practices. We need strategies for collaborating with all faculty in the area of inclusivity. In order to meet this need, we are working on an inquiry approach that can facilitate more inclusive-oriented consultations with instructors in higher education. The inquiry approach encourages faculty to think about questions in the depth that best suits their experience-level. In that way, the approach we will share is appropriate to use with faculty who are not familiar with inclusive principles as well as faculty who are already invested in inclusivity.

The presenters of this discovery session will share their approach in which IDs are equipped with strategies and tools to facilitate design conversations related to inclusivity. Drawing on principles of inclusive teaching, we identify strategies that are specific to online courses. We align strategies with a typical design and development cycle. For each identified teaching strategy, we suggest questions that instructional designers can ask faculty in their design conversations. For example, during the design process, when faculty are selecting course materials, an instructional designer could ask questions related to the extent that those materials resonate with students. In this way, the design discussion can be directed to bringing a range of voices into the course materials. 

The proposed questions are modeled after the positive core questions approach, an important component of the Collaborative Mapping Model (CMM), a model for relationship-centered instructional design, specifically for a higher education context (Drysdale, 2019). Participants will be challenged to come up with additional positive questions or share their own strategies for fostering positive conversations with faculty. Faculty participants will be challenged to reflect on the proposed questions in the context of the courses they teach.

Participants will come away from this session with awareness of how important it is to talk about inclusive design and with approaches they can try in their own context to elicit in-depth reflections from faculty involved in online teaching. Instructional designers will have concrete strategies they can adopt and adapt during their design conversations with faculty to promote positive conversations around inclusive design and teaching with the ultimate goal of reaching a more diverse student population.


Berger, W. (2018). The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions that Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Drysdale, J. (2019). The collaborative mapping model: Relationship-centered instructional design for higher education. Online Learning, 23(3), 56-71. doi:10.24059/olj.v23i3.2058

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Promoting the Development of Professional Presence for Students in Health Professions Programs, through the Use of Social Media

This presentation is designed to engage healthcare professionals as well as those who teach, develop, and provide leadership in healthcare-specific programs of study, in an open-forum discussion to seek feedback and gather innovative ideas for ways to deliver professional presence training material and content to students by way of social media platform applications.

Extended Abstract

Professionalism is an indispensable element in the compact between the medical profession and society that is based on trust and putting the needs of patients above all other considerations.[1]

The healthcare industry seeks to hire new graduates in a number of highly technical, team-based career fields.  As seasoned healthcare professionals and members of the academy, we recognize the need to educate those early careerists and future health care professionals on the importance of understanding and demonstrating professional presence[2] within their overall workplace behavior.  Conceptually, professional presence incorporates so-called “soft” skills typically associated with proficiency in verbal and written communications, but we also suggest that professional presence necessarily incorporates skills related to social and emotional intelligence, situational awareness, and self-awareness. Moreover, we believe the skillsets and behaviors associated with professional presence should be considered independent of other metrics used to more objectively evaluate and measure nursing professionalism such as cognition, attitude, and psychomotor abilities.[3]

With a focus on the health careers division of Southwest Tennessee Community College, we propose the creation of a professional presence module using the social media options that are currently available to students.

Project Outline: 

We propose the creation of a learning module that will be added to several courses in our health sciences department, the objective of which is to conceptually introduce healthcare students to professional presence, and to assist them in developing behavioral attributes which demonstrate their understanding of professionalism and professional presence.  This approach may also provide students with opportunities to more innovatively utilize social media platforms to promote and facilitate better healthcare outcomes in their patients. 

The design is an embedded online module that asks students to reflect on their professional growth, adopt new behaviors, engage with a wider community, distinguish themselves as innovators, and collaborate using existing technology to address a health related issue.  Engaging students in our nursing and allied health departments, the project creates dual opportunity for inter-professional collaboration and technology innovation.

Goals of this initiative are to help students

  • develop a professional identity
  • negotiate professional partnerships through collaboration
  • innovate the use of social media to promote positive healthcare outcomes within the community.

Level of Participation:

After presenting current research and the background of this problem (about 5 minutes), we would like to engage a group of thinkers and innovators (especially those who focus on health sciences and health careers) in open discussion of this project.  Because we seek ideas on how to create relevant, cross discipline problem-based learning activities that build community within community in an online environment, we will ask attendees to share relevant experiences.  We want to hear challenges, strategies, pitfalls and successes of our peers. 

Session Goals:

Attendees participating in this session will engage in brainstorming on how to develop and implement a professional presence module and will leave with one idea worth consideration. Additionally, participants will add to their professional networking community by sharing experiences in this area.


[1]Brennan, et al. (2014). Professionalism: Good for Patients and Health Care Organizations. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 89, Issue 5, 644 – 652.

[2] For the purposes of this proposal professional presence is defined as the combination of verbal, written, non-verbal, and self/situational awareness skillsets that, when developed to a high level, can positively impact the promotability, retainability, and career success of industry professionals.

2 Ghadirian, Salsali, & Ali Cheraghi (2014).  Nursing professionalism: An evolutionary concept analysis. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2014 Jan-Feb; 19(1): 1–10.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Pure Heart Leadership- An Authentic Approach for Higher Ed Leaders

Pure Heart Leadership™ is leadership model developed upon over 20 years of professional experience within higher education utilizing several key psychology theories of Maslow, Rogers, and Bandura  with a mindfulness approach to developing talent. This session will map out the pathway to moving your career forward in higher education.

Extended Abstract

Pure Heart Leadership™ is an approach that encourages an authentic style while recognizing the individuality and strengths of leaders. This leadership model was developed based upon over 20 years of professional experience within higher education while blending several key psychology theories of Carl Rogers and Albert Bandura into a mindfulness approach to working with others. This model is one of encouragement, empowerment, and truly rewarding in both self and team development. It provides both the leader and the mentee with an honest evaluation of how you present as a leader as well as connecting and leading others.  Techniques cover performance enhancement, coaching for development, as well as succession planning for the team.


At our core, we are a combination of our life experiences, coupled with how we perceive our experiences—combined with cultural influences and societal sway. Psychologically speaking, these pillars of our personality affect how we perceive stimuli and encrypt them into responses, or actions. These responses encapsulate each interaction, sensation, and life experience, both positive and negative. Our exposure to new experiences, new people, and new events enters our mind, heart, and soul to create our unique dialogue with the world. Based upon our earliest recollections, our most emotional experiences, and the familiarity of experiences to date, work to shape our perceptions of the world, and in turn, how we choose to respond to the world.

There are three key theorists that resonated with this work given their contributions to the foundation of PHL: Albert Bandura, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers. While Maslow proposes the desire full self-actualization—with individual levels consisting of needs to be met in order to reach that desired end goal—Rogers held a similar belief while pushing for more authentic discovery. Rogers proposes by way of engaging in congruence, self-actualization, and positive regard, one is able to reach a destination of self-awareness. Bandura provides a structure around the power of influence and how we shape our behaviors and engagements as a result of social influences. These foundational components serve as the establishment from which we build upon through experience, engagements, and understandings.

Our leadership style encompasses who we are as individual—our strengths, weaknesses, and values—all applied behaviorally to how one lead others. Awareness of one’s leadership style gives a better working knowledge of how one operates, intermingles with folks, and communicate style. The greater understanding one has about who they are and how they present, the more empowerment experienced to solidify strengths, build development opportunities, and relate with others. Ultimately, it’s the ability to foster authentic leadership in others allows you as a leader to be of greater service.


Embarking on your personal leadership journey takes more than just a few comments, articles, or vicarious experiences. Discovering your leadership style includes three key components: self-evaluation for baseline; observations from others; and comparing your style against the organizational culture. This research provides a pathway to exploring individual leadership qualities, assessment in your current state of approach, as well as how to identify and collaborate with your organizational team members’ styles. Additionally, it provides guidance on how to apply these techniques to leaders on an individual level, team level, and the organization as a whole.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Purposeful Tinkering: Experiential Preparation & Networking in Virtual Worlds for VR-Ready Educators

Tinkering in virtual worlds is excellent experiential preparation to teach using virtual reality in the near future. What better way to prepare for the VR revolution than by engaging with a diverse, global community of practice, many of whom have a decade or more of in-world expertise to share?

Extended Abstract

Facebook recently announced ambitious plans to connect users with an easy to use social virtual reality platform coming in early 2020. This is a strong indication that teaching using virtual reality is closer than ever to becoming a truly mainstream practice. Many educators, however, mistakenly believe they have to wait until after the technology shakedown is complete or that they need special equipment to get started, but that’s just not true. Educators can get hands-on expertise in virtual world building and exploration right now with no special equipment needed. There is no better time to get serious about professional development using a vast digital makerspace where you can build relationships across institutions and disciplines.

More importantly, designing effective immersive learning experiences will require familiarity with technologies that will continue to quickly change and evolve. A fundamental knowledge of the long history of immersive learning in virtual worlds like Second Life and OpenSim will be assumed. Getting into virtual worlds now will allow educators time to practice learning and adapting to a new environment and discovering new skills. The culture and affordances of virtual worlds is also entirely foreign. Not only will it take time and practice to acclimate to this new world, it takes an abundance of first-hand experience to be able to think broadly enough to truly leverage the possibilities with teaching. Educators without any experience or knowledge of how these readily accessible forms of virtual reality have been used for teaching the last decade are likely to be increasingly at a disadvantage in the near future. Tinkering in virtual worlds is an excellent form of intentional play and experiential preparation for this new reality, and it offers the adventurous educator the opportunity to network and collaborate with a community of like-minded peers far beyond what they’ll find at their own institutions local conference.

Presentation Description:

The presenter will be drawing from her own experience over the last year and a half of getting involved with virtual worlds, attending and present at virtual conferences, and meeting educators and librarians from around the world. She will introduce the audience to the Community Virtual Library, which has been advocating for real world librarianship in digital worlds for more than a decade. She will talk about how members of the Community Virtual Library are crowd-sourcing the exploration and evaluation of different virtual reality platforms, and she will also relay how important she’s found the culture of tinkering in a social virtual environment in her own learning.

The demonstration will also showcase the Hypergrid Resources Library the presenter has built that connects different virtual worlds in the OpenSim metaverse. In contrast to the proprietary world of Second Life, the free open source virtual world platform OpenSim are hosted on a decentralized system of servers all over the world.  Hypergridding is just the protocol that lets us “jump” with our avatar from one world into another, with worlds that are set as open to visitors.  

This presentation will be of interest to instructional designers and educators alike, as well as anyone with a general interest in virtual reality. Anyone involved in education who expects to design immersive learning activities in the future should be deeply familiar with the features, benefits, limitations, and history of virtual worlds in education.

Participants will learn what they can do if they want to get hands-on expertise in virtual world building and exploration, and start building relationships across institutions right now. Participants can use one of two laptops and try navigating an avatar to explore the library, chat with another participant in-world, and hypergrid jump to other locations. A third laptop will present a video slideshow with photos and video clips of in-world events. Also provided will be handout with QR code will let participants access a public Canvas course with more information about how to get started exploring virtual worlds for education. 


Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Pushing Past the Threshold: A Modern Day Twist to Enriching Online Students

Educators often focus their attention towards supporting struggling students; while important, it is equally important to enrich meeting and excelling students. So, how do you enrich students in the online modality? Grouping! Join us on exploring how using grouping in the discussion forums can enhance student learning.

Extended Abstract

In an effort to support students, educators systematically follow the teaching strategy of grouping. Often times, seen in the K-12 setting, educator’s group students so they can work to improve high-level reasoning and critical thinking skills. In addition, it provides opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of the learned material. The purpose of this presentation is to offer guidance, support and a strategy to enriching excelling students, at the college level, in online programs.

Historically, primary and secondary educators have used enrichment strategies in their traditional classrooms geared for exceptional students. So, why stop in the K-12 setting? Why stop in the traditional ground setting? As online educators, we often overlook high achieving students, as the focus falls on retaining at risk online students. There are several different ways that online educators can challenge high achieving students; this presentation will focus on ability grouping. The National Association for Gifted Children has indicated that ability grouping, when used properly, allows flexibility for students and also helps to promote high levels of achievement while shrinking excellence gaps. Furthermore, this strategy has been shown to challenge students by allowing them to work alongside others who learn at similar rates and share similar goals (“Grouping.” n.d.).

Simply put…we put a new twist on an old teaching and learning practice. Grouping online college students, in conversation, in the main forum has allowed us to drive a deeper understanding of the learning objectives. DeNisco (2015) discusses that through ability- grouped peer conversations, students are challenged to achieve higher level thinking skills. Through grouping, students have a chance to engage in discussions that can enhance their motivation to persist through a course, thus achieving higher academic output.

 Presenters will share background knowledge around teaching in the online discussion forum and how they enrich exceeding students through grouping. Presenters will provide participants with samples of real life experiences with online grouping.  Audience members will be engaged through a number of techniques including interactive question and answering, and audience contributions. Presenters will encourage open dialog and discussion between themselves and the audience as it relates to the potential benefits and consequences of grouping. From this presentation, participants will be able to use grouping in online classes to support student engagement and critical thinking. Participants will be able to apply grouping strategies into their own online classes based on the presenters’ experiences.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Reimagining a Virtual Learning Experience for Underserved Learners

This session reflects on identifying and addressing key challenges of reimagining three traditional, asynchronous online courses into experiential learning courses for self-paced learners. Through the use of virtual meet-ups, portfolios, peer-review and badging tools, and carefully scaffolded project-based assignments, three courses were reimagined to provide students with rich learning experiences.

Extended Abstract

This session reflects on identifying and addressing key challenges of reimagining three traditional, asynchronous online courses into experiential learning courses for self-paced learners. This session is important for the community as it reflects on real design, development, and implementation and the challenges and successes that have been experienced thus far. Designers will share learned experiences with participants and discuss suggestions for future iterations of the design, specifically as it relates to providing access to experiential learning opportunities to underserved learners. 

The session will be divided into a visual presentation and active, short discussion of four key areas: (1) a short description of the courses that were reimagined, (2) the challenges in creating a hands-on learning experience for students from the previously designed courses, (3) presentation of the design solutions, and (4) reflections on the first and second pilot testing and focus group research for the design. 

Designers took three courses—Introduction to Communication, American Government, and Introduction to Information Technology—and identified possible solutions to provide students with richer, more engaging learning experiences. These courses were delivered in a self-paced, linear, asynchronous format with several writing and practice assignments in the respective fields. Students were required to take lesson and module quizzes as well as a midterm and final exam in each course. The intended audience for these courses focused on dual-credit students or students at community colleges or single-subject institutions. Many of these students reside in rural and low-income communities where access to rich educational experiences are few. Therefore, the courses needed to be designed in a way that they could be facilitated asynchronously or synchronously, blended or completely online, and in project groups or independently. While such experiential elements are commonly used in traditional face-to-face instruction, there has been little design and development for scalable distribution across diverse institutional settings and populations. Participants will engage in discussions about current courses or training programs they are working with that they might want to reimagine into experiential learning focused courses. 

A number of challenges were identified when looking at the constraints of the current courses, the intended learners, and the pedagogical goals of the redesign. Constraints centered around three themes: time and facilitation, designing learning experiences, and student readiness. Some challenges identified focused on time and facilitation, including the increased need for student facilitation in the course and how to create structure in a self-paced, asynchronous course for this type of activity. 

Other challenges identified centered around the learning experience, which included fundamental principles in experiential learning: iteration and reflection. Students needed to be allowed the ability to iterate their experiences and to fail while still receiving adequate support. Moreover, in this iterative experience, students needed to be provided with opportunities to reflect on their experiences, identify strengths and weaknesses, and make improvements to show cognitive and emotional growth. 

Lastly, students, particularly those coming from dual-credit institutions, had little experience in both college-level courses and experiential learning focused courses. Students needed an extra level of scaffolding and support to feel successful and not discouraged by the assignments in the course. Participants will be asked to identify their biggest challenges, barriers, and constraints in reimagining an existing course into an experiential learning course. 

A number of solutions to the challenges identified were explored while reimagining the design of these courses and will be discussed in detail in the session. Through the use of virtual meet-ups, portfolio and badging tools, and carefully scaffolded project-based assignments, these three courses were reimagined to provide students with richer learning experiences. In each course, students are tasked with identifying a community problem related to the field of study (communication, government, or information technology). Working with local governments, organizations, and community experts, students will create a proposal or solution to this problem through a series of scaffolded assignments that build into a final presentation of the project. 

Participants in this session will discuss the efficacy of the design choices made to address the challenges presented. For example, students were provided with an orientation course and resource library to begin building the appropriate skills and resources needed for both experiential learning and the rigor of college courses. To address challenges of iteration and the linear format of a course, as well as to help students develop skills when addressing ill-structured problems, the courses were designed to include portfolio and badging assignments. Younger, less experienced students, in particular, struggle with ill-structured open-ended assignments like experiential learning projects. In particular, they struggle with developing strategies and identifying tasks that are appropriate for project completion. The badging assignments help scaffold student learning of skills while still promoting student choice. 

Lastly, designers will discuss the outcomes of two iterations of pilot studies currently underway with these three courses, the lessons learned so far, and ideas for design refinement. Designers will also discuss the results of a focus group of stakeholders (educators, students, and administrators) who provided concerns, feedback, and solutions for strengths and weaknesses in the design. 

Participants will walk away from the session with a copy of the presentation (accessed via QR code) and a paper flyer that visually shows the challenges discussed and the explored solutions to these challenges. Moreover, participants will have an opportunity to talk one-on-one with designers about their personal design challenges and collaborate on possible solutions as well as reflections and experiences learned from pilot testing.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Rethinking the Role of Instructional Design Models in Developing Digital Courseware and Online Courses

The purpose of this session is first, to identify effective processes in developing digitally- enhanced courseware that aligns with pedagogical needs; second, to demonstrate small-scale preliminary projects completed through the proposed agile approach; and third, to share the initial findings and reflections on the implementation of this methodology.

Extended Abstract


This presentation will reacquaint the audience with the key concepts of linear and agile models to propose our design methodologies for possible solutions to the challenges we faced in the design processes. Subsequent sections in the presentation will introduce two pilot projects completed with new approaches to address different pedagogical needs while maintaining or enhancing effectiveness and efficiency in the process of design and production. The analysis of the projects and the initial findings will also be included at the end of the presentation to provide insights into the real-world impact of these practices.

Linear model vs. Agile model

Linear Design Model

In the linear design model such as the original ADDIE model, five phases (processes of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) depend on each of the other phases and need to be completed in a successive sequence (Allen, 2006; Branch, 2009). This linear approach may not be a true reflection of the complex nature of the instructional design process in real-world settings (Crawford, 2004; Kline, 1985; Tripp, & Bichelmeyer, 1990; Van Rooij, 2010). For example, when working in partnership with faculty to design and produce digitally-enhanced courseware, our design team often had problems following ADDIE processes to fully complete the design phase before moving forward to the next step(s). Many times, deadlines had to be postponed due to lack of feedback or delays in the completion of assigned tasks from and by faculty members. This caused a tight project timeframe, so all members of the team needed to design, develop, and implement simultaneously and navigate multiple parallel paths between these phases.

When attempting tasks in parallel, another challenge that continues to occur between stakeholders is differences in perceptions with respect to design, functionality, and implementation of the end product(s). Although learning objectives and relevant content materials and assessment plans were defined, even with mock-up prototyping, a substantial number of faculty members still had problems envisioning what these materials should look like and how they should function in the course. As such, the early-stage prototypes with low resolution can play no role in the communication with faculty and course producers in the early phase(s) of the design process.

On initial analysis, we also discovered that the lack of clarity in communication about the end products hindered faculty engagement in designing and implementing those developed materials into the class. The majority of faculty members are faced with competing priorities due to their myriad of roles and responsibilities. The development of online courses or digital courseware tends to be complex and requires one to invest a great deal of time and effort. Continuous changes and unclear results left faculty overwhelmed and made them shift priorities from these projects to other tasks which are more important to them. The challenge with managing faculty members’ expectations within this linear process is the impeding of the true engagement of faculty in efforts to support and advance the instructional design in developing effective courseware and learning materials.

From project management perspectives, the main purpose of this waterfall style model is to help organize and streamline the production process (Van Rooij,2010). If this model causes communication issues which lengthen the production timeline, additional human and financial resources will be needed to meet the projects’ deadlines. Continuous or uncontrolled changes due to different expectations of the final products not only necessitate additional time and budgeting but also could lead to project failure by delivering the wrong thing that did not align with the original pedagogical goals.

Applying Agile to Existing Design Process

An agile approach, originating in the software industry, focuses on fast delivery of a series of fully-functional components of the application, and all stakeholders work together to design and produce each segment with rapid development of its initial functional capacity and then evaluate and refine this segment over several iterations (Larman & Basili, 2003). In response to the communication issues previously mentioned, the agile approach, which involves a high level of team involvement throughout the project (Allen & Sites, 2012), allows everyone to share the same vision of the desired outcomes to be produced. Each completed piece of work is also reviewed by the team to ensure all components of the final released project align with the desired goals, which minimizes unexpected changes throughout the project, which in turn helps prevent scope creep.

During the phases of review, faculty members can interact with high-fidelity prototypes to gain a complete understanding of each design component and its functional capacities. This can assist faculty members to envision what the end-product will look like and cooperate with the design team to implement it into their teaching environment(s). With such an approach, we can keep faculty members engaged in the processes of design and production while also managing their expectations in a more effective way.


Pilot 01:  Proof of Concept

The Proof of Concept (POC) is a strategy based on the agile approach to produce a small-scale project to orient faculty and other stakeholders to the entire process. This practice can assist them to identify how much time and effort will be needed for completing a project with the office. The design team can examine the feasibility of design ideas and make adjustments for preparing the larger-scale project. The media team and project manager gain an overall impression of the production schedule and budget to prepare sufficient financial or technical resources.

CS4All is one of our POC projects in which we partner with two professors in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering to examine the idea of game-based learning to support student intrinsic motivation. We applied the learning content of computer networking into a narrative framework and used it as the backbone to design the game where students needed to integrate their newly gained knowledge about the topic to advance the gameplay. As players transform the metaphors of learning content into personal meaning during gaming, this type of synthesis thinking consequently improves learners’ deeper understanding of the content, both within the game and beyond. Regarding the delivery and implementation, this mini-game served as one of the key instructional materials for the professors to teach the topic of computer networking. Students’ feedback on learning experiences and their test scores were collected after the class.

Initial Reflection

POC is a cost-effective approach for developing digital courseware. Through these smaller-scale projects, our office has learned how to allocate resources and set project schedules. This practice also helps us maintain or enhance faculty engagement. By developing a small instance of a larger idea, faculty learned how much effort and time they needed to invest into the work. This also prevented faculty from dropping off the project because of unfeasible effort required. Regarding scalability and reusability, the framework of this project can be applied to other domains, courses, or programs. The developed application can retain its flexibility for future reuses or incorporated along with other projects.

Pilot 02: Rapid Prototyping

To design a full course, we integrated agile approaches into a linear production process for a statistical learning course housed within a program focused on the education of working professionals in the data science field. Instead of perfectly executing all design tasks, the design team worked with faculty or subject matter experts to quickly identify pedagogical goals, as well as learning objectives, and then generate a general course blueprint including the course structure, assessment plans, media assets, and other possible instructional materials.

Once the initial preparation was done, the whole team including instructional designers, developers, faculty members, and media specialists, met and discussed the details of one learning unit of the course, which was displayed as a “week” within the course platform. Each component of this module was created in a collaborative way through two to three iterations in a rapid development cycle and then delivered onto the platform for all members of the team to evaluate. Team members were able to view and experience the content, practice problems, and homework, along with other instructional elements, through a student’s lens. This method allowed us to generate a high-fidelity prototype for not only functional testing but also quality assurance. Course producers and media specialists were able to try out the module and discover the problem areas. Learning designers and faculty members were able to pilot it in educational settings to ensure it suits the pedagogical goals to determine the success of the module before moving forward.

Initial Reflection

The use of prototyping is a popular design methodology for testing ideas (Tripp & Bichelmeyer, 1990) and this rapid prototyping for one unit of the course can provide all stakeholders early opportunities to see the work being delivered, and make decisions and changes accordingly. This prototype can also serve as a reference for building other learning units to reduce production time and cost. In addition to its cost-effectiveness, the high-fidelity characteristic of this prototype pleases faculty members and motivates them throughout these rapid constructions and modifications processes.


Allen, M., & Sites, R. (2012). Leaving ADDIE for SAM: An agile model for developing the best learning experiences. American Society for Training and Development.

Allen, W. C. (2006). Overview and evolution of the ADDIE training system. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 8(4), 430-441.

Branch, R. M. (2009). Instructional design: The ADDIE approach (Vol. 722). Springer Science & Business Media.

Crawford, C. (2004). Non‐linear instructional design model: eternal, synergistic design and development. British Journal of Educational Technology, 35(4), 413-420.

Larman, C., & Basili, V. R. (2003). Iterative and incremental developments. a brief history. Computer, 36(6), 47-56.

Kline, S. J. (1985). Innovation is not a linear process. Research management, 28(4), 36-45.

Tripp, S. D., & Bichelmeyer, B. (1990). Rapid prototyping: An alternative instructional design strategy. Educational Technology Research and Development, 38(1), 31-44.

Van Rooij, S. W. (2010). Project management in instructional design: ADDIE is not enough. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(5), 852-864.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Stay on Top of Your Game! Professional Development for the Learning Design Professional

The Online Learning Consortium provides an array of professional development opportunities focused on instructional/learning design in the digital teaching and learning space. Instructional designers, learning designers, LX designers, and faculty developers can take advantage of both online and face-to-face programs that are designed to advance the skills and knowledge of those professionals who collaborate with faculty and support digital learning initiatives.  Come meet with Jennifer Paloma Rafferty, Director of the Institute for Professional Development, to learn about which OLC program is right for you at this stage of your professional trajectory. Jennifer will provide attendees with an overview of the Instructional Designer Certificate Program, the Advanced Instructional Designer Badge Series as well as face-to-face instructional design events taking place in 2020.

Extended Abstract

Whether your job title is instructional designer, learning designer, learning experience designer, or faculty developer, you know how important it is to stay informed of new developments in the field of digital teaching and learning.   Staying current for your professional role is paramount, and the Online Learning Consortium offers a variety of learning opportunities that can help you stay on top of your game. Whether you are looking to learn strategies to collaborate with faculty, polish your project management skills, engage more in research, or enhance your knowledge of learning sciences and their application, the Institute for Professional Development has an offering to suit your needs. 


Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Peer Review Model - It isn't the Receiving but Giving of Feedback!

In this session, we will discuss the peer review process, as well as evidence-based practices and research for designing peer review models in online and blended learning. Elements of a peer review model developed for a Bachelor’s of Nursing Capstone course will also be shared.

Extended Abstract

 “The purpose of feedback is to change the student, not the work, to improve their performance on tasks they have not yet attempted.” ~ Dylan Williams

This discovery session will address this quote by examining the importance of feedback for student learning and performance, the effects of giving and receiving feedback on student performance, the challenges of using a peer review model.

The process for designing a peer review model will be broken down and guiding questions will be provided to support the development of new models.  Elements of a peer review model developed for a Bachelor’s of Nursing Capstone course will be shared, as well as how this model addressed challenges in peer review and each of the guiding questions.

Participants will receive a digital handout with a peer review model, guiding questions for designing a peer review model, and research on the effectiveness of peer review. The digital handout will be accessed through a QR code.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Support for New Hire Faculty in an Online School, with Remote Employees

American College of Education is a 100% online college employing faculty in remote positions. This unique situation has caused us to evaluate our onboarding process for our faculty to set them up for success, including exposure to the culture and ways to help students be successful in the virtual classroom.

Extended Abstract

American College of Education is a 100% online college employing faculty in remote positions. This unique situation has caused us to evaluate our onboarding process for our faculty to set them up for success, including exposure to the culture and ways to help students be successful in the virtual classroom. Over the last nine months, the professional development team has worked with new faculty to improve the onboarding process. One of the goals through this is to increase retention and the support faculty receive once they leave the onboarding process. 

Through surveying recent faculty new hires, and leveraging their feedback, the new hire onboarding process for faculty members has been revamped to fully support new hires in their learning process. This approach gives new hires exposure to our unique culture, increased support throughout the first several terms of teaching, and eased new hires into the process without overwhelming them. The Professional Development team has designed a new hire workshop, beginning with the orientation, that has our faculty prepared for leading students in our virtual campus. Ultimately the success of students is our priority, and if faculty are not prepared to help our students be successful, then we are not doing our job in onboarding the faculty new hires correctly. 

The goal of the Professional Development team is to retain high-quality faculty. To do this, faculty must feel supported not only through their onboarding process but beyond. 

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Taking Your Courses from Snores to Scores: Digital Ways to Create Meaningful Learning Experience in Online and Blended Courses

This session will introduce a theoretical framework to guide creating meaningful learning experience in online and blended courses along with strategies and digital tools. It will discuss specific ways to create meaningful learning experience guided by the framework. All attendees will take away practical ideas and free resource for application.

Extended Abstract

With the advancement of information and communication technology, there are more ways to teach and learn in the 21st century. With online environment involved in the teaching and learning process in online and blended courses, it is more challenging to create meaningful learning experience for students. While technology has provided opportunities for innovation in teaching and learning, how to integrate technology into teaching to create meaningful learning experience for students in online and blended courses still remains a question to many of us.    

The community of inquiry has been widely used in the design and study of online environments (Halverson, Graham, Spring, Drysdale, & Henrie, 2014; Garrison, 2017). Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) first introduced this framework through their own work on computer-based conferencing, and it is the “most widely referenced framework associated with the study of online and blended learning” (Garrison, 2016, p. 68). The framework suggests that deep and meaningful learning results when there is evidence of sufficient levels of the various component presences composed of social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence.

According to Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, and Archer (2001), social presence is defined as the extent to which a learner’s true self is projected and perceived in an online course. It is composed of three subfactors: affective expressions, open communication, and group cohesion. Teaching presence is defined as the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes to realize personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes. It is composed of three subfactors: design and organization, facilitation of discourse, and direct instruction. Cognitive presence is defined as the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through collaboration and reflection in a learning community. It consists of four subfactors: triggering event, exploration, integration, and resolution.

Guided by the community of inquiry framework, this discovery session will share nine simple ways to integrate digital technology into online and blended courses to create meaningful learning experience. While some digital ways are used to enhance social presence and teaching presence, some are used to enhance cognitive presence. By enhancing the three presences in online and blended courses, students will be able to gain meaningful learning experience through more engaged learning.


Level of Participation: 

This session is structured like a community forum with the presentation being made interactively with each individual or each group of audience in a format of a discussion forum. The presenter, based on extensive experience in design and facilitation of online and blended courses, will first spend about 9-11 minutes introducing the community of inquiry framework and sharing digital ways to create meaningful learning experience by enhancing social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence in online and blended courses. Then the audience will have about 4-6 minutes to ask questions and engage in the discussion. The 15-minute discussion forum will be repeated again for another new group of audience or the current discussion will continue to satisfy the audience’s interest by discussing more questions and relevant resources if no new participants have come in yet. All attendees will be active participants, asking questions and engaging in the discussion forum to discover something new and bring back to enhance their own online and blended courses in the workplace. 

Session Goals:

After this discovery session, participants will be able to explain a community of inquiry framework and why it is important to meaningful learning experience in online and blended courses. They will be able to describe some digital ways to create meaningful learning experience by enhancing social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence. Finally, they will be able to locate some free digital tools to enhance the three presences when creating meaningful learning experience for their students in online and blended learners.  All attendees will take away with a handout that is composed of a theoretical framework to guide effective practice, practical ideas to create meaningful learning experience in online and blended courses, and a resource of free digital tools that can be used to implement the ideas.   


Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Garrison, D. R., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2), 1-17.

Garrison, D. R. (2016). Thinking collaboratively. New York, NY: Routledge.

Garrison, D. R. (2017). E-learning in the 21st century: A Community of Inquiry framework for research and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education2(2), 87-105.

Halverson, L. R., Graham, C. R., Spring, K.J., Drysdale, J. S., & Henrie, C. R. (2014). A thematic analysis of the most highly cited scholarship in the first decade of blended learning research. The Internet and Higher Education20 (1), 20-34. 

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
The Quality of Student Learning--An inference approach for measuring quality of online education

The quality of online higher education is difficult to evaluate. Many quality standards and benchmarks have been defined, but there is little scientific evaluation in the literature.  This paper proposes a quantitative approach for evaluating the quality of online English composition courses by analyzing students’ learning outcomes, including their academic performance and self-reported measures of satisfaction and learning experiences. Four types of learners (Low Attainment, Positive Experience, Mixed Experience, and Negative Experience Learners) were identified, each with different perceptions of the quality of their online learning.  This study proposes the quality of online courses can be inferred by the distribution of these learner types and offers a baseline of course quality that can support educators as they improve their courses.

Extended Abstract

The quality of e-learning should be at least as good as face-to-face (f2f) teaching and learning on campus.  However, it is hard to evaluate the quality of online higher education because stakeholders, including administrators, designers, instructors, students, etc., have different perceptions of what constitutes quality in online education (Harvey & Green, 1993). Many standards, benchmarks, and rubrics, adopted by the higher education in the U.S. describe the criteria for quality, but they lack value judgements from students’ perspectives. Harvey and Green (1993, p. 24) stated “quality is seen in terms of the extent to which the education system transforms the conceptual ability and self-awareness of the student.”  To address the challenges of getting objective measures of e-learning quality, educators should focus on the quality of student learning outcomes since the student is the primary audience for online learning (Bates, 2015; June & Latchem, 2012; Stella & Gnanam, 2004). Measuring the quality of student learning should examine students’ learning outcomes, which include not only their academic success but also their self-reported perceived values about how satisfied they were with their learning experience.  

Conceptual Framework

Zeithaml (1988) emphasized that “objective quality” describes the actual superiority or excellence of the product from an objective standpoint, while “perceived quality” is measured from the consumer’s standpoint.  Objective quality in higher education is hard to estimate, compare to the quality of a product and service that is established via its features and specifications as well as its performance standards from the design to the production to the consumption. However, perceived quality is the individuals’ perspectives of quality, which can be influenced by their expectations, interactions with the environment and situational control, experiential value, etc. (Gotlieb, Grewal, & Brown, 1994; Oliver, 1981; Zeithaml, 1988).  Perceived quality of teaching and learning is a judgement usually is in relation to individuals’ perceived value that is an overall assessment of a tradeoff of what is given and received of learning experience (Zeithaml, 1988).  

Measuring quality is a comparison between individuals’ expectations and perceptions of the outcomes (Gotlieb et al., 1994; Zeithaml, 1988).  The academic achievement—grade—is a critical outcome that institutions have defined, which is based on instructors’ evaluation of students’ knowledge and skills.  In addition, students’ satisfaction with the learning context or physical surroundings has been viewed as a predecessor of perceived quality (Gotlieb et al., 1994; Oliver, 1981).  Students’ experiences of the quality benchmarks and standards, defined by IHEP (2000), QM (year), OLC (2019), California State University’s ROI (2019), etc., should be valued as a part of self-reported learning outcomes. 


This study assumes that the quality of e-learning can be inferred by the measure of learning quality, as the student is the primary focus of e-learning.  It investigates how to measure the quality of student learning in a way that focuses on students’ learning outcomes, including their academic achievement and self-reported of their perceived values of online learning.  As the quality of online teaching and learning can be dynamic, this study establishes a baseline of learning quality in order to continue quality improvement for further instructional delivery and course maintenance.  


This study examines the quality of online teaching and learning of English composition courses in a public university in the eastern U.S. Multivariate analysis and data mining techniques were applied, including an exploratory factor analysis (EFA), Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), and clustering analysis, to analyze students’ perceived quality of their online learning.   Descriptive and inference statistics are reported in the measurement of the learning outcomes.

Course Description & Data Collection

The English composition courses are required for all undergraduate students in the university.  All courses have the same uniform student learning outcomes across all sections, including goals in recursive and inquiry-based writing, analytical and critical reading and writing (rhetoric), and research and documentation. All English composition courses use Blackboard Learn 9.1. The data collection was conducted in Fall 2017, Spring and Fall 2018, and Spring 2019.  

The data was collected via a student course survey at the end of the semester. Two portions of the survey are included in this study: a section of learning experience and overall satisfaction. 

Learning experience. The learning experience section included 12 statements, which were created by considering the context of English composition courses and some quality benchmarks and standards in regard to teaching and learning, using, a 6-point Likert scale from Strongly Disagree (1) to Strongly Agree (6).  

Overall Satisfaction. Students evaluated their overall learning satisfaction with a 6-point Likert scale, from Very Dissatisfied (1) to Very Satisfied (6).  

In addition, the student participant’s final grade was collected. This academic achievement is evaluated by the instructor, based on course objectives and how students completed work on the requirements compared to the instructor’s expectations. 

Variables & Data Analysis

The data analysis in this report only included three semesters (Fall 2017, Spring and Fall 2018). Four instructors of the English first-year composition course and one English literature instructor supported this study. Three of them taught fully online while two instructors taught in hybrid settings. A total of 234 over 416 students voluntarily participated in this study, with an average of student response rate per instructor ranging from 41.8% to 64.4%.  Only 204 subjects were included in the data analysis, as 30 were excluded due to the missing data.        

Two new variables were created from the survey data of the learning experience section. Because there were medium correlations (ranged from 0.22 – 0.68, at p <0.01) within the 12 experience variables found and the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure and Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity (KMO= 0.868, p < 0.001) indicated suitability of the data structure and latent variables existed.  With the EFA and Oblimine rotation, a two factor structure was attained, which explained 61% of total variance of the student learning experiences. The two factors— entitled as “Course Design” and “Outcomes”—showed medium level of correlation (r = 0.46).  

Four variables in this study are defined below: 

Course Design: Seven items of learning experience on the use of Blackboard tools, navigation of Blackboard course site, content, lesson sequence, flexibility, and instructor feedback were included. Its internal consistency reliability was 0.87, as measured by Cronbach’s alpha. 

Outcomes: Five items of learning experience on group activities, interactions, writing skills and interest, and research skills were included. Its internal consistency reliability was 0.83, as measured by Cronbach’s alpha.  

Satisfaction: The self-report score of overall satisfaction, ranging from 1 to 6. 

Grade: Subjects’ final grade (in raw score out of 100 points) was provided by the instructor at the end of the semester. 

Then, a K-mean cluster analysis was conducted to group students’ perceived quality, based on the z-score of four variables—Course DesignOutcomesSatisfaction and Grade.  Four types of student groups were identified—Low Attainment LearnersPositive Experience LearnersMixed Experience Learners, and Negative Experience Learners, as shown on Table 2. The description of each student group is explained below:

  • Low Attainment Learners: These students received a failing final grade (C- and below). Their overall satisfaction ranged widely (= 4.64, SD = 1.12). Their scores in Course Design (z = -.03, SD= .52) and Outcomes (z = -.42, sd = 1.02) implied that they did not care about their online learning.
  • Positive Experience Learners: These students were highly satisfied with their learning (M = 5.53) and received passing grades (C or higher). Their learning experience was positive based on the score of Course Design (z = .65, SD = .59) and Outcomes (z = .72, SD = .55). 
  • Mixed Experience Learners: These students received passing grades but reported moderate satisfaction level (= 4.45).  Their score of Course Design (z = -.25, SD= .73) and Outcomes (z = -.40, SD= .76) indicated their learning experience could be mixed.
  • Negative Experience Learners: These students received passing grades but were very unsatisfied (= 2.79) with the online learning and their learning experiences were negative based on the score of Course Design (z = -1.54, SD= .75) and Outcomes 
    (z = -1.24, SD= .78).

An ANOVA result revealed that significant statistical differences (SSD) of their overall satisfaction, the learning experience of Course Design and Outcomes, and their final grades at the confidence level of 0.001. 


This proposal discusses a few highlights of the findings.  The full paper will provide more detailed information.

Measure of Course Quality

This study advocates that course quality can be inferred from students’ perceived quality; it also suggests that the measure of learning quality should focus on whether or not students’ learning outcomes meet expected academic performance and how they perceived the value of their learning experience. Four types of students were identified in this study and each group has indicated that they perceived a different level of learning quality.  This study stresses that the quality of the English composition courses can be inferred from the distribution of student types. It means that course quality is better when there are more Positive Experience Learners; course quality is worse when there are fewer Positive Experience Learners and more Low Attainment Learners and Mixed/Negative Experience Learners.  

Continuous Quality Improvement 

The measure of course quality inferred by the quality of student learning does not intend to represent the true course quality; however, it can demonstrate  a baseline of course quality based on the student type distribution in one semester.  Educators can assess the course quality by referring the percentage of student types in different timeframes.   

According to the percentage of Positive Experience Learners and Mixed Experience Learners over the percentage of Low Attainment Learners and Negative Experience Learners in three semesters on Figure 1, educators can conclude the course quality has improved from Fall 2017 to Fall 2018.  However, no statistically significant differences were found in quality improvement within three semesters, according to the Pearson Chi-Square test.

Conclusion and future work

Literature reveals that it is challenging to have objective measures in online teaching and learning, as all stakeholders have their expectations and perspectives. This study has used the measures of learning quality to infer the status of course quality that is illustrated by the distribution of student type.  Online students perceive quality differently due to their own expectations, experiences, and perceived values.  This study advocates that quality of online teaching and learning can be assessed and managed when there is a baseline of course quality to be referred to and applied to support educators to continue  quality improvement in the long run.

Future work includes continuous data collection to enhance the statistical power in analysis and expand this approach to different subjects and disciplines.  A predictive model on measuring quality of student learning is also planned.  The goal is to apply this model in quality improvement and for the purpose of quality assurance.

Significance of the Study

This study has established a scientific approach for measuring the quality of student learning in online English Composition courses.  The quality of online education in current literature focuses largely on conceptual models or framework, and this study contributes important factors that also affect quality in the measure of learning quality and the statistical inference of course quality.  Online educators can adopt the process of quality evaluation in this study and work on continuous quality improvement, rather than estimating the true quality status of e-learning.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
The Syllabus Blueprint: Creating a Structurally Sound Syllabus for Online Courses

Test out an interactive syllabus designed to help faculty create accessible syllabi that are specifically designed for online courses. Choose your own learning path through this just-in-time training tool. Your takeaways include access to the interactive template and a downloadable Word file for editing and use at your own institution. 

Extended Abstract

As online courses grow in both popularity and necessity, the need for materials created purposefully for the online environment, like the syllabus, also continues to grow. Often faculty refurbish face-to-face syllabi to serve their online course, basing new development on functionally obsolete documents. Just like older bridges may not have adequate lane widths or vertical clearances to serve traffic, these refurbished syllabi aren’t able to adequately serve online students who use them to understand the structure of the course.

While faculty are the architects of their courses, they often benefit from some assistance to help them ensure their syllabi meet quality standards and appropriate codes, such as considerations for online learning and accessibility requirements. We see need for assistance in the following areas: 

  • Design for Accessibility: Universities are now required by law to provide material that is fully accessible in their online courses.
  • Design for the Online Environment: Considerations for assignment types, policies, communication preferences and resources need to be adapted to the online student.
  • Adaptable/Changeable for Individual Course Needs Faculty Preference: Faculty need the freedom to adjust the template to best suit their content and student needs

Envisioning the Blueprint
But how do we help our faculty bridge the gap between knowing online specific and accessibility compliant syllabi are needed and actually creating them? How are we able to advocate and drive change institutionally around these needs? Our initial thought was to develop a syllabus template that would serve as the blueprint to help faculty create their syllabi.

The first hurdle that cropped up in development was that we found in order to fully understand and use the template, faculty would need additional guidance, and putting notes and instructions in the actual template created too much clutter within the document.

We then looked to what potential training or resources might help faculty to develop a strong, online-focused, accessible syllabus. Our second hurdle was the realization that working with multiple faculty in individual consultations or large group sessions could create development chokepoints, taxing resources and causing delays due to time availability and scheduling issues. Additionally, faculty need the training when they are ready implement the standards necessary for quality online syllabi, and delays in training could mean frustration and faculty sticking to old routes for their syllabi development.

Training the Architects
To solve these issues and drive this necessary institutional change while supporting our faculty in the process, we have created an interactive syllabus template that is the first step to bridging the gap between the knowledge of need and the actual creation of online specific, accessible syllabi. This allows us to have an interactive training piece that reflects the format of the syllabus template and also provide faculty with a clean version into which they simply enter their information. 

The interactive syllabus will provide faculty with an opportunity to learn various aspects of making a syllabus accessible, identify important elements for the online learning environment, and the freedom to choose their own learning path regarding the different elements of the syllabus.

For instance, the interactive template provides faculty with an opportunity to learn various aspects of making a syllabus accessible—they simply click on the parts of the template they need to learn about, such as using styles, creating meaningful hyperlinks, and using sans serif fonts. Additionally, faculty can click into areas of online course development that they should consider.

There will also be links to additional training within the interactive features (like developing online assessments or how to customize MS Word styles) if the faculty member would like deeper knowledge within a particular area.

It is our hope that these elements will contribute to the development of a structurally sound syllabus that is accessible and focused on the online environment. Additionally, the resources and training within the interactive syllabus could help inspire faculty to consider how the other materials within their course should be developed from an online learning and accessibility perspective. This in turn will create more bridges to learning for all students.

Level of Participation: Take on the Role of Inspector During our Discovery Session
During our Discovery Session, we will first demonstrate our interactive template with a couple initial examples, and then participants will have a chance to interact with the template on their own. They will be able to explore areas of online course design that are reflected in a syllabus or investigate aspects of accessibility in online documents.

Since the template is a work in progress, our goal is to elicit ideas from participants for ways to improve the template specifically, and, also to learn how they are moving toward accessibility and promoting online design at their institutions.

Session Goals
Individuals participating in this Discovery Session will be able to identify ways to incorporate just-in-time training at their own institutions. They will also be able to evaluate how this training can support faculty in making positive institutional change to incorporate accessibility and how this can be scaled at various institutions. Takeaways will include access to the interactive template and the downloadable Word document template for editing and potential use at their institution. 

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
The Truth About Fake News

This session uses the Fake News LibGuide to explain fake news: its history, consequences, why people believe it, and how to discern and address it. Curriculum, strategies, and loads of resources will be shared about this free website. 


Extended Abstract


Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Trial and Error: Our Iterative Approach to Developing Online Courses

A small team of learning designers and one media specialist facilitated 20 course builds in two years to launch two graduate engineering programs online. Participants will learn how our trial and error approach to course development continues to evolve as we begin with a third graduate engineering program.

Extended Abstract

What’s the best way to develop a new online course? There are as many answers to that question as there are online courses. Our small design team partnered with the College of Engineering at our research one institution to launch two graduate programs online, consisting of 10 courses each, 20 courses total. Over the duration of two years, our approach to working with faculty to develop courses has changed significantly as we adjusted to working with faculty of all skill levels and experiences in online teaching. Because of the vast differences between 20 faculty members and short development timelines, we learned to be agile and create and change processes frequently. We also found a need to create many tools and templates in order to keep development on track and collect data.

This process continues to evolve as we begin our partnership with a third program in the College of Engineering and another 10 online courses. Through the fall 2019 semester, we will be trying a new sprint course development approach, modeled after another successful course development approach on our campus, and will be able to share the results of this approach at OLC Innovate 2020 in the spring. 

In our Discovery Session presentation, attendees will learn about the phases of our approach and will walk away with the strategies and tools that we have kept throughout our process. We’ll discuss our process for consulting with faculty, scaling our design team’s support, frequently trying new strategies, and researching different approaches to course development. We look forward to questions from our colleagues about the development of these courses, and examining what might work best in different environments. Join us to learn about our approach to iteration and bring your questions about course development and the process of change.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Using Synchronous Events to Develop Student-faculty Relationships in an an Online Asynchronous Environment

This session focuses on a course design that implements a check-in system whereby students use video conferencing technology to attend synchronous events with the instructor in an effort to improve approachability and accessibility.

Extended Abstract

In today's society, students are surrounded by amazing technology and many students are familiar with video chatting software such as Facetime and Google Hangouts. However, asynchronous online courses still often rely on discussion forums, assignment feedback, and e-mail for direct communication between students and their instructors. The question is: How can we leverage these web conferencing tools to move student-faculty communications forward and build better relationships with online students?

This session focuses on a course design that takes advantage of video conferencing software like Zoom and scheduling tools like Doodle and YouCanBookMe to implement a system of check-ins that provide flexible opportunities for students to actively be engaged with their instructor, the course curriculum as well as with their peers. The session will also examine how this idea has been implemented in an online research course over the past year and the successes and challenges that have arisen. 

Come join me for an engaging discussion to examine the possibilities of including synchronous events in asynchronous courses. 

Level of Participation and Session Goals:

This session is designed for a small group or one to one setting in order to allow for collaborative discussion between the presenter and attendees. The intention being that both presenter and attendees can take away new innovative ideas on how to implement web conferencing tools and synchronous events in a variety of online and blended learning environments, including different class sizes and circumstances. 

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
What Motivates Enrollees in a Low-cost Online MSCS Program?

In this Discovery Session, we will present and discuss what we have found motivates students to enroll in an affordable online Master of Science in Computer Science program.

Extended Abstract

As of Fall 2019, Georgia Tech's online MSCS program enrolls 9,000 active students and has 2,000 alumni. These numbers make it the largest program of its kind in the world, and it has reached tat level in only five years. On the one hand, these numbers have been reached by the program's ability to handle these numbers; but this is only half the equation. The other half is the question: why are these students enrolling in the first place? What motivates them to enroll, and how do those motivations dictate how the program should be designed?

To examine this, we conducted a pair of studies. In the first, we asked students a simple free-response question: why are you in the program? Based on the ~1500 responses to this question, we devised a coding scheme for summarizing their motivations. We found that by far the most-reported motivation (51% of students) was the simple acquisition of the type of knowledge the program disseminated; these students expressed a specific desire to learn the concepts of graduate-level CS, including machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science. Other motivations included career advancement (29%), personal enjoyment (19%), degree attainment (19%), and career transition (18%). Moreover, we found many students expressing motivations that did not directly motivate their attendance, but rather allowed or reassured them that their attendance was feasible and rewarding; for example, these students cited the program's flexibility (15%), prestige (11%), and low cost (8%).

In our second study, we used these questions to inform the design of a closed-response questionnaire, offering up 16 possible motivations in a non-exclusive multiple-choice question. The results were largely the same, but showed interesting differences: all motivations were reported more frequently, and opportunity factors like low cost and flexibility jumped significantly relative to other motivations. The desire to attain a higher salary, similarly, jumped (from 1% in the first study to 37% in the second).

Perhaps most notably, we observed notable differences based on student age and gender. In the first study, we found that younger students were more likely to cite knowledge acquisiton and flexibility, while older students were more likely to cite personal enjoyment. We would have anticipated younger students, less likely to be beholden to families, might prioritize flexibility less, but instead we found the opposite; perhaps driven by the burden of student loans, they prioritized the ability to work while enrolling even more highly. On the second survey, we found also that older students are more likely to appreciate the social community and faculty of the online program.

Regarding gender, in the first study, women were more likely to value flexibility and career transition while men were more likely to value the institute's prestige. The former trend may be due to women's increased trepidation over losing professional progress in their careers to pursue an additional degree, given the lesser leeway given to working women to lose momentum in their career trajectory; or, the emphasis on career transition may reflect women reentering the workforce and wanting to enter in a promising field. These gaps actually grew in the second study, with twice as many women selecting flexibility and career transition as a motivation than in the previous survey. On this second survey, there were other gender differences as well: men were more likely to report personal enjoyment and salary incease as reasons for enrolling than women.

In this Discovery Session, we present these and other findings, and discuss analogous experiences at attendees' universities.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
When to Say Yes: Late Point Policy and Faculty Grace

What are student’s perceptions on late deductions and faculty grace? A university in the Southwest surveyed over 500 students in this descriptive, exploratory study. Results will be shared as a part of an interactive discovery session.

Extended Abstract

A majority of college students, up to 95%, have admitted to some form of academic procrastination (Kim & Seo 2015, Mastrianni, 2015; You, 2015). While procrastination might be seen as a harmless trait, one of its main results are late assignment submissions. Late assignments have become a topic of concern in higher education as it can be an early warning sign for at-risk students (Falkner & Falkner, 2012). Furthermore, procrastination in the online learning environment tends to be more detrimental because of the responsibility that falls upon the learner and the need for self-regulation in online environments (Field, 2015).

One way higher education institutions proactively combat procrastination and late assignment submissions is through the provision of a syllabus at the beginning of each class with due dates for assignments throughout the entire semester, something that is not done within K-12 education. Review of the syllabus at the beginning of a semester in a traditional campus course can alert students to key assignment due dates early on and help them plan ahead for weeks in which multiple classes have coinciding assignment deadlines. Within online classes, faculty may post the syllabus, provide a video with their overview and more, but it is up to the student to click on the post or resource button to review in full on their own.

Another way to combat against late assignment submissions is through the implementation of a predetermined, university-wide, late point policy. The policy informs instructors and warns students on how many points are deducted per day an assignment is submitted past the due date. It is uncertain whether or not this reduces the likelihood of procrastination, but may motivate students to submit what they have completed by the deadline. Students who do not miss an assignment deadline may also be more likely to continue on with a course. In fact, even a few minor changes in how a student goes about an academic recurring task can make concrete changes in a student’s success with the their task (Bail, Zhang, & Tachiyama, 2008).  Further, some universities allow faculty independence and request that no faculty member is stricter than the late point policy. Thus, faculty may choose to deduct less per day the assignment is late or grant students permission (grace) to submit assignments late without late point deductions. With this being the case, changes in how faculty implement the late point policy and whether or not they provide “grace” on assignments from one course to the next could confuse students on their own personal assignment completion and submission practices (Patton, 2000).

A descriptive study was completed during the second half of 2019 to explore student perceptions on late assignment policy and faculty practices of grace on late assignment submissions at one university in the Southwest. Collection and analysis of data of more than 500 participants will be completed to answer questions such as: What do students think about a university late point policy and changes in instructor implementation of said policy? How do they feel the late point policy and/or faculty grace affects them? Do they see the late point policy as a strategy to reduce their likelihood of procrastination? A quick poll will be provided to individuals attending the discovery session regarding their thoughts to student responses on aforementioned questions. Additionally, a flyer with major study findings and a QR code and link to extended discussion and presentation materials will be provided to audience members. Interactive conversation of results as well as feedback from audience of their interpretation and takeaways will be interwoven into the discovery session presentation.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Preparing Faculty to Design and Develop Accessible Online Courses: A Self-Paced Interactive Online Training

How can we prepare faculty to design and develop accessible online courses? To meet faculty needs, we developed a self-paced online training. Stop by this discovery session to learn how we created and implemented this training, including how we gained administrative buy-in, and share your thoughts on our pilot program.

Extended Abstract

A benefit of online, blended, and hybrid courses is their ability to reach a diverse student population. However, if an instructor does not design an online course with accessibility in mind, it can alienate part of the student population. Further, course accessibility has become a standard in online course quality assessments, including Quality Matters.  As the demand for online, blended, and hybrid courses grows how can we ensure that faculty are adequately prepared to design and develop accessible online courses? Today faculty seem to have a never-ending workload and many faculty members are never physically present on campus. This presents a challenge when planning faculty development opportunities. At our university, we developed a self-paced online training designed to guide faculty members through how to make their online courses accessible. This training allows faculty to access the training at a time that is convenient for them and review training materials when necessary. 

This presentation will share how we created the training, what the training includes, how we promoted this training, and how faculty have responded to the training. Specifically, I will share information on the training design including training learning outcomes, an outline of the training, and the technology used to create and deliver the training. I will also discuss faculty participation: how we track faculty participation, current participation rates, how we gained administrative buy-in, and other ways we have encouraged faculty participation. Then I will cover our training evaluation results, comparing evaluation results from our pilot to the current version of our training. 

After I share information on the training, I would like to get feedback from those attending the poster presentation. I will ask attendees questions including:

  • How do you prepare faculty to create accessible online courses?
  • Does your university or organization offer self-paced online training for faculty members? If so, have these training sessions been successful? Why or why not?
  • If you were to create a similar training for your faculty, what are some possible roadblocks you may encounter? 
  • What resources would you need to design and implement a similar training at your university or organization?
  • Are there ways we could improve the methods we are using to deliver this training and gather feedback?

Attendees will be able to answer in-person and through online polls using Poll Everywhere. I will display their responses so as attendees move through the poster presentations, they can see their peers’ responses. At this time, I will also answer attendee questions and allow them to provide any general feedback that they were not able to provide in their responses to the previously mentioned questions.

            Attendees will learn more about the self-paced online training we design to teach faculty how to make their course accessible, have the chance to provide feedback, and discuss how they could design and implement a similar training at their institution. After attending this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify the goals of our accessibility training
  • Describe how we designed and implemented a self-paced online faculty training
  • Explain how we motivated faculty to participate in the training
  • Analyze how they would design and implement a similar training at their institution

I hope attendees are able to learn from our experience designing and implementing this training and I would appreciate the opportunity to get their feedback on a new training program.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Peer Advising in the Age of Social Media: What Do Students Say to Each Other?

In Georgia Tech's large online MSCS program, students have designed their own course review site, which we see as peer advising: students use it to give feedback to classmates on what to expect from classes. In this session, we cover our research on what they tell each other.

Extended Abstract

Peer advising is the general philosophy of students giving feedback and advise to other students on how to succeed in a program. Although most peer advising communities are administered deliberately by universities, we observe an instance where peer advising emerged entirely at the direction of students: they constructed their own web site, disseminated it among peers, and passed it off from administrator to administrator.

In our work, we wanted to look at what they tell each other through this community: what kind of advice or feedback do they share with one another? We uncovered six general categories (also available in Duncan & Joyner 2020):

  • Advice - Recommendations involving prerequisite knowledge, courses to take before or in conjunction with a course, or the best way to progress through a course were included in this category. Also included were warnings or reassurances about taking a course and information about future offerings of a course. Advice is particularly characterized by being targeted at the reader.
  • Review Context - This category included statements about the reviewers themselves, such as their coding or professional experience. Facts that were specific to one semester of a course (and therefore possibly not generalizable across all semesters) were also included, along with non advice, non evaluative statements about how the reviewer or other students progressed through a course.
  • Course Description - This category contained statements that provide objective information about a course, such as the number of projects or average final grade in a course. Any factual statements about a specific semester of a course that are likely generalizable across many other semesters are also included.
  • Evaluation - Statements in this category were subjective and related to the reviewer’s opinion of a course, often involving likes or dislikes. Statements about a reviewer’s dislikes were only included in this category if they weren’t actionable; otherwise, they were grouped into the Feedback category.
  • Feedback - Actionable statements regarding aspects of a course that a reviewer disliked or wanted changed were grouped into this category. These statements were broadly applicable and not specific to one student. Although most of these statements were usually recommendations for course changes, some of them were about aspects of a course that were beneficial and should not be changed.
  • Other - Statements that didn’t fall into any of the other 5 categories were grouped into this category. These were often post semester outcomes, musings about education as a whole, or fragments that only make sense in the context of previous sentences.

In this Discover Session, we present what we observed, as well as the relative frequency with which each category is seen in the reviews that students write. 

This presentation is based on the papers "Peer Advising at Scale: Content and Context of a Learner-Owned Course Evaluation System" by Alex Duncan and David Joyner at the 2019 ACM conference on Learning @ Scale and "Advising of the Students, by the Students, for the Students: The Case of a Student-Owned Peer Advising Community" by Alex Duncan and David Joyner at the 2020 Hawaii International Conference on Education.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Writing Directions for Digital Learners

 Integrating technical writing, linguistic theory, and pedagogical experience, the presenter introduces effective techniques for writing clear directions in an online class. The session includes a presentation of direction writing strategies with examples. At the conclusion of this session, you will have applicable tips for writing directions in the digital environment.

Extended Abstract

Have you ever been assigned a task where you could not figure out what to do or completed it incorrectly? How long does it take you to understand what is being asked of you when assigned a task? Have you ever created a task and the results were not what you expected? This session helps address all of these questions. Technology greatly impacts how we interpret written text (Baron, 2017), which has a significant influence in a digital classroom. Modern readers tend to “hyper-read” texts, which involves a quick reading focusing only on relevant information (Hayles, 2012). Nielson (2008) found that most people read 30% or less of the words on a website. With that in mind, this presentation discusses how this change in reading habits translates to written directions in an online classroom. The directive speech act consists of Person A forming a directive and Person B responding with appropriate action if the directive was clearly understood (Searle, 1976). In a traditional classroom, these directives are typically both verbal and written, each providing a distinct linguistic function. Written language is static and requires a higher cognitive load, whereas spoken language is fluid, co-created with the listener for clarity, and uses pitch and tone to convey additional information (Ha & Wanphet, 2016). In an online classroom, the instructor is typically not verbally present, leaving the student to rely solely on written directions; therefore, greater care must be taken when writing directions for an online assignment. A gap in the research indicates that direction writing is not given the attention it needs. This session integrates technical writing, linguistic theory, and pedagogical experience to introduce effective techniques for writing clear directions in an online class.

Level of Participation

This Discovery Session provides a short PowerPoint presentation of direction writing techniques with examples and direct application for attendees. The presenter will engage the audience by presenting the need for well-written directions through interactive questions that help demonstrate and lead the audience to the presenter’s main points. The presentation includes short interactive activities where the audience will practice applying the tips presented, and the presenter will provide a link to a 2-minute mentor video created by the presenter that summarizes the presentation.

Session Goals

At the conclusion of this session audience members will understand the importance and need for clearly-written directions. Once audience members understand the importance of clearly written directions, they will gain five applicable tips supported by research for writing directions in the digital environment. While the main focus is writing directions for classroom activities, the tips and techniques presented here have been applied in various capacities by past audience members, such as in writing emails and writing pamphlets for distribution among colleagues.


Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Developing Collaboration, Communication, and Presentation Skillsets Through Program Evaluation Video Assignments

This presentation covers the findings and examples of use after teaching courses that have students create a video presentation exercise which is developed, evaluated, and presented to other students and the faculty member.  Examples of student videos, successes, pitfalls, and best practices will all be discussed.

Extended Abstract

The Walden University PhD in Human Services curriculum incorporates a presentation exercise in which students create a narrated video presentation that focuses on a logic model based evaluation of a program of their choosing.  The exercise is spread among several weeks of assignments and incorporates the development of a rubric and small group evaluations in addition to the development and presenting of the video presentation.

This presentation illustrates the Blackboard integrated technology that allows students to create these video presentations as well as focusing on the best-practices identified in helping students develop the content and the professionalism of their presentation as well as the development of their rubrics and moderation of their group evaluations.

The issue of student rapport and connection development with other students in the online education environment has been a perpetual goal for online education institutions. Studies have shown that the more a student feels a rapport and connection with fellow classmates, the higher the chance of success and completion.  Real-world skillsets such as being able to present oneself and ideas professionally are also a desired component for almost all educational institutions.  The ability to develop these skillsets in the academic environment increases chances of success in the professional environment.

The well-being of the student can be associated with feelings of rapport and connectivity to fellow students.  The well-being of a student may also be associated with experience and confidence through skillsets development that will be of benefit and use to them in the professional sector. This presentation illustrates identified best practices that can develop these inter-student relationships and professional skillsets.  

Connection development plays a major role in this exercise that can lead to the well being of the student. There is an internal connection development among students as they create their evaluation rubric and then evaluate each others presentations in a collaborative format.  There is an illustrated connection development by the student in their graphic explanation of how components of their logic model relate to each other and lead to established goals for their program. There is a professional connection development between students and a mock stakeholder audience as students present their program evaluation.  All these connections play a role in developing the student's rapport with fellow classmates, their ability to indicate how multiple components of a program can work to attain desired goals, and developing professional skillsets...all of which may lead to a increased sense of well being as a student.   

Dr. Eric Youn has a long history with the study of students within the online-environment in order to identify the best practices in development of skillsets and attainment of educational goals.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Assessing the Role of Cultural Diversity in the Effectiveness of Gamification to Improve Statistics Learning Experiences by Online, Blended, and On-Campus Course Settings

The aim of the study was to examine how the effectiveness of gamification on learning experiences might be affected by different course settings such as online, blended and on-campus approaches and cultural differences.

Extended Abstract

Background and Introduction:

Several recent studies have shown the potential of using educational games to enhance learning outcomes, however, there is little attention on evaluating various dimensions of the students’ reactions and their perception of gamification in different course settings such as online, blended and on-campus formats. Moreover, literature in the field indicates that studies with large sample sizes and consideration of students’ cultural diversity on gamification are still very limited. To fill these gaps in the literature, the objective of the research project was to investigate the effectiveness of online gamified learning activities with the consideration of course settings and cultural variations.


The researcher conducted an online survey of 128 graduate students’ perceptions of their statistics learning experiences such as learning motivation, level of interest, and confidence of skills learned at the end of class. Survey participants were graduate students who took their first introductory statistics class from 2015 to 2019 at a university in Illinois, USA. Students’ final grades and nationality were collected for the measure of learning outcome and cultural influences on game-based online learning. The graduate statistics class was delivered using three different course settings, including online, blended, and on-campus formats and taught by the same instructor. The first two dependent variables included the level of learning motivation and perception of the gamification usefulness towards the exam preparation. These two variables were measured using a 5-point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree and 5 = Strongly Agree). The third dependent variable was the exam score. The independent variables were course setting and cultural presence using a dichotomous measure (0 = domestic students and 1 = international students). Mann-Whitney U tests and Kruskal-Wallis H test were conducted to determine if there are differences of learning motivation and perceived usefulness of gamification among the course settings and cultural differences.


Mann-Whitney U tests were conducted to determine whether there were differences in students’ perceptions of usefulness and cultural influences on game-based online learning. The usefulness for preparing the exams from studying and playing review games was greater for the international students when compared with domestic students, U = 1106.00, p < .01. Compared to domestic students, international students felt they had done better on exams because of the facilitation of learning outcome due to the participation of the educational games, U = 1213.00, p < .01. Finally, the learning motivation from playing games was greater for the international students when it was compared with the domestic students, U = 723.00, p < .001. A Kruskal-Wallis H test showed that there was a statistically significant difference in exam score among three different course settings, H(2) = 6.18, p < 0.05, with a mean exam score of 120.83 for the online format, 134.03 for the blended format and 129.71 for the on-campus section. The highest possible total exam score is 150 points. The results from pairwise comparisons of three course settings indicate that the blended course format significantly differed from the on-campus session. However, the online course did not significantly differ from the on-campus and blended format courses.


The researcher concluded that successful implementation of educational games in class is a useful tool to increase learning motivation and enhance learning outcomes. Nevertheless, for more effective delivery of gamification, cultural diversity factors have to be in line with purposeful gamification. Future research has to examine if there are more subtle variations of learning between online and blended course formats.

Interactive Sessions:

During the presentation and interactive sessions, participants will:

  1. Justify strategies for implementation of educational games with a variety of session participants’ own course settings
  2. Relate real-world student-instructor cases and conversations of perceptions of gamified learning experiences to online/blended course design and delivering methods
  3. Discuss the feasibility to construct a new teaching model that takes advantage of the integration of gamification and online/blended teaching technology
Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Bridge the Gap in Your Professional Development: Become a MERLOT Peer Reviewer

Discover how MERLOT reviewing can provide you with a professional development community that helps you grow professionally, allows you to contribute to the field, and supports your own teaching and learning.  Learn about reviewing, joining an editorial board, and getting a free registration to next year's conference.

Extended Abstract

The session will allow attendees to discover how they can be a part of the MERLOT community through reviewing materials.  The session will focus on how MERLOT is organized, how reviewers contribute to the site, and how they can become part of editorial boards.  The Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire Program, which provides registration to the Innovate conference will be discussed, along with other perks of being a MERLOT reviewer.  Join us!

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Bridging the Gap in Research Skills for Graduate Students

Graduate students present a unique challenge because they have a varying range of research skills and often there is a gap in knowledge of library resources. Learn about our online course hosted in the LMS that presents information  in a variety of formats to meet the needs of all learning styles.

Extended Abstract

Graduate students present a unique challenge to librarians conducting information literacy sessions because they have a wide range of backgrounds and familiarity with technology.  By utilizing your learning management system (or open source platform of choice) you can develop a course specifically geared towards graduate students to help bridge the research and technology skill gaps.  At Marymount University we launched a course based on a survey of teaching faculty that identified skill areas for improvement in graduate students. The topics include: searching databases, AMA/APA/MLA citation styles, RefWorks, Google Scholar for interdisciplinary research, searching the databases, using the journal finder, more.  We are now soliciting feedback from graduate students to include additional topics of interest and preferred mode of delivery. Currently, the materials are presented in a variety of formats to meet the needs of a variety of learning styles including short two minute lessons, self-guided activities and in-depth lessons. Leveraging the existing learning management system provides a unique opportunity to provide point of need support to an often underserved student population.  We have found the mode of delivery to be as important as the content presented. Learn about different delivery methods and topics covered as well engage in conversation about what additional topics and presentation options would satisfy the needs of your students.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Building a Pedagogical Practice: Online Professional Development for Graduate Student Instructors

Graduate student instructors are often an undeserved group when it comes to professional development. It is often assumed, if not encouraged, that graduate students must rely on the mimicry of our teaching mentors. In this discussion, we will explore the experience of the graduate student instructor developing an online course using a community of practice approach for graduate student professional development. We will also demo the micro-credential in graduate student pedagogy we have developed at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Extended Abstract

 It should be no surprise that graduate student instructors, much like incoming adjunct faculty, are an underserved population in terms of professional development. Much of the resources are targeted towards tenure-track faculty. Yet, graduate student instructors find themselves teaching courses and serving as instructor of record just the same. When undergraduate students sign up for classes, they don’t get to choose and sometimes they don’t even know whether or not a class is taught by a seasoned, full professor or a green, first semester doctoral student. The undergraduate deserves a quality learning experience from everyone teaching classes at a university. Faculty have many resources available to them. Most universities have instructional designers on staff who can help faculty teach in the most efficient and effective ways by following best practices. Faculty are a part of a professional community with seemingly infinite resources. However, graduate student instructors, on the other hand, often feel alone. They rely on reflecting upon the classes and professors that had the greatest impact on them. They teach by mimicry. It is often assumed that if a graduate student reaches out for help, they are ill prepared to teach. In our discussion, we suggest that graduate students can be effective teachers in the classroom. They can innovate and not fall back to simple mimicry of their teaching mentors. There are resources on campus that help us succeed in the classroom. In this discussion we will present the micro-credential for graduate student instructors we have developed at the Center for Teaching Excellence at Southern Illinois University focused upon graduate student pedagogy. The micro-credential is completely housed within our LMS, D2L-Brightspace, and consists of six modules where participants learn about learning theories, presented an introduction to pedagogy, learn how to write learning objectives and connect them to the activities and assessments in their course, learn how to craft a syllabus, learn about the two kinds of assessment and shown how to implement them into their classes, and learn how to create rubrics for assignments. Our program takes a community of practice approach, allowing graduate students to learn from each other while they develop a personalized practice of pedagogy.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Building Adjunct Faculty's Capacity to Innovate

Adjunct faculty make up the majority of higher education instructors nationwide, yet, they seemed to be left out when planning professional development opportunities and it’s more difficult to build their capacity to innovate.  Through our project, we worked with 10 adjuncts to design innovative courses to increase student success.  

Extended Abstract

Though our adjunct faculty are asked to teach many courses across a variety of disciplines, they seemed to be left out when planning professional development opportunities or when paid course building opportunities arise.  Because of this, it’s more difficult to build their capacity to innovate.  Innovation is a concept that challenges many colleges and universities.  How can we inspire adjunct faculty, who feel underappreciated and underpaid to use innovative tools and pedagogies as they teach their courses and improve student outcomes? 

We've developed a program to build a support structure for adjunct faculty and to increase their capacity to innovate.  Historically, our adjunct faculty have not have the same level of support that the full time faculty have.  This led us to design an innovation framework that was both collaborative and supportive, specifically for adjunct faculty.  The project was approved by our Strategic Plan Project Committee.  We were able to offer 10 adjunct faculty members a fellowship to take our online innovative course design workshop and to spend time working one on one with instructional designers and instructional technologists to create innovate course designs.  We faced challenges and successes through this project; however the end result was very positive.  By offering adjunct faculty the opportunity to collaborate and be supported as they tried new things, innovative ideas emerged, adjunct faculty felt valued and supported, and students received high quality courses.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Collaboration Time: Incorporating the Blackboard Online Meeting Tool into Your Classroom

Join us in this Discovery Session to learn more about the Blackboard meeting room tool, Collaborate, and innovative ways for faculty to incorporate the tool in their online classrooms. The session will include a short presentation, live demonstration, interactive discussion with peers, and opportunity for Q&A.

Extended Abstract

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is an online meeting room tool built into the Blackboard classroom accessible to both faculty and students.  Collaborate can be used to host live meetings for a variety of academic purposes such as virtual office hours, faculty/student meetings, presentations, webinars, lectures, group work, and more.  The Collaborate meeting room incorporates innovative tools and technology such as webcam, audio, screen and file sharing, live polling, and breakout groups to build a sense of community and increase engagement in the online classroom environment. 

Individuals who attend this session will be able to identify ways to use Collaborate in their own classrooms and discuss strategies for getting the most out of the meeting room tools when hosting online meetings.  Participants will also develop technological skills including navigation and how to create online meetings. 

This session will be structured around interaction with and among participants.  The presentation will include a short slide deck combined with a live, interactive screen sharing demonstration of Collaborate.  Participants will engage in lively group discussion to brainstorm how they might use Collaborate in their classrooms. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions and openly discuss the tool with the presenter and their peers.  Take-aways from the session will be developed and made available as digital handouts for participants, including a summary of ideas and helpful resources.  

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Surrender the Crown: Informal, Student-centered Discussion with CourseNetworking

Change the online discussion paradigm—from overly formal, instructor-provoked decrees into a creative, student-led learning community—with CourseNetworking! This free tool can take your class discussion to another level. Participants will be granted access to a live example course to try it out themselves.

Extended Abstract

Online classroom discussion has become an overly formal, even stifling exercise that rarely allows for students and faculty to build real connections. This discovery session will briefly address the research around the importance of informal, student-centered discussion, and then introduce and provide hands-on experience with a free, academic social network tool that can help make this easy: CourseNetworking. The presenter, an instructional designer, will provide many examples of the tool in use in live courses. Finally, participants will be invited to a virtual “OLC Innovate 2020” CourseNetworking class to get hands-on experience using the tool, and to continue scholarly discussion of the benefit of community building through informal discussion even after the conference.

Few academics deny the power of the informal discussions that go on in classrooms every day. Yet, take a look at online classes, and you’ll rarely find that same energy and freedom of expression. Open-ended, student-centered online discussion has been ignored in favor of formal assessment masquerading as discourse— formulaic response posts to predetermined questions. Is it any wonder that students have come to dread the “1 post, 2 replies” model of mandatory online interaction? In the first part of our session, we’ll cover how informal online interaction via a social networking platform is valuable for:

  • Content- Learners can use social media tools to share a wide variety of topic-relevant content from other sources with one another.

  • Connection- In an academic social media platform, learners feel more connected to one another and to the instructor.

  • Creation- Learners become free to create unique content.

  • Collaboration- Collaboration is only as difficult as it is to facilitate, and a platform for informal interaction makes it much easier.

  • Community- Instructors can combine classes or cohorts, loop in outside experts in the field, and allow students who have graduated to guide their peers.

Then, we’ll address common concerns regarding social media, which is often rightly criticized in academic circles for distracting learners with irrelevant content, blurring the lines between professional and personal life, exposing learners to privacy risks, and providing an avenue for superficial communication. CourseNetworking (CN) leaps these pitfalls by offering a unique social networking experience to learners and the instructor. CN is FERPA-compliant, accessible, and provides a variety of moderator tools and features.

At this point, a card will be given to participants with a QR code and information on how to log in to the CourseNetworking site and enroll in our “OLC Innovate 2020” class in order to try out the platform. The presenter and several other colleagues will be active in the CourseNetworking class for weeks (or longer) to continue the discussion about the benefits of informal classroom discourse, and to answer questions and share further research and resources.



Redecker, C., Ala-Mutka, K., and Punie, Y. (2010) Learning 2.0-the impact of social media on learning in Europe. JRC Scientific and Technical Report. EUR JRC56958 EN. Retrieved from:

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Beyond the Walled Garden: How Social Media and Custom LMS Roles Can Connect Students to Local and Global Communities

Engaging with diverse local and global communities in online asynchronous courses is challenging, where we’re trying to connect students with the world outside of the “walled gardens” of learning management systems. This session suggests three strategies for using social media and custom LMS roles to help break down those walls.


Extended Abstract

Online communities are often criticized as being forums where like-minded and homogenous groups carry on conversations in “echo chambers” (Hampton, Shin, & Lu, 2016) that reinforce existing ideas and leave little room for substantive discourse. That’s especially true about social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram, where algorithms present users with content they think users will like. But the criticism can also be true of instructional spaces, where students and teachers often interact with each other but not with local and global communities or those outside the “ivory tower” of academic. Though various initiatives such as the Carnegie Community Engagement classification have encouraged higher education institutions to do more to interact with and support local communities, such work is difficult in online classes. Where one might bring in a community partner to a face-to-face class, the geographically dispersed learning population and especially asynchronicity of most fully online courses make this difficult. Additionally, many view the learning management systems where most online teaching and learning occurs as “walled gardens” that have traditionally been closed or severely limited to external resources and users (e.g., Kipp, 2018). However, creative strategies for use of traditional social networking sites, academically oriented social networking tools, and creative administration and use of an LMS can help bridge the gap between online learning communities and the local communities where students live and learn and the global communities that distance education uniquely allows students to engage with.


In this session, presenters will showcase three strategies for bringing local and global communities into the online class to enrich the experience of the students registered. The first is using social media as a tool to engage students in broader conversations among non-student groups. One presenter has used social media groups to connect students in a fully online course to communities of practitioners in a professional field. For instance, in a professional skills course, students are encouraged to join a closed Facebook group for alumni of the academic program they’re enrolled in. This allows students to connect to past students and current working professionals.


The second strategy discusses CourseNetworking, a closed social network tool used within an LMS primarily for informal intra-class communication, and its “Global Class” feature. This feature allows an instructor to classify his or her CourseNetworking site into a particular discipline category, and it allows students to view and share posts across different CourseNetworking course instances that are tagged with the same category. This allows for inter-class communication that could conceivably be used for students to network with students with similar interests across multiple class sections and even multiple institutions. It also allows instructors to create custom “Global Class” tags, which could be for smaller groups of classes, such as multiple classes within a program cohort.


The final strategy is the creative use of custom LMS roles to allow non-students to interact with students within specific parts of an online course. One presenter taught a fully online course with a heavy service-learning component. In face-to-face versions of the class, clients or community partners would have visited a class session or two; in the asynchronous online class, however, there needed to be a way for those outside partners to work with students within the course structure. The instructor worked with LMS administrators to create custom roles for “clients” for class projects to interact with students in specific discussion board topics. The special role ensured that partners had access to only the parts of the course relevant to their involvement and nothing more. 


In this discovery session, presenters will briefly discuss the three strategies and how they were implemented, including a discussion of critical issues, such as privacy. We’ll offer use case ideas beyond the instances mentioned in the presentation, and we’ll ask participants to offer ideas about how each of these strategies could be implemented in other contexts. Finally, because one of the strategies highlighted is a specific tool (CourseNetworking), we will provide participants a card with a QR code and information on how to log in to a sample “OLC Innovate 2020” instance of the CourseNetworking site we will create for demonstration purposes, and we’ll remain active in this instance for a few weeks so participants can try out the tool.



Hampton, K. N., Shin, I., & Lu, W. (2016). Social media and political discussion: when online presence silences offline conversation. Information, Communication, & Society, 20(7), 1090-1107. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2016.1218526.

Kipp, K. (2018). Exploring the future of the learning management system. International Journal on Innovations in Online Education, 2(2). doi:10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2018028353.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Designing and Delivering Contextually Relevant Hybrid Degree Programs

We will share how one very traditional university is partnering with K-12 school districts to design and deliver hybrid educational leadership degrees that are contextually relevant to those districts. This session will include lessons learned in curriculum and course development, and will share implications for institutional capacity-building.


Extended Abstract

We are in the midst of a growing national shortage of K-12 teachers (Carver-Thomas and Darling-Hammond, 2017). While schools work to combat teacher attrition and to train new teachers, K-12 school administrators are also leaving the principalship (NASSP, 2017). According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, as population increase dictates the need for an increased supply of school principals, many school districts are reporting a serious lack of qualified educational leaders to replace those who leave the profession (2017). Increasingly, K-12 school districts are looking for new ways to cultivate the next generation of school leaders, and to combat the revolving door of teacher leaders and school administrators.

In this discovery session, we will share how our very traditional university, William & Mary, the second oldest university in the nation, is partnering with school districts to design and deliver hybrid degree programs that are contextual to the needs of K-12 educators. In 2017, we developed an online Ed.D. for a cohort of 25 school leaders from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the 4th largest school district in the nation. These next generation of school leaders will use the skills they learn in the online Ed.D. to conduct action research and program evaluation dissertations in their own school district. In August 2019, we launched two new cohorts of M.Ed. in K-12 Administration in partnership with two school districts in Virginia. These teacher leaders have been identified as the next generation of school principals, and the districts who have selected them hope to retain them in their districts. We have worked to design and deliver blended curriculum that allows teacher leaders to grapple with needs and issues that are present in their own buildings and districts.

We will share lessons learned in course and curriculum development from partnering with school districts and designing instruction that meets the evolving needs of school districts, and that upholds the standards of our program. The hallmark of a William & Mary education is one that cultivates a deep human understanding. We believe that through partnership with school districts and through our faculty members willingness to design responsive online and hybrid curriculum, we are meeting the needs of K-12 educators in a way that is contextually relevant and that cultivates deep human connection.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Digital Pathways to Connect and Engage Students: Bridging Gaps with Online Leadership Development Opportunities

This presentation outlines our Digital Academy initiative, which connects online graduate MPA students with educational resources beyond the formal course content. Particularly, faculty and program partners provide leadership best-practices through webinars, quick talks, and on-demand MOOCS. Each modality is hosted on a webpage for students to access at their convenience.

Extended Abstract

As a director of online learning, it is important to continually explore opportunities in which online-distant learners can connect and collaborate with students, faculty, and resources that others benefit from that are closer to campus. Online learning professionals may benefit from the idea and structure of this initiative, given that it can be modeled for professional development; structured for blended course content outside of an LMS; positioned to present leadership best-practices topics, or structured to house on-demand learning content for students outside of the formal classroom.

The Digital Academy was created to provide our online students with opportunities to explore leadership topics that may benefit both personal and current job performance. While the department offers three delivery formats for MPA degrees (on-campus, Executive, and online), the online students are often not able to benefit from various leadership discussions, due to their distance from campus. As such, the Digital Academy is positioned to provide our online-distance students with opportunities to explore leadership best-practices by means of webinars, quick talks (short discussions), and MOOCS. Each modality is hosted from a dedicated webpage and content is provided in synchronous and asynchronous formats from our faculty and expert partners.

Learning development opportunities provided through the Digital Academy affords students a means for obtaining supplemental leadership instruction and resources beyond our structured MPA curriculum. It also makes it possible for online-distance students to connect with other members from the campus community and to collaborate with faculty and expert partners during synchronous webinar discussions.

I plan to present the webpage and integrated content, while explaining how it can be used for teaching and learning. I will also share information on the tools used to record and display the content, as well as the strategies used to build relationships with faculty content contributors. The attendees will gain an understanding of how to move beyond the classroom to engage higher education students and add relevant content for further development of leadership skills.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Operationalizing Higher Education Affordability Initiatives: Starting with the Textbook

UCF’s Division of Digital Learning has teamed up with the UCF Libraries, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, the UCF Bookstore, and various other internal and external stakeholders to form a diverse team committed to driving down course materials costs for students through its Affordable Instructional Materials (AIM) Initiative.

Extended Abstract

The disproportionate levels of college ‘textbook’ inflation over the last 15 years (more than double the overall rate – cf. Bureau of Labor Statistics) and the 65% of students who forgo buying their textbooks at some point due to cost are widely-accepted realities (Kristof, 2018; SPARC, 2019) that have opened the eyes of many, including the publishing companies, to come up with dynamic solutions to address these concerns.

At the University of Central Florida (UCF), more than 50% of students (n=1,975) surveyed (FLVC, 2016) indicate they ‘frequently’ or ‘occasionally’ do not buy their textbook(s) due to cost, and—more generally—even those who do buy but ‘delay’ their purchase(s) for any number of reasons (e.g., financial aid disbursement) experience a (roughly) 20% decrease in academic performance (Agnihotri, Essa, & Baker, 2017).

The aforementioned data points have propelled UCF to formulate a systematic approach for reducing student costs, while maintaining quality learning experiences across the many modalities in which coursework is delivered at the University.

As an internal community, the Division for Digital Learning (DDL) collaborates with the UCF LibrariesFaculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL), and UCF Bookstore to grow efforts in the areas of 1) First Day inclusive access to discounted publisher materials and 2) zero-cost materials through library-sourced content and open educational resources (OER).

Externally, through the Affordability Counts program, DDL partners with its counterparts in the State University System (SUS) of Florida and Florida College System to track, report, and celebrate faculty who deliver courses using instructional materials that cost less than or equal to $20 per credit hour (per course).

These efforts combined provide a comprehensive (two-fold) structure to reduce course materials costs for UCF students by removing barriers around access to the educational content required to help them succeed academically, while also establishing a mechanism by which to recognize faculty who choose to create a more equitable, accessible educational experience for their students.

To date, UCF has captured a projected student savings of $1,671,745.27, starting with a variety of grassroots efforts in 2016 up to the current provost-level AIM initiative in 2019.

  • First Day Pilots (Spring and Summer 2019): $115,895.49
  • Open Educational Resources (Since 2016): $911,855.64
  • Library-Sourced Materials (Since 2016): $643,994.14

This session will involve a dialogue around the partnerships that formed and the level of thoughtfulness and persistence required to implement a multi-pronged affordability initiative, topped off with some lessons learned thus far in this crucially important effort to ease the cost burden for students on the road to degree completion. 

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Dissolve Faculty Resistance by Identifying and Addressing Their True Source of Resistance

Change is inevitable, and too often we rush roll outs and are met with crossed arms and angry questions we weren’t prepared to answer. There is a better way, and it involves giving faculty the same luxury we had in the beginning. Build trust and momentum towards your objectives.

Extended Abstract

The dark secret behind pervasive institutional change is that even change leaders won’t get on board unless we have a personal stake, we are confident in our skills, and we are certain of the impact. Where we often fail as change leaders is when we assume that our support will inspire everyone else’s - at least eventually, according to the Rogers Innovation Adoption Curve.  

While change leaders have bought in to the ideas and goals of our initiatives through the process of committee work, faculty members haven’t had that luxury. Change leaders rush to roll out big visions, impacts, tag lines and logos without addressing faculty concerns.  

That’s when the pushback begins.  

Grumbling follows, and political undermining is not far behind that. 

And the result is a long, painful journey toward an uncomfortable initiative wrap up meeting.  

There’s a better way to build faculty trust, develop their confidence and create momentum toward achieving the initiative’s objectives.  

It starts with addressing the personal questions faculty have about how the change will impact them in their day-to-day operations. After the personal concerns are fully addressed, the next step is to build confidence by developing skills to fulfil the imitative. Only after that is it time to help faculty create the bigger impact that the initiative is designed to yield. 

But how do you do that?  

We plan to briefly present one element of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model, a well-researched approach for creating educational change that harnesses the power of individual conversations within a framework known as the Stages of Concern, which identifies the true source of faculty change resistance.   

When change leaders identify and respond to the true source of faculty change resistance, pushback dissolves, grumbling quiets and political undermining has no chance to take root.  

Using a discussion and coaching approach, participants will practice engaging different Stages of Concern while receiving coaching from session leaders to identify and respond to the true source of faculty change resistance, so they can return to their institutions with the conversation skills they need to create trust, confidence and momentum among their faculty.  

As change leaders, we had the chance to build trust, confidence and momentum through our daily work. Helping faculty members build that same level of trust, confidence and momentum toward your initiative’s objectives is possible if faculty concerns are fully and sequentially addressed using this framework. 

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
E-learning Model in Educational Institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina

E-learning is a type of learning by using electronic technologies to access an educational program outside of a traditional classroom. As conventional classrooms continue to be transformed into digital, it is necessary for teachers to deliver lectures through multiple learning modes. Digitally enriched content and personal learning should be the primary way of teaching, as well as collaborative and interactive learning. The paper deals with issues of education in a virtual environment, the role of virtual reality and artificial intelligence that is increasingly entering the classrooms of developed countries. The paper explores what application of artificial intelligence in the near future means for the development and wider application of electronic learning in virtual classrooms around the world, as well as in developing countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. The paper presents the advantages and opportunities that contribute to the improvement of e-learning in educational institutions and the benefits for students and other involved parties in the educational process, such as teachers and parents.

Extended Abstract

The survey provides an analysis of the potential of e-learning implementation in secondary schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the ability to define and create a national e-learning strategy. The questions were focused on determining the necessary information for creating the adoption of e-learning model in secondary schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and respondents were pupils aged 16-19, both sexes. The questionnaire was developed from an extensive review of literature and previously used similar instruments. The majority of closed questions consisted of five points of structured assertions of the Likert interval scale. It is important to emphasize that students enrolled in this research have a highly positive attitude towards e-learning, which leads to the conclusion that students are willing to learn using IT solutions in the classroom. The organization of electronic subjects enables students to access content and fulfill tasks according to their own time organization. Most students use the Internet every day and communicate with the social network, which certainly contributes to their readiness to accept new IT solutions in the teaching process. Therefore, the differences in attitude towards e-learning are also related to the purpose and frequency of using the Internet The results of the survey show that VLE increases the opportunities for discussion and debate among students outside the class, so we see that as many as 71% of students participated in the survey say they agree with the claim that VLE provides students with flexibility in terms of their educational needs (offering access to materials always and anywhere - allowing them to study when they have time), gives them the opportunity to access a variety of content that they do not have access to, and more time working on materials to improve their results, which is considered useful because they have more time to think in terms of synchronous communication. Students learn how to use information as well as educational materials online, access the same content as any other students in the world access who are not restricted by the national curriculum which is not necessarily adapted to constant changes that require regular adjustments to constant changes in business environment, adaptability, possessing skills and knowledge in the use of communication tools and software that have become standards in the digital age. Many technologies used in asynchronous e-learning also allow two-way communication between learners and teachers, or multi-modal, collaborative communication among students themselves. VLE increases the scope of students' work is an assertion with which as many as 55.8% of respondents agree. Thanks to online learning, students in the poorest cities or smaller towns can use the same educational resources as students in world capitals and large western cities, all thanks to online lectures at affordable rates. The e-Learning Initiative implies ensuring the right to education and reducing costs to such an extent that it becomes accessible to the developing country and countries in transition, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina is. Adopting e-learning model in the education system in Bosnia is conditioned by factors such as selecting an appropriate online e-learning platform that will offer all the necessary tools for eLearning and create a virtual learning environment that will allow students to easily access content and communicate with teachers and with other students. This will then affect the degree to which e-learning reaches its full potential. It is important to define clear goals and steps in the strategic planning process for e-learning implementation.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Habit Your Way to Excellence

Harness the neuroscience of habit building to maximize online learner success. Together, we will explore an innovative process called Focus Mapping, a behavior design method to narrow and select productive habits and the Tiny Habits® method of habit creation. You'll leave with actionable, evidence-based practices to share with your learners.

Extended Abstract

Harness the neuroscience of habit building to maximize online learner success. Neuroplasticity research reveals that habits are malleable and that habit formation follows the same behavioral and neurological patterns. Join me to investigate the science of habit building and the process by which conscious choices become automatic habits. Learn how to rebuild these patterns to more intentionally pursue your goals. Discover how to use the habit loop and the motivational wave to your advantage. Together, we will explore an innovative process called Focus Mapping, a behavior design method to narrow and select productive habits and the Tiny Habits® method of habit creation. Master your own habits and then coach your online learners in building academically sound keystone habits.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Innovation, Collaboration, and Advocacy: Strategies and Lessons Learned from Faculty Professional Development on Blended Learning

With exponential increases in blended learning in higher education, many of us face the challenge of supporting faculty in design and facilitation of blended courses for student success. Join us for a conversation about strategies and lessons learned from faculty professional development on blended learning through innovation, collaboration, and advocacy.   

Extended Abstract

Blended learning, drawing from best practices in both online and face-to-face learning, is on the rise at colleges and universities. According to Campus Technology’s Teaching with Technology survey in 2018, 76% of faculty respondents reported using a mix of online and face-to-face environments to teach. The New Media Consortium Horizon Report (2017) has also identified blended learning design as a top trend to drive technology adoption in higher education.

Allen and Seaman (2016) categorized traditional, face-to-face teaching as having 0% of content delivered online and blended (or hybrid) teaching as having 30-79% of content delivered online. Blended learning is not just a ratio of delivery modalities, as many theories, campuses, and faculty define it with ranges different from Allen and Seamans; rather, blended or hybrid modalities are more a pedagogical approach to combine the best of both classroom and online learning environments. Blended learning is the “thoughtful integration of classroom face-to-face learning experiences with online learning experiences” (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004, p. 96).

Blended learning has many benefits from the perspectives of instructors, students, and institutions. Graham, Allen, and Ure (2005) described three general benefits of blended learning: 1) enhanced pedagogy and learning effectiveness, 2) increased access and flexibility, and 3) improved cost-effectiveness and resource use. Blended courses make instructors explore new and different ways to teach by integrating activities from both face-to-face and online learning environments. Blended learning may provide pedagogical benefits such as increased learning effectiveness, satisfaction and efficacy (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004; Graham, 2013). Blended learning provides students increased access to higher education offerings because of its convenience, less seat time, and a flexible schedule (Vaughan, 2007). Blended learning also save institutional resources such as classroom space and parking space, and thus make teaching and learning more cost-effective (Graham, 2013).

Dziuban, Hartman, and Moskal (2004) concluded that maximizing success in blended learning requires a planned and well-supported approach that includes a high-quality faculty development. For faculty who have never taught online, developing and supporting blended courses can be challenging as they need to build new technological and pedagogical skill sets for this teaching modality.  Research shows that professional development is crucial to prepare and support faculty to teach blended courses successfully. Likewise, due to the heavy demands on faculty in college and university environments for teaching, committee work, and academic/research activities, building out successful faculty development programs that can teach the required technological and pedagogical skills needed that are unique to blended learning requires creativity, incentivation, and other unique administrative approaches for making these trainings most accessible for faculty needs and time demands.

This session will showcase how two higher education institutions planned and developed high-quality faculty development training and support on blended learning to support the highest levels of faculty development and success. This sessions will highlight both the important strategies of best practices as well as the lessons we learned from our programs. Attendees will be provided with helpful resources that they may implement in their own educational environments for building and supporting a faculty development program in blended and hybrid course development. 

Level of Participation

This discovery session will be presented in a present-and-discuss format to interactively share and provide the opportunity to address questions and share ideas with participants. The session will first allow the presenters to share how the two institutions developed and provided a training program on blended learning to prepare faculty design blended courses and provide continued support. The presenters will also share the strategies and lessons learned from their practice. Finally, attendees will have time to ask questions and share relevant experience with everyone in the group, and will be provided take-away best practices.


Session Goals

After this discovery session, attendees will be able to identify how two institutions developed and provided training for faculty on blended learning in an innovative and collaborative approach. They will be able to apply strategies and lessons learned from these two institutions for advocacy to support faculty in blended learning at their own institutions. Finally, they will be able to collaborate with both the presenters as well as other attendees to discuss ideas on faculty support, training, and incentivation programs that have proven successful in their own blended courses, programs, and educational institution.   


Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2016). Online report card: Tracking online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group.

Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., and Moskal, P. (2004) Blended learning. Educause Center for Applied Research, Research Bulletin, 7, 1-12.

Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95-105.

Graham, C. R., Allen, S., & Ure, D. (2005). Benefits and challenges of blended learning environments. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of information science and technology (253-259). Hershey, PA: Idea Group.

Graham, C. R. (2013). Emerging practice and research in blended learning. In M. J. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of distance education (3rd ed., pp. 333-350). New York, NY: Routledge.



Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Leading in a Time of Change and Transformation: Enhancing Your Leadership Capabilities

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) provides an array of professional development offerings focused on leadership development in the digital teaching and learning space. Current and emerging leaders can take advantage of both online and blended programs that are designed to enhance the skills and knowledge administrators need in the ever-changing higher education landscape. Come meet with Jennifer Paloma Rafferty, Director of the Institute for Professional Development, to learn about which OLC program is right for you at this stage of your professional trajectory. Jennifer will provide attendees with an overview of the Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning Program (IELOL) as well as the Leadership in Online Learning Mastery Series.


Extended Abstract

The Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) is a unique blended learning leadership development program sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium and in partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF) for the 2020 cohort. Coming up on its 12th year, IELOL serves the development needs of emerging leaders responsible for a variety of digital learning initiatives in higher education. IELOL participants work with colleagues from around the world to explore and understand both the opportunities and barriers to advancing local and global online learning. Program graduates join a growing network of online leaders in higher education focused on improving and advancing the impact of digital learning on all aspects and formats of education

The Leadership in Online Learning Mastery Series focuses on organizational structure, policy and common funding models related to online learning programming at the institutional level. Through a series of modules, you will explore topics relevant to online administrators, using evidence-based research into best practices to help you establish and stabilize strategic, manageable growth of online learning initiatives within your institution. You will analyze various models employed by successful institutions to determine which model is best suited to the needs of your institution. Along with other university administrators, you will share ideas about emerging issues in online education, including standards for credit hours, state authorization requirements, security, and intellectual property. Finally, you will align your institution’s mission, goals, and values with a plan for implementing successful online learning programs, with consideration for budgeting and finance.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Leaving Tradition Behind: Teaming Up with the Library to Lower Student Cost

Academic libraries have challenged tradition to reduce cost, increase student persistence and retention, steward open education, and challenge publisher power. In this choose your own adventure discovery session learn how you can work with librarians to lower student cost and increase access by leveraging library content in the LMS.

Extended Abstract

Educators know that some of the largest barriers to success in the higher education landscape include student costs. Academic libraries play an important role in this conversation around improving student outcomes and increasing access to affordable education. Libraries have looked inward to challenge tradition and leverage their collections and expertise to assist in working on these issues.This session will look at how libraries have traditionally offered materials and explore how these traditional models are disrupted, circumvented or adapted through an interactive, choose your own adventure style session. These models include research collections in libraries, reliance on published textbooks and for profit publishing.

The decision to use library licensed content in courses provides immediate access to course materials at no additional cost sets up all students for success. Hear from librarian experts in the trenches about how libraries are adapting to meet these needs. Gain insights into investigating similar options on your own campus and how those efforts can help you improve outcomes and reduce cost for your students. 

Attendees can expect to leave with:

  • knowledge of traditional collection and publishing models and how they are changing

  • an understanding of the issues surrounding sourcing library resources

  • a plan to engage with their institution's library to explore similar options

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Measuring quality of online courses: A study of adoption of quality standards and processes

This study is an initial attempt to establish measurable implementation of tools and processes into an institution’s quality assurance approach. Both the creation and dissemination of online course quality standards needs to be explored at the institutional level of implementation to better understand how the local/individual implementation of those standards and QA processes are impacting online learning. 

Extended Abstract

The continued growth of online learning has both raised scholarly and practice-based discussions of how to assess the quality of online courses. Understanding the impact of faculty’s practice of quality online course design and the relationship of institutionally supported quality processes are significant to explore, as online learning is mainstreaming in U. S. higher education institutions (Allen & Seaman, 2004; Legon & Garrett, 2017; Shattuck, 2018). 

Research-informed and validated quality standards for the design of online courses, as well as faculty-led evaluative processes for online courses, have been established by Quality Matters (QM) ( The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between institutional implementation of these online quality design standards and subsequent course quality, as determined through a rigorous peer review process. We additionally explore the use and dissemination of online course quality standards at the institutional level of implementation, in order to better understand how the "local"/individual implementation of those standards and quality assurance processes are impacting online learning. 

This study explores the following research questions:

  • RQ 1: Do instructors with more knowledge of online instructional design tend to produce higher quality online courses?
  • RQ 2: Do higher education institutions that have implemented online learning quality assurance procedures tend to produce higher quality online courses? 
Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Online Graduate Student Grit Strategies: Positive Mentoring Bridging Expectations, Emotional Intelligence, and Diversity Intelligence

Faculty work with an increasingly diverse student body.  Leveraging strategies to best engage and mentor online graduate students can be challenging. Join us to learn about student grit strategies through a positive mentoring model that bridges student expectations, emotional intelligence, and diversity intelligence for developing resilient and successful students.

Extended Abstract

Faculty mentors strive to develop sustainable and impactful relationships with students, which can be particularly difficult in fully online learning environments.  One challenge is that faculty work with students who struggle with simultaneously managing personal, professional, and school-related obligations.  Academic institutions do provide a plethora of resources for both students and faculty. Yet, often missing from the student support experience are initiatives to help struggling students develop grit and resilience.  Faculty, who are closest to students on their learning journey, are ideally positioned to provide positive mentoring towards helping these students succeed.


The proposed positive mentoring model involves emotional intelligence, diversity intelligence and bridging students’ expectations towards helping them develop grit strategies.  In order to function as positive mentors, faculty themselves must go through a self-discovery process that is discussed with practical applications in this session.  Incorporating, expectancy theory, diversity intelligence, transformative learning theory, emotional intelligence, positive psychology, resilience, and grit, we will propose a practical positive mentoring model faculty can incorporate to help students recognize how they can tap into perseverance and resilience to be more successful in their academic programs.


Expectancy theory was developed initially regarding employment scenarios relating to an employees’ personality, knowledge, skills, and abilities (Vroom, 1964).  However, given the trend to refer to students as customers, combined with students who perceive their education as a product they purchase, expectancy theory is an apt lens through which to view student expectations.  Faculty have noted it is increasingly common for students to view an educational experience as a transaction to pay for a grade or degree, regardless of the effort they put into their studies.  Framing student expectations may help mitigate negative perceptions and experiences throughout an educational program that might lead to positive outcomes.  Faculty will be better able to engage in this framing process by recognizing their own emotional competence framework.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman (2000) determined, “Emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”  Goleman identified five elements that make up emotional intelligence: (a) self-awareness by knowing what one is feeling and understanding the impact those moods have on others, (b) self-regulation for controlling or redirecting one’s emotions; anticipating consequences before acting on impulse, (c) motivation to use emotional factors to achieve goals, enjoy the learning process and persevere in the face of obstacles, and (d) empathy for sensing the emotions of others and understanding their perspectives.  Even if faculty already have many of the elements of emotional intelligence, it is important to look for opportunities to build it further.  An interactive exercise for self-discovery is included in this session.  Attendees are invited to complete a 15 question self-assessment online.  So, “How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?” is the question for this self-assessment and reflection via MindTools.  Self-awareness and reflection though emotional intelligence can help equip faculty with a more in-depth view of their preconceptions and perceptions of normative behaviors, especially when working with a diverse population of multicultural students sensitive to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  The outcome is for faculty to further influence positive social change in the communities they serve by implementing emotional intelligence and diversity intelligence strategies for developing resilient and successful students.

Diversity intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognize the value of diversity and to use this information to guide thinking and behavior (Hughes, 2018).  Positive mentoring of graduate students in 2020 certainly involves recognizing that diversity intelligence serves as a foundation for serving students in online learning.  Faculty should reliably demonstrate an awareness of differing cultures, viewpoints, and competencies as well as practice flexibility in managing courses.  Positive mentoring operationalizes diversity intelligence based on a purposeful intention to understand, accept fully, and value differences and similarities between people in multicultural environments that lead to improving human conditions for academic success.  Attendees of this session engage further by conducting a Diversity Intelligence Exercise, which includes two components: individual and group for table discussion.  The individual engagement activity includes two self-assessment questions.  The group component consists of five reflective questions that uncover the mentor’s purposeful intentions for communicating with students based on similarities and differences.       

Many of our students face a disconnect regarding their beliefs and realities in their academic journey.  Transformative learning theory is an adult learning theory that involves disorienting situations to challenge thinking (Mezirow, 2003).  Individuals use critical thinking and questioning to evaluate the extent to which their underlying assumptions and beliefs about their circumstances are correct.  Recognizing that students face disorienting situations during their academic journey may better prepare faculty to mentor and facilitate learning.

While it is important to acknowledge negative experiences, it is also essential to challenge habits of mind by encouraging a positive mindset.  Positive psychology involves the characteristics, conditions, and processes that lead to flourishing (Grenville-Cleave, 2012). Grenville-Cleave (2012) posited that researching what goes right for individuals is as valuable as researching what goes wrong.  Seligman (2002) identified three pillars of positive psychology: (a) positive experiences, (b) positive individual traits, and (c) positive institutions. Attendees can complete a self-assessment about transformative learning by answering 10 questions on faculty personal factors in Halupa’s (2017) Transformative Learning Readiness Scale.  A Likert-type scale corresponds to the points allotted for interpretation of this instrument.    

There are a variety of life experiences that contribute to an individual’s resilience and grit.  Resilience refers to an individual’s ability to adapt and thrive when faced with challenges (Campbell-Sills & Stein, 2007).  Incorporating strategies that help students recognize habits they can use to enhance their resilience can help them be more successful.  Session attendees may also complete two self-assessments to measure resilience and grit to give them a more specific and practical sense of what it means for their students.  Siebert (2006) created “How Resilient Are You?” for attendees to answer 15 questions to reveal their resiliency score and interpretation based on over 30 years of research.  Duckworth (2007) designed a Grit Scale of 10 questions based on two traits that predict achievement: grit and self-control.  Grit is the tendency to sustain passion and perseverance toward long-term goals.  Another takeaway in this session is for attendees to complete a “next step” action plan handout.  Attendees will think of one student who is truly in need of some grit and can leave this session with the resolution to apply what they have learned to that student.  Advancing positive mentoring requires diversity intelligence, emotional intelligence, and faculty behavior for student resilience and grit outcomes.  Faculty are critical toward student success at every stage of the learning journey, so a positive mentoring model is paramount for bridging expectations, emotional intelligence, and diversity intelligence towards helping students develop grit strategies.      


Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Open Broadcaster Software: Your Secret to High Quality Videos and Streaming

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is free and open source software that can be used for video recording and streaming. It allows you to capture and mix multiple sources including your desktop, record picture-in-picture, or live switch between scenes. It’s also easy to stream to YouTube, Facebook, and other streaming platforms.

Extended Abstract

The Faculty Multimedia Center (FMC) at the University of Central Florida is a space for faculty to create media content for their courses with the assistance of professionals. The space is equipped with computers with video recording and editing software, microphones, cameras, lights, a workshop area with lecture capture equipment, scanners, and a media digitization station for converting any analog media a faculty member might still be using in their courses. As technology has changed, the FMC has had to adapt but little funding makes that difficult at times. To overcome this challenge, FMC staff try to implement free or inexpensive hardware and software that faculty would find useful for creating media content. One of the most popular pieces of software that we use at the FMC is Open Broadcaster Software or OBS. OBS is free and open source software that can not only record videos but also allows users to easily live stream to popular streaming platforms. We use it at nearly all of our stations in the FMC including our Lightboard studio. We also offer demonstrations and trainings for faculty on how to use it on their own computers so they can record in and outside of the FMC. Faculty are so excited when we show them how to use OBS because it means they aren’t tied to coming to the FMC to record videos and they also don’t have to invest in expensive software and hardware. It’s simple to use and setup and once you’ve set it up once to your liking, you don’t have to worry about setting it up again as you can save your preferences. OBS became popular when it was used by online gamers for recording and streaming their video game play. Gamers were able to now share what they were playing and their webcam and audio easily with interested viewers without a large investment. As word spread about OBS to people outside of the gaming world, more and more schools and universities have started to use the software. In this discovery session, you’ll be able to get hands on experience with OBS. You’ll learn how to capture your desktop, microphone, and webcam. You’ll also learn how to use picture-in-picture and how to set up a livestream to YouTube. A handout will be available with short directions on where to download the software and a link to a video made by the FMC staff using OBS that also demonstrates how to get started with using the software.

Jun 11, 2020
9:00am - 9:00pm (Eastern)
Where Destiny Meets Legacy: Open Educational Resource (OER) Pilot Project in Introduction to Effective Oral Communication Course

A presentation on OER pilot project in a General Education Communication course that bridges hybrid, online, and traditional classroom teaching and learning. It tackles quality, affordability, course completion, student learning outcomes reports; improvement in end-of-course grades; attainment gap concern, teachers and students perceptions, pedagogical, and learning impacts.

Extended Abstract

This proposal titled Where Destiny Meets Legacy: OER Pilot Project in Introduction to Effective Oral Communication Course (General Education) for the Discovery Session seeks to present an Open Educational Resources OER pilot project on a General Education blended course namely Introduction to Effective Oral Communication, SC 230.

The OER pilot project started in spring 2018 via a grant; then course redesign with the OER material Public Speaking: The Virtual Text in summer 2018; followed by hybrid course implementation in fall 2018; piloted as online course in spring 2019; and in fall 2019 adopted the OER material Public Speaking: The Virtual Text for both online and traditional classroom. Certainly, this is a clear representation of building bridges of first, pilot OER material in a hybrid course; second pilot  OER material in an online course; and third adopt same OER material in both online and  traditional classroom sections of the course; valuable to the conference theme.

Level of Participation:

The 10-15 minutes presentation of three segments for the Discovery Session tackles eight main topics of research on OER and student success; teacher/student perceptions; learning outcomes; General Education public speaking course; pilot OER material Public Speaking: The Virtual Text with the Introduction to Effective Oral Communication SC 230 course; timeline and redesign of Introduction to Effective Oral Communication SC 230 course; course schedule; and resources.

Pertinent issues like current challenges of course completion, quality, affordability as relates to student learning outcomes and success; improvement in end-of-course grades; affordability, and attainment gap concern are addressed. Also considered are teachers and student perceptions of the cost, learning outcome reports, quality, pedagogical, and learning impacts.

Session Goals:

The interactive 1:1 and small group setting Discovery Session will enable attendees to respond to the 10-15 minutes presentation and provide new ideas on any of the eight main topics, which will not only build bridges among the hybrid, online, and traditional classroom via OER material, but link peers in our quest to innovate in online education.

Jun 11, 2020
12:00pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Engaging Students: How to use Flipgrid in your Online or Blended Courses

Within this session, a demonstration of how to access FlipGrid and a showcase of different ways to employ FlipGrid into the online environment will be provided.  Participants will create at least one alternate discussion board or assignment activity utilizing FlipGrid on their own laptop.  


Participant Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of the workshop, the learner will illustrate the proper way to access FlipGrid resources.
  • By the end of the workshop, the learner will summarize two ways to integrate FlipGrid into their course.
  • By the end of the workshop, the learner will create one alternate discussion board format or assignment activity utilizing FlipGrid.
  • By the end of the workshop, the learner will identify how to become a FlipGrid Certified Educator.

Types of Collaboration

Within this proposed workshop, the instructor will engage the audience with the demonstration of how to access FlipGrid and showcasing different ways to employ FlipGrid into the online environment.  Furthermore, significant time will be allotted for the participants to actively engage in creating at least one alternate discussion board or assignment activity utilizing FlipGrid on their own laptop.  The instructor will be actively present to answer questions and provide strategies to improve the alternate assignment with the use of FlipGrid.  Finally, a question and answer session will be conducted to clear up any remaining questions or concerns.

Time Allotment

  • 20 minute presentation on how to access FlipGrid and effective strategies to employ FlipGrid into the online environment
  • 60 minute interactive workshop that allows the participant to create an alternate discussion board format or assignment activity with the use of FlipGrid
  • 10 minute Question and Answer Session

Application of Effective Practices at Home Institution

FlipGrid is a freely accessible online resource.  This website allows instructors to create "grids" to facilitate video discussions. Each grid is like a discussion board where instructors can pose questions.  The students can post video responses to the questions that are less than 5 minutes long. After the workshop, the participant will be able to utilize the knowledge gained from the workshop to incorporate into their online or blended courses within their home institution. Furthermore, after the participant has utilized FlipGrid and received at least 10 student responses and complete a short quiz, the participant can be certified as a FlipGrid Certified Educator for free.

Primary Audience Types

            The primary audience who would most benefit from this session will be faculty that have an online component within their course and technologists.

Benefit of the Workshop

            The faculty members will benefit from this session by learning how to incorporate an interactive format for discussion or assignments that promotes the engagement of students.  Furthermore, I feel that technologists would also benefit from this session by learning a new interactive format. This would allow them to showcase to perspective faculty for ways to promote engagement of students in the online environment.

New and Innovative Activities

The participants will have the opportunity to actively participate in a new and innovative way to facilitate student engagement through the use of a freely accessible online program, FlipGrid. During the workshop, a variety of creative ways to utilize FlipGrid will be presented to the audience.  Some of these innovative strategies include video debate, ‘Show What You Know’ via a Bingo Card style game, brainstorming, and biographies.

Relevance to OLC Innovate 2020 themes and track

This aligns with the OLC Innovate 2020 theme of Effective Tools, Toys, and Technologies by showcasing an innovative way to engage students for discussion or alternate assignments. Furthermore, it is relevant for the track of a workshop as the participants will be actively engaged in learning how to utilize FlipGrid to bring this information back to their home institution.

Needed Materials

  • The participants will be required to bring their individual laptop.
Jun 12, 2020
9:00am - 11:00am (Eastern)
Mark Up The Margin With AnnotatED: Social Reading With Collaborative Annotation - Session A

In collaboration with the Online Learning Consortium and AnnotatED, the community for annotation in education, Hypothesis is convening a free workshop on collaborative annotation at Innovate 2020, which is fully online this year. Register now to join one of two sessions on Friday 12 June 2020 — or come to both. The general program of both sessions will be the same, but the participants and activities in each will be a bit different. Come to either session to get one scoop of social learning goodness, or come to both for a double dip!

Both workshop sessions will start off with a quick orientation to collaborative annotation for social reading: what is it, and how are people using it to enrich online learning? This will be followed by Notes from the Field, where you'll hear from a variety of AnnotatED community members about how collaborative annotation is happening at their schools, and you’ll have the chance to discuss your ideas and questions with these experienced practitioners.

The main focus of each session will be a hands-on activity to explore, discuss, and augment readings on topics shaped by Innovate 2020 keynoters Maha Bali and Martin Weller. We'll practice reading together to see firsthand how collaborative annotation can build understanding, connections, and community. Our conversations will be anchored in texts — literally — and spread out to engage other texts, ideas, and people beyond the workshop itself.

***To participate in this free workshop, please register for the workshop here***

Note: You do not need to be registered attendee of OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual Conference to participate in this workshop.   Hypothesis will send registrants Zoom connection information prior to the workshop.  Registered OLC Innovate attendees will, however, also be able to access the workshop through the workshop session link on our program page. 

Hyphothesis logo

Extended Abstract

Read more about the program on the AnnotatED blog post.


Jun 12, 2020
3:00pm - 5:00pm (Eastern)
Mark Up The Margin With AnnotatED: Social Reading With Collaborative Annotation - Session B

In collaboration with the Online Learning Consortium and AnnotatED, the community for annotation in education, Hypothesis is convening a free workshop on collaborative annotation at Innovate 2020, which is fully online this year. Register now to join one of two sessions on Friday 12 June 2020 — or come to both. The general program of both sessions will be the same, but the participants and activities in each will be a bit different. Come to either session to get one scoop of social learning goodness, or come to both for a double dip!

Both workshop sessions will start off with a quick orientation to collaborative annotation for social reading: what is it, and how are people using it to enrich online learning? This will be followed by Notes from the Field, where you'll hear from a variety of AnnotatED community members about how collaborative annotation is happening at their schools, and you’ll have the chance to discuss your ideas and questions with these experienced practitioners.

The main focus of each session will be a hands-on activity to explore, discuss, and augment readings on topics shaped by Innovate 2020 keynoters Maha Bali and Martin Weller. We'll practice reading together to see firsthand how collaborative annotation can build understanding, connections, and community. Our conversations will be anchored in texts — literally — and spread out to engage other texts, ideas, and people beyond the workshop itself.

***To participate in this free workshop, please register for the workshop here***

Note: You do not need to be registered attendee of OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual Conference to participate in this workshop.   Hypothesis will send registrants Zoom connection information prior to the workshop.  Registered OLC Innovate attendees will, however, also be able to access the workshop through the workshop session link on our program page. 

Hypothesis logo


Extended Abstract

Read more about the program on the AnnotatED blog post.

Jun 12, 2020
4:30pm - 5:15pm (Eastern)
OLC Innovate Pre-Conference Workshops Virtual Happy Half Hour

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At the end of Pre-conference workshop day, join hosts Angela Gunder and Taylor Kendal, the OLC staff, pre-conference workshop presenters, and pre-con workshop attendees for a virtual happy HALF hour!  Grab an adult beverage and let's get to know each other a bit better as we head into the next two weeks of OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual Conference.

Extended Abstract


Jun 15, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Field Guide "Power Hour" - Week 1

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Come join other conference attendees online and create an OLC Innovate game plan. During these power hour sessions, you’ll have the chance to organize your conference schedule and select presentations and activities you want to attend. The OLC Field Guides will be there to suggest interesting presentations and virtual social activities, train you on the use of the OLC online conference venue and website, and point you to Engagement Maps. We’ll also discuss ways to participate in virtual chats during the conference.  Meet up with old friends, make new acquaintances, plan your schedule, while you grab breakfast in the comfort of your home.

Jun 15, 2020
10:00am - 11:00am (Eastern)
Centering a Critical Curriculum of Care During Crises

This keynote calls for reimagining online education (and indeed education as a whole) in ways that move away from outcomes-based design approaches, and towards more critical curriculum design approaches that center care, empathy, equity and social justice. Away from single pathway pedagogies in for-credit education, and towards more open, connectivist, agentic, and culturally responsive pedagogies. None of these alone is new, but the COVID-19 crisis has forced us to question our priorities, and I suggest there has been a shift in the literacies required by teachers, students, and administrators to navigate these unprecedented circumstances. This keynote builds on the work of Virtually Connecting's Intentionally Equitable Hospitality, Equity Unbound, and previous work on critical digital pedagogy and social justice-oriented open educational practices. 

Extended Abstract

Maha blogs at and tweets @bali_maha.

Jun 15, 2020
11:00am - 11:30am (Eastern)
Virtual Speed Networking Lounge - Equity & Inclusion Welcome

Grab your coffee and join us for a special welcome from our Equity & Inclusion (E & I) committee. In this informal meet-up, members of the OLC Community will share some exciting updates on new initiatives around equity and inclusion in our field. We’ll have brief remarks from our sponsor, Name Coach, who will lead us in a lightweight networking opportunity to connect over a worthwhile cause.

Sponsored by 

Namecoach logo


Jun 15, 2020
11:30am - 12:15pm (Eastern)
Crossing the Bridge from "I don't belong here" to "Meant to be here": Addressing Impostor Phenomenon in Higher Education

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Are you an impostor? Full of doubt, inadequacy? Do you think your success is just luck? These feelings lead to a destructive mindset of stress, hesitancy, and disengagement.  Join us for an honest, vulnerable, and heartfelt conversation about impostor phenomenon and how to can recognize it, manage it, and rewrite our own “impostor” dialogue.

Extended Abstract

While attending OLC Innovate 2018, a graduate student standing at the back of the room noted that she did not belong at the conference. It was not because of the conference topics or structure. It was because she felt like she was somehow not as knowledgeable as or not as experienced as other attendees.  This student, working on her doctorate in online learning belonged at the conference, and yet she felt her experiences and accomplishments in the online learning landscape were somehow not adequate to be in the same room with other attendees.

Philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”  This doubt that Russell speaks of can sometimes be positive, offering an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop.  But sometimes this doubt can be destructive, suggesting to our innermost selves that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or able to accomplish what is in front of us. This is likely what the graduate student was feeling.

This type of “self-doubt” is sometimes referred to as the Impostor Phenomenon, which some research estimates almost 70% of successful people have experienced (Gravoy, 2007).  Impostor phenomenon (IP) is a “psychological pattern. It is based on intense, secret feelings of fraudulence in the face of success and achievement. If you suffer from the impostor phenomenon, you believe that you don’t deserve your success; you’re a phony who has somehow ‘gotten away with it.” (Harvey & Katz, 1984, p. 3).  Similarly, Tabaka (2018) described impostor phenomenon as, “…you may feel that you're the only person in your circle (or in the whole world) who suffers from this level of self-doubt. In those moments, you're certain that every label you've assigned to yourself, including inadequate, incompetent, undeserving, unqualified, fake, and unequivocal failure is absolutely accurate” (p. 1).  

As online leaders, designers, faculty, students, and support professionals, the impostor phenomenon can be a destructive force, one that can stymie our thinking in ways that shortchange any accomplishments, knowledge, or experiences that got us to the point we are at today.  Addressing our personal impostor phenomenon feelings are critical to our professional performance (Cozarelli & Major, 1990).

The purpose of this session is to start a conversation about the impostor phenomenon feelings that online teaching and learning professionals may experience and discuss strategies to address those feelings.  In this honest, personal, informative, and engaged conversation session, participants will explore the impostor phenomenon as it applies to their professional observations and perceptions about themselves and how they might recover a sense of confidence in the work they do.

Join us as we explore impostor phenomenon through the following guiding questions:

  • How does imposter phenomenon manifest for you? Where are the anxiety points?
  • What are common situations where you face impostor phenomenon experiences?
  • What strategies have worked for recognizing and managing “impostor feelings”?
  • What are some examples of instances (such as connecting to a group of colleagues) has helped diminish impostor phenomenon?  How has this been beneficial to your professional network, career, and future opportunities?
  • Conferences like OLC can sometimes unintentionally encourage and support impostor phenomenon feelings, especially for new attendees or those new to careers related to online learning.  How do we overcome that perception and those possible experiences?


By participating in this session, you will...

  1. Identify at least one strategy they can use to build confidence in their professional lives
  2. Identify at least one person they will actively build a network with to further support and mentor one another within the structure and format that best supports their professional and academic goals.
  3. Identify strategies for rewriting your own “impostor” dialogue.


Cozzarelli, C., & Major, B. (1990). Exploring the validity of the impostor phenomenon. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9(4), 401-417.

Gravois, John. (2007). You're Not Fooling Anyone. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 54(11), A1 A32-A32.

Harvey, J.C. & Katz, C. (1984). If I’m So Successful, Why do I Feel Like A Fake? Random House: New York.

Tabaka, M. (2018). Here's What Famous High Achievers Are Doing to Conquer Symptoms of the Imposter Syndrome. Retrieved from

Jun 15, 2020
11:30am - 12:15pm (Eastern)
Sound Collaboration: The Design and Implementation of an Online Phonetics Course

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A phonetics course is necessary for every language teacher-training program. We argue that phonetic training where students engage in real-life problems solving through peer-to-peer interaction is a valuable learning experience. We report on how such a course is successfully designed and implemented entirely online using a unique collaborative approach.

Extended Abstract

According to the 2017 New Media Consortium Horizon Report, more leaders across the globe emphasize student active learning to advance cultures of innovation. Interaction, as an essential part of student active learning, has become an important component to promote meaningful learning in online courses (Becker et al., 2017). To support student active learning, studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of peer-to-peer collaboration (Lim, Jeong, Hall, & Freed, 2017; Salter & Conneely, 2015; Xie, Yu, & Bradshaw, 2014). The use of asynchronous collaborative online tools, such as wikis and discussion boards has also demonstrated that students who are usually quiet in traditional classrooms become more active and frequently interact with others online (Cheng, Paré, Collimore, & Joordens, 2011).

Phonetics is the branch of linguistics concerned with the study of speech sounds. College-level students who aim to become language teachers need to understand how speech sounds are made, and how to best convey this knowledge to their own language-learning students. Language teachers also need to be able to diagnose various pronunciation problems. In this presentation we report on a unique online phonetics class that trains students in close listening, analysis, and diagnostics.  We discuss three characteristics to be included in an online phonetics course: the description and learning of the sounds of the world’s languages, the peer-to-peer technology-based collaborative procedures to narrowly transcribe a wide variety of English speech, and the course design to engage online students. We pay particular attention to non-native English-speaking international students whose goal is to teach ESL in their home countries.

This course is part of our fully-online TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) Certificate program at George Mason University. It utilizes a constellation of publicly available software programs that enhance learning and analysis. We use smartphone technology for quality sound recording, speech analysis tools such as PRAAT (Boersma & Weenink, 2015) to help students argue for their sound choices, and unicode font sets for phonetic transcription sharing. We also use our newly designed online phonetic transcriber ( as a self-paced tutorial in the phonetic transcription of second language speech. We demonstrate and discuss the use of all of these tools used by students when they worked together in this online course.

The outcomes are described, with justifications and specific methods for measuring them. Particular attention is devoted to a discussion of a unique collaborative online project through wiki and discussion boards that at once trains students in the phonetic analysis of non-native speech which includes the following skills:  1) speech elicitation and digital recording, 2) collaborative online phonetic transcription, 3) instrumental acoustic analysis of the digitized speech, 4) collaborative formulation of a set of phonological generalizations that characterize the speech pattern of the speaker, 5) attribution of  generalizations to a given set of principles, such as language transfer and language universals, 6) selection of a subset of these generalizations for teaching intervention, and 7) presentation of a short lesson plan in instruction via synchronous mode of delivery. The results of these analyses are then contributed to the online database the speech accent archive (, thereby giving students ownership of a publicly available online archive.

This presentation emphasizes the online pathway to the learning of narrow transcription, and this leads to enhanced listening and analysis (Ball et. al. 2009).  We show that peer-to-peer collaboration is vital for any asynchronous online class. This transcription enterprise is a perfect vehicle for this collaboration (Shriberg et. al., 1987). The presentation concludes with residual issues and future directions of the online phonetics class.

Even though our current work deals with a college-level phonetics class, there are clear extrapolations to other online courses. Participants, including faculty, design thinkers and instructional designers from any knowledge level, will be introduced to several strategies for designing and implementing a meaningful collaborative learning environment for asynchronous online courses. Further, participants will be presented with various ways for promoting and maintaining online student engagement.

We plan to involve the audience in a small activity where they will listen to various native and non-native English accents. In order to understand the speech characteristics of these accents, we will direct the audience members to closely determine what makes each accent different. In this way, we will allow the audience to engage with the sounds and begin to analyze the sound differences. This is precisely what is involved in phonetic transcription. The final 10 minutes will be dedicated for Q&A, where the presenters will encourage attendees to ask questions or provide comments that they considered during their 5-minute quiet reflection time. Should there be few questions, the presenters will engage attendees by asking them to think about an online class they are teaching and share their experiences (successes and/or challenges) in creating an engaging collaborative environment for their online students.



Ball, M., Muller, N., Klopfenstein, M., and Rutter, B., (2009). The importance of narrow phonetic transcription for highly unintelligible speech: Some examples. Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology, 34(2), 1-7.

Becker, S. A., Cummins, M., Davis, A., Freeman, A., Hall, C. G., & Ananthanarayanan, V.  (2017). NMC horizon report: 2017 higher education edition (pp. 1-60). The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from

Boersma, P., & Weenink, D. (2015) Praat: doing phonetics by computer, (Version 5.4.22)

Cheng, C. K., Paré, D. E., Collimore, L. M., & Joordens, S. (2011). Assessing the effectiveness of a voluntary online discussion forum on improving students’ course performance. Computers & Education, 56(1), 253–261.

Lim, J., Jeong, A. C., Hall, B. M., & Freed, S. (2017). Intersubjective and discussion characteristics in online courses. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 18(1), 29-44.

Salter, N.P., & Conneely, M.R. (2015). Structured and unstructured discussion forum as tools for student engagement. Computers in Human Behavior, 46, 18-25.

Shriberg, L., Hinke, R., and Trost-Steffen, C., (1987). A procedure to select and train persons for narrow phonetic transcription by consensus. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 1(2), 171-189.

Xie, K., Yu, C., & Bradshaw, A. C. (2014). Impacts of role assignment and participation in asynchronous discussions in college-level online classes. The Internet and Higher Education, 20, 10-19.

Jun 15, 2020
11:30am - 1:15pm (Eastern)
UDL Design Hacks For Online Courses and Programs

How many of your students come into your online learning environments fully prepared, having done all of the reading and eager to take an active part in the course? Yeah, mine never used to, either.

The reasons for this lack of student engagement and preparation can seem obvious: students' laziness, their lack of discipline, or their desire to do the minimum possible. But these reasoned hunches are just plain wrong.

In this workshop, you'll learn the real reason why learners aren’t as engaged as we'd like them to be (spoiler alert: it’s time management), and then you will learn, practice, and apply the principles of universal design for learning (UDL) with one of your own lessons or units. We’ll do this work together in order to lower barriers to fuller engagement, study, and participation for your students. This workshop is highly interactive. Please bring or have access to your lecture notes, a lesson plan, or a syllabus for one of your online courses or learning interactions, and we will address real challenges together through small teaching and design changes.

UDL is work that pays you (and all of your students) back many times over, so come spend some time breaking down barriers with the author of Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: UDL in Higher Education.

Extended Abstract

Learning Outcomes Participants in this workshop will be able to:

  • identify current learning interactions that often go differently than planned;
  • map the principles of universal design for learning (UDL) onto course- or unit-level learning outcomes;
  • apply the principles of UDL to lower barriers for challenging learning interactions;
  • transfer UDL principles specifically to writing-based activities and assignments in your courses; and * create multimodal learning interactions to increase learners' engagement, access to information, and/or choice for action & expression.  

Workshop Progression

Introductions, expectations, & the accessible universe

Activity 1: what learner interactions don't go as you want them to? What's the gap? Identifying barriers The concept of UDL: 3 brain networks, why/what/how, access vs. accessibility, +1 Addressing the gaps through design

Activity 2: how variable are your learners? Ability, schedule, level of preparedness, data connection types How to applied UDL in the online curriculum, specific how-to examples

Activity 3: Apply some +1 thinking to one of your own learning interactions.

Participant report-outs and sharing

Share your 1 biggest take-away from the work you’ve done and seen others do today. What idea, question, or practice will you bring back and do, share, or try?

Jun 15, 2020
12:30pm - 1:15pm (Eastern)
Partnerships And Collaboration In Advancing OER Initiatives: From Institutional To Statewide

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Open educational resources (OER) initiatives in higher education institutions have grown exponentially in the last ten years in response to the textbook affordability crisis that many college students face. While a great deal of focus is on the benefits of OER to students (affordability, access, and academic success) and faculty (agency and freedom), less attention is given to the collaborative partnerships that make these programs successful. This presentation will showcase the institutional and statewide collaborations happening in Michigan and how these partnerships are crucial to advancing OER as a way for MI students to achieve academic success.

Extended Abstract

“At the heart of the movement toward Open Educational Resources is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general, and the Worldwide Web in particular, provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and re-use knowledge.” — The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials made available for sharing, accessing and reusing through an open license. OER initiatives in higher education institutions have grown exponentially in the last ten years in response to the textbook affordability crisis that many college students face. While a great deal of focus is on the benefits of OER to students (affordability, access, and academic success) and faculty (agency and freedom), less attention is given to the collaborative partnerships that make these programs successful. These partnerships can be at any level—institutional, statewide, or national, and have the potential to accelerate awareness and adoptions of openly-licensed learning materials. Collaborative partnerships around OER also involve and include stakeholders such as faculty, librarians, instructional designers, administrators, students, and other groups that have a stake in the success of these initiatives. By working collectively, OER implementation, research, and collaboration work can be accomplished more efficiently and effectively at scale. In addition, collaborative partnerships leverage individual and institutional assets so that advocacy around the use of OER comes as a unified voice rather than a siloed set of voices. This presentation will provide an overview of the state of OER programs in Michigan and the institutional and statewide collaboration that is happening across all sectors of higher education, including K-12. Attendees will learn about the different models of collaboration around content creation, OER repositories and platforms, publishing, and funding opportunities. We will talk about practices and processes that work and how might other institutions and states replicate these to start, grow, and scale their OER initiatives.

Jun 15, 2020
12:30pm - 1:15pm (Eastern)
Carl Rogers, Teaching Presence, and Student Engagement in Online Learning

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Extended Abstract


 Online programs in the social sciences are becoming more prevalent. Reese (2015), for example, concluded that variables, such as collaboration, freedom to create knowledge and critical thinking, along with interactive instruction, increase engagement and the acquisition of course content. Because online classes are rapidly becoming important in giving access to a greater breadth of students in more “people” oriented programs, it is perhaps also important to incorporate “people” oriented approaches. One such approach, advocated by Carl Rogers (1969) seeks to build empathy, genuineness and unconditional positive regard into the relationship between instructors and students. Similarly,  the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000), which was specifically designed for online learning, addresses learning processes from a collaborative constructivist point of view. Building from the notion that social presence supports learning in the online environment, the CoI framework represents online learning as supported by three presences: social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence.

This study examines the relationship exists between Carl Rogers’ Person-Centered approach, operationalized as four conditions -- empathy, level of regard, unconditionality, and genuineness (Barrett-Lennard, 2015) and teaching, cognitive, and social presences. It is hoped that the addition of Rogerian approaches to CoI ones will enhance teaching presence and facilitate and support diverse perspectives, respectful and empowering dialogue, and thoughtful and insightful assignments.


Methods and Results:

The researchers conducted an online survey to measure the constructs of person-centered model (empathy, level of regard, unconditionality, and genuineness) and all the presences (social, teaching, and cognitive) in the Community of Inquiry framework. The Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory (BLRI; Barrett-Lennard, 2015) contains a total of 40 items with which respondents are asked to indicate their agreement on a six-point bi-polar scale ranging from -3 (NO, I strongly feel that it is not true) to +3 (YES, I strongly feel that it is true) (Barrett-Lennard, 2015). It returns scores on four subscales – one each for empathy, level of regard, unconditionality, genuineness.  The Community of Inquiry (CoI) survey consists of a total of Likert-type 34 items (ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree) and measures student perceptions of social, teaching, and cognitive presences in the online courses they take on three subscales. Both measures measure student perceptions of teaching and learning in online courses.

The subjects (n = 242) were a convenience sample of students who had taken at least one online course at a small midwestern university in the United States. For the data analysis process, all variables were initially screened by checking regression assumptions, including linearity, homogeneity of variance and multicollinearity. Multivariate outliers were identified through Mahalanobis distances with p < .001 (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007) and removed from the collected dataset before the regression analysis was performed.

Of the 242 eligible students who completed our online survey, 67% (n = 163) students were on-campus students who had taken at least one online course. On the contrary, 33% (n = 79) were students who only took courses online. The majority of participants in this study were females (70%).

Pearson correlations and partial correlations (controlling for each of the seven main variables) were run to explore the relationships between the CoI presences and the Rogerian approaches. Results indicated significant correlations between all three presences and both level of regard and empathy. The relationship between teaching presence and empathy was the strongest, with empathy accounting for approximately 11% (r = .328, p < .001) of the variance in teaching presence.

Accordingly, multiple regression analysis was used to assess the potential influence of person-centered concepts on teaching presence. The prediction model was statistically significant, F(4, 237) = 21.407, p < .001, and accounted for approximately 27% of the variance in teaching presence (R-squared = .265, adjusted R-squared = .253).



Rogers’ person-centered approaches, empathy and level of regard in particular, may enhance teaching presence and improve its effects on the development of social and cognitive presence in online courses. The combination of Rogerian counseling approaches and strategies designed to develop the CoI presences could be an innovative method for improving the quality of online teaching. It clearly deserves further investigation.




Arbaugh, J. B., Cleveland-Innes, M., Diaz, S., Garrison, D. R., Ice, P, Richardson, J. C. & Swan, K. (2008). Developing a community of inquiry instrument: Testing a measure of the Community of Inquiry framework using a multi-institutional sample. The Internet and Higher Education, 11(3-4), 133-136.

Barrett-Lennard, G. T. (2015). The relationship inventory: A complete resource and guide. John Wiley & Sons.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education model. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

Reese, S. A. (2015). Online learning environments in higher education: Connectivism vs. dissociation. Education and Information Technologies, 20(3), 579-588.

Rogers, C. R. (1969). Freedom to Learn. Columbus, OH: Merrill Publishing

Tabachnick, B., & Fidell, L. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.), New York: Pearson Educational Inc.


Jun 15, 2020
1:15pm - 1:45pm (Eastern)
Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk with ProctorU

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Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions. Ashley Norris, representing our sponsor ProctorU, will lead off with a chat about whether or not proctoring is really necessary and student perceptions on cheating.  We look forward to your contributions to the chat to see where it takes us.

Jun 15, 2020
1:45pm - 2:30pm (Eastern)
Building an Online “Campus” Experience

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Online learning is about connection -- to faculty, peers, ideas, technology, and community. Join me as I demonstrate how to build a robust online community of connection, providing students with a full array of programs, events, community service, engagement and leadership opportunities typically found on onsite campuses.

Extended Abstract

Session Learning Outcomes:

1)     Identify key pillars of co-curricular programming

2)    Discover creative approaches for engaging distance learners outside the virtual classroom that can be immediately implemented.

3)    Receive a program-planning template to be used in the design of online student engagement opportunities at your own institution.

Online classes have proven to be as, if not more effective, than onsite classes -- that is, if they are designed properly!  Learning can be convenient, flexible, and result in the same outcomes as an onsite class would yield.  However, the virtual classroom is only one component of the “campus” experience.

It is not only possible, but imperative to create a robust online community outside of the virtual classroom with a full array of co-curricular programs where students can engage.   There are endless ways to connect students with each other through online leadership opportunities, virtual community service, and a full array of programs, events, and engagement opportunities. 

This presentation will focus on innovative approaches for building a virtual “campus” experience.  Examples include virtual orientation, welcome week, student government associations, festivals, common hour, community service, online book club, and more.  Many of these approaches can also be used to supplement the onsite student’s experience.

Discover creative strategies for engaging distance learners that you can immediately implement in your own online program!

At the conclusion of the session, a program-planning template, developed by the presenter, which guides the planning, evaluation, and subsequent improvement of program initiatives will be shared.

An open conversation is encouraged, where participants discuss their perspectives and experiences in relation to the subject matter. Sharing of appropriate links and resources will occur.

Jun 15, 2020
1:45pm - 2:30pm (Eastern)
Bridging the Gap Between User Experience and Learning Experience Design

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Learning Experience Design is a field which has not been formally defined, despite the growing popularity of the term. Attendees of this session will learn about a new definition and model for LXD can be used to inform future directions of this exciting field.

Extended Abstract


Learning Experience Design (LXD) has become an increasingly popular term in higher education. However, despite the attention it has garnered, the term remains largely undefined. Even individuals who are considered experts in the field struggle to articulate a definition of this expansive term. One factor that may contribute to this, is the significant overlap in the conceptual domains associated with LXD. These domains include instructional design, pedagogy, neuroscience, social science, design thinking, user experience design, and many more.  To some degree, it may seem that LXD is simply a notion that is too broad to be defined. 

Similarly, most individuals who speak about the concept of LXD often reference user experience models as valid approaches to drive design. While these may prove to be a highly valuable resource for those in the UX field, they do not address the numerous facets of learning that need to be taken into consideration when designing experiences for students. 

Defining a Field:

By conducting extensive research, a definition was developed that reflects both the depth and breadth of this exciting new field. It encompasses multiple perspectives of learning experience, user experience, and design strategies. This holistic definition will allow designers, faculty, researchers, multimedia specialists and others to have a common understanding by which they will be able to effectively communicate about this evolving field. 

A New Model:

As part of the same research endeavor, a model was designed to help inform future directions of work in the area of LXD. The model established key features or attributes with a specific focus on each of the three keywords in the phrase, Learning, Experience, and Design. Together they form a comprehensive, yet simple to understand view on how each of the three terms supports and enhances one another. 

Session Engagement

The presenters will take approximately 25 minutes to share a new definition and model for Learning Experience Design they have developed. Attendees will then break into groups and spend 5 minutes reflecting on the presented approach. The groups will take a different perspective by which they will evaluate the model. One set of groups will be tasked with challenging the approach presented, identifying gaps, and shortcomings. Another group set will be tasked with reinforcing the proposed approach and identifying the positive attributes of the design. A third group set will be asked with identifying any unidentified opportunities associated with the design. All groups will document their findings in a Google doc. After the 5 minutes of reflection, each group will have 2 minutes to provide the findings of their analysis to the rest of the audience. The presenters will provide a 4-minute recap and closing. 

Session Goals

Attendees of this session will be able to:

  • Define Learning Experience Design
  • Describe a new model for LXD
  • Identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities associated with the new model and definition. 


Jun 15, 2020
1:45pm - 2:30pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Welcome To The HBCU AL$ Summit

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Summit Objectives:

  • Share lessons learned at HBCUs about how to Implement AL$ and recognize accomplishments of HBCUs' AL$ programs
  • Support HBCUs developing plans for their AL$ programs and provide professional development for people who will become leaders of AL$ on their campus
  • Develop networks of HBCU members who can connect and enjoy each other's company



Extended Abstract


Jun 15, 2020
2:45pm - 3:30pm (Eastern)
Solving the Rural Educational Crisis

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Our rural Southwest Wisconsin communities are facing three major crises.  First, our rural K-12 students do not have the opportunities many urban students are afforded.  Second, we have more jobs than we do people.  Third, as our citizens graduate from high school they leave our area for bigger and better opportunities.  To help solve the equity crisis, local K-12 leaders, business executives, and higher education administrators met multiples times over coffee, a blank piece of paper, and wild ideas.  Out of the meetings, came a dream to meet our rural K-12 with dual credit opportunities in their high schools with the use of alternative delivery.  The product called CollEDGE Up is a model that allows for students in grades 10-12 to complete up to one year of a two-year program while they are enrolled in high school.  

Extended Abstract


Why? -> Our rural Southwest Wisconsin communities are facing three major crises.  First, our rural K-12 students do not have the opportunities many urban students are afforded.  Second, we have more jobs than we do people.  Third, as our citizens graduate from high school they leave our area for bigger and better opportunities.  To help solve the equity crisis, local K-12 leaders, business executives, and higher education administrators met multiples times over coffee, a blank piece of paper, and wild ideas.  Out of the meetings, came a dream to meet our rural K-12 with dual credit opportunities in their high schools with the use of alternative delivery.  The product called CollEDGE Up is a model that allows for students in grades 10-12 to complete up to one year of a two-year program while they are enrolled in high school.  The student stays in their high school and connects into the college courses taught by the college’s faculty member with the use of their personal Chromebooks and distance education technology.  Our most popular program is nursing.  For students to capitalize on the nursing program, they begin taking foundation courses as a sophomore in high school, and then take nursing courses their junior and senior year of high school.  After completion from high school, the student has earned the education to sit for the LPN licensing exam.  The student also earns automatic entrance into our two-year nursing program.  This program has changed lives for our rural communities and their residents and provides our students with the belief they can achieve college.   


How did this work?-> The local K-12 at the table agreed this type of program is needed.  Local business agreed to scholarship students to take the courses.  The technical college agreed to teach the courses to the K-12 students via distance learning.


Results? -> Year one, we served five schools districts with 17 students, year two we served 16 schools with 48 students and year three our goal is 20 schools districts with 75 students. 


Next steps? -> We are actively seeking ways to expand the program with additional educational tracks, more business sponsorships, and creating a recognition program for the high schools who are educating the most students.


Interactivity? ->

  1. Ice breaker depicting an unsure student.
  2. A couple of Kahoot quiz questions.
  3. Multiple YouTube clips to bring non-offensive humor into the presentation.  
Jun 15, 2020
2:45pm - 3:30pm (Eastern)
The Unconference - An Innovative Way to Foster Rapid Collaboration

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The most valuable parts of conferences are often the informal side conversations that occur between sessions. An Unconference connects people in an innovative way. There is no set agenda for this session! Instead, participants will propose professional topics they want to discuss and collaborate with others in real time.

Extended Abstract

Solving complex problems often involves connecting people with 1) similar interests 2) various perspectives, experiences and backgrounds and 3) multiple skills sets and areas of expertise. Tackling complex problems also involves gaining and coordinating administrative support from multiple departments. However, breaking down organizational silos and navigating multiple bureaucratic layers is no easy task.

One of the challenges in higher education is that too many people are working on solving complex problems on their own. For example, at Utah Valley University, several faculty members recently expressed interest in launching innovative projects with the potential to drive meaningful change. However, working as lone wolves, these individuals often lacked the time, resources, connections and support to move their individual projects forward. The result was that many ideas and projects stalled or fizzled out before they had a chance to grow.

While attending the Teaching and Learning Studio workshop at Stanford University two years ago, I participated in my first Unconference with over 300 people. An Unconference is a discussion style in which session topics are dynamic and decided at the event when participants propose topics they want to discuss. Other participants can freely join the conversations around topics proposed by others.

Participants at an Unconference follow the Law of Two Feet: if they find themselves not learning or contributing at any time, it is their responsibility to use their two feet to find somewhere they are learning or contributing.

At Utah Valley University, we used the Unconference format to connect the wider campus community. The goal of the Unconference was simply to provide a way for anyone who was interested to collaborate on projects that they were interested in. At our first event, three university vice-presidents, two deans, and many faculty and students across campus participated. To encourage further collaboration that began during the Unconference, we offered dining services gift cards so that groups could plan a lunch meeting together to continue their conversations. The feedback from the Unconference was overwhelmingly positive and we foresee hosting more Unconferences several times a semester.

Session Outline:

  1. We begin by explaining the objectives, rules and guidelines for the Unconference. (3 minutes)
  2. Participants will use their mobile devices to propose discussion topics on the Poll Everywhere ( website. (5 minutes)
  3. Once the discussion topics start to populate, participants will have a chance to vote on the most compelling topics using up and down voting buttons. The top 5 topics will become the topics that will be discussed at the Unconference. (2 minutes)
  4. We will divide the room into different quadrants. We will place large signs with numbers in various places in the room and assign topics to each number. Participants will be able to select which discussion group they would like to join, and they are welcome to move freely from group to group during the Unconference. (30 minutes)
  5. We will engage participants in a discussion to address Q&As and brainstorm implications of hosting similar events at their organizations (5 minutes)

Materials Provided:

Slides and handouts.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Participants will gain insights and understanding of how to connect individuals with 1) similar interests 2) various perspectives, experiences and backgrounds and 3) multiple skills sets and areas of expertise at their organizations.
  2. Participants will engage in a live Unconference session by proposing topics they want to discuss, and joining conversations around topics proposed by others.
  3. Participants will brainstorm ideas and identify opportunities for hosting Unconferences at their organizations.


Jun 15, 2020
2:45pm - 3:30pm (Eastern)
The Online Faculty Academy Ascent

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Join us to explore the Online Faculty Academy we developed to meet the professional development needs of instructors who are adding online course authoring and facilitation to their vita. We’re excited to discuss our program development, program curricula, and how this program may be transferrable to your organizational training needs.

Extended Abstract

Join us to explore the Online Faculty Academy (OFA) we developed to meet the professional development needs of instructors who are adding online course authoring and facilitation to their vita. An opportunity was identified to close professional development gaps noted through operational assessment and in feedback different stakeholders of the online course design and delivery process. It is not uncommon to hear of organizations recognizing the need for new faculty orientation or training, while their solutions to addressing those needs differ. On-going training and support is another topic which surfaces, however, less seems to be documented in this area unless there is a significant change such as the learning management system or regulation. Through the OFA we have attempted to close existing gaps and create a continuum for training and support through new online faculty or author development through to on-going support as faculty continue their online course facilitation from term to term.

Engaging with conference peers and getting their feedback beyond that of participants and key stakeholders in our organization is important for continued progress and perspectives that can continue to provide insights or ideas to enrich our OFA program and training courses therein. These discussions will also benefit others who may be reviewing their own practices, exploring or evaluating outsourcing this professional development, or starting anew.

We are excited to discuss the development process used for the OFA and how it connects to the Ultimate Academic Experience (UAX) towards which we strive each day. Careful consideration has gone into the development of the program's curricula. Throughout the program courses evidence-based research is introduced and revisited. This research is the foundation upon which our organizational online course development and delivery practices have been built. In conjunction with the theory, a heavy emphasis is placed on practical knowledge and skill reinforcement making each training course experience relevant for direct application in the courses being taught and the educational experiences of which online faculty are a critical influencers.

Discovery Session Goals

Our aim through dialogue is that each session participant will walk away with valuable insights into how to better faculty development programs. Insights on how to identify gaps and what adjustments can be made to better align professional development programming with organizational needs in the area of online course authoring and facilitation will be emphasized.

Level of Participation

A short slide deck describing the topics noted below will be prepared along with a demo of the courses available. Information will be available electronically on the session topics noted below. We will also have available a one-page handout for reference during our discovery dialogue with you. When joining us, you will be encouraged to engage in conversation, ask questions, and provide constructive feedback on what we are sharing. Questions you can expect from us are: (1) what brought you to our discovery session, (2) what is your organization currently doing with online faculty development, and (3) what gaps have you/they identified to date.

Discovery Session Topics

  • OFA Program Development Process and Considerations
  • Current Program Curricula
    • Program Outcomes
      • Performance Indicators
    • Course Outcomes
      • Participant Assessment
      • Outcomes Alignment
  • Program Assessment
  • Lessons Learned
  • Opportunities
  • Next Steps

References (Partial List)

Jun 15, 2020
2:45pm - 3:30pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Sharing Lessons Learned by HBCU AL$ Programs: Four Campus Showcases - Key Factors for Implementing AL$

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Each showcase provides a 15 minute overview of their project and then opens up for discussion.

  • "A Collaborative Course Redesign Approach for Non-Major Environmental Science Incorporating Open Educational Resources (OER)" - Presenters:  Sarah Krejci, Shirma Ramroop-Butts, Michael Reiter, Adrienne George, Yunkul Kim, Adeljean Ho, Hector Torres, and Arletha McSwain, Bethune-Cookman University
  • "Deploying OER-based Courseware To Address College Affordability:  The Missing Link for Successful Deployment" - Presenters:  Moustapha Diack and Cecil Banham, Southern University Baton Rouge

Extended Abstract


Jun 15, 2020
3:30pm - 4:00pm (Eastern)
OLC Live: Sponsor Chat With ProctorU

Join us as OLC Live guest host Matt Norsworthy, OLC Director of Strategic Partnerships, and Jarrod Morgan, ProctorU, discuss how schools are using online proctoring for COVID-19 response.  They will also touch on the cheating behaviors being seen.  

Jun 15, 2020
4:00pm - 4:45pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Sharing Lessons Learned by HBCU AL$ Programs: Two more Campus Showcases With Key Factors For Implementing AL$

Each showcase provides a 15 minute overview of their project and then opens up for discussion.

  • “Bridging the Gap Between Underrepresented Students and Course Content Through Inclusivity” - Presenters:  Karen Nichols and Mohamed Awad, Xavier University of Louisiana

Extended Abstract


Jun 15, 2020
4:00pm - 4:45pm (Eastern)
Building a DIY recording studio and supporting media creation with Universal Design for Learning and the Community of Inquiry

The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning has built a recording studio in response to faculty members' increasing need for media assets. This presentation will focus on the technical configuration of the recording space, its buildout and theories and frameworks to support access and engagement around media assets.

Extended Abstract

With the growth of flipped classrooms; blended and hybrid learning models; and online teaching; there is an increasing need for high-quality media assets. As a result of these advancements, there is a need to bridge the gap in digital competencies (Jacobs, 2013). With generous funding from the Office of the Provost and the Columbia College of Dental Medicine, the Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has built a recording studio to accommodate this need for video lectures, slide capture and annotation, voiceover, podcasts, and interviews.

This presentation will focus on the configuration of the recording space and its buildout. We will describe our technical workflows and best-practices referencing the frameworks and theories we used to inform our work. Lastly, we will discuss how we evaluate faculty experience and the impact on teaching and learning.

The studio was built with carefully selected hardware and software to create high-quality media and accommodate the variety of media creation needs of faculty in diverse disciplines.  We paid particular attention to the design and accessibility of the physical space. Our equipment includes a wheelchair-accessible ramp; a height-adjustable desk; and lights and a 4K camera on articulating arms to accommodate a range of orientations. Media ports, switches, and other peripherals have been located in easily accessible areas. 

A recording space not only gives the chance to have conversations with faculty about media creation but also about course design. It is also an entry point to expose faculty members to the various ways a CTL can support teaching and learning through educator-development programs and service offerings. 

Faculty members who use our recording studio consult with a learning designer before any recording takes place. During these consultations, learning designers advise on best practices for media creation. Mayer's 12 Principles of Multimedia Learning (Mayer, 2003) serves as a resource in planning media creation that considers cognitive load. We offer guidance on how segmenting videos and highlighting essential information can reduce cognitive load and maximize learning. We reference other course design principles, such as Community of Inquiry (Garrison, et al, 2000) and Universal Design for Learning (Meyer et al, 2014). The Community of Inquiry framework provides approaches to media use that considers the attention that needs to be paid to the teaching, cognitive and social presence when bringing course materials into a digital space. Universal Design for Learning helps us think about the variety of ways digital media content created in our recording studio can be represented and made accessible for a diverse audience and learning preferences.

Jun 15, 2020
4:00pm - 4:45pm (Eastern)
Bridging the Accessibility Gap to Online Engineering Courses

How did the creation of two online graduate programs in Engineering create an accessibility challenge? How can we make equation heavy content and complex analytical figures accessible? This session will highlight techniques and resources to create accessible math via assistive technologies and universal design for learning principles.

Extended Abstract

The field of accessibility has grown with the rise of technology. Our world is becoming very complex and aspects of it have become unusable by a portion of the population. Some people with disabilities might feel left out of the highly experiential world that surrounds them and end up not pursuing careers in engineering. When our team of learning experience designers and a student representative partnered with the engineering department to develop two new online graduate programs at a R1 research institution, we discovered many inaccessible online course materials and teaching practices. 


In this session, participants can expect to learn about accessible math, assistive technologies, and universal design for learning strategies. Our team will share some of the simple strategies and extensive changes we applied to a wide variety of courses to ensure an accessible course experience for all. 

Throughout this presentation, we will encourage participants to empathize with students and the barriers they may encounter in a complex engineering course. Participants will engage in facilitated discussions about the how math content is presented, and will also receive helpful resources including:

  • A quick tips accessibility checklist 

  • Accessible video strategy 

  • Basic accessibility strategies when developing course materials 

  • A deeper understanding for the complexities of accessible math 

Join us for a collaborative and reflective session on developing engineering courses accessible to all students.

Jun 15, 2020
4:00pm - 5:45pm (Eastern)
Infrastructure Inversion: Building Bridges to a New Learning Economy

What if educators, students, employers, and technologies could fluidly translate value and information without sacrificing privacy or proprietary value? Learning Economy (a protocol, not a company) is building the bridges needed to realize this future reality. Come see why education is the new gold standard.

Learn more at:

Extended Abstract


Education is a mountain. Everyone takes a different path to the top. Learning Economy (LE) is an exciting new open infrastructure-layer protocol that leverages blockchain (i.e. Learning Ledgers) and machine learning (ML) to quantify soft and hard skills, helping to measure which courses, content, and experiences ultimately lead to soft/hard skills, workplace advancement, and local/global impact and value. Join us for an interactive exploration of this new protocol and learn how you and/or your organization can participate in this global distributed effort. Does this just sound like buzzword soup? Check out the Learning Economy Novella for a deeper dive into the writing and research behind this exciting new initiative gaining global traction.


  • Sept 2018: Protocol Announced at United Nations
  • Nov 2018: Protocol Featured as G20 Cover Story
  • Jan 2019: Announced Pilots & Steering at Davos
  • April 2019: Regulation Research at Harvard Kennedy School
  • May 2019: Equity Research at Claremont McKenna
  • June 2019: G20 Coverage on Regulation Study
  • Sept 2019: Publish Whitepaper at UNGA
  • Nov 2019: Publicly Launch Protocol at WISE
  • Jan 2020: Initial Innovation Lab Cohorts Begin
  • Jan 2020: Announce Partner Nodes at Davos

Working Allies

  • Government
    • U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.
  • Forums
    • Salzburg Global Seminar, Group of Nations (G7/G20), GTS, etc.
  • Enterprise
    • IBM, Salesforce, Microsoft, Edx, T3, Credential Engine, etc.
  • Non-Profit
    • WISE, Qatar Foundation, United Africa, Educate Lanka, Lumina, etc.

Research Questions

Can we quantify the value of education? What are the unintended consequences and opportunities?
  2. NEW TECHNOLOGIES—What roles do distributed ledgers and machine learning play in mapping individual units of learning to measure hard skills, soft skills, workplace advancement, and stakeholder impact?
  3. DATA PRIVACYCan a decentralized graph of stakeholders, in education and work, share and transfer data in a public blockchain marketplace without sacrificing the value of private data or student privacy? 
  4. STUDENT EQUITY GAPS—Can a market be built on top of the education and workplace ecosystem, and if so, could this solve student equity gaps as well as incentivize students to learn, stakeholders to create value, and educators and schools to make impact?
  5. SUSTAINABILITY—Can a national learning economy become a scalable, replicable, and self-sustaining model for capturing the creation and flow of value in education and work for the lifetime of a student? 
  6. MEASURE HUMAN CAPITAL INVESTMENT—Can a pipeline of data along the entire supply chain of education (from academia to assessment to the workplace and government) be used to solve skills gaps and benchmark human capital investments for impact?

Participant Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe the Learning Economy protocol
  2. Discuss the value of nascent Web 3.0 technologies and open protocols in the context of online education
  3. Identify local/regional use-cases and opportunities
  4. Develop a strategy/plan for involvement/participation given local/regional/institutional constraints and considerations

Intended Audience

Given the breadth of stakeholders involved in the LE protocol, this workshop would be appropriate for all audiences. That said, infrastructure-level administrators and change-agents are likely to benefit most given their capacity to affect systems-level change within a government/state agency or organization (university, library, school district, etc.).


After a brief presentation to help establish a shared technical/conceptual baseline and group-wide alignment, participants will join one of four working groups:

  • School Node — Ideate on the tracking of student learning
  • Assessment Node — Ideate on the tracking of hard & soft skills
  • Work Node — Ideate on the tracking of workforce advancement
  • Identity Node — Ideate on governance, Identity (SSI), and equity

Through the perspective of a specific stakeholder group, participants will collaboratively ideate and create action plans within the context of their own organizational reality. Time for discussion will be provided in order to create an ecosystem-wide framework for discussing and implementing the LE protocol.

Proposed Agenda

10 min -- Welcome / Intros

30 min -- Learning Economy Overview and Protocol

30 min -- Interactive Work Groups (School, Assessment, Work, Identity)

10 min -- Discussion and Action Steps

10 min -- Q&A

Unique Takeaways

  • Narrated deck for asynchronous use
  • LE Innovation Lab overview & implementation roadmap
  • LE network access (60+ advisors from 20+ industries)

Materials Needed


  • Internet connectivity
  • Projection/Screen


  • An open mind and willingness to affect change
  • Laptop preferred but not required
Jun 15, 2020
5:00pm - 5:45pm (Eastern)
Death by Discourse: Avenging Online Discussions

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Who killed online discussion? Why did they do it? How can we avenge its untimely demise and resurrect scholarly discourse? Let’s combine our collective smarts to solve crimes around boring prompts, forced responses, and more. Using detective work and design thinking, we will bring online discussions back to life!

Extended Abstract

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Examine self-imposed and institutional discussion design barriers.
  2. Evaluate existing discussion designs and prompts.

Discussion has long been a tenet of social constructivist-based pedagogy. Students come to the classroom with their own perspectives and experiences that influence how they as individuals engage with course content, build new knowledge, and reach learning outcomes. Interaction between students allows them to voice their constructed understandings, hear others’ perspectives, and refine their own constructed understanding as a part of social interplay. The instructor moderates and directs discussion to lend their expertise in content, provides a guiding voice to keep discussions productive, as well as offer their own insights and understanding.

In online classroom settings, transactional distance, multi/asynchronous communications, and other changes to the discussion space tend to push discussions away from the rich social interaction that challenges and grows individual thinking through interaction. However, this is something that can be mitigated through thoughtful design.

We have developed a framework grounded in research and experience surrounding online discussions and design principles to help instructors, teaching assistants, instructional designers, and other interested parties design better online discussions. 

This workshop will take participants through the process of evaluating and redesigning a discussion as befits a workshop on discussion: with small groups to talk through various perspectives, voice their own experiences and understandings, and work through potential solutions. Small group discoveries will be shared back to the larger group for additional discussion and notes.

Attendees will return to their home institutions with individual strategies for designing and launching more engaging online discussions, as well as be equipped with the materials to run their own versions of this workshop. Participants will also be ready to design new online discussions, evaluate and redesign existing online discussions, and advocate at a department level for more meaningful online discourse.

  • Opening Dialogue/Setup
    • Welcome and introduction
    • Values Reflection (individual activity)
    • Overview of small group activity
  • Small Group Work Time 
    • Discussion scenarios are handed out and groups of 3-5 people work through details that might be negatively impacting the outcomes experienced by the instructor and students.
    • Workshop facilitators will be on hand to assist with questions and help prompt discussion in struggling groups.
  • Report Out 
    • Groups share their observations about the scenarios.
  • ToolKit and Q&A 
    • Presenters introduce the audience to tools that will help them reflect and refine online discussion assignments.
    • References
    • Adjacent Technologies
    • OER bit: Slide Deck, Materials
    • Q&A

We need access to a projector with HDMI connectivity in a room with wifi in order to support the sharing of toolkit items and URLs for additional access to the toolkit contents. We have a small slide deck to help with workshop structure (5-7 slides). We can supply all additional attendee workshop materials, including handouts and writing instruments. Workshop materials will be available for future access and use via Google Drive.

Jun 15, 2020
6:00pm - 6:45pm (Eastern)
Something To Talk About: Apps and Hacks

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There has never been a more exciting time to be in online education. In a climate of teaching apps and learning hacks, there is much to gain from leveraging technology for the purpose of improved classroom experience. Join the conversation around current trends and emerging technologies and benefit from the requisite buzz of ideas that an Innovate conference affords.

Extended Abstract

Using a community of practice (CoP) framework, this session seeks to encourage the collective ideas of its participants with the goal of curating technology for student success.

We will ask and answer questions, such as:

  • How are our institutions helping students become independent learners?
  • Are we becoming curators of success tools?
  • Are we building libraries of online supports?  
  • Are we providing subscriptions for writing and grammar assistance?
  • Are we offering online tutoring?
  • Do we evaluate online readiness?
  • Do we offer study skills and testing preparation?

These are known 21st century learner needs. Technologies uniquely designed to address these needs exist. Educational technology that supports classroom efforts is not just a good idea – it’s a principal piece of the educational needs of the learners of today and tomorrow. So, what are we, as leaders in education and innovators in our field, doing to curate tools and support services for our students?

This session offers engaging discussion about building bridges across divisions for the benefit of students. It concludes with a take-away link to the various tools curated during the session.

Jun 15, 2020
6:00pm - 6:45pm (Eastern)
Student's Expectations vs. Experiences of Course Design in Online Writing Courses

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Understanding student expectations and experiences of course design in online courses is an important aspect of the assessment and interventions of an online program. This session will present results from an online writing program assessment conducted in the fall of 2018 followed by a discussion of actionable reactions to the data collected.

Extended Abstract

In the fall semester of 2018, the writing program at the University of Arizona had officially been online for 3 years. This program uses a flexible pre-designed course system (the pre-designed course is required the first time teaching online, and then can be adapted and adopted as needed). In order to assess the impact of the program, it was decided, by the Online Writing Program Administrator (OWPA), that it would be useful to survey students in order to determine their backgrounds and expectations and compare them to how they experienced the online writing environment. Student expectations can impact student motivation, attitude, and behaviors (Campbell & Mislevy, 2012; Roberts & Styron, 2006; Bean & Metzner, 1985; Ames & Archer, 1988), which can influence overall student retention (Plietz, et al, 2015; Bean & Metzner, 1985; Friedman & Mandel, 2011; Moore et al, 2003). 


These surveys were based on a multi-institutional research project funded by the Conference on College Composition and Communication. All of the surveys were built into the pre-designed courses (PDCs) as a required part of the course for a small number of homework points. The initial surveys asked students what they expected from the online classes. For example, questions asked about interaction expectations with the instructor and classmates, expectations regarding the pace and due dates, and expected course elements. The surveys also asked students about their backgrounds. For example, questions asked about computer skills, current work situations, and linguistic background information. The initial surveys also asked for certain demographic information such as first-generation college student status, gender, current credit hours, classification, and ethnicity. In an attempt to track student experiences, the end of term surveys asked students questions in similar categories such as how much and type of interaction took place, computer skills that were required, etc. Final grades (including withdrawals) were also collected. 


In order to provide immediate feedback to the students, some questions were followed by “Tips for Success.” These tips ranged anywhere from “This isn’t a self-paced course, please see your D2L course for a schedule” to a detailed list of commonly used online terminology. Some of the descriptive aggregate results were  sent to instructors of those courses with suggestions for how to act on the information provided.


In this presentation, we’ll discuss the results and analysis from questions that asked the students expectations about course design and engagement in an online environment. These assessment results will contribute to scholarship about students preferences for different course elements. For example, Ausburn (2004) surveyed 67 adult blended learners and found “course announcements and reminders from instructor, course information documents, information about assignments and instructions for completing them, and course instructional/content documents and materials (handouts, PowerPoint slides, Internet site)” the most important features in an online course (p. 330). Similarly, Brinkerhoff and Koroghlanian (2007), found detailed instructions for setting up course technologies, face-to-face orientation meeting, telephone technical support, weekly synchronous meetings, and general Q&A area/function within the course (p. 388).


The presentation part of the panel will show the data analysis while simultaneously asking the audience to: 

  • consider what the results might suggest about the courses that are being assessed, 

  • reflect on how that information might be used,

  • consider how online programs might work to create a system of assessment and feedback,  

  • reflect on possible interventions or how this information can be used to improve the student experience, and 

  • ask questions.

During the five minute reflection and freewrite, the presenters will ask attendees to think about the types of course design expectations they think their students may have and how those assumptions compare and contrast with our data. Presenters will also prompt attendees to list the types of questions they might ask their own students about their course design expectations. Presenters will use, allowing attendees to ask and upvote their favorite ideas, suggestions, and questions to be discussed during both the presentation as well as the the Q&A. Presenters will share copies of study protocols and instruments as well as a list of relevant references. 



Ames, C., & Archer, J. (1988). Achievement Goals in the Classroom: Students’ Learning Strategies and Motivation Processes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(3), 260–267.

Ausburn, L. J. (2004). Course design elements most valued by adult learners in blended educational environments: An American perspective. Educational Media International, 41(4), 237-337.

Bean, J. P., & Metzner, B. S. (1985). A Conceptual Model of Nontraditional Undergraduate Student Attrition. Review of Educational Research, 55(4), 485–540.

Brinkerhoff, J., & Koroghlanian, C. M. (2007). Online students’ expectations: Enhancing the fit between online students and course design. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 36(4), 383-393. 

Campbell, C. M., & Mislevy, J. L. (2012). Student Perceptions Matter: Early Signs of Undergraduate Student Retention/Attrition. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory and Practice, 14(4), 467–493.

Friedman, B. A., & Mandel, R. G. (2011). Motivation Predictors of College Student Academic Performance and Retention. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory and Practice, 13(1), 1–15.

Moore, K., Bartkovich, J., Fetzner, M., & Ison, S. (2003). Success in Cyberspace: Student Retention in Online Courses. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 10(2), 107–118.

Pleitz, J. D., MacDougall, A. E., Terry, R. A., Buckley, M. R., & Campbell, N. J. (2015). Great Expectations: Examining the Discrepancy Between Expectations and Experiences on College Student Retention. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 17(1), 88–104.

Roberts, J., & Styron, R. (2006). Student satisfaction and persistence: factors vital to student retention. Research in Higher Education Journal, 6, 1–18.


Jun 15, 2020
7:00pm - 8:00pm (Eastern)
OLC Innovate Kick-off Virtual Happy Hour

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It's the end of Day 1 of Week 1 of OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual Conference. Join your fellow conference attendees for a little fun - our virtual happy hour!  Grab your favorite beverage and snack and come join us for some fun and games.  Led by hosts Clark Shah-Nelson, Angela Gunder, and Arie Sowers representing sponsor Respondus, with musical entertainment provided by special guest Rick Franklin.

Jun 16, 2020
8:15am - 8:45am (Eastern)
Meditation and Mindfulness

Join us for some quiet time to decompress, reconnect mind and body, and practice some self-care as we turn our focus inward for a short while.  Mindfulness has been defined as a practice of "bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occuring in the present moment" (Baer, 2003).  Join Clark Shah-Nelson for some guided mindful meditations.  These sessions will be geared toward centering ourselves on higher levels of consciousness so that we can experience OLC Innovate Virtual Conference in a healthy and present way together.

Baer, R.A.  (2003).  Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention:  A conceptual and empirical review.  Clinical psychology:  Science and practice, 10(2), 125-143.

Extended Abstract


Jun 16, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Closing the Skills Gap

As technology changes how companies interact with customers and the products they offer, workers need to access ongoing development opportunities to gain and maintain relevant skills. Driven by a survey of 600 human resource leaders, this session will share the impacts of skills gaps and ways to address this challenge.

Extended Abstract

Closing the Skills Gap 2019 Research Report

Closing the Skills Gap 2019 is a research report from Wiley Education Services and Future Workplace. This report identifies talent acquisition challenges that employers face, provides examples of how employers are attempting to fill skills gaps, and explores ways for companies to partner with universities to prepare workers for changing skills needs. The presentation will highlight key issues and ways to move forward in progressing facilitative lifelong learning to help support the changing workforce landscape.

Key Issues Addressed

Six hundred human resource leaders were surveyed to examine the scope of workforce skills gaps and tactics that employers use to address this issue. Highlights:

  • The biggest impacts that skills gaps have on companies
  • How much money companies invest in upskilling programs
  • Credentials employers consider in place of college degrees
  • Innovations companies use to overcome talent shortages
  • Ways for employers and educators to create solutions together
Jun 16, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
How to Leverage Emerging Learning Technologies to Engage Students in Blended Learning: Innovative Instructional Strategies & Best Practices

In this session, the presenters will lead conversations on strategies and best practices to leverage emerging learning technologies to engage students in blended learning in different educational settings. In addition, a collection of best practices and effective strategies for leveraging merging learning technologies in blended learning environment will be shared with the audience. 

Extended Abstract



An increasing number of universities and corporates are adopting blended learning, which combines face-to-face (FTF) instruction with online instruction (Bonk & Graham, 2006; Voos, 2003; Ward & LaBranche, 2003). Researchers found three primary advantages of choosing blended learning: (1) enhancing pedagogy, (2) increasing access and flexibility, and (3) improving cost-effectiveness (Graham, Allen, & Ure, 2005). Regarding pedagogy, researchers consider that blended learning can increase learning effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, performance (Lim & Morris, 2009), engagement (Owston, York, & Murtha, 2013), attendance (Stockwell, Stockwell, Cennamo, & Jiang, 2015), and collaboration (So & Brush, 2008). For example, research found that the success rates for BL were higher than either fully traditional face-to-face or completely online courses (Graham, 2013). 

Second, blended learning has potentials to increase access and flexibility (Graham, 2006; Moskal et al., 2013). Given that blended learning provides flexibility to instructors and students in terms of time and locations for online instruction (King & Arnold, 2012), it potentially increases access to possible learners (Piper, 2010).

Last, blended learning can improve cost-effectiveness (Graham, 2013) as it may lower operating costs than traditional on FTF learning (Vaughan, 2007). 

The affordance of the emerging learning technologies is vital in blended learning (Gan, Menkhoff, & Smith, 2015). Emerging learning technologies such as augmented reality/virtual reality, artificial intelligence, big data, gamification, wearable technologies, asynchronous online meeting technologies, and collaborative technologies provide opportunities for instructional innovations. 

However, research indicated that technologies can hinder teaching and learning if not used properly (Bower et al., 2015; Park & Bonk, 2007). Therefore, effective strategies for leveraging these emerging learning technologies to engage students in blended learning are critical. 

In this session, the presenters will lead conversations on how to leverage the emerging technologies to engage learners in blended learning environment. The following learning technologies will be discussed: 

  • Augmented reality (AR) /virtual reality (VR)
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Big data 
  • Gamification 
  • Wearable technologies 
  • Asynchronous online meeting technologies
  • Collaborative technologies
  • Social media

Examples of using these technologies in blended learning in different educational settings will be provided as discussion prompts. The presenters will also share a collection of best practices leveraging emerging technologies in blended learning. 

Plan for interactivity

Session participants will be engaged in conversations, questions and answers, discussions, experience sharing, and live polling and many other interactive activities throughout the session. Presenters will use Poll Everywhere to retain participants in meaningful discussions, prompts, and polling items throughout the session. Presenters will show a collection of examples and non-examples using a wide range of emerging technologies, highlight some of the most effective strategies, and will engage participants in hands-on activities using selected emerging technologies. For example, using interactive polling, presenters will find out the ways in which participants have been involved in adopting emerging learning technologies to engage learners in blended learning. The session will briefly share examples of successful use of emerging learning technologies in blended learning as discussion prompts. Following that, the session will have a brainstorming activity to share possible instructional strategies for using emerging learning technologies to engage learners in blended learning. Among all the strategies that emerge in the brainstorming activity, the participants will vote their top 10 instructional strategies that they will use in their own educational settings through Poll Everywhere. The session will conclude with top 10 practical instructional strategies for leveraging emerging learning technologies to engage learners in bended learning environment.

The takeaways

Attendees in this session will actively engage in discussions on effective strategies for leveraging emerging learning technologies in blended learning environments. In the end, the attendees will learn top 10 practical instructional strategies for leveraging emerging learning technologies to engage learners in blended learning in different educational settings. 

Jun 16, 2020
9:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Training with Accessibility in Mind: Inspiring the Faculty to Reach Every Learner

Creating an accessible digital environment ensures that all the content is available to everyone. How do you inspire Faculty members to design their courses with accessibility in mind? This interactive session will explore best practices for training Faculty members to embrace digital accessibility practices that drive inquiry, and differentiate instruction.

Extended Abstract

Creating an accessible digital environment ensures that all the content is available to everyone. How do you inspire Faculty members to design their courses with accessibility in mind? This interactive session will explore best practices for training Faculty members to embrace digital accessibility practices that drive inquiry, and differentiate instruction.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about “11 percent of the higher education students in the United States have some kind of disability and at least 60% to 80% of students never disclose their disabilities.”   We have a special responsibility to make sure digital materials (i.e., campus e-mails, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.) are accessible to all, including people with disabilities. While we know that having an accessible digital environment is critical for the success of our students, training Faculty members to embrace digital accessibility practices can be challenging.

This session will debunk many of the myths that exist when it comes to making content accessible for people with disabilities, explore best practices for Faculty buy-in , as well as,  provide participants with strategies for making digital content accessible.

Session Learning Objectives

  1. Upon completion, participants will be able to identify at least 3 myths that exist about digital accessibility.
  2. Upon completion, participants will be able to identify ways to check the accessibility of their content.
  3. Upon completion, participants will be able to identify 4 strategies they can use to train Faculty members about best practices for digital accessibility.
  4. Upon completion, participants will be able to identify 4 tools that they can use with students to make their content more accessible.

This will be an interactive presentation where participants will get hands on experience with the various tools shared. All participants will have access to the presentation at the same time and will be able to provide real time data/feedback. All participants will also have printable resources that they can refer to after the presentation. The presentation will also be made available in a digital format. All participants are encouraged to bring their Internet Enabled Devices to the workshop.


Jun 16, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Not Your Average Online Advising and Student Support Model

This presentation will provide an overview of the realignment of three departments to better support underserved online students at a private, non-profit university in Chicago, IL experiencing high growth in online programs.  The new model led to increased student persistence and satisfaction.

Extended Abstract

In the 2017-18 academic year, our university committed to the growth of online programming.  As a private, non-profit university in Chicago, IL focused on college affordability, student access, and social justice, our student profile trends to women and students of color--a particularly vulnerable student demographic in higher education, and more notably in online programs as well.  After a term of substantially increased enrollment, online student persistence had started on a downward trend. In response, the institution launched a project to realign online student support through a unique, cross-functional partnership between Academic Affairs, Advising, and Student Support in the Winter of 2017 to address student persistence and to improve student satisfaction with their online experience. 

The strategic collaboration between Academic Affairs, Advising, and the Student Support departments included an environmental scan of online student support strategy, as well as research into the retention of at-risk students in online programs.  Once complete, the work team compared best-practice to the culture and values of our institution, as well as to the budget for the project. The result was the creation of the Online Advising Playbook designed to detect at-risk student behavior in online coursework and associated actions by faculty and staff to mitigate those behaviors, accompanied by a sophisticated set of data and reports to drive action aimed at increasing student performance in online courses. 

The Online Advising Playbook includes guiding principles, job descriptions, key performance indicators, advising checklist, advising triggers and communication protocols, embedded learning support, communication protocol scripts and templates, meeting agenda guidelines, quarterly reflection rubric and the advising assessment plan. After a full year of the use of the Playbook, our institution realized the following outcomes: 1-4% increase in undergraduate persistence since initiative launched (program-by-program differences) and over 4% persistence increase in graduate students.  

In this presentation, we will discuss the key facets of the Online Advising Playbook and its ultimate impact on student outcomes (an increase in student persistence and satisfaction).  Case examples will be used to highlight the efficacy of the protocols. As a means of continuous improvement, the audience will be asked to share similar cases and the methods used to mitigate student at-risk behavior for inclusion in our 2019-20 Online Advising Playbook.  As a commitment to collegiality and addressing U.S. higher education student success and graduation rates, audience members are welcome to a copy of the Online Advising Playbook to model at their institutions. Audience members will leave equipped with a model that has proven, positive impact on student persistence and satisfaction.   Lastly, a call-to-action will be made for more proactive advising and student support to address gaps in persistence for today’s student.

Audience members will: 

  1. Explore the process behind implementing the Online Advising Playbook, 

  2. Examine how student persistence and attainment is strengthened through active collaboration between Faculty, Advising, and Learning Support units,  

  3. Brainstorm on possible implementation of all or parts of the Online Advising Playbook at their institutions in an effort to increase persistence. 

Jun 16, 2020
10:45am - 11:15am (Eastern)
Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk with VoiceThread

Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions. Lisa Barry and George Haines, representing our sponsor VoiceThread, will lead off with a chat about adding voices and faces to your online spaces.  We look forward to your contributions to the chat to see where it takes us.


Jun 16, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
SUNY Empire State and Carolina Distance Learning Explore Online Science: Challenges And Solutions

In this session, Dr. Sujatha Kadaba, Assistant Professor of Science, Mathematics, and Technology at SUNY Empire State University, in Saratoga Springs, NY, will share her experience building and offering online labs in partnership with Carolina Distance Learning. The investigations have been designed for distance learning using in house laboratory components and state of the art technology tools.

Extended Abstract

The best way to learn science is by doing science, but how can distance learning students do science in their homes? A lack of quality, safe, and affordable lab materials can prevent students from doing the kinds of rigorous, hands-on lab investigations they would on campus. There are alternatives to traditional lab materials, such as videos and simulations. However, such alternatives do not fully capture the essence of a physical experimental setup. Videos are experienced passively, which makes them poor substitutes for interactive involvement. Most simulations are very low-stakes endeavors. Students can’t run out of materials, mistakes are easily reversed, and the number of possible outcomes is very limited. No preparation or cleanup is necessary; events typically do not unfold in real time. Lab kits can provide quality instructional materials to support active, engaged learning. Online Institutions are interested in tools and services that make them more effective and efficient in providing and growing their programs. Vendors that understand the challenges of client institutions and can create products and services to relieve that need can serve institutions well. A vendor may sell you a product, but those you want to partner with are experts at what they do, so they can provide successful implementation. Come and learn how this process is being lived out through the strategic relationship between SUNY Empire State and Carolina Distance Learning Lab Kits.

Jun 16, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: An Institutional Approach to AL$ at Bethune-Cookman University

This portion of the HBCU summit includes overviews from Bethune-Cookman University presenters of their AL$ projects.  Presenters will then discuss their project with summit participants, followed by discussions about applying Bethune Cookman University's strategies to your campus.

Extended Abstract

  •  “A Case Study of the B-CU Open Sources Project: Course MLS 131, Breaking Down the Barriers of Accessibility and Affordability" -  Presenter:  Adelia Esperanza Parrado-Ortiz, Bethune-Cookman University
  •  “Development and Facilitation of OER Financial and Managerial Accounting Classes – Our Journey” -  Presenters:  Michelle Troian and Amy Williams, Bethune-Cookman University


Jun 16, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
OLC Innovate Community College Summit 2020 - 20/20 Vision Design: So You Think You Can Build Virtual Edition - Part 1

Community college educators are at the forefront of design and implementation of unique digital programs for diverse populations. Online programs help us meet the demands of a fluid workforce and varied student demographic. We must be learning engineers in the truest sense as we provide structure and infrastructure to sustainable and adaptable programs. 

Join our one-day design challenge event, where you will team up with learning engineers from around the world to share resources, identify gaps, and discover solutions together. Our panelists will prompt discussions with design anecdotes, directing you to consider all the components of quality online, web-based and blended programs. By building on the knowledge base of your design team and incorporating the components of effective design and pillars of quality education, participants will collectively engineer design plans suitable for any institution. Attendees need not attend all sessions to participate. Each session will offer implementable takeaways.

The CC Summit option is included in your OLC Innovate Virtual Conference 2020 registration fee. There is no additional registration fee to participate in the summit.

Extended Abstract


Jun 16, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
The Chopped Heutagogy Challenge: Can Learning Pathways Be Designed to Allow for Self-Determined Learning Options?

Calling anyone who wants to put their advanced course design theory skills to the test! Are you ready for the Chopped Heutagogy Challenge? We know that individualized learning experiences are difficult to create. How can we build something that allows learners to step out and create their own learning pathway?

Extended Abstract

Have you heard of the Chopped television show on the Food Network where chefs put their advanced culinary skills to the test when they have to cook a meal with a basket of challenging ingredients? Are you ready to put your course design skills to the test in The Chopped Heutagogy challenge?

One round.

One design mock-up.

What mystery concepts will be in your Chopped Basket (in addition to Heutagogy)?

Just like in the television show, participants will also have an online “pantry” of any tool they choose to help them create their new masterpiece. Will they choose the typical standards, or incorporate something new and different?

Some of these newer tools – such as H5P, Twine, and chatbots – are designed to allow users to create non-linear interactive content. Could these tools be used to create open-ended, self-determined learning experiences? If there were no limits on tools or creative thinking, how might we design learner-centered courses based on a “heutagogical model that gives ownership and agency to the learner and respects their preferred approach to learning” (Bali & Caines, 2018, p.17)?

For those unfamiliar with Heutagogy, it is a field of study that focuses on self-determined learning, where learners are taught how to learn rather than what specifically to learn (Blaschke, 2012). Different models of course design can fit in well with a heutagogical framework, including game-based learning, Rhizomatic learning (Cormier, 2008), problem-based learning, and Self-Mapped Learning Pathways (Crosslin, 2018). Session participants will work collaboratively to design a mock-up of a lesson that allows learners the flexibility to exercise agency and determine their own learning experience. This mock-up can be written / drawn out on paper, detailed in digital documents, or even created using any online tool of participants choosing. Participants with specific tools or learning contexts will even be given the chance to pitch their tool/course to the session in order to solicit group members.

An example of a heutagogical learner-focused lesson can be found here:

While it would not be realistic to leave the session with a fully developed lesson such as the one above, participants will leave the session with an outline of tools and design methodologies that they can continue working with towards the goal of completing a real lesson. Team mock-ups will be presented at the end of the session in order to seed more ideas. Design mock-ups will be captured and shared via a blog post after the session is over at

Throughout the session, the moderator will discuss emerging trends in educational technology such as H5P, chatbots, artificial intelligence, gamification, and learning analytics, as well as their potential usage in student-centered learning.


Bali, M. & Caines, A. (2018). A call for promoting ownership, equity, and agency in faculty development via connected learning. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 15(46).

Blaschke, L. M. (2012). Heutagogy and lifelong learning: A review of heutagogical practice and self-determined learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(1), 56-71.

Cormier, D. (2008). Rhizomatic education: Community as curriculum. Innovate 4(5).

Crosslin, M. (2018). Exploring self-regulated learning choices in a customizable learning pathway course. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 34(1), 131-144.

Jun 16, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Checking in or checking out?: Engaging distance learners by infusing active learning in the online “classroom”

How do you prevent students from “checking out” in an online course? What are the challenges to designing an online course that engages learners in active participation? Join us for a discussion of key issues in active distance learning and brainstorm active learning strategies to engage distance learners. 

Extended Abstract

According to EDUCAUSE’s 2019 Horizon Report, Higher Education Edition, “The transition to active learning classrooms and spaces in higher education has gained considerable momentum in recent years” (p. 11). Important considerations for active learning broached in the report include redesigned learning spaces, stakeholder (administrator, designer, professor, student) buy-in, and transforming pedagogical approaches (EDUCAUSE, 2019, p. 11). While the current, short-term trend is toward redesigning physical learning spaces for active learning, the report posits that “a commensurate focus on virtual learning spaces may be further out on the horizon.” Foci could include current capabilities for infusing online platforms with active learning tools to facilitate team-based learning and provide synchronous virtual meeting spaces, and even someday to utilize extended reality (XR) to enhance students’ individual learning experiences (EDUCAUSE, 2019, p. 11). With the push toward expanding active learning in higher education institutions, how do you decide which strategies, technology, or approaches will enhance student learning in your classes? 

Before professors can use active learning, they must see its value for student success. If those who are teaching do not buy into active learning pedagogy, how can they be expected to implement it successfully? For those with buy-in, why do you value active learning approaches to teaching online courses? 

Once buy-in has been achieved on an instructional level, the challenges and considerations related to planning and design, implementation, and facilitation of active learning for online courses must be addressed. What are the challenges involved in structuring an online course infused with active learning? What is involved in the planning stages? What difficulties are involved in implementing and facilitating active learning in an online course? 

A seemingly obvious component of active learning for online courses is the use of technology. Technology is necessarily a part of online learning, but its use can be limited or expanded according to faculty preferences, limitations, and innovation. How could you leverage technology to engage your students in an online learning environment? What have you used in the past and what were its successes? What were your challenges? 

An essential component of eliciting student buy-in and engagement with active learning approaches to online courses involves the three main pillars of interaction: student-faculty interaction, student-student interaction, and student-content interaction. Faculty must make a concerted effort to create purposeful, meaningful interactions in online courses. How do you balance the three main types of interaction to encourage active learning online? What are your strategies to promote each type of interaction in your online courses? How does “interaction” relate to “active learning”? 

One way to create interaction between students is through group work, but how can you ensure that students are actually interacting with one another rather than working separately and cobbling their individual work together? What kinds of interactive group work have you assigned for online courses? How did you make the decision to assign those tasks as group versus individual work? What are the barriers to assigning group work in an online class? What strategies or methods have you used for making online group work interactive and successful? What challenges have you encountered with students, and how did you address those issues? 

Finally, we must determine whether the active learning methods we employ in our classes achieve the desired effect and help our students meet our course objectives. How do you assess active learning online? How do you demonstrate its efficacy? 

All of these questions will be explored in this engaging facilitated conversation. Please join us for a lively discussion to probe the challenges that face faculty as they move to develop methods for engaging distance students as active learners in online courses. 


Level of Participation: 

This session is structured as a facilitated conversation. The panelists will begin with a brief introduction to the proposed issue of how to use active learning strategies in online courses for the purpose of engaging distance learners. Then, panelists will facilitate discussions on the key issues outlined in this proposal: value/buy-in, challenges in the stages of development, use of technology, promotion of interaction, assessment. Panelists will share their experiences with these issues from both instructional and faculty development support perspectives. Participants will explore the topic of active online learning by sharing their own experiences, concerns, and questions with the group and collaborating to develop approaches for implementing active learning strategies to engage online students.

Session Goals: 

Individuals attending this conversation will be able to identify why active learning is valuable for distance education. They will be able to explain the challenges active learning poses at each stage of the course (design, implementation, facilitation). Finally, they will be able to explore and appraise the utility of a multitude of active learning strategies that could be infused into online courses.


Jun 16, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Authentication as a Bridge between Candidate and Credential

Bridges can be gatekeepers allowing only appropriate persons to pass over.  Learner authentication can be a gatekeeper making sure that only persons who have actually done the work in a course are awarded the credit.  Grambling University is a HBCU that is using facial recognition to ensure learner authentication. 

Extended Abstract

Bridges not only provide access from one side to the other, but they can also be used as gatekeepers to ensure that only appropriate persons are allowed to cross.  For any individual to cross the crevasse that is higher education, they must pass over several bridges to move to the side of the bank where a college degree is a recognized credential demonstrating competency.  One such bridge is the bridge of learner authentication.

A person should only reach the bank on which a college degree is awarded if an only if they are indeed the person who did the work to cross the bridge.  Learner authentication is the gatekeeper on the bridge to ensure that the right person is crossing the bridge and receiving the degree.  Facial recognition can be the emerging technology used for verification.

It is possible for someone other than the registered student to be the person actually doing the work to cross the bridge. 
Helicopter Parents – Parents are paying tuition and they want to make sure that their student does not fall off the bridge by getting a failing grade. 
Boyfriend or Girlfriend –You want to keep your special friend happy with you, so why not help them cross the bridge by doing their online school work.
Hired Help – Just like you can buy term papers online, you can pay someone to use your login to do your course work.  Sometimes this is a student who took the course in a prior term who attempts to cross the bridge for fellow students.
School Staff – There have been cases of assistant coaches completing the online course assignments for their athletes, in essence carrying them across the bridge.

This session will present a report on the implementation of an emerging technology that utilizes facial recognition to verify who is doing the work in the online courses at Grambling State University.  The process works by initially authenticating that the student is who they say they are by comparing an image of their government-issued photo ID to a database of thousands of high-resolution IDs to ensure the ID is valid.  At the time of this initial authentication, the system takes a baseline image of the student.  That image can then be used multiple times during the online course to compare an image of the person doing the work in the course to the baseline image.  The school is able to control the placement, randomization, and frequency of the verification checks which only take about 15 seconds for the student to complete. 

A tool such as this is useful in helping this HBCU be compliant with accreditation and federal standards for user authentication and attendance. It also helps prevent financial aid fraud.  In 2013 the Office of Inspector General (OIG) performed an audit of eight distance learning programs. Their finding was that the eight schools “disbursed nearly $222 million to more than 42,000 distance education students who did not earn any credits during a payment period.”  Grambling was able to validate that the person who enrolled in a course was who they say they are and that they were consistently the person completing the course work.

Jun 16, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
Digital Learning Innovations Environmental Scan: Reflect and Review

Come join the Every Learner Everywhere Network to reflect on the findings of a recently completed environmental scan of digital learning innovations and learn more about the strategy created to address these trends.

Extended Abstract

Every Learner Everywhere is helping institutions of higher education use adaptive learning technology to improve teaching and learning with a focus on increasing the success of first-generation students, low income students, and students of color. We are: 

  • Digital: We help institutions maximize the benefits of new technology and better navigate the hurdles of implementation using best practices from the field

  • Equitable: We look for solutions and best practices that reduce inequities between different student groups

  • Flexible: We create flexible resources to meet the unique needs of different institutions and student populations

  • Connected: We connect the higher education community so they can work collectively and share best practices (


Every Learner Everywhere in conjunction with Tanya Joosten has reviewed digital learning innovations trends via the DLIA submissions from 2016-2018 and through a scan of various journals and publications, both nationally and internationally. At Accelerate 2019 you learned about the research methodology behind this scan. Here, at Innovate 2020, we would like to present to you a full analysis and strategy surrounding the results.


Jun 16, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
Getting Started with 360 Video and Photos in your Class

Discover how to create interactive 360 degree videos that you can use in your class.  In this session we will explore the tools and platforms to allow you to select the right camera, produce immersive multimedia videos, and create applications in your LMS that facilitate effective and engaging learning experiences.

Extended Abstract

In this session, we will explore how to incorporate 360 degree multimedia content (videos and photos) in the LMS.  For those who are interested in incorporating 360 videos and pictures into their classes, this session will help you explore the current cameras on the market, which multimedia platforms integrate best within an LMS, and how we can we better incorporate this interactive multimedia into our course content and assessments.  

We will review several of the key cameras on the market right now that are ideal for our classrooms as we discuss which features to look for based on how you will use the content.  As the current market does not have a one-size-fits-all device, it is important to factor in the content production and recording environment when selecting a camera.  Will the footage be shot in low light, will there be movement, is 3D depth important, and will battery life be a consideration?

Selecting a camera is a first step.  We will also discuss taking pictures and video, and seamlessly incorporating them into your LMS course content through various platforms.  We will focus on post-production challenges, options for presenting/integrating content in the LMS, and embedding and interacting with the 360 content - including multimedia on mobile devices.  

In the final portion of this session we will engage in a collaborative discussion where we will "open up the mics" and brainstorm together how we can incorporate 360 interactions into assignments, course content, or student work.  Come prepared to both learn and to contribute as we discuss ideas for 360 content to improve teaching and learning, as well as brainstorm examples of projects, assignments, and activities.

Participants will discover the various camera options, prices, and features for capturing appropriate content.

Participants will identify several platforms for hosting and interacting with their content.

Participants will collaborate in a discussion regarding how to effectively incorporate 360 multimedia into our course content.  

Jun 16, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
Using Empathy, Genuine and Unconditional Positive Regard to Build Safety for Discussing Difficult Topics in the Online Classroom

We propose a new theoretical model using Carl Rogers conditions for relationship. Using empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard to facilitate meaningful life-changing dialogue in the online teaching environment where difficult dialogue regarding social justice issues involving race, class, gender, sexuality, ableism, and other non-hegemonic identities occurs.Yet, Tausch and Huls (2014) found that 60% of university students believed they received no empathy from their professors. Similarly, Rogers, Lyons, and Tausch (2014) found that student feelings or emotions are rarely addressed in the classroom.





Extended Abstract


Expectations for candidates studying to be working professionals in the fields of education and human services include: compassion and empathy for their students/clients, a sense of caring, and, most importantly, a commitment to social justice. The latter is the underpinning sentiment of the desire to correct social ills, in the interest of the public good.We acknowledge the importance for educators and human service professionals to recognize critical social justice issues involving race, class, gender, sexuality, ableism, and other non-hegemonic identities, as well as to understand intersectionality, and, we ask, “how can we best deliver said ‘unsafe content’ in online environments?” 

In order to successfully accomplish these goals, we examine content and pedagogy. Our online content involves dismantling stereotypes through the use of counter-story, and our pedagogy is based upon the work of Carl Rogers. We ultimately propose a new theoretical model based upon the work of Rogers who uses empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard to facilitate meaningful life-changing dialogue in classrooms. We then apply this model to online teaching environments, and examine its effectiveness.

Background Literature

Lai and colleagues (2014) found that high engagement with counter-stereotypical counter-stories can be effective in reducing implicit biases, which is key in understanding and embracing diversity. Direct participant engagement with counter-stories that intentionally dismantle stereotypes can impact how messages are processed, thus reducing implicit biases. In this presentation, we address how this research can be extended to online environments. We propose a theoretical model to create safety for the depth of dialogue required to reduce student biases. In this presentation, we address how this research can be extended to online environments. 

Ultimately, the professor creates the socio-psychological aspects of the classroom environment, selecting the topics that initiate and facilitate dialogue. However, in order for students to be willing to look deep within themselves, the classroom environment must feel safe—where students feel free to disclose deeply held beliefs that reinforce biases. We propose a theoretical model to create safety for the depth of dialogue required to reduce student biases. 

We define Critical Social Justice (CSJ) as actively engaging the classroom as a site for social change. We desire to prepare our students to do the same in their future classrooms or working environments. Our theoretical model, based upon the work of Carl Rogers, utilizes various methods and professor behaviors that ultimately lead to a transformative relationship between the student and “the other.”

Theoretical Framework

Rogers theorized that the relationship between the professor and the student consists of the professor’s proficiency in three interactive components, to convey: empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard. As the professor becomes consistent in conveying these three interactive components, trust and safety is established, and, students can then authentically discuss their biases and fears of “the other.” We argue that the utilization of Rogers’s model in online environments will minimize the transactional distance between professor and student, and thus move students to be more open to “unsafe content”: ultimately minimizing their potential resistance and alienation, and increasing their empathy for those different from them. 

Bockmier-Sommers, Chen, and Martsch (2017) found that professors possessing Rogers’ three conditions (empathy, genuineness, and high regard) increased student engagement. Although Rogers did not theorize for online learning per se, we apply his theories to unique, intentionally created online learning environments with social justice foci. The open dialogue that professors can create helps students realize the injustices of racism, homophobia, ageism, sexism, and ableism. Students also have the potential to see systemic and institutionalized “isms,” which is crucial to critical social justice practice.

Rogers (1969) and Rogers, Lyon and Tausch (2014) maintained that learning is facilitated when the professor uses empathy, high regard, and genuineness to help the student(s) feel safe, trusted, creative, and knowledgeable. As the professor models and uses empathy, genuineness, and high regard in their interactions, students feel emotional safety, freedom, engagement, and curiosity, which become the pillars of support needed to move to a deeper level of learning (Rogers, Lyon, & Tausch, 2014). 



Figure 1: Building a Path toward Social Justice: A Theoretical Model

After exposing student to our theoretical model, and with facilitative exercises utilizing counter-stories, students felt safe to disclose and then to re-examine their biases. We saw significant growth within our students. Here are some examples from our preliminary findings:

Beginning of semester: “White privilege was never an interesting topic for me. It is difficult for me to write a paper on a subject I am not interested in.”  

End of semester: “I feel that I struggled due to my lack of experience with diversity. Living in a rural area there are not usually a lot of opportunity for multiculturalism. I really have started to think about diversity on a daily basis and it really has changed the way I think of things. It has opened my eyes to diversity and how diversity comes into play within this profession.”

The above quotations represents students growth over time.

We will be sharing additional qualitative data during the presentation.

The key to building empathy for “the other” within students, particularly in online learning environments, is tocreate counter-narratives or counter-stereotypes of “the other.” Using fiction and case studies are effective ways for students to identify with characters who are different from them. Through the cases we selected and implemented, our participants could overwhelmingly both relate to the characters presented, often different from themselves, and communicate a sense of empathy for these counter-stereotypical characters. Although this is a preliminary study, we feel that case study pedagogy utilizing counter-story is an effective way of increasing empathy and reducing implicit bias for counter-stereotypical characters. In the presentation, we will elaborate on how to utilize case study pedagogy.


Lai, C. K., Marini, M., Lehr, S. A., Cerruti, C., Shin, J. L., Joy-Gaba, … Nosek, B. A. (2014). Reducing implicit racial preferences: I. A comparative investigation of 17    

             interventions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 1765-1785. 

Rogers, C. R. (1983). Freedom to learn for the 80s. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill 

            Publishing Company.

Rogers, C. R., Lyon, H. C., and Tausch, R. (2014). On becoming an effective teacher: 

           Person-centered teaching, psychology, philosophy, and dialogues with Carl R. Rogers and Harold C. Lyon, Jr. New York, NY: Routledge. 

Jun 16, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: International Applications of AL$
  • "Innovations in Senegal:  Leveraging AL$ Services For Senegal's Higher Eduation" - Presenters:  Ms. Oumy Fall and Cheikh Diawara, Virtual University of Senegal
  • "Digital Communication and Access to Knowledge:  Senegal at the Crossroads" - Presenters:  Nafissatou Diouf, Virtual University of Senegal

Extended Abstract


Jun 16, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Implementing an Online Training Program for Multi Course Section Instructional Teams

This session will cover the process and implementation of an innovative on-boarding online training program for new instructors of a multi-section course. Particular emphasis will be placed on developing measurable learning objectives for the training program and the assessment process through which instructors are certified to teach the course.  

Extended Abstract

Baker and Bikero (2019), make a compelling case for a structured on-boarding process for the purposes of improving the overall experience of new faculty members. Furthermore, Herdklotz and Canale (2017) caution against solely relying on the ‘one size fits all’ new faculty orientation approach given the different levels of teaching experience and faculty roles. Accordingly, this session will cover the process and implementation of an innovative on-boarding online training program for new instructors of a multi-section Public Speaking course which is offered in all delivery modes (face-to-face, online and hybrid). Specifically, the presentation will begin by outlining some of the unique intricacies of the course (multi-section course, multiple delivery formats, instructor turn-over) which require the need for consistent content and assessment strategies across all sections while taking into account the different levels and perspectives of the instructional pool.  In addition, given the unique dynamics of the specific course, there was a need for strong elements of quality control which was the impetus for launching an innovative online on-boarding training program for new instructors. During the presentation, we will cover the specific content of the training program, the assessment strategies and the evolution of the program during the last three years in light of the feedback received from the participants. 

This presentation will be of interest to participants who manage on-boarding programs of new instructors and/or employees. Accordingly, during the discussion segment, participants will be asked to identify the components which should be included in an effective on-boarding program and share how those are implemented in their organizations in light of the model that was covered during the session.


Baker, B., & Dipiro, J.T. (2019). Evaluation of a Structured On-Boarding Process and Tool for Faculty Members in a School of Pharmacy. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 83, 1233-1238. 

Herdklotz,C., & Canale, A.M. (n.d.). Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved December 19, 2017, from

Jun 16, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Online Exam Proctoring: How 1,000 universities got started over 3 weeks

Over a 3 week period, 1,000 institutions began using LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor to protect the integrity of their online exams. Learn the rapid rollout methods they used.

Extended Abstract

Universities across the world had to switch to remote learning in early 2020 and needed a way to ensure the integrity of online exams. In this session, you’ll learn how 1,000 universities rolled out the use of LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor over a 3 week period -- and how they leaned on training and support resources from Respondus to accomplish this. There will be a demonstration of the LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor applications, including a discussion of key challenges with online testing, what to put in your syllabus, how to address privacy concerns, and best practices for new users.

Jun 16, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
OLC Innovate Community College Summit 2020 - 20/20 Vision Design: So You Think You Can Build Virtual Edition - Part 2

Community college educators are at the forefront of design and implementation of unique digital programs for diverse populations. Online programs help us meet the demands of a fluid workforce and varied student demographic. We must be learning engineers in the truest sense as we provide structure and infrastructure to sustainable and adaptable programs. 

Join our one-day design challenge event, where you will team up with learning engineers from around the world to share resources, identify gaps, and discover solutions together. Our panelists will prompt discussions with design anecdotes, directing you to consider all the components of quality online, web-based and blended programs. By building on the knowledge base of your design team and incorporating the components of effective design and pillars of quality education, participants will collectively engineer design plans suitable for any institution. Attendees need not attend all sessions to participate. Each session will offer implementable takeaways.

The CC Summit option is included in your OLC Innovate Virtual Conference 2020 registration fee. There is no additional registration fee to participate in the summit.

Extended Abstract


Jun 16, 2020
3:15pm - 3:45pm (Eastern)
OLC Live: Building Bridges to New Opportunities

Pivoting to a fully-online conference was a formidable challenge that the OLC Innovate conference chairs celebrated as an opportunity. Learn more about the work of these amazing humans and how their findings and efforts apply to our collective efforts to support quality online learning more broadly.

Extended Abstract


Jun 16, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
Creator or Curator? An OER Decision-Making Strategy for Content Development in Online and Blended Courses

This presentation will engage participants in mapping key criteria that faculty can apply when deciding whether to create vs. curate content for online and blended courses, following a framework for OER course/programmatic development established by the presenters in a collaborative exercise and yielding a personalized take-away for immediate adoption.

Extended Abstract

Faculty who teach online and hybrid/blended courses make numerous critical decisions related to pedagogical approach, course design, and content development and selection. Given the rise of open educational resources (OER’s)—including institutional initiatives that encourage its use—the area of content generation is the focus of particular emphasis and attention. For example, 64% of the 242 institutions who participated in The 2018 Campus Computing Survey reported that their “campus[es] encourage faculty to use OER content for their courses,” and 81% agreed that “OER course materials and textbooks will be an important source for instructional resources in five years.” However, in the same survey only 38% of the participating institutions agreed that “faculty at my campus believe the quality of OER course materials is about the same as comparable commercial products.” These data suggest a gap between institutional expectations and faculty perceptions, and they call attention to the challenges that faculty may face in making decisions about the nature of the resources that they use in their courses.

Faculty apply criteria such as affordability, quality, time on task, and resources to choose among content options, weighing OER factors that may  include:

(1) publisher and/or OER vendor materials,

 (2) open educational resources (OER),

or (3) self-developed materials (i.e., “create your own,” or CYO). 

This presentation will engage participants in a discussion of their experiences with these three content sources and will result in the collaborative mapping of a decision-making strategy for determining when to create vs. curate course content.

Attendees will work collaboratively during this interactive session with peers in a content mapping exercise, resulting in a personalized takeaway resource to bring back to their institutions.

Key session topics will include the following.


  1. How do faculty decide (pedagogy, context, etc.) when to use OER, CYO, or publisher materials?
  2. Content mapping, spectrum of OER content, and resource/resource providers
  3. Faculty as SME vs Content Curator
  4. Assessing quality of OERs: whose job is it anyway?
  5. Institution-led OER initiatives: pros/cons


  • All attendees will leave the session with a personalized OER content mapping tool.
  • The presenters also will develop and share a reference document listing high-quality, OER-related resources.


The 2018 Campus Computing Survey. (2018, October 31). Retrieved from

Jun 16, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
Using Principles of Experiential Learning to Promote Effective Learning Among English Language Learners

With Experiential Learning in the ESL (English as a Second Language) classroom, diversity mandates a universal approach that features creative discovery and reflection as tools to deeper learning. This "Discovery Session" will review concepts of Experiential Learning applied to the ESL classroom.

Extended Abstract

Experiential Learning has been applied to many different subjects and disciplines and in many different forms.  From the traditional show-and tell exercises in the classroom to the cooperative learning (Coop) and service learning in the community to the current strategy of "WTPS" (Write, Think, Pair, Share), teachers have long been using one form or another of Experiential Learning. It is a concept that is just as effective in the online environment, as well. The area of Experiential Learning has consistently been recognized in the research as a valid method of teaching and learning, in both face-to-face and online classrooms. Kolb (1984) wrote: "another reason the theory is called experiential is its intellectual origins in the experiential works of Dewey, Lewin, and Piaget. Taken together, Dewey's philosophical pragmatism, Lewin's social psychology, and Piaget's cognitive-developmental genetic epistemology form a unique perspective on learning and development” (Kolb, 1984, in Kolb, Boyatesis, & Mainelmelis, 1999).

These areas are all pedagogically-relevant topics that transfer to the online environment. I would like to concentrate on the application of Experiential Learning in the ESL classroom, an area that has not had as much focus as the L1 (first language) classroom. For this proposal, my goal is to encourage reflection on experiential learning in the ESL classroom both face-to-face and online.

Experiential Learning (EL) was popularized by Kolb's 1984 Model of Experiential Learning (Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, 2019) in which four phases provide an iterative framework for presenting information, transforming and processing information, and applying information: 

  • In the Concrete Experience phase, students play and move, engaging with the information;
  • In the Reflective Observation phase students process the information through reflection on related "connections, inconsistencies, [and...] prior knowledge";
  • In the Abstract Conceptualization phase, students conceive of "new understandings/ideas..." and form their own impressions of the information;
  • In the Active Experimentation phase, the student purposefully applies the knowledge
  • with new experiences.

Variations of these phases have been practiced by ESL teachers. Teacher (2012) described the philosophy and activities connected to applying experiential learning in the ESL classroom: exposure, participation, internalization, and dissemination (Teacher, 2012). In the ESL (English as a Second Language) classroom, successful teaching is being able to deliver a concept to students in a way that will lead to deeper comprehension through active learning and consequently to successful application in their language learning.

In employing Experiential Learning in their classrooms, teachers should be mindful of the principles for Best Practice for all experiential learning activities, created by the National Society for Experiential Education: Intention, Preparedness & Planning, Authenticity, Reflection, Orientation & Training, Monitoring & Continuous Improvement, Assessment & Evaluation, and Acknowledgement (Cabral, 2019).

"Experience-based, task-based and project-based learning becomes experiential when elements of reflection, support and transfer are present after the learning experience" (Knutsen, 2003). This OLC session will encourage reflection by the audience of the implications of using Experiential Learning in teaching ESL. I will guide the reflection and ensuing discussion with a handout of pertinent points about Experiential Learning.


Cabral, A. C.  (2019). Slide presentation to the University of Tennessee at Martin faculty workshop, August 16, 2019.

 Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (2019). Pedagogy of experiential education. Retrieved at

Knutsen, S.  (2003).  Experiential learning in second-language classrooms.  Canada: TESL  Canada Journal, v. 20, no. 2.


Kolb, D. A., Boyatesis, R. E., & Mainelmelis, C. (1999). Experiential learning theory: Previous research and new directions. Retrieved at

National Society for Experiential Education (2011). Guiding principles of ethical practice.

Teacher, J. (2012). Experiential learning for the ESL classroom - Philosophy and Activities (blog). Retrieved at

Jun 16, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: The Future of Everything -The Educational Complex

We will cover the impact and vastness of emergent technological approaches that shrink and bend our educational enterprise. The use of both hardware and software continues to transform how we deliver, discuss, and decipher applicable modes of teaching, learning, and training. We have entered into the half life of half lives while still making assessment and data informed decisions about the scalable impact of OER, XR, and modernity-maturity of communities.

Extended Abstract


Jun 16, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
OLC Innovate Community College Summit 2020 - 20/20 Vision Design: So You Think You Can Build Virtual Edition - Part 3

Community college educators are at the forefront of design and implementation of unique digital
programs for diverse populations. Online programs help us meet the demands of a fluid workforce and varied student demographic. We must be learning engineers in the truest sense as we provide structure and infrastructure to sustainable and adaptable programs. 

Join our one-day design challenge event, where you will team up with learning engineers from around the world to share resources, identify gaps, and discover solutions together. Our panelists will prompt discussions with design anecdotes, directing you to consider all the components of quality online, web-based and blended programs. By building on the knowledgebase of your design team and incorporating the components of effective design and pillars of quality education, participants will collectively engineer design plans suitable for any institution. Attendees need not attend all sessions to participate. Each session will offer implementable takeaways.

The CC Summit option is included in your OLC Innovate Virtual Conference 2020 registration fee. There is no additional registration fee to participate in the summit.

Extended Abstract


Jun 16, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Comparing Online and On-campus Learning Experiences in a Blended Synchronous Learning Environment

Blended synchronous classroom gives students the flexibility to attend either in person or remotely. However, technical issues with this environment often create negative learning experiences. This study explores the use of a 360 degree intelligent conference camera and breakout sessions with mixed groupings to create a more authentic classroom experience.  

Extended Abstract

Students often prefer face-to-face classroom instruction because of immediate feedback from their teacher and social interactions with other students (Altiner, 2015). However, it is not always feasible for students to attend in-person classes.  One solution to this issue is to create a blended synchronous classroom environment which allows online and on-campus students to participate in class activities in real time (Bower, Lee, & Dalgarno, 2016). This innovative approach is gaining attention among higher education institutions due to its flexibility and increased accessibility (Bell, Sawaya, & Cain, 2014; Wang, Huang, & Quek, 2018). Blended synchronous learning provides an alternative for students who are unable to attend classes due to illnesses, bad weather conditions, or other personal challenges (Wang et al., 2018). For example, students with physical disabilities may not have equal opportunities to attend on-campus classes (Norberg, 2012). Blended synchronous learning environments may allow these students to attend classroom instruction even when they cannot physically make it to class (Wang, Quek, & Hu, 2017).

In recent classes at a midwestern university where we have been experimenting with blended synchronous learning, we have seen this benefit firsthand. For example, we have been able to conference into classes students who would otherwise have had to miss class for a variety of reasons, including illnesses, childcare issues, and temporary physical issues such as broken limbs. Although these students were grateful to not have to miss class, sometimes their experience participating was not optimal due to technology issues. For example, it was challenging for students who were not physically in the classroom to clearly hear and see what was happening because of audio or video issues. Remote students tend to face an uphill battle in terms of achieving full participation because nonverbal communication, which delivers more than half of the meaning in the course of human interaction is difficult to discern absent a good quality video (Betts, 2009).Hence lies the apparent paradox – the technology that was intended to assist students in overcoming barriers to participation also serves to restrict their ability to fully partake in the learning environment. 

One goal of blended synchronous designs is to attempt to provide all students (regardless of attendance mode) equivalent learning experiences (Wang et al., 2017). However, some technological designs end up improving the presence of one group at the sacrifice of the other. For example, having each online student displayed on an individual device has been found to help on-campus students feel more connected to the online students, but resulted in the online students feeling more disconnected from one another (Bell et al., 2014). Many designs can feel awkward to the on-campus students who need to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do in the classroom, such as move an iPad so the online student can see better (Bell et al., 2014; Cunningham, 2014) or speak directly into a microphone (Szeto & Cheng, 2016; Wang et al., 2017). In some instances, these extra tasks are met with reluctance or even resentment among on-campus students (Cunningham, 2014) or made the online students feel dependent or unwanted (Bell et al., 2014; Cunningham, 2014). Instructor effort to make sure that online students can see/hear each other can sometimes result in less attention being paid to the classroom instruction (Wang et al., 2017).

Given these mixed results, this goal of our study was to explore a technical setup that we hoped would create an authentic learning experience for both online and on-campus students. Our technical design included a 360-degree intelligent camera for whole group discussions along with the use of small breakout groups to connect online and on-campus students through a webcam and speakerphone situated directly in-front of the on-campus students. Our overarching research question was:

How do the learning experiences of on-campus and online students compare within a blended synchronous classroom that utilizes a 360 degree intelligent conference camera and small mixed breakout groups?


The current study used a case study approach as described by Yin (2003). The unit of analysis for this case was a graduate level, on-campus course with several blended synchronous sessions that students could attend in person or virtually via Zoom.  The participants included nine students who alternated in their mode of attendance during these sessions.  The nine students were broken into three groups for small class discussions.  The classroom set up included a Meeting Owl, a 360-degree intelligent camera, situated in the middle of the room to pick up on all classroom activity during whole class discussions.  Around the outside edge of the room were small table groupings that each included a computer attached to a speakerphone and a webcam. Each group computer was assigned a breakout group within Zoom’s web conferencing breakout sessions and remained in the breakout group during the whole class period. This enabled the classroom speakerphones to be left on the whole time without the concern for audio interference. When it was time for the breakout sessions to begin, the instructor moved the online students into their respective groups within Zoom and on-campus students simply turned their chairs to face the small table groupings, making a seamless transition. 

The data collection consisted of multiple qualitative data collection methods, including a survey, classroom observations, and instructional notes after each session.  Using multiple data sources allows for triangulation of the findings, which minimizes validity issues of using a single method (Maxwell, 2013).  These data sources were designed to collectively assess the core element of learner experience, which is whether learner needs are being met (Huang, Spector, & Yang, 2019). For example, open-ended questions asked learners about their perceived successes, challenges as well as suggestions for improvement. The observations documented how students worked within the environment in real time and recorded the number and quality of interactions between the students using a seating chart observation protocol(Tatum, Schwartz, Schimmoeller & Perry, 2016).  And, the notes recorded the instructor’s perceptions of what went well and how the experience could be improved.  

Expected Results and Early Findings

To date, we have completed two blended synchronous sessions with this setup. On-campus students expressed initial excitement when they came into the classroom and first saw the technology. When asked at the end of the session to debrief their experience, one on-campus student noted: “I liked it; I thought it was pretty interesting. I thought at first that it would be really difficult to break into small groups, but once you got started talking, it felt like we were in a small group and not overwhelmed with what everyone else was doing.” One online student commented “I feel like I was there.”  However, the online experience was not without complication. For example, one online student noted “It was a challenge for us. We have to stay really, really focused and listen really hard to everyone. For the part where everyone is kind of free talking and we were muted, it was a little bit challenging because we have to wait our turn or raise our hand.”  In the debrief of the session, the classroom observer noted that that online participants did not participate as much as the on-campus students during the whole class discussion, likely for this reason. However, during the small breakout sessions, there was a more even participation between online and on-campus students.  In the second blended synchronous session, the instructor added a norm for online students to feel free to jump into the discussion either through voice or chat and this seemed to resolve the issue of uneven participation during whole class discussion.  

Demonstration and Potential Value for Attendees

The purpose of this presentation is to share insights from our research on how to implement blended synchronous learning. During the conference session, the presenter will enable participants to experience a simulated blended learning environment using the Meeting Owl technology and small breakout group functionality. We will demonstrate both the in-person as well as the remote views of the Meeting Owl technology.  During the reflection time, participants can come up to the front where a breakout session with remote presenters will be set up so that participants can try out the breakout functionality. By modeling this approach, participants will learn firsthand what it is like to experience this approach.  Those who participate in this session will leave with the knowledge needed to implement their own blended synchronous sessions, and, in doing so, will continue to actualize the potential for teaching and learning that these new technologies and instructional methods provide.  


Altıner, C. (2015). Perceptions of undergraduate students about synchronous video conference-based English courses. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences199, 627-633.

Bell, J., Sawaya, S., & Cain, W. (2014). Synchromodal classes: Designing for shared learning experiences between face-to-face and online students. International Journal of Designs for Learning5(1).

Betts, K. (2009). Lost in translation: Importance of effective communication in online education. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration12(2), 1–13.

Bower, M., Lee, M., & Dalgarno, B. (2016). Collaborative learning across physical and virtual worlds: Factors supporting and constraining learners in a blended reality environment. British Journal of Educational Technology48(2), 407–430.

Cunningham, U. (2014). Teaching the disembodied: Othering and activity systems in a blended synchronous learning situation. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning15(6), 33-51. doi: 10.19173/irrodl.v15i6.1793

Huang R., Spector J.M., Yang J. (2019) Learner experiences with educational technology. In: Educational Technology. Lecture Notes in Educational Technology. Springer, Singapore.

Maxwell, J. A. (2013).Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Norberg, A. (2012). Blended learning and new education logistics in Northern Sweden. In D. Oblinger (Ed.), Game Changers: Education and information technologies(pp. 327–330). Boulder, CO: Educause Publications.

Szeto, E., & Cheng, A. Y. (2016). Towards a framework of interactions in a blended synchronous learning environment: what effects are there on students' social presence experience? Interactive Learning Environments24(3), 487-503. doi: 10.1080/10494820.2014.881391

Tatum, H., Schwartz,B.,  Schimmoeller, P.A., & Perry, N. (2013.) Classroom participation and student-faculty interactions: Does gender matter?, The Journal of Higher Education, 84:6, 745-768, DOI: 10.1080/00221546.2013.11777309

Wang, F., & Hannafin, M. J. (2005). Design-based research and technology-enhanced learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development53(4), 5–23.

Wang, Q., Huang, C., & Quek, C. L. (2018). Students’ perspectives on the design and implementation of a blended synchronous learning environment. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology34(1), 1–13.

Wang, Q., Quek, C. L., & Hu, X. (2017). Designing and improving a blended synchronous learning environment: An educational design research. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning18(3).

Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.



Jun 16, 2020
5:30pm - 6:15pm (Eastern)
OLC Innovate Community College Summit - Virtual Happy Half Hour

Grab and adult beverage and join your fellow Community College Summit attendees for a half hour of fun playing Kahoots! trivia.  Dogs, cats, kids...all distractions welcome!

Extended Abstract


Jun 17, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Mind the Gap: Exploring and Establishing Criticality Within a "Service" Organization

In this session, we share how our organization has shifted from a service to a partner model in order to support our orientation toward critical engagement with the digital. Participants will leave the session with inspiration, ideas, and allies to support their goal of bringing critical engagement to their organization.

Extended Abstract

As digital learning grows more connected to the academic mission of colleges and universities, institutions and their faculty are turning to digital learning organizations for support. Staff in those digital learning organizations bring their expertise to consultative and project work, but are often not invited to engage critically with the digital. The “service organization” mentality forces a transactional model between digital learning experts and faculty, rather than inviting a partnership where partners are expected to raise critical questions about the role digital learning plays in education, the intersection of commercial and ed tech platforms with student data, and the ethical challenges associated with using technology to address social and educational challenges.

At the same time, many of our institutions are plugging digital initiatives into strategic frameworks, often as part of “21st-century learning” goals or goals related to inclusion and engagement. This presents an opportunity for digital learning organizations to reorient their work toward criticality and to reshape their relationship to faculty, staff, and students on their campuses. This reorientation and reshaping necessitates a paradigmatic shift away from the “service” model toward a model wherein the digital learning organization staff are seen as partners and collaborators in the work. In their 2016 report on the changing IT organization, the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research describes the work of the IT organization when seen as a partner: “In this role, IT understands the core business of the institution, provides expertise to integrate across the campus and advance strategic directions, and spends less time focusing on wires and switches and more time building relationships and communicating about how IT can help” (Wetzel & Pomerantz, 2016, p. 18).  Similarly, digital learning organizations and their staff, when seen as partners in the academic mission rather than service provides, can provide much-needed leadership on emerging and strategic digital learning challenges.

In this session, leaders of the digital learning organization at multi-campus institution will discuss how they approach critical engagement with faculty, staff, and students. At a strategic/institutional level, the organization has closely aligned their mission the institution’s new strategic framework, which includes “digital fluency and critical engagement.”  In doing so, their approach has included structural changes to the organization as well as reorientation of the organizations’ areas of work and “service” toward a partner model. The digital learning organization leaders will also discuss how they infuse criticality into programming (professional learning), projects, and instructional design processes. Examples include:

  • The Addressing Barriers professional learning series for faculty was developed in response to what the organization saw and heard from faculty as an ongoing need for conversations, and opportunities for hands-on work, around designing inclusive teaching. 

  • The Digital Detox series of weekly email newsletters is an initiative to reduce the toxicity of personal digital environments and how we engage with them. This series was developed by the digital learning organization staff to bring thought leadership around critical engagement with technology to the campus.

  • CryptoParties are hands-on events that give participants a chance to take more control over their data and privacy, while asking challenging questions about the role of platforms and the attention economy in shaping our relationships to data and privacy. Aimed primarily at a student audience, these cryptoparties have also provided partnership opportunities with extra- and co-curricular student organizations.

  • The project charter document that instructional designers use at the beginning of a new project includes language that describes our organizational values as a partnering organization and invites conversation about what that looks like in the context of the project: “We believe that successful collaborations are built on shared goals, a willingness to listen and learn from each other, and trust. This document is intended to help guide conversations between collaborators  around project expectations, roles, timeline, and definitions of success...”

Plan for Reflection and Discussion

During the 5 minute reflection time, we will invite participants to reflect on the following questions: How can I develop an orientation for my organization that makes space for critical engagement? What values and beliefs about the work of my organization would need to drive a shift from a service organization to a partner model? How can I help to make incremental changes to programming, interactions, and/or processes that demonstrate these values?

The 5 minute small group discussion will allow participants to process their insights to the questions with others, and make connections with potential allies who can support one another in the process. We’ll ask for a notetaker at each table to document ideas from the discussion on a public Etherpad.

We will wrap up with a 5 minute lightning reflect and report out round that asks participants to identify their next step, and share it with the whole group.

Session Outcomes

We hope to use this time to share the ways in which our organization has shifted from a service model to a partner model in order to support our orientation toward critical engagement at multiple levels. Participants will leave the session with inspiration, ideas, and allies to support their goal of bringing more critical engagement with the digital to their own work and the work of their organization.

Jun 17, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Improve Instructor Productivity And Student Outcomes With Brightspace By D2L!

You’re busy and quickly become inundated by requests from students and administrators.  So why not take advantage of the most powerful tool at your disposal – your LMS?   Join me as we walk through the incredible tools Brightspace offers to improve efficiencies and increase engagement, all while providing personalized learning experiences!


Extended Abstract

As educators, we have a lot on the go.  We may teach multiple courses and we can quickly become inundated by requests from students and administrators.  So why not make the most of one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal – our LMS?  

Learn how Brightspace can help improve efficiency and put time back in your schedule, all while providing a tailored and personalized learning experience for every student!  Join me as we walk through some of the incredible tools Brightspace offers instructors to help them save time while improving student engagement!

In this session, we will be exploring the features and benefits of Brightspace and how you can use these tools to get the most you possibly can for your students and yourself! Learning how to effectively utilize the platform will allow you to free up time to do what you love to do – teach!

Imagine being able to have messages sent to your students based on how they’re doing, without lifting a finger! We will explore features such as release conditions, automated messages and personalized communication as they allow for massive time savings without compromising the tailored and personal approach every educator hopes to deliver to their students.

What if your platform allowed you to create personalized learning paths? Or gated learning experiences? Good news, with Brightspace this is all possible! We will go through a demonstration of how these tools can be used as well as look at the use of multi-media and data to help improve student engagement as well as retention!

Not a Brightspace user? Maybe you don’t have a platform currently or rather, you’re looking at different platforms to replace your current solution. Whether you’re evaluating or even just curious about what’s out there, I encourage you to still join us to learn the world of possibilities that this platform has to offer. I would love to chat, hear your feedback and answer any questions you may have about Brightspace!

D2L believes learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests. Working closely with organizations globally, D2L has transformed the way millions of people learn online and in the classroom. Learn more about D2L’s Brightspace platform at





Jun 17, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Motivating Students to Learn by Bringing Growth Mindset Insights into Course Design and Teaching

As confirmed by human learning principles, good teaching can improve students’ mental capacity and make a difference in reaching students’ intellectual potential, partially by helping students believe in their own ability to learn. This session will share how growth-mindset informed course design and teaching strategies motivate students to learn.

Extended Abstract

As confirmed by human learning principles, good teaching can improve students’ mental capacity and make a difference in reaching students’ intellectual potential, partially by helping students believe in their own ability to learn. This session will share how growth-mindset informed course design and teaching strategies motivate students to learn and grow.

The purpose of this session is to help instructors and instructional designers identify course design and teaching strategies inspired by growth mindset. They can use these strategies to help students achieve targeted learning outcomes. Educators can motivate students to learn by using both cognitive and affective strategies: transmitting educators’ caring about students’ learning efforts and helping students develop their own motivation to learn. 

The first part of the session will be an introductory presentation on a variety of course design and teaching suggestions that the presenter has been using in her own online course design, and has been communicating with her faculty members to facilitate students’ learning. A handout showing practical suggestions, linked with examples and resources, will be given to each participant.

Then the whole audience will participate in an interactive activity. Participants will reflect on one instructional design/teaching challenge they are facing when designing learning experiences for students and identify whether any strategies inspired by the growth-mindset approach can help conquer such a challenge. Participants have opportunities to share the challenges and suggestions with each other.

 This session will wrap up with questions and answers.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify at least one course design or teaching strategy inspired by growth mindset.
  • Identify one suggestion provided by session participants that they could implement into their own course design or teaching.
Jun 17, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Speaking the Same Language: Online Administration Concerns and how Faculty can Effectively Communicate with Leaders

A panel will contrast executive online leaders concerns with those of faculty and instructional designers,  offering practical examples of the types of information and questions to help faculty and Instructional Designers speak the language of leadership, in order to better effect change and gain support for online learning and projects.

Extended Abstract

Executive leadership, faculty and instructional designers can have vastly different interests and concerns when each is considering how to approach new online learning initiatives. While faculty members or instructional technologists are deeply interested in those areas that most directly affect them--often at the individual course level--those who lead online at the institutional level often answer to program or institution-level issues. When faculty or instructional designers tasked with researching new initiatives reach out to executive leadership for support or funding, these requests may be denied. Although the information presented may be academically rigorous, it may not be the type of information that executives need to allocate funds for new projects. It may seem as though they are speaking different languages.  In this session, administrative, teaching and design issues will be addressed, with ideas to help all three groups “speak the same language.”

Session Objectives:

At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe some of the main concerns facing online leaders at the university level.

  2. Discuss emerging trends that online leaders must understand to develop and grow online learning at their institution.

  3. Use strategic communication skills to help faculty and instructional designers present more effective proposals to university leadership to help them make well-informed decisions. (Align proposals with concerns of university leaders) 

Presentation Organization: 

This presentation will feature a panel of well-established online administrators who lead the online learning divisions of their universities. Their general scope of responsibilities include: course development, faculty training, program development, marketing, enrollment, vendor management, policy development, and budget oversight for suites of online programs.  

The session will feature a combination of “seed-questions” to get the presentation started and to encourage the audience participants to ask questions of the panel. The session will begin with panel members interacting with audience participants regarding online learning issues that tend to be of most concern to faculty and instructional designers. These will be contrasted with the responsibilities and concerns of those who lead and administer online learning at the institutional/executive level. The panelists will then provide examples of how these differences can result in faculty and instructional designers “speaking a different language” than administrators, resulting in worthy initiatives being denied and decisions being made with a lack of academic input. Panel members will also solicit examples from audience participants.

Next, The panel will field questions from the audience regarding emerging trends that online leaders must understand to develop and grow online learning at their institution, such as determining “in-house” capacity for online learning, negotiating OPM relationships, and online program and curriculum management, evaluation, authorization, accreditation and compliance,  

The panel and participants will conclude with a discussion of  strategic communication skills that will help to bridge the language gap between faculty/instructional designers and administrators The panelists will provide attendees a practical framework of how to more effectively present requests for funding and support.

Jun 17, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Help Students Build Bridges: Promote Active Learning and Collaboration Online Through Innovative Course Design

Online programs face special challenges promoting active learning and collaboration. New thinking is required. Empirical data collected over several semesters provide insight into student behavior when given the option to work individually or in a group. Engage with others to brainstorm ideas for promoting active learning and collaboration online.

Extended Abstract

This presentation includes both a prescriptive approach to course design and an extensive analysis of data collected to assess how the design was implemented and received.

Importance of Topic

Adult learners in business programs must acquire mastery of subject material while grasping how the knowledge is applied. The important challenge to address is how to create a course design that employs active learning and collaboration. Active learning strategies engage the learner with the material through carefully designed submissions. The case method is one common example that seeks to engage the learner in actively identifying with and resolving issues that integrate a variety of topics to which the learner is exposed. The addition of group work offers further opportunities for learners to engage with one another and develop a deeper understanding of the material (Arbaugh, 2010).

Group work simulates applying knowledge in an organization. With group work, there is the potential for learners to benefit from diverse perspectives and sharing of experiences. Learners can also undertake more challenging assignments in group work. Indeed, students may have selected a particular online program because of the qualifications of the student body and the peer group associations available to them. Despite the numerous benefits of group work, obstacles exist. Demanding schedules, different time zones, the potential free-riders, and conflicting personalities are examples of significant challenges for online learners (Chang & Kang, 2016). These challenges are particularly significant in an asynchronous online program.

Not all group interaction must require that the group produce a single work product. If students in the course have multiple interactions within their small group, some assignments can be designed to allow the options of working individually, working with the entire group or a subset of the group, or simply consulting with others in the group while making individual submissions. This layered approach to course design achieves the goal of building bridges between peers while providing learners the flexibility to customize their approach and express their preferred approach to learning for some important submissions.

A prescriptive approach to achieve a flexible course design is incomplete without consideration of how learners actually behaved when given options. The data included in the presentation were collected to assess the choices actually made by the learners and to validate the design objectives using feedback related to motivation and level of satisfaction.

Session Outline

This session aligns with the “Teaching and Learning Practice” track and the “Present and Reflect” session type. Our time together will include a 30-minute introduction where the participants will evaluate the elements of a course in an asynchronous online MBA program designed to promote active learning and collaboration along with data related to how the design was implemented and received by the learners. After 5 minutes of individual self-reflection, participants will engage in 10 minutes of Q&A where they can role play and discuss the challenges of innovative course design,

During the first 30 minutes, Dr. Karen Conner, Director of Academic Innovation in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary, will describe:

  • the overall design of the online program and the assignments within one course that offer an innovative and learner-centric approach to online group work. For six important  assignments within that course, learners had the option of individual work, group work with a single work product, or consultation with some or all of the members of their small group;
  • the criteria used to place students into groups and the guidelines for group work; and
  • the data collected to assess the behavior and attitudes of learners when given options for collaboration including their perceptions of depth of learning and satisfaction with the learning environment created by the course design.

Karen will begin with the following prompt for self-reflection:

  • Choose a role of either instructor or learner (or both) and consider what challenges or responses you might expect when implementing an online course designed to foster active learning and collaboration.

During the 10-minute discussion, participants will share their idea(s) from the 5-minute reflection and brainstorm about how to encourage new thinking in an asynchronous online environment to promote collaboration and active learning. Participants may tweet their ideas using the hashtags: #OLCInnovate #OnlineGroupWork

Karen will share all presentation materials with conference attendees and will post to the conference website.

Arbaugh, J. B. (2010). Online and blended business education for the 21st century: Current research and future directions. Oxford, UK: Chandos.

Chang, B., & Kang, H. (2016). Challenges facing group work online. Distance Education, 37(1), 73–88.

Jun 17, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Boost The Innovation In Your Canvas Courses With DesignPLUS

Join us to hear how DesignPLUS - a set of advanced design tools that are fully integrated with Canvas - helps instructional designers take their courses to the next level.

Extended Abstract

Are you looking for ways to give your students a better Canvas course experience? Do you want to reduce the time it takes to design highly engaging and accessible Canvas courses? Join us to hear how DesignPLUS - a set of advanced design tools that are fully integrated with Canvas - helps instructional designers take their courses to the next level. We'll provide case studies to show how our customers use DesignPLUS to enhance the quality, consistency, and accessibility of their online courses, all while saving time.

Jun 17, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
Protecting Innovation Through Undesrstanding Toxic Leadership

It is widely accepted successful innovation occurs most frequently in environments where individuals feel safe and have the ability to fail.  Unfortunately, toxic leaders exist and create environments counterproductive to innovation.  This session equips attendees with an understanding of toxic leadership, its impacts, and strategies to minimize the impact. 

Extended Abstract


Research articles, popular literature, and even the internet agree that successful innovation occurs most frequently in organizations with a certain culture and environment.  Specifically, organizations, where employees feel safe and believe they can fail without unwarranted repercussions, are typically more prime for successful innovation.  One of the greatest contributors to an organization’s culture and the environment is its leaders. Leaders can create the environment needed for innovation or they can destroy it. This session explores one type of leadership that can destroy the environment needed for innovation: toxic leadership.

Toxic leaders are leaders who leave followers and organizations worse than when they found them (Lipman-Blumen, 2005). These leaders tend to be narcissistic, abusive, and unpredictable (Schmidt, 2008). Additionally, they characteristically use an authoritarian style of leadership to lead their teams and focus on promoting their own interests over those of their team members or organization (Schmidt, 2008). As a result, researchers have found toxic leadership to have a negative impact on organizational performance, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, employee turnover, and the level of cynicism in followers.  Researchers have also linked toxic leadership to higher job stress and lower affective well-being in followers.  

Where it is important to understand toxic leaders, it is also important to understand how followers and the environment influence or restrict their influence (Padilla, Hogan, & Kaier, 2007).  Specifically, followers can help mitigate the impacts of toxic leaders by not conforming with their wishes and voicing concerns.  Organizations can limit the prevalence or influence of toxic leaders by creating an environment with checks and balances, use specific hiring and training strategies, and empowering followers. 

This session invites participants to learn about what toxic leadership is, the characteristics and behaviors of toxic leaders, their impacts on organizations and followers, and strategies to minimize their impact.  After learning the basics in these areas, participants reflect on their personal experiences with a toxic leader(s) and think about how that impacted innovation in their teams or organization.  Attendees will share these reflections with the group and talk about ways to mitigate toxic leaders in their organizations.  

Session Interactivity:

As a present and reflect session, this session will focus on learning about toxic leadership and allowing individuals to reflect and discuss their revelations. The session will begin with a 5-minute interactive, digital survey to gather information about attendees’ experiences with toxic leadership and their perceptions of what toxic leadership is.  The session will then progress to the presentation part. The 25-minute presentation will center on the following information: definitions of toxic leadership, characteristics and behaviors of toxic leaders, impacts of toxic leaders on organizations and followers, and strategies to minimize toxic leader impact.  The presentation will encourage attendees to engage throughout the presentation and through offering examples and thoughts if they are comfortable. 

After the presentation ends, participants will spend 5 minutes reflecting on any experiences they may have had with a toxic leader(s) and think about how this leader impacted innovation in the organization.  Participants will also think about any strategies that could have mitigated the impact of this leader.  The session will then conclude with 10 minutes of sharing and discussion.  Participants will share the experiences and strategies they identified during the reflection portion. I will record the trends and themes of these reflections for participants to see.  The goal of this section of the presentation is to allow participants to learn from others' experiences with toxic leaders and how they impacted innovation.  

Session Goals:

Session participants can expect to accomplish the following:

1) Discuss how toxic leadership can impact innovation; 

2) Learn definitions of toxic leadership; 

3) Discover the common behaviors and characteristics of toxic leaders; 

4) Explore how toxic leaders impact organizations and followers; 

5) Learn about strategies to mitigate the impacts of toxic leaders; 

6) Reflect on personal experiences with toxic leaders; 

7) Share experiences with others to learn through real-life examples of toxic leaders. ​


This session will include a digital/interactive survey, a PowerPoint Presentation (available for download), a handout that will outline common characteristics and behaviors of toxic leaders, and a handout to guide the reflection portion (for attendees to write their thoughts).


Lipman-Blumen, J. (2005). The allure of toxic leaders. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Padilla, A., Hogan, R., & Kaier, R. (2007). The toxic triangle: Destructive leaders, susceptible followers, and conducive environments. The Leadership Quarterly 18(3), 176–194.  doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2007.03.001

Schmidt, Andrew Alexander. (2008). Development and Validation of the Toxic Leadership Scale. (University of Maryland, College Park). Retrieved from https://drum.lib.umd.   edu/bitstream/handle/1903/8176/umi-umd-5358.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y


Jun 17, 2020
11:15am - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Cross-Institutional Professional Development: How to Use Gamification and Hybrid Modalities to Build a Learning Community

Using a hybrid framework, we redesigned a successful gamified learning community to include cohorts from schools across the country. As each cohort explored the issues relevant to their school’s online learning initiatives, new insights emerged from the collective discussion. Attendees will examine both the model’s design and participants’ findings.

Extended Abstract

Communications have been glitching for years now. Even though we have made huge breakthroughs in our understanding of the digital world, our ability to share those insights has sputtered. Our experts think they have identified a key piece of the problem, but there is still a lot of work to do. Frankly, we need your expertise and unique experience if we’re ever going to fix this mess. Join us to learn about how you can save the galaxy by becoming a captain in Goblin Corp’s fleet of brand new starships.

In this briefing, you will learn about our gamified professional development system. We will demonstrate how storytelling and experiential learning models can help your crew develop strategies to critically explore issues in online learning that you will encounter in your adventures. As captain of your own OLC i20 starship, you will experience an unconventional model of professional development and be able to customize it for your crew. We will share insights developed in our most recent missions and work as a group to anticipate and prepare for future adventures.

Participants in this workshop will:

  • Learn how to fly a spaceship
  • Participate in a mission to fix a communications satellite
  • Draw on their game experience and personal knowledge to identify both the affordances and challenges in online learning
  • Examine the insights collected by the Spring 2020 GOBLIN community 
  • Iteratively redesign our model for their own educational communities 
  • Explore the transformation of professional development from passive consumption models to active, gameful models and from single-institution settings to cross-institutional collaborations.

As suggested in the description above, this workshop will itself be gamified. Participants will play through the first module of our professional development community’s game. They will then discuss the online learning issues raised by the game, before taking a step back to examine the experiential model of the learning community. This experience will allow participants to better understand both the affordances and limitations of the gameful model.

Having participated in the learning community, attendees will be encouraged to think about how our model could be applied to their home institutions. One of the unique elements in the design of this learning community is the hybrid, federated community structure. Each participating school is encouraged to form a group of 5-10 participants with an on-site facilitator. If more than 10 people want to participate, the school could form two smaller groups. If there are not enough participants at a school or no one is comfortable facilitating the PD, participants can join on of the online groups through Zoom.

In addition to these Zoom gaming sessions, the game materials, discussion prompts, support materials for facilitators, and community interaction elements are all supported through a website, This digital scaffolding affords the opportunity to support the vital in-person interactions of a traditional learning community, while also collecting the emergent insights of the community as a whole. While each group can focus on the issues particular to their campus, as a collective we are able to examine online learning across different kinds of institutions, student demographics, and stake-holders. We have actively recruited not only faculty but also librarians, instructional designers, educational technologists, administrators, graduate students, and undergraduates to participate in the learning community. In designing for a broad and inclusive learning community, we seek to extend both the learning opportunities and the power to shape our online learning policy to the widest possible constituency.

We have developed both the game materials and facilitation materials for the learning community in as open and reproducible a way as we could. Central to the design of this community was the idea that anyone could join the community or take and adapt what we have built. This presentation thus also serves as an experiential session in Open Educational Resource Professional Development (OER PD).

Jun 17, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
Faculty Development: Stop, Drop and Roll Out the New!

Join the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Center for Distributed Learning instructional designers as they share taskforce results addressing stakeholder needs to create an updated faculty development program.  Taskforce mission, goals, surveys, and recommendations will be presented. Participants will reflect on processes and a group summary will be completed.

Extended Abstract

Session Overview:

The University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) provides faculty development (FD) to instructors and faculty teaching online. Having had thousands of faculties complete UCF’s FD programs, the task of a redesign was considered high profile and high impact with various campus stakeholders. This context led to the creation of a team/taskforce to address stakeholder needs and create a plan for future FD. A plan that would streamline all FD and reduce the administrative load for all stakeholders involved.

The Faculty Development Ecosystem Taskforce (FDET) was tasked to create a plan that would maximize the effectiveness and reduce the administrative burden of CDL FD offerings. The committee met and came up with a plan of action. To accomplish this task, we would solicit stakeholder feedback on CDL FD offerings and processes, analyze and summarize stakeholder responses, analyze the current CDL FD offerings and processes, and make recommendations for revisions.

The first action item was to identify our stakeholders. We broke our stakeholders down into three groups; internal to CDL/DDL, external to CDL/DDL but internal to UCF, and external to UCF. Since the ultimate objective of the university is student learning and success, students were one of the largest group of stakeholders that we solicited feedback. We also included faculty and staff from all colleges and departments in the university in order to get a broad spectrum of responses that covered the entire university and all course modalities of online teaching at UCF.

Once our stakeholders were identified we created survey questions to elicit feedback and then submitted our proposal for IRB approval. Once we received IRB approval, we sent out the survey to our stakeholders. The first dispatch of surveys came with low submissions rates. Another campaign was administered to promote more survey completion. At the conclusion of distribution, feedback from over 700 participants across the three stakeholder groups was acquired.

Once survey results were collected, the team began to break down the responses into the two main focus areas; maximizing effectiveness of professional development offerings and reducing the administrative burden of the CDL faculty. From there, the results were analyzed, compiled and the recommendations drafted. A final report and presentation were complete and presented to the executive team at CDL.

Session Goals:

Attendees will learn about the applied project management strategies, the research methods, and the data collected to assess the current FD offerings at UCF’s CDL and the recommendations for future offerings.

They will learn about how we tried to include all possible stakeholders to create partnerships with all involved and affected by our professional development offerings. Participants will be able to see how we took a growth mindset approach to the feedback and took steps to minimize the perceived failures of the programs by faculty members involved in the professional development programs.

After hearing about our process and our recommendations, attendees will have some time for individual reflection before participating in a group Q&A session. Once presentation is complete, attendees will reflect on their current PD offerings, assess their stakeholders, and draft project plans or survey questions to implement back at their institutions to assess effectiveness and administrative needs for their FD.

After attending, attendees should have a better understanding of our research and about how they may take elements of our process back to their own institutions to better serve their faculty and students.

Jun 17, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Using the AL$ HBCU Portal To Support Your AL$ Campus Plan: Demonstration and Application

Demonstration and Application of the HBCU AL$ Portal.

Extended Abstract


Jun 17, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Setting Good (Behavioral) Defaults: How To Influence Student Expectations to Facilitate Better Learning Behaviors

Student behaviors are triggered in part by contextual cues embedded in the virtual, hybrid, and face-to-face classroom. In this interactive session, we facilitate a conversation about how instructors and instructional designers can manipulate those contextual cues through choice architecture and defaults to guide students toward more productive learning behaviors.

Extended Abstract

In this interactive session, we offer a brief introduction to choice architecture and defaults, and facilitate a conversation about how they can be best used in online, hybrid, or face-to-face courses to guide more productive learning behaviors.

Students come into the classroom with beliefs and expectations—scripts or schemata—that guide their behaviors. These are habitual and do the work of allowing us to quickly process and respond to our environments based on relatively little information. Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman calls this System 1 thinking. It buffers us against the need to devote concerted attention to every decision we make. And in the classroom, it can inform choices as innocuous as picking a seat, as personally problematic as tuning out verbal directions for assignments, or as disruptive as talking over classmates or stealing their ideas.

Obviously, in or out of a learning context, deleterious scripts need to be disrupted and their resulting behaviors or outcomes need to be changed. But though they can be viewed as uniformly negative, these cognitive shortcuts actually important. And by setting productive expectations and defaults, we can put many of them to work in service of more effective learning.

This session focuses on how we can create more productive expectations and defaults for students. We begin by examining defaults in real time. A conference session is a lot like a class, and attendees will be asked to think through the kinds of expectations they had when they walked into the room, and how those expectations were molded by the setting of the conference, the set-up of the space, and the nature of the event. In other words, how does the architecture of a conference session interface with participants’ pre-existing scripts to set parameters for how they will behave?

Participants will then spend the rest of the session considering how their observations translate into a virtual, hybrid, or in-person classroom setting. In table groups, they will brainstorm ideas for setting positive behavioral defaults in one of two cases: expectations about student engagement, or expectations about grades.  Groups will be encouraged to experiment with ways to set better defaults using their preferred LMS—for example, by including low-stakes practice activities or example assignments. And toward the end of the session, groups will be asked to report back, generating a list of possible strategies that all the participants can then take home.

As part of the session, we will provide a brief introduction to Systems 1 and 2 thinking, scripts and schemata, and some relevant research in other fields about creating effective defaults. Participants will receive a handout summarizing the theoretical framework with space to record their own ideas and takeaways. And participants will receive a brief bibliography that offers some starting points for a further exploration of behavioral economics and choice architecture.

The goal of this session is not for participants to learn specific course-building tricks or ‘nudges’ that trigger better classroom behavior. Behavioral interventions are not plug-and-play, and they cannot be mechanically applied. Instead, the main point is to help participants become more cognizant of the scripts students bring with them into courses, both for better and for worse. And it is to give participants tools to help students learn more effectively by managing the contextual cues—the defaults—that trigger certain scripts. In other words, participants should come away from this session with 1) the ability to analyze how environmental factors in the (virtual) classroom—at least in part—determine student behavior; and 2) a framework for how to architect their (virtual) classroom to encourage the types of student behavior they would like to see.

Jun 17, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Using AI in Discussion to Scale Access to Quality Online Education

As online enrollments increase, many institutions are actively thinking through challenges in scaling quality. Online discussions are often the choke-point for scale.  SUNY is piloting the use of an AI-powered discussion tool in online courses and will share how the system can support scaling discussion while enhancing student/faculty engagement online.

Extended Abstract

According to Babson Survey Research Group, distance education enrollments have significantly increased every year for the last fourteen years. This growth in online courses has held steady even as overall enrollment has decreased. However, while online courses are growing and providing students with more accessibility to obtain a degree, students enrolled in online programs are not graduating at the same rate as on-campus students. 

Instead of steering away from online programs, institutions are embracing the demand for online learning and working to improve the quality of online education. One state system that has recently taken the initiative to provide students with access to quality online education is the State University of New York (SUNY). SUNY has a large student body of working professionals, many of them who struggle to attend on-campus classes. With a goal to make courses more accessible, SUNY launched SUNY Online; an online effort to enroll 100,000 students in an online-only degree program. 

This year (2019), the Executive Director of SUNY Online, Kim Scalzo, took a step toward improving the quality of SUNY’s online program by partnering with an education technology company to conduct research on the effectiveness of A.I. in scaling the quality of online programs. In this presentation, Scalzo will present preliminary findings from the study. 

The study was conducted with 25 instructors and 15,000 students across 2-year and 4-year schools at six different New York State University campuses. Courses were A/B tested; one section used the AI-supported technology tools while the control groups were a mix of traditional online discussion through a learning management system and no discussion. The study assessed four components; the time spent facilitating the online discussion, the students’ quality of discussion, students’ perception of online discussion and the faculty’s confidence in scaling the discussion. 

In the first assessed component on the time faculty spent facilitating discussion, this differentiates faculty time spent on "managing" online discussion versus "engaging" with their students. Faculty today spent the majority of their time in "management" of discussion. Our treatment group looked to automate the management of online discussion via automated moderation, sorting algorithms and automated grading, allowing the faculty member to spend their time engaging with their students. This was further amplified and reinforced by A.I. in maximizing student visibility to instructor feedback.

When looking at student outcomes in the quality of discussion, the treatment group used A.I. to give students feedback on the quality of their posts using Bloom's Taxonomy as a rubric. In environments of scale, this amount of feedback is traditionally challenging for instructors to facilitate on their own.

Researchers also felt it was important to measure students’ satisfaction and perception of online discussion as many students today have mixed feelings about the value of online discussion as a result of their past experiences. This study assessed student sentiment of online discussion, which is an important proxy to understanding the degree of seriousness they enter the exercise with.

The final, and arguably the most important component assessed in the study was the faculty's confidence in scaling the discussion. As enrollment for online programs continues to grow, it’s important that faculty are able to successfully grow the elements of their course, such as discussion. This study looked to understand that as a result of utilizing A.I, if faculty members felt confident in their capability to teach more and more students over time.

Audience members in this session will:

  • Learn about Self Determination Theory (SDT), the principal at the root of student motivation and driving the meaningful discussion.
  • Go through a series of interactive examples of discussion and score them against SDT. Audience members will then evaluate examples of faculty-student interactions and score/evaluate them against SDT. The goal of this exercise will be to help audience members learn the design principles behind how to make a 1,000 student online course as engaging as a 10 student online course.

Attendees will also leave the session with an understanding of how an AI tool can improve the quality of online education programs, how to create an engaging discussion experience with support from automated moderation, sorting and scoring algorithms and how to effectively scale quality online programs.  

Jun 17, 2020
1:00pm - 1:30pm (Eastern)
Virtual Speed Networking Lounge - Escape Room

 Join OLC Escape Room designers and learn what it takes to craft these fun challenge and puzzle-based experiences that unite participants around collaboration and strategy.

Extended Abstract

Escape Rooms are collaborative experiences where participants work together to solve a series of puzzles, challenges, riddles, or mysteries using clues, hints, and intentional strategy. They often feature a specific theme and a particular set of objectives that require participants to work as a team if they hope to complete the challenge in time. 

Educational Escape Rooms have been an exciting, new feature of the past few OLC conferences. They have allowed conference participants a fun and unique space to not only engage with a variety of educational technologies, but do so in a themed, challenge-based environment with others. Challenges have included finding a hidden code within a database to unlock a presentation, navigating through a virtual or augmented reality to receive your next clue, using distance-learning technologies to communicate with your teammates, or completing a circuit to turn on a device, among others. That said, they were all fun, practical, and representative of the types of teaching and learning challenges that educators face in their day-to-day lives.

Think you’re good at solving your way out of a sticky situation? Love solving your way out of complex conundrums and having fun along the way? Well jump right onto this virtual collaborative session and put your mad skills to the test as we present the hardest challenge of all: how to design these fantastic and educational versions of supreme fun!


Jun 17, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
COVID-19 and Online Teaching: A Fireside Chat with Flower Darby

COVID-19 had, and is potentially still having, an unparalleled impact on teaching and learning in higher ed. Never before has a single phenomenon caused such a wholescale change in the way we do college classes. Join us to reflect on our experience in Spring 2020, lessons learned, and future imperatives in light of this global pandemic. Darby will share considered insights and entertain audience questions as we seek to better understand what happened this spring and what we need to know to move forward, well, together.

Extended Abstract


Jun 17, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Progress Around The HBCU Community - Part 1

Each presenter provides an overview of their project and then discuss their project with summit participants.  

  • "Learning without Barriers" - Presenter:  D'Nita Andrews Graham, Norfolk State University
  • "HBCU Faculty as Instructional Designers" - Presenter:  Sheila Witherspoon, South Carolina State University

Extended Abstract


Jun 17, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
Fostering Excellence and Community with Adjunct Faculty and Online Students

The purpose of this session is to explore the use of multiple mechanisms to foster the core values of excellence and community for full and part time faculty, as well as for part time online graduate students.

Extended Abstract

Augustana University holds excellence and community as two of its core values.  How can these two ideals be fostered within the context of a graduate program that is delivered completely online, and with a significant percentage of part-time faculty?  It is important that these ideals are not only real and experienced for undergraduate students on campus, but also for our online graduate students around the country and the world.  How can online students know the power of the mission to provide excellence in programming, as well as foster community? Lang et al. (2019) indicate that the mission, core values, and the distinctive qualities of a university can be articulated and experienced by online students as effectively as with students who take courses face to face.

Fostering Excellence and Community with Faculty

Beginning in the fall of 2016, several approaches were implemented to address these issues in an intentional and multi-faceted way.  The goals were to engage full-time and part-time faculty together to foster both excellence and community for our online graduate programs in Education.

Faculty Gatherings

Master of Arts in Education (MAE) “Faculty Gatherings” have been held on a bi-monthly basis during the fall and spring semesters since Fall 2016.  All full-time and part-time faculty teaching courses online are invited to join the meetings either face-to face, or via Zoom.  These meetings have become a powerful and transformative mechanism for fostering a vision for excellence, and for community building. 

The current reality in higher education is that there is a growing number of contingent faculty, many of whom are part-time faculty. The number of part-time faculty teaching online courses has also increased dramatically as colleges and universities have expanded online course offerings.  Part-time faculty typically have minimal inclusion in academic decision-making, and receive fewer opportunities for professional development (Roney & Ulerick, 2013).

According to Dolan (2011), tending to the social needs of online faculty can develop a sense of commitment and institutional pride.  The author goes on to say that this can then translate to a stronger sense of purpose and responsibility to students.  It would appear that regular Faculty Gatherings have provided an enhanced sense of commitment and institutional pride for part-time faculty.  Some PT faculty have applied for FT positions over the past 4 years.  In fact, our 3 most recent FT faculty hires had formerly been PT online graduate faculty.  We also have a handful of PT faculty who have provided anecdotal feedback about their ongoing sense of connection to Augustana because of the way they are included and valued. 

Brooks (2011) goes on to say that there is growing evidence about the importance of creating community for faculty development in order that long term change might be realized.  This is affirmed in the 2012 Portrait of Part-Time Faculty Members completed by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce.  PT faculty have played a critical role in course and program improvement through both Faculty Gatherings and in providing feedback to Lead Faculty, or in serving as Lead Faculty.  This has served as a powerful catalyst/venue to cultivate synergy towards the focused efforts to increase foci on excellence and community in online programming.

Lead Faculty

Another mechanism adapted to enhance the focus on excellence and rigor, and to empower faculty was the creation of “lead faculty” for all core courses in the graduate program in Education.  The idea of developing a lead faculty role was adapted from a practice at Concordia University-Portland (Dana Sims Barbarik, personal communication, October 3, 2016).

Lead faculty are responsible for updating the syllabus and online course template, as well as on-boarding new faculty who teach the course.  Lead faculty also work with Instructional Designers to review and revise courses.  They also seek input/feedback from other instructors teaching the course, and well as receive summarized course evaluation data about course design and delivery.  Both full-time and part-time faculty serve in these positions, and faculty are compensated with an annual stipend for their work.

These collaborative efforts have provided fertile ground for processing ideas and generating productive conversations to help develop a shared vision and plan for fostering excellence in online courses and program, to improve the teaching practice of both full-time and part-time faculty, and to create community in a way that has provided powerfully positive energy/synergy for the collaborative work and improvements that have been accomplished to date. 

Fostering Excellence and Community with Students

Cohort Model and Class size- Many programs, like the graduate programs in Education and Special Education at Augustana University, are delivered in a cohort model to enhance the experience of community among students.  While cohorts initially had 12-15 students, the university moved to allow 18 students per cohort beginning in 2014. According to the US News and World Report (2014), students should seek out online schools where class sizes are in the 15 to 20 student range. An article printed in Inside Higher Ed (2017) acknowledged that courses sizes really vary among institutions providing online courses, and that many factors should be considered in making the decision.

Engaged Time- In January 2017, the Program Director had the opportunity to visit a handful of universities that offered online graduate programs in the Midwest region.  One of the universities, Concordia St. Paul, utilized a model that they had created to estimate what they called “engaged time” to account for the rigor and workload within their online courses (Lonn Maly, personal communication, January 18, 2017).  This model was adopted for program planning and development for the online Masters in Special Education Program.  Powell, Helm, Layne and Ice (2012) conducted research on the American Public University System (APUS) Online Contact Hours Calculator as a way of also trying to provide a measure to reflect both quality and rigor in a way that is recognized in higher education.

Program-Specific Library Research Guides

Becksford and Metko (2018) state that it is critical to ensure that online students receive excellent library services and support.  One librarian at Augustana has played an integral role in anticipating student needs with regard to library resources, and has developed an easy access Resource Guide that includes information on how to access articles, books and media as well as on a variety of other topics (APA citation tools, annotated bibliography resources, as well as information about services for students).  This librarian has also served as a faculty member in the program, as well as on the committee that governs the graduate programs in Education.  This close collaboration has been extremely beneficial for faculty and students alike. 

Instructional Design- The program has been intentional to include administrators with faculty status who have training in Instructional Design to both assist with the course review process, guided by OSCQR principles, and to teach in the program.  This has been critical to not only focus on best practices with regard to course design to foster student learning and engagement, but has also offered invaluable support in our progress towards better accessibility.

Research Synthesis Project- Developing a capstone project that required students to demonstrate their skills in professional writing has served as a catalyst for the focus on excellence throughout the entire curriculum in our online graduate programs in Education and Special Education as faculty backmapped the skills that students had to develop throughout the program in order to become more proficient with scholarly writing and APA.

Piloting Academic Writer- This tool was developed by the American Psychological Association approximately two years ago to assist students in developing skills in APA with regard to citations and writing.  In Fall 2019, we are piloting the use of Academic Writer in all of the online graduate courses.  Academic Writer has three main “centers”, which include learning, reference, and writing.  The program faculty are eager to learn from students about the potential best uses for this tool in supporting the development of scholarly writing.

5 minutes of Reflection

Structuring the Q & A/Group Discussion

Use Poll Everywhere and/or Google form to capture audience responses to one or more of the questions below, and to make the results available to the audience if desired:

What are the most effective mechanisms that your institution has been intentional to implement as a means of fostering the development core values at your institution for adjunct faculty? For online students?





American Psychological Association (n.d) Academic Writer. Retrieved September 3, 2019 from


Becksford, L., & Metko, S. (2018, July-Dec) Using a library learning object repository to

empower teaching excellence for distance students. Journal of Library & Information

Sciences 12(3/4), 120-129.

Brooks, C.F. (2010, August) Towards ‘hybridized’ faculty development for the twenty-first      century: blending online communities of practice and face to face meetings in             instructional and professional support programmes. Innovations in Education and      Teaching International, 47(3), 261-270.

Coalition on the Academic Workforce. (2012, June) A Portrait of Part-Time Faculty Members:        A Summary of Findings on Part-Time Faculty Respondents to the Coalition on the          Academic Workforce Survey of Contingent Faculty Members and Instructors.

Dolan, V. (2011). The isolation of online adjunct faculty and its impact on their performance.

International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(2), 62-77.

D’Orio, W. (2017, May 17) Online class sizes: One size does not fit all. Inside Higher Ed.

Haynie, D. (2014, Sept. 26) Experts say class size can matter for online students. US News &

World Report.

Lang, C., Holzmann, G., Hullinger, H., Miller, M., & Norton, T. (2019, May/June) Online or

face-to-face: Do mission-related student learning outcomes differ?  Christian Higher Education 18(3), 177-187.

Powell, K., Helm, J., Layne, M., Ice, P. (2012, Oct.) Quantifying online learning contact hours.

Administrative Issues Journal: Education, Practice & Research 2(2), 80-93.

Roney, K & Ulerick, S.L. (2013, Summer). A Roadmap to engaging part-time faculty in high-   impact practices. Peer review. American Association of Colleges and Universities, 24-26.

Jun 17, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Online Lab Essentials from the Student's Perspective

Join us as we embrace the challenges, concerns and motivation of the online lab student and work together to identify technologies and prepare practical solutions for your online science lab courses.

Extended Abstract

To best address the needs of the online science student, a course developer and instructor needs to first understand the mindset, motivation and concerns of the online student population.  In this Innovation Studio Design Thinking Challenge, participants will work together to identify the essential components of an online science lab.  We will begin with a visualization activity to put us in the mindset of today’s online lab science student.  With our mind’s properly reframed, we will break into groups to analyze different online lab activities from a range of science courses, including geology and physics.  Small groups will brainstorm and map out the potential challenges faced by the online science lab students when completing the different lab activities. Participants will use their experience and perspectives as online students, course developers and instructors to identify useful technologies and develop practical solutions to address the range of challenges and problems faced by online lab students today. Participants will leave the session with specific ideas and step-by-step plans to incorporate in their own online science courses. 


Innovation Studio Design Thinking Challenge Session Plan:

5 minute prompt: Today, you are a new online student taking a science lab course offered fully online.  Science is not your strongest subject.  You’re taking this course because you juggle several work, school and personal commitments and cannot take a traditional face-to-face science lab course.  Take a deep breath and allow yourself to fall into this student’s mindset.  Consider all of your challenges and fears regarding science, labs and the online classroom.  Now that you’re in the student mindset, we can begin today’s Innovation Studio Design Thinking Challenge àOnline Lab Essentials from the Student’s Perspective.

At the table in front of you is a stack of lab assignments.  Each table has a different lab assignment in a difference science field. Take 5 minutes to read through the lab assignment, as that new online science lab student.


Brainstorming: Understanding the Challenge

Part 1:  Using the whiteboards in front of you, map out all potential challenges/issues/concerns faced by the new online science lab student.  Each group will be mapping out the challenges based on their lab assignment.  Groups will spend 10 minutes mapping out the challenges that may develop when students complete their lab assignments.  

Part 2:  The next 5 minutes will be used to have the groups share a quick summary explaining the lab assignment they’re working to understand and the biggest potential challenges the online student may face in the online lab.  The group as a whole will identify the common challenges identified in each group. These common challenges will be written up on new board.


Prototyping: Working Towards Solutions

Part 3:  The groups will go back to their groups to spend 10 minutes working out possible solutions to the challenges their online students may face when completing the online lab assignments.  Additional challenges to those solutions can be noted, as well as suggestions for best options.

Part 4:  In the next 5 minutes, the groups will go around and note the possible solutions for the different challenges on the main group’s boards for each challenge a student may encounter when completing a lab assignment online.  New issues/challenges and success suggestions can be noted.

Part 5:  In the remaining 10 minutes, we will go through each of the challenges listed on the main boards and the suggested solutions to address those challenges.  We will identify the next practical steps for implementing each solution, the best practices/suggestions for each solution and note any new potential issues that a course developer or online instructor may encounter.


Jun 17, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Sympathy for the Vendor: Building Bridges for Effective Ed-Tech Partnership

We often complain about “vendors.” Their tools and platforms often don’t fit our teaching philosophies. Their business models don’t make sense for our budgets. This session enables participants to share cautionary tales of vendor practices while at the same time imagine more effective models for ed-tech partnerships.

Extended Abstract

But what's puzzling you

Is the nature of my game.

- The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”

In “Sympathy for the Devil,” Mick Jagger sings from the perspective of Lucifer, politely cataloging his evil accomplishments throughout history from the crucifixon of Jesus Christ through the Holocaust to the assination of the Kennedys. Introducing himself as a “man of wealth and taste,” he asks the audience to show him “courtesy” and even “sympathy” despite these atrocities for which he admits culpability. Part of the lesson of the song is that the devil is an easy scapegoat for why there is evil and suffering in the world, but a poor explanation of it. Jaggers’s Lucifer demands we think more deeply about “the nature of [his] game” and our own complicity in it.

Like the devil, it’s easy to cast blame on ed-tech vendors for everything that is wrong with technology in higher ed. It’s true that their often  aggressive marketing and sales tactics are at odds with the intellectual environment of our schools and sometimes just simply obnoxious. Their pricing models often don’t fully take into consideration the budget constraints at colleges and universities or the financial burdens most contemporary students face. And sometimes their tools and platforms, while marketed to education, are not clearly connected to educational philosophies and practices. 

And yet, as purchasers and practitioners of ed-tech we have to deal with vendors on a daily basis. They are key stakeholders in our attempts to innovate the use of technology for teaching and learning on our campuses. If we want to change our relationships with ed-tech vendors, we need to understand where they are coming from, indeed, show them a little “sympathy,” as well as demand that they do the same and make an effort to respect the values we hold and the pressures we face. The goal of this session is not to exculpate predatory business practices in higher ed. Rather, it is to more deeply understand the “nature of the game,” and the roles we all play in it, so that we can disrupt that traditional “game” in favor of building a radically different, less exploitative ed-tech culture. In this discussion we will work together to reimagine what effective partnership might look in an effort to “build bridges” between our colleges and universities and ed-tech companies. 

Engagement Strategy


We will begin this “Conversations Not Presentations” session by asking participants to share cautionary tales of negative experiences they’ve had when dealing with vendors. We will then guide the group to share examples of positive relationships we’ve had with vendors, focusing on what worked well specifically. The discussion leaders will come prepared with their own examples of both. Finally, the group will work together to draft an Ed-Tech Purchaser “Bill of Rights” in which we will attempt to codify some of the principles and best practices for establishing more effective relationships between technology providers and institutions of higher ed, using previous, similar efforts as a foundation for discussion. After the session, we will share this “Bill or Rights” more widely in the OLC community for further discussion.

Session Goals


Participants will come away with new ideas about how they and others at their institution can work with vendors to procure and support educational technology more effectively. Participants will also contribute to a resource that can provide ongoing value to their peers.


Jun 17, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
New Dog, Old Tricks: Bridging Old and New Quality Assurance Practices for Large-Scale Digital Learning

This presentation will describe the quality assurance practices at Bellevue University and explain how these practices have been revamped to incorporate national and university-specific design standards and editing standards. Attendees will be able to map, plan, and brainstorm innovative ways to incorporate quality assurance into their own departments and institutions.

Extended Abstract

Successful, large-scale, online learning in higher education may feel like a new dog, but unlike the old adage, in this session we demonstrate it’s not only possible but crucial that we adapt “old” editing and quality assurance practices to the new processes involved in online course development to ensure student success. 

As online learning becomes a more predominant form of learning in higher education, institutions struggle to balance the elusive objective of creating high-quality and scalable courses. This is evident in the emerging conversations within Higher Ed today that focus on growing concerns over the quality of online higher education. As Denise M. Casey (2008) notes, distance and online courses are often "subject to more [quality-related] suspicion" than other styles of education (p.45), which only increases the need for clearer standards, rules, and guidelines for eLearning teams and departments. Furthermore, if we accept the premise that designing online learning experiences, like any design process, is a highly contextualized act that requires subjective interpretation and value judgments on the part of the designer, then we must also admit that consistency, and by extension quality, will be a problem for any large-scale development. When the quality of learning materials declines, it affects student success. When the quantity of learning materials declines, it affects student accessibility. This problem requires rethinking the instructional design and development process to find solutions so that the student doesn’t suffer. 

Our institution has redesigned the build and review process for courses in order to improve the student experience, decrease help desk ticket submissions, and improve efficiencies in the design process for scalability and deceased course build timelines. We will outline our course build steps, showcase templates used during the build process, and address how to adapt “best practices” to meet quality standards and institutional needs.

In our presentation, we will share our experiences, processes, and resources, as innovators in this field. We will model our steps toward course design and quality assurance and demonstrate how collaboration across disciplines and institutions can cultivate successful online learning. If you are interested in updating, enhancing, or remodeling your development for online learning, this presentation will inspire as well as offer helpful tips on quality assurance.

Audience Engagement:

We will use phone-based polls throughout the presentation that allow attendees to engage in the common problems, questions, and disputes we’ve encountered in our quality assurance process. We’ll utilize actual examples from course development to engage audience members in relevant discussions of process and design. Participants will reflect on these examples and will have the opportunity to consider how best to implement quality assurance processes in their own work. Additionally, speakers will provide examples of quality assurance resources (e.g., quality checklist, editing guide, etc.). During the 10-minute Q&A session, participants will share their reflections, questions, and ideas in small groups. In the last few minutes, the small groups will have the opportunity to share with the larger audience. 

Presentation Takeaways: 

Attendees who participate in this session will be able to:

  • Define quality as it relates to online courses.

  • Examine how course design processes help insure quality online courses.

  • Identify ways to implement strategic collaboration in quality assurance processes.

  • Differentiate between quality review practices through the study of examples from actual development processes.

  • Develop a model for quality course/eLearning design that can be implemented at their institution.

Jun 17, 2020
3:15pm - 4:15pm (Eastern)
OLC Live: Teaching And Learning In A Time Of Uncertainty

Right now, people around the world are experiencing multiple, interrelated challenges to life and wellbeing: a pandemic, growing economic inequality and uncertainty, various political crises, continuing struggles for equity and justice for all people, global climate change, and a range of local issues. All of this is probably coupled with a lot of internal challenges and struggles within their own homes, whether with parenting, their partners, or self-isolation. How and where do we focus our teaching and learning practices with all this going on? Join OLC Innovate 2020 keynoter Maha Bali to discuss how to balance being human and being an educator and faculty developer in this complex time.

Jun 17, 2020
3:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Want Your Own Website? Want to Create OER? Content Builder Can Help!

MERLOT, a repository of primarily OER for 20+ years has rebuilt their free content creation tool Content Builder. This workshop will demonstrate how to create web sites with the ability to collaborate with colleagues.  Create professional, accessible, web-based OER learning objects, websites, syllabi and so more, hosted by MERLOT.

Extended Abstract

MERLOT (, a repository of primarily Open Educational Resources (OER) in addition to many other functions to assist in teaching online, has been available for over 20 years. A popular feature of the MERLOT site is the web development tool Content Builder.  MERLOT recently redesigned and rebuilt Content Builder (CB) from the ground up, making it more accessible and easier to use.  CB is freely available for MERLOT Members to create their own websites for instruction, to develop their own OER, or to use it as a web-building assignment.  These are just a few examples of what MERLOT members can do with the new Content Builder.  It is also easier to create websites based on layout- or project-based templates available in CB.  CB templates include many different kinds of OERs such as course outlines/syllabi,  e-portfolio structures, lesson plans, pedagogical analyses, student reflection structures, community websites, and online course designs (tutorial, presentation, etc.). The websites created with Content Builder can be used for a variety of teaching and learning purposes, are accessible, scalable to any device, and can be easily maintained and updated as needed, and are hosted by MERLOT.

A key feature of the new MERLOT Content Builder is the ability for multiple MERLOT members to collaborate on a website. Once you’ve created a website, you can enlist one or more MERLOT members to collaborate with you on the site. All collaborators will work on the same original site rather than separate copies. As the creator, you will always retain ownership of the site.

The new Content Builder is easy to learn and can be assigned to student teams to operationalize course objectives that are part of student assignments and assessments. Users can create single- or multi-page websites that include navigation, user-formatted text, imported documents, uploaded photos, and embedded videos. Styles such as fonts and colors can be controlled globally or just for specific sections of a page.

The new Content Builder allows users to easily select templates, view and download IMS-certified Common Cartridges of their CB websites for use in applications that support that format. Users can assign Creative Commons licenses to any of their websites, can keep the sites private or make them public, and can contribute their public sites to the MERLOT collection.

This interactive workshop will provide an overview of the new Content Builder and will teach attendees how to build (or modify existing) websites. It will also demonstrate how participants can work together in teams on a single website.. Workshop participants will acquire the skills and knowledge to create MERLOT-hosted websites needed for their online teaching and learning. Each participant must have their own device to participate in the workshop.

Jun 17, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Progress Around The HBCU Community - Part 2

Each presenter provides an overview of their project and then discuss their project with summit participants.  

  • "Building Bridges Between Underrepresented Students and Their Future Through an Online Open Source Mentor Training Program" - Presenters:  Tiera Coston and Karen Nichols, Xavier University of Louisiana
  • "Where Destiny Meets Legacy:  Open Educational Resource (OER) Pilot Project in Introduction to Effective Oral Communication Course" - Presenter:  Dr. Kekeli Nuviadenu, Bethune-Cookman University

Extended Abstract


Jun 17, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
Enhancing Instruction through the use of Adaptive Courseware and Research-based Teaching Practices

Through a grant from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Colorado State University is in the final year of scaling the use of adaptive courseware. To gain a holistic vision of the student and faculty experience, students were surveyed to determine their perceptions of the use of adaptive courseware and its impact on their learning. CSU will share student success and student perception data as well as survey results related to faculty use of research-based teaching practices.

Extended Abstract

Through a grant from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Colorado State University (CSU), in partnership with a cohort of eight universities, is in the final year of scaling the use of adaptive courseware in core curriculum courses. In this effort, instructional designers partnered with faculty teaching high-enrollment courses to enhance instruction by incorporating principles of learning science to inform course design and adaptive courseware to promote mastery of lower-level Blooms concepts outside of class. In an effort to gain a holistic perspective of the program, both faculty and students completed surveys related to the use of adaptive courseware. Faculty also completed the Teaching Practices Inventory (Wieman and Gilbert, 2014) to assess the change in the use of research-based teaching practices upon participating in the course redesign. Presenters will share key findings related to: 1) faculty changes in the use of research-based teaching practices upon participating in the course redesign by comparing pre-TPI with the post-TPI score; and 2) preliminary results related to student success.

Session Plan

  1. Introduction Activity: Brainstorm an initiative related to teaching at your institution.
    • List 3 things that went well, 3 things that didn’t go as planned.
    • Facilitated discussion to identify commonalities. 
  2. Presentation: Grant background and CSU’s strategy to scale the use of adaptive courseware, and develop faculty through course redesign consultations and a community of practice. 
    • CSU results 
      1. Student success data related to results from the Teaching Practices Inventory
      2. Faculty perceptions related to adaptive courseware
      3. Student perceptions of adaptive courseware and how it supports learning
  3. Reflection: Extending the work… [worksheet]
    • Identify a campus initiative related to teaching or educational technology.
    • Identify the goal.
    • Identify shareholders (schools, departments, faculty, committees, etc.) that will need to be involved to for the initiative to be successful.
    • Identify research-based teaching strategies as a focus for faculty development delivered through a community of practice.
  4. Q&A
    1. Discuss worksheet with a partner and identify a common question(s) for presenter.
    2. Teams choose one (or two) question(s) and share with group.
    3. Presenter will respond or poll audience for responses.
Jun 17, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Inspiring Faculty: Improving Student Outcomes through Increased Faculty-Student Engagement

How do institutions enculturate and empower faculty to leverage proactive outreach strategies to address student performance gaps? This session will provide an overview of how a large online institution partnered their faculty, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and student success teams to implement University-wide programming of instructional strategies, such targeted outreach to struggling students, that encourage faculty-student engagement. Attendees will learn about technology support solutions, program details, and student outcomes. Reflection and Q&A will focus on a cross-institutional discussion on how universities and solution providers are attempting to address this question.

Extended Abstract

While traditional measures of student retention are tied to program level student retention rates, retention is a lagging measure of student performance. Student performance at the assignment and course level is a leading measure of student success (American Association of Community Colleges, 2013). The critical role of faculty in achieving college completion goals has become evident (Rhodes, 2012). The online retention literature indicates that (a) faculty play a critical role in student retention (Betts, 2009), (b) students may not persist in their program[s] without effective faculty support (Morrow & Ackerman, 2012), and (c) faculty must possess the competencies to meet learners’ needs in an online environment (Franklin, 2015).

In this session, presenters will discuss how faculty, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning staff and leadership, and student success teams at Ashford University partnered to implement a University-wide initative focused on increasing faculty-student engagement and improving student performance in the online environment.

Ashford University began this work in 2017, launching Civitas Inspire for Faculty (IFF) for faculty within the learning management system in June 2018. Civitas IFF provides visualization of student behaviors and performance to faculty via an easy to access heat map that quickly summarizes student engagement and success factors.  With this unique perspective on student engagement, faculty have the ability to direct specific interventions through email outreach and support resources to students.  The tool also allows faculty the ability to quickly target subpopulations of students and include student advisors on messaging when their support may be necessary.

This session will discuss faculty development and support programming to prepare faculty for the cultural shift this tool introduced to daily teaching and learning practices. This includes discussion of training opportunities including quick-start guides, live webinars, email campaigns encouraging usage, an example intervention calendar, and numerous templates to give faculty starting points and examples of how to engage students at various levels of engagement.  In the first year following IFF implementation, Ashford experienced a 70% adoption of IFF by faculty who sent over 375,000 interventions via email to students. Initial outcomes of these interventions will be discussed along with lessons learned.

Questions that will be posed to attendees throughout the session:

  1. What instructional strategies do you utilize in your classrooms that have a positive impact on student course completion?
  2. Why do these instructional strategies have a positive impact on student course completion?
  3. What instructional strategies do not have a positive impact on student course completion?
  4. Why don’t these instructional strategies have a positive impact on student course completion?
  5. What are the critical teaching competencies that you believe prepare faculty to engage students and improve in-course completion rates?
  6. What training and development strategies help faculty develop these competencies?

This session will culminate in a 10 minute Q&A session with attendees to learn how faculty driven intervention programs are being structured and promoted, what tools will support these instructional best practices, and the student outcomes institutions are experiencing.


American Association of Community Colleges. (2013). Principles and plans: A voluntary framework of accountability (VFA) for community colleges. Retrieved from

Betts, K. (2009). Online human touch (OHT) training & support: A conceptual framework to increase faculty and adjunct faculty engagement, connectivity, and retention in online education, Part 2. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 5(1), 29-48. Retrieved from

Franklin, M. (2015). Keys to success in the online accounting classroom to maximize student retention. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 15(5), 36-44. Available from

Morrow, J. A., & Ackermann, M. E. (2012). Intention to persist and retention of first-year students: The importance of motivation and sense of belonging. College Student Journal, 46(3), 483-491. Available from

Rhoades, G. (2012). Faculty engagement to enhance student attainment. Retrieved from

Jun 17, 2020
5:30pm - 6:15pm (Eastern)
OLC Innovate: Musical Bingo!

Now is a good time to head to the virtual dram shop, grab a beverage, snack and Bingo card for a little pixelated pandemic-release. We will dust off the ol' jukebox and throw out your favorite songs in a game of Musical Bingo! Come join us and win a few fun prizes!


Hi there and thank you for playing ZINGO. We will be playing 1 round of Musical Bingo – called I Love the 80’s

Here are the basic rules of the game:

  • A snippet of a song will play for approximately 15 seconds.
  • During the  time the song is playing, you are going to want to locate the song on your bingo card and then cross or blot that square.
  • The center square is FREE, just like regular bingo.
  • Between songs there will be a brief pause (usually around 5 seconds) before the next song is played.
  • If you have a ZINGO, you will need to type ZINGO in the chat window. There is about a 20-second delay between the live game and comments on ZINGO. Because every person has different internet speeds we unfortunately have to take the first message that gets to us as the winning ZINGO. So you might have typed it first but because another person had faster internet etc. their ZINGO might register first. Unfortunately, this is just the problem with an online world.

There are two ways to get your game card (online or manual).

Option 1 (Online):

  • When the game starts, you will want to have a separate device for the game card (mobile device, tablet, second screen etc).
  • Click this website:
  • Enter your Name, email address and the game code *****We will give you the game code during the start of the game****

Option 2 (Printed Card):

  • If the online website is down or if you prefer to play with a traditional printed card, attached is a printable PDF with all the cards. We will assign you a card number when it is time to play.


Have fun, stay safe and enjoy ZINGO from the comfort of your own home.

Jun 18, 2020
8:15am - 8:45am (Eastern)
Meditation and Mindfulness

Join us for some quiet time to decompress, reconnect mind and body, and practice some self-care as we turn our focus inward for a short while.  Mindfulness has been defined as a practice of "bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occuring in the present moment" (Baer, 2003).  Join Clark Shah-Nelson for some guided mindful meditations.  These sessions will be geared toward centering ourselves on higher levels of consciousness so that we can experience OLC Innovate Virtual Conference in a healthy and present way together.

Baer, R.A.  (2003).  Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention:  A conceptual and empirical review.  Clinical psychology:  Science and practice, 10(2), 125-143.

Extended Abstract


Jun 18, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Scaling Effective Digital Teaching and Learning Practices in Higher Education

Higher education institutions conduct pilot after pilot centered on digital teaching and learning initiatives, but the lessons learned from these projects are often lost. What if there was a way to better share results with similar colleges and universities in order to improve scalability and impact?

Extended Abstract

Time and again, institutions of higher education undertake initiatives around digital teaching and learning practices. These institutions often develop pilots in order to determine what works well, what does not, how they can make improvements, or if they need to abandon them and try something else. Often times, top-down efforts are siloed and do not include a diverse set of stakeholders in the decision-making process, reducing buy-in and leaving out key nodes during implementation. Bottom-up pilots frequently do not have institutional support and tend to be isolated to small groups of instructors or researchers. When pilots are abandoned or scaled, many of the lessons learned from the process are lost along the way.

However, is there a way that we can better leverage these pilots and the data that they generate in order to help improve the scalability of effective digital teaching and learning practices more broadly? Is it possible to help cluster institutions around contexts, needs, and capacities so that they can learn from what others have done, thereby potentially decreasing costs, accelerating timelines, and increasing data-driven decision-making? This session will center around a conversation pertaining to these questions and how we can collectively work to minimize pain points, improve communication, and create a resource that holds the potential to improve student outcomes.

We will facilitate a discussion around these questions, having attendees work in small groups of different backgrounds. The session will make use of sticky flip charts and markers in order to visually share ideas with others. Participants will engage with us and each other to develop a key set of takeaways that will be shared with them following the event and that they will be able to use at their own institutions. Given that these complex questions cannot be fully answered in a 45-minute session, attendees will also be invited to continue the conversation after the event.

Jun 18, 2020
9:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Begin Here: Creating Effective Learning Objectives

This session will address issues that faculty and learners struggle with in writing well-formed learning objectives. Learning Objectives are a key element in the Quality Matters rubric, forming the basis for determinations of alignment of learning elements. Yet in my experience as a faculty member and instructional designer few instructors have formal training in organizing a course, especially when it comes to stating the learning objectives of the course in observable and measurable terms. Learners also do not approach a learning task with clear objectives and aligned activities in mind. This workshop is designed to provide that training by introducing the parts of a learning objective, how learning objectives relate at different levels, and how learning objectives map out in cognitive and knowledge dimensions.

Extended Abstract

This session will address the elements involved in writing well-formed learning objectives. Learning Objectives are a key element in organizing a learning experience as they form the basis for determining the selection and alignment of learning elements in a course using observable and measurable language. This workshop is designed to introduce the three parts of a learning objective, how learning objectives relate at different levels of learning, and how learning objectives map out in cognitive and knowledge dimensions. The utility of this work is explored from both the learner and instructional perspective, applying to self-directed, independent learning as well as more traditional forms of teaching. Throughout this interactive session attendees will follow a step-by-step process to complete at least one quality learning objective by the end of the course using provided handouts and guided discussion.


  • 10 Minute introduction of concepts in learning objectives, alignment and using them as a structure for curriculum planning.
  • 10 Minute interactive talk with audience participation to prompts regarding measurable verbs, with introduction to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy
  • 10 Minute activity using provided handout listing measurable verbs in own discipline, with peer evaluation with others nearby.
  • 5 Minute interactive  talk with audience participation defining performance conditions.
  • 10 Minute activity using provided handout relating conditions to previously generated verbs
  • 5 Minute interactive talk with audience participation defining performance criteria and introducing alignment
  • 10 Minute activity using provided handout relating criteria  to previously generated verb/conditions
  • 10 Minutes writing a performance learning objective on provided handout and sharing with peers.
  • 10 Minute introduction of Anderson and Krathwohl’s Knowledge Dimensions as they relate to Learning Objectives
  • 5 Minutes mapping written learning objectives to knowledge dimension
  • 5 Minutes closing remarks and discussion

Faculty, new instructional designers, and independent learners will benefit from a complete explanation of the rationale and intent of learning objectives, and how to create them. They will then experience how learning objects interact at all levels of an educational institution to form a structure for the curriculum. Finally, they will understand how clear learning objectives create a transparent learning environment for students. My work is informed by Anderson and Krathwohl’s 2001 publication “A Taxonomy for Learning , Teaching and Assessing,” which revises and expands on Benjamin Bloom’s 1956 Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain and provides a complete guide to using learning objectives in the systematic planning of learning environments.

Quality learning objectives are vital in the transition to 21st century learning environments. The traditional classroom is based upon an individual professor’s expertise, resulting in a curriculum that is idiosyncratic and not aligned. Now we have a growing need for learning, and higher education must be able to scale its offering in a cost-effective manner. Learning objectives provide a structure for that scalability by making external the structure of learning found in a professor’s knowledge. It also helps structure the learner’s efforts when designing their own learning programs.


Jun 18, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
The New Cognitive Ecology of Reading: What Does it Mean for Online Teaching and Course Design

Every online or hybrid course represents a perspective on reading. Recognition of recent accounts of its cognitive dimensions, to how our minds work in reading and what everyday online behavior means in the lives of readers, can direct postsecondary educational professionals to timely questions of course design and teaching.  

Extended Abstract

This “Present and Reflect” session falls within the conference track on “Teaching and Learning Practice.”  

The 30 minute opening section is based on the assumption that every online or hybrid course, to the degree that it includes online text, represents a perspective on reading in the digital age. Recognition of recent accounts of its cognitive dimensions, to how our minds work in reading and what everyday online behavior means in the lives of readers, can direct postsecondary educational professionals to timely questions of course design and teaching.  

It is now twenty years since the phrase “continuous partial attention” entered American discourse to name the cognitive conditions becoming apparent in digital experience. Indeed, distracted reading is its most common form, from adolescent readers to university faculty, the latter struggling with information overload if not with “fear of missing out” (FOMO) on what is communicated via social media. This presentation focuses on adult professional readers working in online course design and teaching. Their experience of reading and understanding of its dynamics can be observed in the presentation of text on instructional screens, in the ratio of print and screen reading in any course, and in student assignments and assessments, including expectations of students as readers of peer writing.  

The environment for reading features ubiquitous screens and, surprisingly, the durability of print. That is precisely the framework cognitive scientist Maryanne Wolf adopts in her celebrated 2018 book: Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World. Wolf features the neuroscience of reading, presented in urgent terms: “The quality of our reading is not only an index of the quality of our thought, it is our best-known path to developing whole new pathways in the cerebral evolution of our species.” The stakes are high, reflecting the “quickening changes that now characterize [reading’s] current evolving iterations.” 

Wolf’s goal is to identify a way to understand how we read in the digital age that can serve as a foundation for preparing succeeding generations for fruitful and satisfying reading. She tells her own story as a reader, the inspiration for introducing questions of reading in this session format with what it asks of participants in thinking about their experience as readers.         

For Wolf, timing is everything.  “Unlike in the past, we possess both the science and the technology to identify potential changes in how we read—and thus how we think—before such changes are fully entrenched in the population and accepted without comprehension of the consequences.”  And she offers this guidance in online course design: “The building [of our knowledge of the practices of reading] can provide the theoretical basis for changing technology to redress its own weaknesses, whether in more refined digital modes of reading or the creation of alternative. . . . hybrid approaches to it.” Accordingly, the presentation turns to the “new cognitive ecologies” to guide fresh attention to reading in online course design and teaching.

Print and screens can now be represented in partnerships in emerging and future reading styles. We have what is prompted by screens--toward what is brief and quickly accomplished often while engaged in other media--and what print offers, in long-form texts, and in-depth cognitive activity. The two might co-exist but without attention to their relative merits. If we are neutral about the kinds of reading the two formats promote will we set in motion normalization of screen reading for all purposes? True enough, readers might always be able to choose--the right medium for the task as the saying goes--but will the sheer force of the screen, and what it means for student readers gradually degrade (if that is not too strong a term) reading habits more generally. Over time will online habits make of print a specialized or even antiquarian habit--like using fountain pens?

We often hear now that teachers report that students--many, of course, tethered to their smart phones when not in class (and sometimes when they are)--resist reading demanding essays and whole books. Some observers of higher education propose that we "start where the students are." This session addresses the desirability of starting where the teachers and course designers are in their habits of reading and views about its nature in the digital age. Should we be thinking about what we can do, while capitalizing on the affordances of screens, to retain the uses of long-form and deep reading, or what appears to be possible only in print?  

Wolf has allies in her quest for a fresh view of reading. According to theorist Robert Clowes (“Screen Reading and the Creation of New Digital Ecologies,” AI and Society, [2018]) “Reading exists in a tool-rich ecology. Our tools do not simply impact upon our minds, but are themselves part of a constantly evolving cognitive ecology, shaping and reshaping human cognitive abilities.  It is possible that this new ecology might diminish certain of our capabilities, but we need to hold open the possibility that it can also create new cognitive possibilities."

Right now, as Wolf and Clowes explain, we can't be certain that reading online doesn't have unwelcome cognitive effects. But Clowes is an optimist and he stands with Wolf and others in urging recognition of the expansion of reading as part of a "new cognitive ecology" (or what others are calling "transliteracy" or "bi-literacy").
Clowes focuses on the brain's "plasticity" and takes the problem into theory. Thus: "What the science of the reading brain has helped reveal, is how human neural hardware and technology are poised in a dynamic and mutually transformative relationship." There will be change but print is seen as co-existing with screens: "This is a process of both conservation and innovation." Presumably, expert readers at work in course design and teaching will be particularly self-conscious about how the two interact.  

The 30 minute introduction will conclude with attention to strategies that might be adopted to reflect the “new cognitive ecology of reading” in course design and teaching. Such strategies can form part of the backdrop for the Q and A part of session, with what participants discover about themselves as readers in the “reflective” segment. The strategies might include: a) attention to questions of reading in the digital age in the syllabus; b) syllabus and assignment design that reflects the relations of screen and print reading; and c) course evaluation that invite comments by students on the encounter between their reading styles and preferences and how reading was represented in the course.   

The second and third parts of the session will enlist participants in considering what the new ecology of reading means for course design, teaching, and learning. The five minute reflective exercise will invite participants to think about themselves as readers based on the summary of the “new cognitive ecology of reading” presented in the first part of the session and with a short series of questions (distributed as a handout) based on those Wolf used in her research:
● Has the ubiquity of screen reading influenced your reading of print?
● Are you more easily distracted when reading online than when you are reading print? 
● Does reading on a screen reduce your patience with long form texts?
● Do you find e-books to be equivalent to print books for gaining understanding from a text?
● Do you often print digital texts to enable more understanding?  

Finally, the session design means that the third part, 10 minutes of Q and A, can feature what the personal experience of reading, against the theoretical backdrop, means for thinking about the best conditions for online course design, teaching, and learning.


Jun 18, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Evolving Teaching and Learning Center Support for Online and Distance Learning

How are teaching and learning centers (TLCs) positioned and evolving to support online programs and courses? This session reports on results of a wide scale benchmarking study of TLCs to assess their role in providing support for online initiatives.

Extended Abstract

There is a growing need for teaching and learning centers (TLCs) to support faculty in their online teaching endeavors (Strawser & Banug, 2017). Researchers have examined online faculty development from numerous perspectives, ranging from identifying overall best practices (Coswatte Mohr & Shelton, 2017) to offering principles for guiding online faculty development programming (Wright, 2016). Yet, the field still lacks research into the strategic importance and positioning of TLCs for online program development and support. Numerous questions persist about TLCs and their role in supporting online and distance learning. For example, what is the current role of TLCs in supporting online and distance education initiatives? Where are TLCs currently positioned within the institutional organizational structure as compared to the past and how has their structure and composition changed to meet operational and strategic needs for online and distance learning growth? Have TLCs transitioned to offer support of emerging methods of instructional delivery, or have new online and distance learning units taken on such support?

Without benchmarking data on the current trends regarding the changing scope of responsibilities as well as the programs, resources, and services offered by TLCs in support of online and distance learning program development, institutions are making decisions about the future direction of their faculty development initiatives for supporting online and distance learning in the absence of sufficient information regarding strategy, structure, and substance of educational development for online and distance learning.

In this session, we will report on the results of a wide scale benchmarking study that addresses this gap. Phase one used a Delphi methodology with a panel of TLC directors to develop and validate a descriptive framework and research instrument to gather data on the programs, resources, and services TLCs offer in support of online and distance learning. Phase two implemented the instrument to collect benchmark data from TLC directors.

Participants will learn about the study and the results of the benchmark analysis and engage in discussions about interpretation of the metrics and application of the benchmark data and trends to their own institutions.


Coswatte Mohr, S., & Shelton, K. (2017). Best practices framework for online professional development: A delphi study. Online Learning, 21(4), 123-140.

Strawser, M. G., & Bunag, T. (2017). Leading faculty through a paradigm shift: Creating a sustaining a needs-based approach to e-learning faculty development programs. In A. A. Piña, V. L. Lowell, & B. R. Harris (eds.) Leading and Managing e-Learning: What the e-Learning Leader Needs to Know (pp. 203-219). Springer.

Wright, M. (2016). Evidence-based principles for online faculty development. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from

Jun 18, 2020
10:45am - 11:15am (Eastern)
Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk with Formstack

Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions. Our sponsor, Formstack, will lead off with a chat about overcoming institutional roadblocks to technology adoption.  We look forward to your contributions to the chat to see where it takes us.

Jun 18, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
Bridging the Gap Between Students' Lives Inside and Outside the Classroom: Using Personas for Course Development

Students’ lives outside the course environment affect performance in class. During this conversational session, participants role play student personas that drive instructional designers & faculty to make adjustments to courses. These tweaks help create the class community, autonomy, and satisfaction that might be the bridge to success for your learners.

Extended Abstract

Have you heard the one about the Uber driver who offers his riders a menu? It’s no joke! Perhaps you might choose the menu option of “The Stand-up Ride”, where the driver will tell you something funny (at least to him) or perhaps the “Silent Ride” suits you better?

What type of “ride” would your students choose if they had a menu of options? Have you ever encountered the “Leave Me Alone” student who is only taking your class because it’s required? How about the “I’m Busy” student?

Meet Clare, a 37 year old, busy mom of two teenagers. She was recently laid off from her job and her end goal is to find a new one. Clare supplements her severance package (lucky lady!) by working as a consultant part-time but has decided now is the time to work toward an advanced degree.

Clare is one of several personas you will meet during this conversational session where session groups will fulfill the role of a given student persona to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented in a variety of scenarios. Getting to know a bit about your students early on allows time to make small adjustments in your course that can help students be successful.

Scenario 1: Start of Semester

  • Class begins September 1; today is August 15

    • Describe some things your student persona will do between now and when class starts.

    • Name a few things your student would like to know before class starts.

Scenario 2: Content Delivery

  • The instructor’s style is to deliver a synchronous lecture for 45 minutes with an invitation for Q & A at the end.

    • How does your student persona react to this learning environment?

    • What other means of achieving the lecture objectives might suit your student?

Scenario 3: Assessment

  • An assessment activity early in the course allows students to choose their submission type.  Options include: 
    Write a blog post
    ​Create a slide deck
    Write a 2 page paper
    Lead a forum discussion with fellow students on a relevant topic
    ​​Collaborate with student peer(s) to develop video presentation

    • Which activity does your student choose and why?

Session Game Plan

1. Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Telling the story of the Uber article and introducing Persona Clare and the persona/scenario set up, handing out the persona cards and Scenario #1.

2. Three Scenario conversations (30 minutes)

  • Each group will have 5 minutes to discuss among themselves how their persona would respond to the scenario questions and what strategies they might use to help their student/persona to be successful/feel comfortable in class. (Timer set on screen)

  • Two persona groups will be chosen for sharing out (2-3 minutes each group)

Wrap up (5 minutes)

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Determine the value of getting to know their students at the start of the semester.

  2. List activities that will help them to gather information about their students.

  3. Use persona predictions to tweak their course to better meet individual student needs.

Jun 18, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
Programming Artificial Intelligence for a Writing Center: Applications and Future Possibilities

 This presentation will provide an overview of artificial intelligence (AI) in academia and education in general. Specifically, this presentation will discuss the integration of a writing center chatbot into the online learning environment of first-year writing courses at a regional, state university.

Extended Abstract

This presentation will provide an overview of artificial intelligence (AI) in academia and education in general. Specifically, this presentation will draw from the field and relate it to our own effort to program an artificial intelligence software, known as LochBot to our students, that employs natural language learning skills to respond to students’ inquiries through the university’s current learning management system Desire2Learn. This software, commonly known as chatbot technology, is becoming more widely integrated into consumer technologies and could become integral to our front facing technologies in both digital consumer and educational interfaces. This presentation, then, will discuss how our effort to craft the language of the chatbot and how we relied on feedback gained from the target audience through usability testing. In turn, we will also discuss methods used to establish feasibility and performance. We will also discuss how our testing argued strongly for partnership across the university community, including stakeholders in marketing and communication, public safety, counseling services, and information technology.

The presentation will also discuss our efforts to further benefit online education researchers, instructional technologists, and faculty by discussing our future plans for the AI and these possibilities, including integrating questions about assignments; searching for content on writing handouts (OWL) and linking back to questions posed to AI; providing around the clock writing resource for students; integrating with specific, high contact classes in the learning management system; possibilities for text-to-speech and speech-to-text adaptation for students with disabilities; wrapping translation services around the bot to serve multilingual students, and our integration of scaffolding learning activities into the chatbot.

Jun 18, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
A Reporting Dashboard To Provide A New Level Of Transparency In Exam Integrity

This demonstration will showcase our new Facilitator Dashboard which allows faculty a lens into each exam session. Attendees will see examples of all the data and visualizations available through the dashboard.

Extended Abstract

You may not realize the wealth of useful data that is collected in an online proctored exam session, much of which isn’t readily available with test center or in-person delivery. Providing more transparency in exam integrity data not only proves the effectiveness of the proctoring modality but also allows faculty and administrators to have significant oversight of the entire testing process.

This demonstration will showcase our new Facilitator Dashboard that allows faculty a lens into each exam. You can see data in aggregate or drill down to individual session details. The dashboard contains real-time metrics such as exams sessions scheduled, sessions completed, sessions during which an unpermitted resource was removed, sessions during which a proctor intervened on suspicious activity occurring, sessions during which a breach of integrity occurred, student satisfaction metrics, technical issues that occurred, average start time and exam duration, and more. This data gives faculty and admins the ability to track nearly every aspect of the exam experience in real time.

This dashboard brings a new level of data to courses that utilize online proctoring for exams. We’re eager to hear feedback on the types of data presented and learn from attendees whether additional metrics are of interest to academic and teaching professionals. It is our hope that this demonstration will spark a discussion around data transparency and the need for more insight into the exam process.

Jun 18, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Progress Around the HBCU Community - Part 3

Each presenter provides an overview of their project and then discusses their project with summit participants. 

  • "'E (Educational and Electronic)-Fortress' of Awareness and Understanding in the Humanities" - Presenter:  Jan Boulware, Bethune-Cookman University
  • "Promoting Robust Student Learning of Statistics with Open Education Resources"  - Presenter:  Kelly Carey, Bethune-Cookman University

Extended Abstract



Jun 18, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Throw Out the Bathwater But Keep the Baby: A Case for Synchronous Class Sessions

Despite widespread availability of online synchronous tools, only 4 percent of faculty integrate regular sessions in their online courses. When faculty limit course delivery to asynchronous formats they risk “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Institutions can build a new vision of online learning that includes more synchronous interactions.

Extended Abstract

For nearly two decades, the campaign for online learning has emphasized “convenience” and “flexibility,” implying, among other aspects of the online learning environment, that “online usually means asynchronous.” Even now, when a plethora of virtual meeting tools are available, current marketing materials for online programs and courses and popular online course development guides have largely reinforced this notion (Cheverton, 2019, unpublished, “What’s the Message in Online Program Marketing and Quality Guides?”). Accordingly, 71% of online instructors report teaching in an asynchronous format, while only 4 percent report integrating regularly scheduled real time sessions in their online courses (Jaschik & Lederman, 2018, “The 2018 Survey Of Faculty Attitudes On Technology”). 

Some might argue that “asynchronous” is the point of online learning, since a primary benefit to the student is the ability to “take classes anytime and study at your own pace and convenience” (Mittal, 2017, “Benefits of Online Learning For College Students”). And many would agree that asynchronous teaching and learning activities allow for students to “spend more time refining their contributions, which are generally considered more thoughtful compared to synchronous communication” (Hrastinski, 2008, Asynchronous and Synchronous E-Learning). 

That being said, when institutions and faculty overemphasize the flexibility and convenience aspects of online learning by limiting its delivery to an asynchronous format, they risk “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” In other words, they risk inadvertently throwing out some of the best learning opportunities (the baby) when they eliminate regular required “seat” time (perceived as part of the bathwater). For example, the asynchronous format excludes the valuable pedagogy of spontaneous discussion. As one instructor stated to Cheverton in a workshop for online course development, “My best teaching is when I’m facilitating a real-time discussion and there’s spontaneity and I can ask deeper questions and students can hear each other in the moment. I’m afraid of losing that in the online environment.” Restricting formats to the asynchronous approach also requires a steeper learning curve for traditional faculty who must learn both a completely different pedagogy and a plethora of technology tools; increases their preparation time as they record lectures and complete other tasks; places greater demands on media and other institutional support resources; and leaves faculty and students fatigued by reading and typing. 

Cheverton proposes that institutions can build a better environment for the “baby” by integrating
more synchronous sessions in its online learning environment; they can mitigate some of the challenges of a completely asynchronous format and achieve the potential benefits of the synchronous experience. For example, by enabling faculty to use live interaction in the online environment as they do in the on-campus environment, institutions could reduce faculty work load and ease their transition from a traditional on-campus classroom to the online classroom. Furthermore, institutions could more easily meet compliance regulations and quality expectations. For example, regularly scheduled synchronous sessions will enable institutions to more easily measure attendance and demonstrate “regular and substantive interaction,” required by the Federal Higher Education Act for institutions to receive Title IV financial aid funds and a concept that is difficult to define (Kronk, 2019, “What Is Regular And Substantive Interaction? The Term That Has Defined Online Learning Still Lacks Clear Definition”). Similarly, synchronous sessions could help course designs to more easily meet the Quality Matters General Standard 5, which requires certified courses to include activities that “facilitate and support learner interaction and engagement” (2018, QM Higher Education Rubric, Sixth Edition).   

Integrating regularly scheduled online synchronous sessions may also help students by enabling closer student-faculty and student-student connections. For example, Weissmandisser (2017, “Evaluating The Effectiveness Of A Synchronous Online Environment In Establishing Social, Cognitive, And Teaching Presence) found that synchronous technology and its associated teaching style provides “the mechanisms by which connections can occur that otherwise may not in the asynchronous environment. These connections promote proximity and the connections allow teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence to build a community of inquiry.” In fact, evidence shows that students want this kind of connection. For example, Zotti (2017, “The Implementation Of Web Conferencing Technologies in Online Graduate Classes) found that, “the primary driver [of using web conferencing] is a strong desire by a vocal percentage of course participants for real-time interaction and a more ‘real’ classroom experience.” According to Clinefelter & Aslanian (2017, Online College Students 2017: Comprehensive Data On Demands And Preferences), 72% of online students indicated that they would be willing to login to a virtual session with their instructor and other students at least 2-3 times per course and as many as 5 times per course; 76% found the idea of virtual office hours attractive or very attractive. And, according to a 2018 survey of 207 James Madison University students conducted by JMU’s Online Learning Coordinators, 57% selected “Lack of interaction with my online instructor” as a reason for NOT taking an online course. Furthermore, Cheverton’s own course evaluation results indicate that the students enrolled in her online courses enjoy the weekly required synchronous session through WebEx. One student wrote, “Other online classes I have taken are strictly through an online program. The professor does not actually hold a meeting time. I liked this class much more because it feels less like an online class when the professor holds class meetings and teaches the material.” 

Finally, integrating regularly scheduled synchronous sessions in online courses will help prepare students for the modern work experience. According to Gallup’s 2017 report, “The State of the American Workplace,” from 2012 to 2016, “the number of employees working remotely rose by four percentage points, from 39% to 43%, and employees working remotely spent more time doing so.” Stolzoff (2018, “Why all work meetings should be video meetings, even the in-person ones”) proposes that “with the majority of work in many offices already happening online, maybe meetings should be no different.” Even one of Cheverton’s students indicated that his experience with WebEx through her course, “helped me gain the skills of using WebEx, which I have never used before this class. A recent job that I applied for, in the required skills it mentioned that the individual should be knowledgeable in WebEx, as there will be many online meetings using this program. Now I can say that I am very knowledgeable in this program because of this class.”

Considering the abundance of synchronous technologies that are now available, the known and potential benefits of synchronous interaction, and the increasingly virtual nature of the modern work environment, higher education should insist that institutions build a new vision of online learning that includes more online synchronous interactions. Institutions should examine their assumptions about online learning and, if necessary, adjust their expectations. They should encourage faculty to consider integrating synchronous sessions before automatically designing their course in an asynchronous format. They should provide ample training and support for faculty who need to learn how to use synchronous meeting tools. Lastly, institutions should help create expectations and build faculty confidence by reimagining the online teaching and learning environment, sharing examples of excellence, and promoting best practice.

In the first part of her session, Cheverton will share evidence to support her view that integrating regular online synchronous sessions into online courses will benefit students, faculty, and the institution, and that many institutions should adjust their perceptions and expectations around the online learning environment, including the popular assumption that “online means asynchronous.” She will then ask attendees to reflect on the assumptions about online learning that seem to be present in their own institutions and how institutional expectations and practices reflect those assumptions. Finally, she will invite attendees to discuss the various opportunities and challenges around moving towards a more synchronous-inclusive online learning environment. 

Jun 18, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
OLC Leadership Network Event - Part 1: Setting Institutional Strategy with the Support of Digital Learning

Creating institutional capacity for ensuring student success in our ever-changing educational landscape requires digital transformation across organizations.  This session will provide leaders of all levels and expertise concrete examples, resources and calls to action for establishing institutional strategy that is supported by leading-edge online and digital learning strategy.  


Extended Abstract

Creating institutional capacity for ensuring student success in our ever-changing educational landscape requires digital transformation across organizations.  This session will provide leaders of all levels and expertise concrete examples, resources and calls to action for establishing institutional strategy that is supported by leading-edge online and digital learning strategy.  

Join us for this first session of three sessions at OLC’s spring leadership network event, where we bring together digital leaders from academics, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss digital education strategy across the institution.  Increasingly, the changing educational landscape along with the rise of alternative educational providers have opened new pathways and opportunities in digital leadership, research and collaboration. Digital leaders are guiding initiatives at traditional academic institutions and non-profits, developing new products and approaches within the private sector, and working to establish policies and regulations within government. We see ever increasing demand for cross-sector collaborations led by digital leaders across an increasingly diverse educational landscape. Join us at this three part event for featured presentations and small group discussions on opportunities for digital leaders, both established and emerging, in embedding digital strategy within the mission, goals and initiatives of entire institutions and organizations.

The Leadership Network Event option is included in your OLC Innovate Virtual Conference 2020 registration fee. There is no additional registration fee to participate in the event.  Learn more about this session and all of the sessions at the Leadership Network Event page.


Jun 18, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Nursing Educators' Perceptions of Teaching Information Literacy to Support Evidence-Based Practice: A Mixed-Methods Study

The mixed-methods study was used to examine nursing educators’ perceptions about teaching information literacy to support evidence-based practice (EBP). Data collected in two phases supported firm beliefs and confidence in teaching and utilizing EBP. The need to update educators about information literacy and EBP competencies, organizational constraints for teaching competencies and commitment to lifelong learning in nursing were themes identified. The significance of the study validated the importance for nursing educators to be knowledgeable and prepared to teach essential competencies expected of nursing graduates. 

Extended Abstract

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is the standard of care in healthcare, and educators are obligated to prepare future nurses to utilize EBP supported by information literacy competencies in the 21stcentury. The purpose of the mixed-methods study was to examine educators’ perceptions and beliefs about teaching information literacy to support EBP and determine cultural factors in academia that influenced the integration of EBP. The Information Literacy for Evidence-Based Nursing Practice-Modified (ILNP-M), Evidence-Based Practice Beliefs-Educator (EBPB-E), and Organizational Culture and Readiness for School-Wide Integration of Evidence-Based Practice-Educator (OCRSIEP-E) Scales were used to collect data in Phase I from 145 educators in a south-central state. Phase II data were collected from 11 educators’ personal experiences teaching information literacy and EBP with semi-structured, recorded interviews.

Most participants reported firm beliefs and confidence in teaching and utilizing EBP and a positive movement toward sustainable cultures of college-wide integration of EBP. Primary sources for information-seeking included professional journals, reference textbooks, and healthcare databases, and librarians were rarely consulted. Availability of databases and personal expectations for seeking new evidence were facilitators, and barriers for searching for new information included lack of time to search and not understanding the organization of electronic databases. Most were aware of EBP but not information literacy competencies, and participants unanimously reported information literacy was an EBP prerequisite and faculty were responsible for teaching both competencies. Though not statistically significant, educators younger than fifty years and teaching in graduate and doctorate programs had higher mean scores on the EBPB-E Scale. Statistical significance was found for movement toward a sustainable culture of EBP by participants teaching in graduate and doctorate programs (p= 0.028) on the OCRSIEP-E Scale. 

Interview transcripts evolved into three themes: need to update educators to teach information literacy and EBP competencies, organizational constraints for teaching competencies, and commitment for lifelong learning in nursing. Recommendations were to update educators through faculty development and orientation programs about both competencies and consistent integration of competencies in all nursing programs. The significance of the study validated the importance for nursing educators to be knowledgeable and prepared to teach essential nursing competencies expected of nursing graduates. 


Jun 18, 2020
1:00pm - 1:30pm (Eastern)
Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk With

Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions. Katherine Vander Vennet, representing our sponsor, will lead off with a chat about student success subject area and planning for the fall.  We look forward to your contributions to the chat to see where it takes us.

Jun 18, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Progress Around the HBCU Community - Part 4

Each presenter provides an overview of their project and then discuss their project with summit participants.  

  • "Overcoming Student Anxiety and Resistance in the Online World Religion Course"  - Presenter:  Alice L. Wood, Bethune-Cookman University
  • "Open Education Resources in Mathematics at Bethune-Cookman University" - Presenter:  Allen Pelley and Masood Poorandi, Bethune-Cookman University

Extended Abstract


Jun 18, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
Power, Proximity, and Placelessness: Implementing An Ethical Framework for Research and Engagement in Online Higher Education

The Framework for Inclusive Research and Engagement explores the principles of reflection, refraction, and response to support research that centers underrepresented students. By recognizing that research epistemologies inform how education functions, we are better prepared to acknowledge the active role that universities continue to play in reinscribing marginalizing practices.

Extended Abstract

Developing an ethical framework

As researchers, it can be difficult to navigate the constantly shifting landscape of online higher education. The constant state of sociopolitical flux, shifting student demographics, and rapidly growing calls on public institutions to be answerable to the communities they serve place pressure on online programs to demonstrate the value and impact of online learning. Amidst this pressure, it can be difficult to identify new and innovative research methods that center historically marginalized student populations in ways that lead to productive changes in teaching online. At times, the difficulty of building momentum for online research can lead to decision-making that does not prioritize the needs and concerns of online learners.  

To assist researchers in navigating these complexities, we have developed a Framework for Inclusive Research and Engagement (FIRE) that leverages the principles of reflection, refraction, and response. The goal of these principles is to guide researchers through the process of research in online learning that is grounded in equitable decision-making. This framework speaks to broad trends and practices that marginalize research participants - students - while providing specific, concrete examples of how these abstract principles influence research practices that impact online students in higher education. 

Key themes of the framework are described below:

  1. Refraction draws on the principles of intersectionality, positionality, and situated knowledges in order to critically examine the relationships among researchers, researchees, and research subjects. Refraction understands that each research agent is located within certain identities, places of privilege and power, bias, and perspective, all of which play a material role in the research conceptualization, design, process, and analysis. 

  2. Reflexivity is the dynamic, continual examination of how narratives created through the research process are situated within larger structures shared by the researcher and the researchee. Reflexivity asks researchers to critically assess their position and power while describing and analyzing concepts, patterns, and relationships throughout the research process. Researchers are asked to “flip the script” or “reverse the microscope” before constructing knowledges and narratives about the researched. 

  3. Response is the ongoing commitment to ensure that research practices are answerable to the people impacted by research. Researchers should acknowledge historical injustices and ongoing power dynamics among the communities they are working with and seek to build accountable, collaborative relationships to repair harm. This answerability entails sharing both the process, outputs, and benefits of research with those being researched. This means ensuring research decisions are aligned with the interests of students and faculty, gathering feedback from participants, and allowing that feedback to change and inform the course of study. 

These principles serve as foundational concepts that can inform researchers throughout the process of designing and implementing research studies on online learners. To explore these principles in practice, this framework was implemented during a multi-semester research fellowship in online learning. It served as a part of the curriculum for faculty researchers who were new to educational research, guiding conceptualisation, design, implementation, and analysis of their research. Throughout the process, their reflections informed both the conceptual and practical development of the framework. Lessons learned will be shared as a part of this session. 

By recognizing that research epistemologies inform how educational systems function, we are better prepared to acknowledge the active role that universities continue to play in reinscribing marginalizing practices. To shift an institution’s active participation in oppressive systems both locally and across the world (wherever online students are and are not), education professionals must reject harmful historical practices and adopt inclusive, critical practices. We bring an interdisciplinary approach, synthesizing intersectional approaches to justice in education and focusing on three core principles: power, proximity, and placelessness. 


The production and consumption of knowledge have, historically, been the privilege of very few. However, with the advent of distance learning mediated by technology and the rapidly growing interest and enrollment in online courses and programs, established university power systems are being challenged unlike ever before. Public institutions are increasingly being called upon to operate in ways that are answerable to the communities they were not originally built to serve. As new models of education evolve in response, they pose a challenge to existing hierarchies by distributing knowledge to populations that have formerly had little access to formal education. 

While the potential for online higher education to disrupt systems of oppression is promising, it is imperative for education administrators and researchers to critically assess how vestiges of institutions historically rooted in systemic exclusion are being perpetuated within distance education. To understand how the university system exerts its power, one must recognize how knowledge production practices create, encode, and maintain knowledges that are supportive of systems of oppression. Since knowledge production plays such a pivotal role in reinscribing existing social structures that are fundamentally inequitable, the university, then, is a major participant in maintaining and furthering these oppressive systems. As such, it is imperative for institutions to create and sustain policies and frameworks for ethical research and engagement in order to minimize the propagation of marginalizing practices as the field of distance education grows.


To better understand how their identities, experiences, and knowledges inform their work, practitioners can draw on the concept of proximity. Proximity is the extent to which a researcher or decision-maker interacts with the individuals and communities they study and/or for whom they make decisions. Through reflection on assumptions, identities, and privileges, the concept of proximity can help dismantle harmful institutional practices. 


In theory, online programs of study enable learning to be physically placeless - in other words, access to the classroom is not entirely bound by location. This concept - what is known as the concept of placelessness - is the belief that knowledge and social worlds can exist devoid of material context. However, as Patel writes, “learning and knowledge are never placeless” (2015). While online programs may loosen the place-boundedness of learning, it is not accurate to say that students are learning from anywhere. They are learning from somewhere - whether or not we see or know that place. The distinction here is between education that is not bound by place and education existing devoid of place.

Placelessness privileges dominant identities. By allowing practitioners to presume that a student’s learning context is much like their own. In doing so, placelessness may erase or minimize diversity. Without a commitment to understanding placelessness, faculty, educational designers, and researchers are left to imagine the students they are working with and thus prone to implicit bias. In the historical context of the university, this serves to further systems of oppression that actively exclude historically marginalized populations. 

Section 2: What the attendees are going to learn from the presentation (the takeaways)

While the framework is grounded in the larger principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and advocacy (IDEA), it does not remain purely at the conceptual level. Instead, the framework seeks to help practitioners weave together underlying IDEA principles with practical action steps. Attendees will be better able to design and implement research and engagement practices and reduce the potential harmful impact of research and engagement on historically marginalized student populations. Our presentation will strive to help attendees co-construct an ethical approach to research in online higher education. Attendees will leave with both a code of practice for inclusive research and a research checklist that assists them in applying these principles to each stage of the research and engagement process. 

Section 3: Plan for Interactivity (include a strong engagement strategy)

This session will offer attendees an introduction to reflexivity, refraction, and response as pillars of an ethical framework for research and engagement within higher education. While the 20-30 minute presentation will explore critical perspectives, the remainder of the session (15-25 minutes) will embrace active learning, sharing of lived experiences, and hands-on engagement with adapting an ethical framework for research and engagement for each attendee’s home institution. Attendees will engage with session material through scenario-based design thinking activities, where they will work in teams to assess case studies and apply the research framework as appropriate. Time will be reserved for a question-and-answer forum at the end of the session.


Byrne, A., Canavan, J., & Millar, M. (2009). Participatory research and the voice‐centred relational method of data analysis: is it worth it? International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 12(1), 67–77. doi: 10.1080/13645570701606044

Hesse-Biber, S. N. (2007). Handbook of feminist research: theory and praxis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Enosh, G., & Ben-Ari, A. (2015). Reflexivity: The Creation of Liminal Spaces—Researchers, Participants, and Research Encounters. Qualitative Health Research, 26(4), 578–584. doi: 10.1177/1049732315587878

Nind, M. (2014). Inclusive research and inclusive education: why connecting them makes sense for teachers’ and learners’ democratic development of education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 44(4), 525–540. doi: 10.1080/0305764x.2014.936825

Patel, L. (2015). Decolonizing educational research: From ownership to answerability. Routledge 
Walmsley, J., & Johnson, K. (2003). Inclusive research with people with learning disabilities: past, present, and futures. London: J. Kingsley Publishers.

Jun 18, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
The Way Forward: Building and Supporting Career-Ready and Diverse Students towards Careers in the Tech Industry

Under-represented students in computer coding face a barrier to entry in the Tech industry. Montgomery County Community College partnered with to increase student success for these students.

Extended Abstract

Female, African-American, Latino and other under-represented students in Computer Science coding classes often face a concrete barrier to career entry in the Tech industry. Coding jobs in the nation’s tech firms are often occupied by a narrow and less diverse set of employees. Overcoming that barrier begins with graduating more diverse students with exceptional coding skills.

Coding is not easy. At Montgomery County Community College (Montco) Dr. Kendall Martin has partnered with to increase the proportion of students obtaining better grades, persisting and ultimately graduating with a strong skillset worthy of competing successfully for these jobs. With the severe employment situation brought on by the COVID crisis, the tech sector is one place where skilled applicants have more opportunity.

In 30 years of teaching coding, it has become rewarding for Dr. Martin to partner with to assist her students at times when she’s not available.’s coding experts are available 24/7 on demand and students can connect to these tutors within seconds. Coding students are no different than other 2 year students: they have jobs they have families and they have personal obligations that may mean they are studying late at night. In the online classroom tutor and student collaborate towards improved coding, and do so within seconds even late at night.

Dr. Martin will highlight several areas of support she has received from One of course is the on demand tutoring her students receive. She will profile students who come from diverse backgrounds who have benefitted from her classes and the immediate support they received from She’ll also demonstrate the session data she has access to on the students in her classes through’s unique Client Portal. This on demand dashboard delivers learner analytics and early alerts keeping her on top of student progress. She will also share success metrics from these efforts.

Jun 18, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
What CHLOE 4 Tells Us About The Practice Of Online Higher Education

The fourth annual CHLOE (Changing Landscape of Online Education) Report has just appeared. The session will focus on new insights drawn from this survey of 367 chief online officers on widespread trends and practices within the U.S. online learning community in leadership, management, policy, pedagogy, online services for students and faculty, and institutional priorities over the next half decade. Audience reaction to these findings will be encouraged throughout.

Extended Abstract


Jun 18, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
OLC Leadership Network Event - Part 2: Managing Up, Down and Across the Online Enterprise

Building and sustaining online efforts that focus on quality, inclusion and impact must begin with securing “institutional buy-in”. This session will focus on strategies and resources for establishing a foundational space for creativity and innovation that encompasses the mission and goals of the entire institution (and not just the fully-online enterprise as an isolated silo).


Extended Abstract

Building and sustaining online efforts that focus on quality, inclusion and impact must begin with securing “institutional buy-in”. This session will focus on strategies and resources for establishing a foundational space for creativity and innovation that encompasses the mission and goals of the entire institution (and not just the fully-online enterprise as an isolated silo).

Join us for this second session of three sessions at OLC’s spring leadership network event, where we bring together digital leaders from academics, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss digital education strategy across the institution.  Increasingly, the changing educational landscape along with the rise of alternative educational providers have opened new pathways and opportunities in digital leadership, research and collaboration. Digital leaders are guiding initiatives at traditional academic institutions and non-profits, developing new products and approaches within the private sector, and working to establish policies and regulations within government. We see ever increasing demand for cross-sector collaborations led by digital leaders across an increasingly diverse educational landscape. Join us at this three part event for featured presentations and small group discussions on opportunities for digital leaders, both established and emerging, in embedding digital strategy within the mission, goals and initiatives of entire institutions and organizations.

The Leadership Network Event option is included in your OLC Innovate Virtual Conference 2020 registration fee. There is no additional registration fee to participate in the event.  Learn more about this session and all of the sessions at the Leadership Network Event page.


Jun 18, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Open Textbooks as a Catalyst for Education Innovation in Online and Digital Learning

Are you looking for new ways to motivate faculty and to engage students in online and digital learning? This session will share examples of how faculty adopted and adapted open textbooks to change their teaching practices. Attendees will brainstorm and share ideas for using open textbooks to advance education innovation.

Extended Abstract

There is a contemporary emphasis on using open educational resources (OER), particularly open textbooks, to make higher education more accessible and affordable to students. While saving students money is a laudable goal, improving the quality of student learning experiences in digital and online courses and programs can be another motivation for faculty instructors in adopting and adopting open textbooks.

As with other OER, a challenge in adopting an open textbook is that it does not meet the needs of an instructor teaching an existing course. However, depending on the licensing, open textbooks have the advantage of being relatively easy to adapt and customize using online tools such as PressBooks or Bookdown. In addition to editing the textual content, instructors may quickly enhance the content of these textbooks with relevant current, real world examples, data (e.g. open data), multimedia (e.g., podcasts, YouTube videos), interactives (e.g. H5P), and annotations (e.g. to engage students.

In this session, two professors will share their experiences of adopting and adapting open textbooks that transformed their traditional teaching practices towards educational innovation. Through the process of developing an online, open textbook, one professor shifted from a focus on the course content, to the instructional design of exercises and assignments to help students learn business finance. The other professor reflected on the non-traditional pedagogy underlying an open textbook on statistics, and redesigned the course to align with the innovative teaching approach. Attendees will be encouraged to reflect, brainstorm and share how open textbooks may advance educational innovation at their institutions.

Plan for interactivity: This session will begin with an interactive presentation using Mentimeter or PollEverywhere to encourage audience participation. After a brief introduction and welcome (5 minutes), the context for open textbook use for adopting and adapting them will be provided (10 minutes), followed by examples from two professors who adopted open textbooks to transform their teaching practices (and enliven course subjects that students find boring!) (15 minutes). Attendees will have an opportunity to reflect individually (5 minutes), then engage in a whole group brainstorming and sharing of ideas for how open textbooks can catalyze innovative teaching practices (10 minutes).

Takeaways from this session: Attendees will be able to search for existing open textbooks to adopt in their subject matter, describe how they can adapt open textbooks using online tools, and discuss ways to integrate open textbooks to advance their online and digital teaching practice.

Jun 18, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
When Roads (and Teaching Formats) Diverge: Pathways to Faculty Mastery

Are you trying to figure out how to best support faculty across different locations and different formats? What if you could turn your one-size-fits-all information overload training into guided paths for diverse faculty pools? What if we could give you a map to create and navigate this?

Extended Abstract

Are you trying to figure out how to best support faculty across different locations and different formats? Are they rolling their eyes about yet ANOTHER long workshop that doesn’t quite apply to them? What if you could turn your one-size-fits-all information overload training into guided paths for diverse faculty pools? What if we could give you a map? Pathways to Faculty Mastery will explore common best practice competencies that faculty need to teach in a variety of formats as well as help identify and design strategis pathways of faculty training based on the type of instructional environment. This training solution was designed with specific learning competencies in mind that focus on providing faculty with best practice training in a variety of areas including, but not limited to: institution orientation, LMS training, instructional design, creating and sharing content, and assessment. These training pathways provide more streamlined and consistent training experiences across departments and campuses by providing standards of practice, design, and faculty expectations while still providing a level of autonomy for the instructors as they develop their courses and teaching practices.

These training pathways are designed to serve all levels and specializations of faculty, from new hires to veteran faculty members. While everyone begins their faculty development pathway in the same module with a comprehensive introductory training, the paths will diverge into appropriate areas specific to identified faculty needs. Because not every faculty member teaches in all formats, the pathways were developed to allow the assignation of focused training based on the appropriate teaching format for each faculty member. It also allows instructional designers and faculty developers to provide the exact amount of training needed without overloading faculty.

Pathways to Faculty Mastery also allow faculty to branch out and explore teaching in multiple formats and allows faculty developers to fill in the gaps for any missing training. Each attendee will leave with a Pathway template that can be adapted and applied to your own institutions and needs. During the session, we will review the template and talk about how it can be adapted in different environments through reflection of how we plan to utilize the pathways at our different institutions, the process behind the template itself, as well as the identified needs that led to this solution.

Jun 18, 2020
3:15pm - 3:45pm (Eastern)
OLC Live: Interview with Keynoter Martin Weller

In his OLC Innovate 2020 keynote on 22 June, Martin Weller will be exploring emergent themes in the recent history of educational technology, drawing on his open-access book 25 Years of Ed Tech. Join this OLC Live! interview with Martin where we’ll set the stage for his keynote and discuss why revisiting the history of educational technology is especially important right now, when a global pandemic is dramatically shifting our relationships with tools and practices old and new.         

Jun 18, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
An Equation for Effective Online Discussions: Technology + Pedagogy + Innovation = Community + Engagement + Learning

Discussions are a method for measuring seat time for online activity, but may fail to fully engage students or stimulate critical thinking.  They are often perceived as routine and obligatory.  This session will present various tools, techniques, and novel approaches for integrating stellar online discussions in your courses.

Extended Abstract

Online discussion boards in higher education have become a staple of teaching and learning.  However, they often become formulaic and lack innovation.  Unlike discussions in face-to-face classroom which can be lively and dynamic, online discussions may sometimes fail to engage student learning and peer interation.  Students frequently focus more on the frequency and word count of their discussion posts (the “post an initial thread and respond to two/three others” model) rather than the quality of reflection or the thoughtfulness of their responses.  The result are posts that are submitted shortly before deadlines a generally minimal effort from many students, all while overwhelming students with the sheer number of post activity in the class discussion.

Where discussion can be improved begins with the design, discussion delivery, and pedagogy.  While maintaining proper curriculum alignment of learning outcomes through program outcomes, discussion assignments can shift the focus of the task from reflections of assignment readings to synthesis and application of critical thinking – mirroring more of a socrative method common in face-to-face classroom discussion activities.  Although online discussion formats may tend to be fixed and methodic in structure, the reality is that discussions should in fact be designed specifically to meet the needs of the learning objectives and reflect the content and outcomes of the course. 

In addition to assessment design and pedagogy, course creators and instructional designers should seek out innovation and technology to supplement the structure of the discussion assignment.  One should never incorporate technology simply to introduce novelty to an assignment.  However, there are a myriad of innovative tools and techniques that we will discuss in this session which can greatly enhance collaboration and foster a sense of community in online discussions.  When students are engaged through meaningfully interaction (i.e. social learning) and high level synthesis, the results are a connected community of learners that achieve outcome mastery.

In this session, we will present research conducted at Pacific Oaks College which compared traditional models of online discussion boards with avant-garde approaches to improving student interaction as a means to effectively build an online community within the classroom, help to foster student engagement, and enhance teaching and learning.  We will discuss several examples of novel approaches to online discussions, review the analysis of the discussion format efficacy, and offer recommendations based on our findings.

The final portion of this session will include an opportunity for the audience to reflect on the various approaches, offer feedback and insight, and work in groups or partnership to construct new strategies and methodologies.  Audience participants will be enrolled (if they elect) into an open course within the Canvas LMS where we will consolidate our activity deliverables and continue the dialogue. 


Participants who attend this session will:

Discover novel approaches that the presenters piloted within their courses

Review student feedback and statistical data regarding the efficacy of the discussion boards, including the advantages and disadvantages of each format

Provide feedback and collaborate to create new potential innovations and strategies that they can implement at their own institutions.



Jaggers, S. S. & Xu, D. (2016).  How do online course design features influence student performance?  Computers & Education, 95, 270-284.

Rovai, A. (2002).  Building sense of community at a distance.  International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 3(1), 1-16.

Zhou, H. (2015).  A systematic review of empirical studies on participants’ interactions in internet-mediated discussion boards as a course component in formal higher education settings. Online Learning. 19(3). Retrieved from

Jun 18, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
Work-Based and Online Learning: Blending Hands-On and Heads-up Learning for Accelerating Workforce Development

Work-based learning is an important component of higher education's strategy to prepare students for the 21st century workforce and online learning can enable the acceleration of workforce skills development.  Participants will explore and draft their own plans for blending online learning of workforce development OER and apprenticeship program management.

Extended Abstract

From aviation manufacturing in urban Seattle to health care in rural Montana, many community colleges have used their U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to develop work-based learning (WBL) opportunities and build the capacity of their institution to prepare their students for 21st century employment. These WBL activities provides alternative learning environments, subject matter experts, and assignments as compared to classroom learning that can accelerate the students’ readiness for successful employment is high skilled jobs.  How higher education ensure the work-based learning will be successful?   Blending online learning with work-based experiences will help train and place thousands of adults into well-paying jobs and ensure American firms’ competitiveness in the global marketplace.

This workshop will review and demonstrate a variety of WBL programs of study that are freely available SkillsCommons, an OER repository developed for TAACCCT grantees across multiple sectors to store all their instructional and program support materials.  The workshop will have participants explore these resources on their own devices and select materials that could be applicable to their own institutions.  The review/demonstration will cover a wealth of teaching and learning OER that can be used to scale and sustain apprenticeship programs, strategies for designing apprenticeship programs, and detailed tactics for implementing apprenticeship programs. 

The workshop will also showcase how SkillsCommons can design, deliver, and sustain a customized portal of OPEN Educational Resources (OER) to provide higher education, industry partners, and 3rd party intermediaries with the following:

  • Learning content for apprentices in Work-Based Learning Training Programs for On-the-Job Training and Related Technical Instruction (classroom delivery), including content focused on workplace safety.
  • Teaching content for mentors in Work-Based Learning Training Programs for On-the-Job Training and Related Technical Instruction (classroom delivery), including an online/hybrid training program to help mentors become better teachers (Jumpstart to Successful Instruction) developed by SkillsCommons.
  • Exemplary innovations in apprenticeship and support services for program design, management, and evaluation resources produced by TAACCCT grantees and curated by SkillsCommons. Program evaluations of TAACCCT projects provided evidence of effective apprentice programs improving retention and employment.
  • Website designs that provide clear pathways of training and experiences, beginning with pre-apprenticeship programs through apprenticeships programs at the middle and high skill H1B areas.
  • A customized repository (modeled after SkillsCommons) for your project to store, curate, distribute, rebrand, and revise the resources created by your grant, along with reliable and effective support services.

Finally, the workshop will end with a group discussion on the institutional and industry sector barriers for implementing successful and sustainable apprenticeship programs and how the resources reviewed during the workshop can be used to overcome these barriers.

  • ​What are the explicit participant learning outcomes for the workshop?

Participants will identified the key elements and the available resources for them to design a blended work-based learning -online learning program for workforce development at their institution 

  • What types of collaboration or interactivity will occur during the workshop with the instructor-participants and within the participant-to-participant group themselves?​ Please outline time allotments for any presentation vs. interactivity (i.e., 15 minute presentation; 65 minute interactive workshop; 10 minute Q & A).

Participants will interact with the online resources so they become familar with their value.   Participants will interact with each other in small groups at their table in discussing the application of the presented materials to their own institutional plans.  Participants will discuss the barriers they face at their institutions for successful work-based learning.

  • How will workshop participants be able to apply the effective practices shared in the workshop at their home institution?

Participants will be identifying opportunities for them to apply lessons learned from workshops during discussions.

  • Who do you envision as the primary audience types who would get the most out of this session and why do you believe they will benefit?

Program managers and directors responsible for  designing WBL at their instittuions.

  • What activities, take-aways, and/or activities will your workshop participants engage in that make your workshop unique, innovative, and relevant to the OLC Innovate 2020 themes and track you have selected?

Free access to program support materials and instructional materials that have been evaluated by SMEs and industry partners which they can customize for their own needs will be the unique value to the workshop.

  • What materials are required for the presenters, and what materials are required of those in attendance? This must be clearly outlined within the proposal submission.

Participants need to bring their own devises and pen.

Presenters need computer, projector, access to the WWW, screen, and will be providing handouts to participants.

Jun 18, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Facilitating LiFElong Learning: Meeting Learners' Needs Through Creative Partnerships and Pathways

Instructional designers from an urban research university share their experience partnering with a large corporation and various academic departments to create and offer an asynchronous, gamified, competency-based online education program for Fortune 500 corporate employees that strives to meet learners wherever they may be on their educational journey.

Extended Abstract

Can universities collaborate with Fortune 500 corporations to provide employees the benefit of higher education while meeting a diverse group of learners’ needs, allowing learners to go at their own pace, and keeping learners engaged in the learning process? One university and corporation recognized the potential for doing so and, as such, were inspired to make certain no matter employees’ past experiences, they were able to take steps toward successfully earning a degree. An asynchronous, gamified, competency-based, online Academy was created as the first step toward earning that degree for employees without a high school diploma or college experience. The Academy was designed using self-directed learning theory and best practices in instructional design with the goal of equipping learners with the knowledge needed for academic success, work-life balance, and professional development.

This session will begin with a brief introduction of the presenters and the corporate partnership that led to the creation of this unique Academy. The variety of alternative and accelerated pathways to degree completion that are made available to employees who enroll in this program will be of particular focus within the introduction. (10 mins)

The presentation will continue with an explanation of how self-directed learning theory (SDL) was used to inform the design of the Academy. SDL theory necessitates the importance of creating an Academy that prepares students for lifelong learning projects in an online environment. As such, utilizing content and assessment informed by SDL allowed the Academy's design to focus on ways to build the individual skills and autonomous learning processes necessary to see students succeed in both an online degree program as well as lifelong professional development. (10mins) 

A live demonstration of the asynchronous, competency-based Academy and a walk-through highlighting the unique design of the Academy (ex. self-paced, gamification elements, multiple assessment attempts, and significant on-demand student supports) will be provided. Attendees will be given a sample student account to access and navigate the Academy during the presentation. Feedback from Academy students regarding their experiences as well as feedback from university leadership will be shared. Lessons learned during the design and implementation of the Academy and a roadmap of improvements (both those already made and those planned for the near future) will close the presentation.  (10mins)

Participants will be given an opportunity to reflect on the Academy experience and the affordances and challenges of this type of learning pathway. (5mins)

The presenters will close with an interactive question and answer session using Poll Everywhere. (10 mins) 

Key Takeaways:

  • Participants will hear how instructional designers designed and developed a self-paced, competency-based course and the theory/tools they utilized to do so to meet the needs of a specific corporate partner.
  • Participants will gain insight into students’ experience within the Academy through active demonstration and Academy access.
  • Participants will engage in dialogue with one another and the presenters about the challenges and successes of designing creative pathways to degree completion for employees through corporate partnerships.

Participants will have access to the following materials during the presentation:

  • Presentation slides
  • Student account access to demo the Academy
  • Poll Everywhere link for Q&A
Jun 18, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
OLC Leadership Network Event - Part 3: Vision 2030 - Futurecasting Needs for Leadership in the Next Decade

In these unprecedented times, online and digital leaders must come together to guide initiatives and critical support for the success of all learners, particularly across a landscape where quality, access, and support are not equitably present. This panel brings together members of the online community to provide focus for our collective actions in both the short term and the long term, helping us to advance quality digital teaching and learning experiences. 


Extended Abstract

In these unprecedented times, online and digital leaders must come together to guide initiatives and critical support for the success of all learners, particularly across a landscape where quality, access, and support are not equitably present. This panel brings together members of the online community to provide focus for our collective actions in both the short term and the long term, helping us to advance quality digital teaching and learning experiences. 

Join us for this final session of three sessions at OLC’s spring leadership network event, where we bring together digital leaders from academics, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss digital education strategy across the institution.  Increasingly, the changing educational landscape along with the rise of alternative educational providers have opened new pathways and opportunities in digital leadership, research and collaboration. Digital leaders are guiding initiatives at traditional academic institutions and non-profits, developing new products and approaches within the private sector, and working to establish policies and regulations within government. We see ever increasing demand for cross-sector collaborations led by digital leaders across an increasingly diverse educational landscape. Join us at this three part event for featured presentations and small group discussions on opportunities for digital leaders, both established and emerging, in embedding digital strategy within the mission, goals and initiatives of entire institutions and organizations.

The Leadership Network Event option is included in your OLC Innovate Virtual Conference 2020 registration fee. There is no additional registration fee to participate in the event.  Learn more about this session and all of the sessions at the Leadership Network Event page.


Jun 18, 2020
6:00pm - 7:00pm (Eastern)
OLC Innovate Virtual Happy Hour

Join your fellow conference attendees for a little fun at our virtual happy hour. Grab your favorite beverage and snack and come join us for some fun and live tunes. Led by host Angela Gunder, with musical entertainment provided by special guests Melanie and Paul Shaw and Rick Franklin.

Extended Abstract


Jun 19, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Online Teacher Identity Development: What May We be Missing?

In this presentation I will report on the findings of a case study on seven novice online teachers’ identity development. I will discuss what constituted the online teacher identity of the participants and what internal and external factors contributed to their identity development. 

Extended Abstract

As online courses and programs are growing rapidly, it has become imperative for educational institutions to prepare effective online teachers. Existing literature show that for preparing effective online teachers, it is important for the aspiring teachers to have a sense of their teacher identity, because studies also suggest that there is a connection between teacher identity and their self-efficacy. Though there are numerous training and development programs and courses offered every year in different educational institutions to prepare their teachers to teach online, a review of literature shows that these programs do not focus specifically on online teachers’ identity development. In this presentation, I report a case study on seven novice online teachers’ identity development in the context of a three-credit hybrid online course aimed at preparing them to teach online at a private research university in the North-East United States. I will discuss the new insights my findings may contribute regarding what constitutes online teacher identity and what may influence its development – and why it matters. I will discuss the key internal and external factors that contributed to the online teacher identity of the seven participants in my case study and how those influenced their identity development throughout the course. Given that identities are multifarious, we need to take into consideration the interactions between online teacher identity and other related identities – most importantly, a teacher’s more general teacher identity and his/her disciplinary identity (i.e., being a TESOL, math, special education teacher or a counselor educator, etc.). I argue that if we want to influence how online teachers are prepared, it is important to study their identity development in the context of purposeful interventions, for example, in the forms of courses and programs preparing online teachers.


  • To make this presentation interactive, participants would be asked triggering questions and encouraged to participate in the discussions – 2/3 people will be asked to discuss what kind of online teacher identity they have, what contributed to that identity.
  • Additionally, 1/2 persons will be asked to share their experience in online teacher preparation programs – related to how the idea of identity was brought up or addressed in those, if at all.
  • The session will also be made interactive by sharing life-experience and humor.

Key takeaways from the presentation:

  • The participants will be intrigued to explore the concept of online teacher identity more
  • They will be able to discuss their own teacher and online teacher identity
  • They will learn about why it is important to focus on online teacher identity in online teacher preparation programs
  • They will learn about how a teacher identity or online teacher identity impacts their practices
  • They will learn how teachers can be supported in developing a clear sense of their online teacher identity through online teacher preparation/ teacher training programs.
Jun 19, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Engaging in Equity in the Instructional Design Process: A Conversation on Where We are and How We Learn More

Where are we with equity in instructional design? How do we bring about discussions around equity issues, similar to accessibility, in our design process from course design to educational technology? This session will look at how equity and the instructional design profession intersect and how we begin to design with an equity mindset. We will explore where we are in our journey and seek to facilitate a conversation and collaborate with others along their journey of understanding race, culture and gender equity to bring this movement to the forefront similar to the push accessibility has had in the last five years.

Extended Abstract

This session will focus on design decisions and processes and how we might better approach them through the lens of equity.  From the tools we use to develop and deliver content to the best practices we use to engage faculty, students and stakeholders, there are multiple opportunities to bring awareness to issues of social justice and transform instructional design. We will look at the ideas and actions of individuals and groups focusing on equity in education. We seek to share not only what we have learned, but also we seek input and self-reflection on our instructional design practices in order to adequately address marginalized groups in education. We want to facilitate a conversation and see how we can build bridges that transform our profession to prioritize social justice and equity similar to the movement around accessibility.

The idea for this session started with an EdSurge Loop call where two instructional designers found a common interest in the ideas of social justice and equity in course design.  As we shared inspirational articles and resources it became apparent that one 30-minute phone call between two people would not be enough to answer the questions we had.

Discussions related to social justice, equity and inclusion are not new to the instructional design world. Where we come into this cycle of - Awareness - Awakening - Action - may differ but our individual experiences and knowledge can help us as a profession to transform our practices.

We hope to continue this conversation with IDs, faculty members and others who are dedicated to this topic with the hopes of developing better, more inclusive practices and with a focus on where we each of us may be, as well as, where our institutions may be in this cycle. 

Level of Participation:

The presentation style will be collaborative as the presenters weave their experiences together to create an on-ramp for attendees to join the presenters in constructing knowledge together. (30 minutes) Attendees will be arranged into small groups with each group given a different reflection prompt to first consider individually (5 minutes) then within the groups. (10 minutes)  As groups share a summary of key things from their conversations the presenters will capture the information to include as part of the session resources to add to the body of knowledge on the topic. 

Session Goals:

At the end of the session, we will share the resources we have gathered with the idea of curating a digital commons for instructional designers and other partners to collaborate, join in, share and disseminate as we develop more process and thought around equity in our field.

We hope to continue to facilitate a conversation around this topic with other IDs at other institutions and grow the knowledge base and expertise.

Jun 19, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Creativity abounds! Flipping the Classroom and Project Based Assessments with Book Creator

Book Creator is an app/online tool that allows students to create digital presentations. Book Creator scores high for accessibility and is a rare tool that can be used with any age- from very young children to adult learners. Come learn how to use this tool to increase student engagement/participation.

Book creator link:

Google checklist:

Extended Abstract

Book Creator can be used to publish materials to an authentic audience, engage reluctant writers, demonstrate understanding and promote collaboration among students. This free, online, accessible tool has a simple interface for navigation. Participants will learn how using this tool is beneficial for their classroom practices and for their students.  Discussion of best practices for implementation, use and assessment will also occur during this session.

  • During this session, participants will learn what Book Creator  is and how to use it to increase student engagement and motivation.
  • Participants will be able to add content to a demo book  for hands-on practice
  •  Participants will also participate in small group discussions  about best practices for implementation and use. 
  • Participants will be able to identify 6 benefits of using Book Creator with their students. 
  • Participants will be able to identify 6 project based assessments the can do with Book Creator. 


Participants will have hands-on engagement with the tool, adding content to a book on their personal devices. The presenter will walk participants through the process and assist  them in the creation of their first book. Participants will receive a digital and physical copy of the presentation so they can take it back to their colleagues for implementation.   

This will be an interactive presentation where participants will get hands on experience with the tool shared. All participants will have access to the presentation at the same time and will be able to provide real time data/feedback. All participants will also have printable resources that they can refer to after the presentation. The presentation will also be made available in a digital format. All participants are encouraged to bring their Internet Enabled Devices to the session.

Jun 19, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Leading with Your Eyes Closed: Developing Your Intuitive Leadership Skills Through Self-Discipline and Mindfulness

What is the hardest thing you have done to improve your Leadership? Cultivating the everchanging demands in leadership requires a culture of deeper connection between self and individuals.    Come “om” with us and learn routines that will transform your intuitive leadership practices through mindfulness and personal discipline.

Extended Abstract

Before we can lead others to personal growth be must first take time to develop our own discipline.  To many thought leaders, the price tag of leadership is self-discipline.  Everyone has the leadership role to regulate through self-discipline. However, developing and fostering discipline requires self-control.   The Greek definition of self-control means “to get a grip on oneself” which is easier said than done.  Personal questions to ponder:  What area of your life are you losing your grip?  What areas in your life could improve?   How can you shift from going “through” to going “to” mindset? All answers are grounded in your approach lead by discipline.    Parallel questions can be applied to self-development and professional leadership development through the practice of mindfulness and self-discipline. 


In this engaging exploratory session, we will explore and practice five practices to develop your self-leadership to springboard and deepen your professional development.  Participants learn pathways to intuition that will transform  leadership practices through mindfulness. “Hard work is the accumulation of easy things you didn’t do when you could have.”1   You may be working harder rather than smarter. Come “om” with us and learn routines that will transform your intuitive leadership practices through mindfulness and personal discipline.

1 John Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within You (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers)


Levels of Participation:

This session involves hands on, minds on, bodies on as we use Yoga Mindfulness practices “Off the Mat” to explore ways to improve discipline.  Participants explore five practices to jump start self-discipline practices which lead to mind and body exercises that continue beyond the session.  The session will include simple mindful strategy practice and conclude with a five-minute focus and meditation.  A post session 10 day Challenge  helps participants to commit to the process of self-discipline and transformation.  Interactive live mobile link and group chat app will be used to connect members during and after session.  Participants are able to win “Managing off the Mat” prizes for Interaction during the session which are shown in real time throughout the session. 

Session Goals:

Individuals attending this exploratory session will leave with innovative strategies and supportive ways to use mindfulness to overcome the many challenges of self-discipline.  They will leave with a manageable process to bring awareness and structure to developing intuitive leadership of self to model and transfer to other areas of leadership presence and well-being currently and into the next twenty-five years and beyond.

Conference Track: 

Professional Development and Support

Session Type: 

Express Workshop


Jun 19, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Implementation of a Research Colloquium Series

This paper describes the development and implementation of a research colloquium series for online faculty and doctoral students. The study described here provides an analysis of the impact of participation in the newly developed colloquium series on faculty work engagement and related constructs. Focus groups will be utilized to gain feedback on faculty engagement.

Extended Abstract

This study explores the implementation and impact of a Research Colloquium Series in the Online Campus of a mid-sized University. Participation in the series is investigated as a factor which may contribute to levels of engagement among faculty. Aspects of the series, such as content and format, will be evaluated in terms of Self-Determination Theory.

The construct of employee engagement has been described as an emotional commitment to an organization and its mission (Byrne, Peters & Weston, 2016). Employee engagement in the field of higher education  is explored in terms of its impact on faculty retention and job satisfaction (Hakeem & Gulzar, 2015). Additionally, work engagement has been shown to impact performance among higher education faculty (Deligero & Laguador, 2014). Communities of practice have also been shown to contribute to faculty engagement (Golden, 2016).

Research by Dolan (2011) describes the potential for isolation in online faculty. Professional development can be utilized to create a sense of community among adjunct faculty (Surak & Pope, 2016; Webb, Wong & Hubball, 2013). Research indicates that faculty may choose not to engage in online communities due to workload and perceptions that engagement is not a part of their formal position (Khalid, Joyes, Ellison & Daud, 2014). As engagement impacts student satisfaction, incorporating activities which encourage faculty to feel connected to their institutions is of paramount importance. Synchronous sessions have been shown to contribute to faculty engagement with students (Haung & E.-Ling, 2012; Kreie, Johnson & Lebsock, 2017; Lowenthal, Snelson & Dunlap, 2017; Park & Bonk, 2007).

Mueller, Mandernach & Sanderson (2013) report that students working with full time faculty report higher levels of engagement. This may be due to the levels of engagement experienced by full-time and adjunct faculty.  Steps can be taken to increase engagement among adjunct faculty.

Specifically, Benton & Li (2015) looks at the role of the Department Chair in developing a sense of community among online adjunct faculty. Meixner, Kruck & Madden (2010) describe considerations for the inclusion of part-time faculty in departmental activities. Smith (2015) depicts challenges which are often associated with mentoring faculty in a web-based learning environment due to a lack of physical proximity and recommends the incorporation of meaningful dialogue and relationship building, in concert with an emphasis on training and development.

The benefits of learning communities have been explored (Jackson, Stebleton & Laanan (2013) and established as a strategy for developing authentic relationships with students and increased levels of engagement. Service-learning seminars for faculty  can be shown to increase engagement (Borrero & Reed, 2016). Additionally, online open courses for faculty development demonstrate a positive impact on faculty satisfaction (Moskal, Thompson & Futch, 2015). Research by Loversidge & Demb (2015) indicates that faculty tend to have positive perceptions of interprofessional education.

Renner (2017) reports that involving faculty in online research communities is an effective way to create engagement. Research by Vines (2010) describes the potential impact of informal peer colloquia on engagement among law students. Van den Berg, Bakker & Cate (2013) focuses on key factors which impact work engagement and job motivation among teaching faculty. These factors include teaching about one’s specialty, noting appreciation for teaching from one’s direct supervisor, teaching small groups, feedback on performance and freedom to determine content taught. These factors  are shown to align with the basic needs articulated in Self-Determination Theory (Martinek, 2019).

Self-Determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000) provides a framework from which to analyze motivation. Intrinsic motivation relates to factors internal to the individual which serve to impact action. For instance, interest may serve as an intrinsic facet of motivation. External motivation refers to factors outside of the individual which may impact action. For instance, rewards serve as external motivators. Self-Determination Theory posits that intrinsic motivation may be facilitated by social and cultural factors. Autonomy, competence and relatedness are all factors which  impact action, thereby contributing to level of performance, degree of persistence and level of engagement (Deci & Ryan, 2000).

With respect to faculty engagement, the theory of Self-Determination would predict that a sense of autonomy in the work environment may reduce perceptions of workload and stress and contribute to motivation. Additionally, faculty perceptions of the degree to which learning community initiatives are related to their interests and roles should impact outcomes (Beachboard, Beachboard, Li and Adkinson (2011). 

The Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology (DIOP) program at Adler University’s Online Campus employs 3 full-time and 10 adjunct faculty members. Engaging adjunct faculty members is of paramount importance in online doctoral programs, given the necessary emphasis on research and student mentorship. The development of the Research Colloquium Series Model (see Appendix A) was precipitated by administrator needs regarding the alignment of faculty and student research interests for the purposes of Dissertation Chair recommendations, faculty needs regarding scheduled time to discuss research with students and student needs regarding mentorship and engagement surrounding the research process.  

The Research Colloquium Series provides faculty teaching for the DIOP program with the opportunity to present planned, ongoing and/or complete research projects in which they are involved during synchronous program-wide meetings. Additionally, faculty may present on topics proposed by doctoral students with relevance to the research process. Faculty and doctoral students come together outside of the online course room and meet via Zoom web conferencing software. Meetings are scheduled once per semester and the duration of each meeting is 1 hour. The series has the following aims: Engage faculty and students outside of the online course room in meaningful ways, thereby contributing to the development of community; Maximize meaningful interactions in a synchronous environment, thereby contributing to student and faculty engagement; Provide faculty and students with a forum to discuss research; Provide faculty with opportunities to mentor students throughout the research process.

The first meeting was conducted on September 26, 2018 and focused on investigating leadership, diversity and inclusion.  The current study investigates faculty perceptions of the impact and utility of the Research Colloquim Series described above through the administration of a Faculty Experience Survey (see Appendix B). Survey question design was informed by research on the construct of engagement and the assessment of faculty satisfaction. Henrie, Halverson & Graham (2015) evaluated the mediation of learning experiences by technology in a review of the literature on scales which assess behavioral, cognitive and emotional indicators of engagement. Bolliger & Wasilik, (2009) report that student, instructor and institution factors contribute to faculty satisfaction and that student factors demonstrate the highest potential to generate satisfaction among faculty, while institutional factors, such as workload allocation and technology issues contribute most strongly to faculty dissatisfaction. The following research questions will be evaluated from a faculty perspective:

1. Does the series build academic community in online courses?

2. Does the series impact student perceptions of faculty presence?

3. Does the series impact perceived faculty engagement?

4. Does the series have additional impacts?

5. What improvements to the model do students recommend?

6.  How effective was the series implementation?

Jun 19, 2020
10:45am - 11:15am (Eastern)
Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk With Cidi Labs

Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions. Mike Zackrison, representing our sponsor Cidi Labs, will lead off with a chat about building accessibility into online courses. We look forward to your contributions to the chat to see where it takes us.

Extended Abstract


Jun 19, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Engaging Millennials in Online Courses
  • "Engaging Millennials in Online Courses" - Presenter:  Dennis Pires, Bethune-Cookman University
  • Remarks from HBCU AL$ Summit sponsors - Cengage Learning and SmarterServices

Extended Abstract


Jun 19, 2020
11:15am - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Collaborating with Faculty on Designing a Course with Adaptive Courseware: An Instructional Design Perspective

Through the role of an Instructional Designer, we will explore the design process by “workshopping” effective ways to integrate adaptive learning courseware into a course. Key elements include: alignment of course instruction with adaptive content, data-driven teaching practices, technology integration, and student onboarding methods.

Extended Abstract

Collaborating with Faculty on Designing a Course with Adaptive Courseware: An Instructional Design Perspective 

Effectively designing a course is done best when educators can engage with a team of thought partners to think through learning outcomes, activity design ideas, technology options and integrations. Building a strong yet movable bridge between educators and instructional technologists and designers can ignite innovation and spark new ways of teaching.  In this workshop, we will explore the design process by examining effective ways to integrate adaptive learning courseware into a course. This new technology seeks to address the challenge of understanding what students already know and what they need to learn. Through collecting and analyzing student assessment data, adaptive courseware offers personalized learning pathways to each student, placing them in the center of their learning. The adaptive courseware provides educators with specific data points that allow them to modify instruction to effectively meet the diverse needs of their students. Yet, this creates a new design challenge:  

  • How can educators bridge their instruction with their students’ adaptive learning courseware experience?  

  • How can educators effectively analyze learning analytics data to inform their teaching?  

  • How can educators help students understand how this teaching approach gives them a personalized learning experience that places them at the center of their learning? 

Through the role of an Instructional Designer collaborating with educators, this workshop explores instructional approaches that integrate adaptive learning courseware into a course. Participants will practice consultation approaches by exploring a case study and applying sets of strategies presented. Participants will choose appropriate guiding questions that ensure alignment of course instruction with adaptive content. They will also examine typical data points available on an adaptive courseware dashboard to encourage data-driven instruction and  consider methods for effectively onboarding students.  

Participants will walk away with an action plan listing key stakeholders to meet with along with a booklet of guiding questions for facilitating a design process. Participants will also receive a set of approaches to effectively leverage learning analytics to encourage educators to practice modifying their instruction to meet the diverse learning needs of their students.  Participants will also take away a set of student onboarding methods.  

The primary audience are instructional designers, but faculty are inherently designers of educational experiences, so the content will be as relevant to their needs as an instructional designer’s attendance. 

At the end of the workshop participants will be able to: 

  1. Guide educators in evaluating how technology can optimize their instructional approaches. 

  1. Ensure course content is in alignment with adaptive learning experiences. 

  1. Understand how to analyze learning analytics data points that inform teaching. 

  1. Generate at least one student onboarding strategy. 

  1. Engage with new consultative strategies for collaborating with faculty.

Jun 19, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
Technology as Superstructure: Using An Online Process to Absorb Workload and Bridge Gaps in Student Peer Team Reviews

Building a bridge between students as they work in teams requires more than structure; it requires superstructure! Technology can simplify the peer review process for students and faculty alike. Join us to experience an online peer review process that can streamline team assessment and promote student accountability.

Extended Abstract

Learning how to work in teams is an essential skill, yet students often hate team assignments. They might not appreciate the value in learning communication and collaborative skills, and they can be especially resentful if they do not perceive that instructors are assessing their performance fairly. 

Yet assigning grades for team members’ participation can be challenging, especially in online courses. How can faculty use technological tools to facilitate team assignments? How can they navigate team dynamics and hold students accountable for their individual contributions to a team?  How can they allow students to have a voice in assessing their team’s performance? Faced with these issues, faculty may become tempted to eliminate team assignments altogether to avoid the workload associated with managing and evaluating them. 

Teaching students to evaluate their own performance and that of their teammates is critical in modern learning environments. Designing an online peer review process that is consistent across a program can help students build collaborative skills incrementally, while helping faculty assess student participation and compile data to assist teams in functioning cohesively.

This session will focus on part of a peer review process that faculty in a graduate nursing program developed to improve the team assignment experience. The digitized process allows students to complete a Team Participation Review at the end of each course. The Team Participation Review averages group participant rankings, including self-evaluations. Students complete these reviews anonymously online, providing electronic reports for faculty that reduce the need for tedious manual grading processes. 

The new process not only saves time, but it also allows faculty to more effectively target groups needing assistance and ensure that students are learning critical teamwork skills. Faculty claim that the standardized online process reduces inconsistencies between courses, has improved satisfaction among student teams, and has given students a voice in the evaluation process. 

Level of Participation: 

Participants in this session will join an online course as they enter the presentation. After a five to ten-minute introduction and overview of the peer review tool, participants will get to experience the Team Participation Review process firsthand by being assigned to a group and completing the evaluation process. Participants will also have access to the tools and resources utilized within this presentation via joining the online course and completing the peer review.  

Session Goals:

Participants attending this “present and reflect” session will be able to identify barriers to implementing student teamwork.  Participants will be able to discuss several strategies to increase student participation and accountability for team assignments. Finally, participants will be able to implement a peer review strategy to increase student autonomy, engagement, and collaboration using an online team participation evaluation.

Jun 19, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
What a Personal Learning Network can tell you about PLNs & Why You Need One NOW

This interactive session showcases strategies that promote productive virtual collaboration through the experiences collected in a study on participation in a Professional Learning Network (PLN).  Participants reflect on the findings of the research study and engage in structured networking designed to kick-start collaborative partnerships to improve productivity and institutional outcomes.

Extended Abstract

As online programs continue to compete in an ever-crowded student marketplace, many colleges and universities find themselves needing to differentiate and innovate, ever faster than in previous years. This changing environment calls for a culture of learning and adaptation that can sometimes be difficult to accomplish only with internal support, or the benefit of expensive, formal professional development.  A critical aspect of learning that is often discussed, yet not thoroughly operationalized, is peer-to-peer learning. A low-cost, and often free type of learning, peer-to-peer learning also brings with it affordances in diverse perspectives and experiences of peers in the learning group. The Community of Inquiry framework has reinforced the importance of this type of learning; yet as educators, we often struggle with how to create space for peer-to-peer learning for ourselves.  At the same time, professionals inside and outside of the academy are paying more attention to the value of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). A PLN is “being part of a ‘connected’ community which provides support for getting specific needs met, solving personally relevant and meaningful problems, and developing professional expertise” (Moreillon, 2016, p. 65).  

For all of these reasons, a research collaborative, formed from a PLN, conducted an autoethnographic research study in July and August of 2019 to inform on the benefits and implications of participation in virtual PLNs.  During this highly interactive session, findings from the study will be presented. Through these collective experiences, themes from these experiences are framed as a model for developing personal learning networks which can be leveraged for creative, innovative, and efficient problem-solving, career exploration, and for providing a sense of community and ambition that would compare to an in-person community of peers.  Session attendees will be asked to reflect on the themes and the opportunity to create a virtual PLN for themselves for institutional and personal betterment. Attendees will also have the opportunity to build a PLN from other attendees in the room. Lastly, the facilitators of the session will host a series of virtual, quarterly meet-up sessions for PLN creation and cultivation after the conference.  


After attending this session, attendees will be able to:


  1. Identify the benefits of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), 

  2. Create a vision for personal participation in a PLN, and

  3. Network with other attendees with similar interests in a PLN.

Jun 19, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Radical Revision: 1500 Courses in 4 Months

What happens if you decide, four months before the cut over date to a new LMS, to radically revise over 1500 courses? Attend this session to learn how taking an agile approach to implementing course model changes sets students up for success in transitioning to a new LMS. 

Extended Abstract

All academic institutions strive to provide a frictionless, consistent, and meaningful student experience.  In May of 2019 the University of Phoenix was set to cut over to a new LMS, Blackboard Ultra.  A small number of graduate students were already completing courses within Ultra, but the way the content was mapped from the current LMS to the Ultra presented a challenge. The structure in Ultra consisted of layers of folders, which caused “click-fatigue.” 

The original plan, once all students were in Ultra, was to transition to a new course model, termed “base course model.” The base course model would provide consistency from program-to-program and provide the jumping off point for all other course enhancements.   

The University had recently adopted the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and the mindset of being more agile was firmly in place.  Knowing that the current folder structure was causing student experience issues, the question was posed, “What can we do to positively impact the majority of students prior to the cutover?” The question prompted us apply SAFe principles to answer this question. 

The process that led to an answer included; 

  • Selection of a set of defined course features that were determined to have a significant impact on student experience. 

  • Sizing those features per course. 

  • Determining the number of resource groups needed to ensure the features could be applied to the top 100 largest courses. 

  • Expanding the scaled model to provide value to more students, in this case the addition of 1400 more courses. 

Session Goals:  

Individuals attending this session will learn how the application of an agile principles led UOPX to scale a new student experience to over 1500 courses in less than 4 months and how to utilize these strategies at their own institutions.  

Jun 19, 2020
1:00pm - 1:30pm (Eastern)
Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk With Capsim

Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions. Matt Shell and Anne Banfich, representing our sponsor, Capsim, will lead off with a chat about Capsim's Inbox simulations, a flexible platform that exposes learners to real-world decision-making in a simulated email environment while measuring essential career skills.  We look forward to your contributions to the chat to see where it takes us.


Jun 19, 2020
1:30pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Affordable Learning Solutions & Everyone Can Code and Create Workshop

The 5th annual meeting of HBCU’s at OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual Conference will address the national HBCU C2 initiative of Apple's 'Everyone Can Code and Create' and updates regarding the HBCU AL$ (Affordable Learning Solutions of OER) strategies and outcomes for reducing the cost of textbooks.

Extended Abstract

HBCU C2Affordable Learning and Every HBCU Can Code and Create  


The goals of the workshop include:

  1. Introduction of HBCU C2 of ‘Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create’for addressing digital literacy and coding and creativity to improve teaching and learning,
  2. Awareness of Emerging Technologies of Mixed Reality (VR/AR), wearable, A.I., and smart tools for transforming education,
  3.  Opportunities, and Challenges of Open Education Resources (OERs) as ‘Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$)’ for addressing the high costs of textbooks and other student related learning materials,
  4. Research, demonstration, and presentations of OER-AL$ for enhancing teaching and improving learning,
  5. Utilization of OER-AL$ for SkillsCommons in supplementing workforce training and careers,
  6. Hands-on sessions to assist in developing strategic customized AL$ Campus Deployment Plans and
  7. Discussion sessions for recommending strategies to OLC and MERLOT in advancing and sustaining support for HBCUs and in their implementation of affordable learning solutions and online education.

There are 105 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States, all of which are invited to participate in the symposium. California State University, and MERLOT will share practices, strategies, and resources for reducing the costs of instructional materials for students, making higher education more affordable for more students in Historically Black Universities (HBCUs) in the United States, as well as in Higher Education Institutions across the globe. Leaders from HBCUs, and California State University/MERLOT will facilitate a series of leadership sessions, strategic planning, and hands-on workshops that will be embedded in the annual ACCELERATE conference.

The summit will include presentations from HBCUs; on how they designed and are implementing their locally customized and sustainable AL$ program. *The faculty and the leadership of these institutions will facilitate the sessions and workshops at the conference.

HBCU C2: Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create at HBCUs

If you are  interested in attending this deep-dive into HBCU C2 and OER program at your HBCU, please email Robbie ([email protected]) for more information or  Moustapha ([email protected]


Jun 19, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
Navigated Learning and Open Educational Resources: An Open Learning Platform for Using Open Educational Resources

MERLOT, SkillsCommons, and Gooru are partnering to provide a free and open “Google Maps for Learning” platform that brings advanced technologies, big data, OER, and user-friendly designs to provide assured learning for all.  Presenters will demonstrate navigated learning and review projects that are using it to serve their educational needs.

Extended Abstract

The equity gap in higher education must be eliminated if the promise of higher education is to be fulfilled for the diversity of learners and equal opportunities for economic well-being for all is to be achieved. Partnering with diverse higher education institutions, we will focus our programs of research on the academic bottleneck math courses and expand to other academic bottleneck courses with equity gaps.  A Center for Navigated Learning is designed to manage the research, leadership, outreach, and adoption/adaptation of evidence-based innovations for improving student success and closing the equity gaps.  Improving academic outcomes and educational progress to degrees are two categories of outcomes being assessed. A major component of the research will be on the efficacy of an innovative technology and competency-based education strategy, Navigated Learning.  Navigated Learning, developed by the non-profit technology company Gooru, is “Google Maps for Learning” where the individual’s starting location for learning is identified and the learner chooses their learning destination (often with guidance and directions).  The technology and educational organization’s jobs are to design the optimal learning path for that individual, not just based on an academic roadmap, but also based on the individual’s social, behavioral, and non-cognitive factors.   Furthermore, delivering the Navigated Learning for free, with the use of open educational resources and open source technology provides extensive access to a productive learning environment.  The family of research projects is expected to reveal the interactions between the diversity of learners, the inclusiveness of the pedagogy and technology, and the leadership of the educational organizations, with Navigated Learning providing a customizable and adaptive learning process that will close the equity gap in student academic achievements and educational progress.

The Navigated Learning platform will be leveraging the significant libraries of OER available in SkillsCommons and MERLOT to deliver the free and open content pathways to the learners’ destinations.  MERLOT and SkillsCommons have their national networks of over 500 higher education institutions and MERLOT’s 11 year partnership with the Online Learning Consortium will immediately bring a national leadership and outreach capability to the project.

Jun 19, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
A Practical Vision for Connecting Students' Education to Virtual Worlds

Giving students ownership of a virtual world provides opportunities for them to navigate a tangible and spatially oriented environment to their individual abstract educational landscapes. Discover a practical vision for making this idea a reality using modern web technology.


Extended Abstract

Technology available today provides new opportunities in education. There is unprecedented access to desktop browsers, tablets, smart phones, and virtual reality headsets that all have the ability to view immersive 3D environments. Now, with the help of a few modern web frameworks, a 3D experience can be developed and delivered using web technology that reach all of these devices. This allows students to consume these experiences in traditional, online, or hybrid classes.

This marks the first time that a simple pathway exists for creating engaging 3D experiences that:

  1. Utilize web technologies for development and delivery

  2. Provide progressively enhanced experiences across all hardware

  3. Record student outcomes

  4. Provide dynamic content

Attendees should come away with the understanding that this technology is the most approachable it has ever been for institutions. They will see how simple cross-platform 3D experiences can be developed and delivered through their existing web platforms. They will be exposed to research that specifically addresses the efficacy of education through 3D experiences. Finally, they should leave with enough information to give them confidence in a decision to adopt or not adopt 3D technology in their institutions or learning applications. 

The session will begin with an interactive and live online survey. The audience will be able to view live results from the group as the survey completes. The survey will be composed of questions that intend to get a feel for how the audience perceives the effectiveness of 3D experiences in education as well as how they would rate the viability of using these experiences in their own settings.

Next, the audience will be given a tour of how 3D content can be viewed with progressive enhancements across a multitude of devices. Attendees will be encouraged to visit the web based content on their cell phones and laptops while the same experience is projected for the entire group. Then two volunteers will come forward to experience the same demo but on a VR headset that has 3 degrees of freedom, and then a VR headset that has 6 degrees of freedom.

The presentation moves on to a brief overview of the technology that makes generating these simple 3D experiences possible. It will show a live example of pulling down a 3D resource from the web and embedding it into a new web based activity. Here the goal is for the audience to see how approachable the experience is, even for hobbyist developers.

Next, A vision for a cross platform 3D learning and assessment system is shared. The audience will be taken through a high level explanation of how the system would be built and how this vision leverages research to give students a fun and effective way to learn. This vision will explain how 3D content embedded within online courses can be developed, delivered, and tied together across devices. 

The vision is expanded upon leveraging concepts like the “Memory Palace” techniques and wave function collapse to show where we could be headed and the implications for education. Illustrated examples will be provided.

Finally, the session wraps up with a reflection on the earlier survey to assess if the presentation has altered anyone’s views. A question and answer session concludes the event.

Jun 19, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
Accessibility: What Colleges Are Doing to Create a Change in Culture

In this Discovery session, accessibility will be the star of the conversation! Let’s use this time together to learn how other colleges, universities, and organizations are incorporating accessibility best practices into their everyday lives. Instructional designers, educational technologies, faculty members, and administrators are all welcomed to join!  

Extended Abstract

This open dialogue, not a presentation session, aims to help everyone, not only learn more about accessibility best practices but how we can all learn from another. Accessibility is a growing trend and hot button topic today in higher education. With the number of lawsuits that are happening all across the nation, the need for creating accessible materials and websites is now. Let's use this session to learn from one another and how individuals are combating accessibility needs on their campus or organization. 

Jun 19, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Part Deux: Discussion on the Rocks? Add a Twist of Fresh Alternatives!

This Present and Reflect session is a sequel to the 2019 OLC Innovate blockbuster hit "Discussion on the Rocks? Add a Twist of Fresh Alternatives!" Kristin Kowal and Laurie Berry are back to share more new, creative ways for you to add a little zest to make online discussions more meaningful and enjoyable. Attendees will learn field-tested strategies that facilitate increased student engagement while still achieving the goals of student interaction, knowledge sharing, critical thinking, and broadening one’s viewpoint. 

If you joined them at OLC Innovate 2019, please come again as they’ll share new twists that you can add to your mix! For new attendees, the presenters will briefly review the last year’s twists before sharing new ways to liven up your discussions.


Extended Abstract

Key Takeaways/Session Outcomes:

Takeaway 1 Use online discussions as a tool for student interaction, knowledge sharing, critical thinking, and broadening one’s viewpoint.

Takeaway 2  Identify five alternative ways to use traditional online discussion boards and apply strategies immediately. 


Discussions are one of the most widely used techniques in online courses to support learning and encourage engagement (Gao, 2014). When traditional discussions are overused (or designed solely to mimic the face-to-face environment), students begin to tire of the read, write, post pattern and their level of engagement begins to dwindle. Because of this, discussions rarely go beyond knowledge sharing or information comparison to reach synthesis and application of acquired knowledge (Gao, 2014).

Session Description:

Varying discussion formats—whether by incorporating debates, visuals, reflections, role play, or other strategies—can go a long way in making student discussions more enjoyable and more meaningful. Providing alternatives to the traditional discussion format enables adult students to form a deeper student-to-content connection and engage in more meaningful student-to-student interaction. Williams & Lahman (2009) stated that promoting active learning enhances learning outcomes. As evidenced by the Constructivist theory, when students interact with content in ways that allow them to construct new meaning, they continue to build upon prior knowledge. In addition, one of the four principles of Andragogy states that providing realistic learning experiences encourages adults to take control of their learning and apply it to situations in their own life.

Attendees of this session will learn about five alternative uses of discussion boards that facilitate increased student engagement while still achieving the goals of student interaction, knowledge sharing, critical thinking, and broadening one’s viewpoint. Participants will leave the session ready to implement these strategies immediately. Attendees will also learn about the pedagogical advantages to building and enhancing critical thinking skills using discussions and the overall impact it has on student engagement. Evidence collected via student work and faculty interviews will be used to support each strategy, as well as tips and tricks for how to avoid student or instructor pitfalls. 

At the end of the session, attendees will participate in quiet reflection during which they will examine their own use of online discussions in relation to critical thinking and student engagement with other learners and with course content. 

Self-reflection questions:

  • Why do you use discussions in your course(s)? 

  • What are you trying to achieve? 

  • Are you achieving what you want? 

Following the reflection, the presenters will lead attendees through a 10-minute Q&A group discussion where everyone will explore and evaluate effective ways to use online discussions to implement critical thinking, engagement, and connection. 

Group discussion Q&A:

  • Share answers to reflection question(s). 

  • What other techniques have you tried? 

  • How can we use discussions to explore/facilitate critical thinking, engagement, and connection?

Participant Engagement:

This session will include various opportunities for audience participation and engagement. The presenters will poll the audience throughout the session to see if they have used any of the featured strategies in their courses. This session will also include a unique way for individual audience members to communicate which new strategy they are most interested in trying after attending this session. Finally, attendees will have the opportunity to reflect on current practices while examining effective ways to use discussions to engage students and make meaningful connections.

Jun 19, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Bridging the Gap in Internal Quality Matters Course Reviews: Interpreting Trends to Inform Practices

Many institutions employ the Quality Matters peer review process for online course evaluation. Although the review process itself is standardized, the implementation process and results vary by the institutional context. The current study explores the relationship between scoring trends and the culture and practices at one public land grant university.

Extended Abstract

At many higher education institutions, professional development for online instructors includes a routine course evaluation, examining how effective teaching methods are supported by the course design. Online course evaluation has in fact become a benchmark for quality assurance in online learning, and Quality Matters™ (QM) is one of the few nationally recognized providers of research based institutional support in the form of faculty-centered peer reviews. QM’s empirically developed rubrics encourage consistency and incite discussion on the underlying principles of course design and instructional practices for online learning (Baldwin, Chin, & Hsu, 2017). Although QM provides a structured process for implementing course reviews, each institution is ultimately responsible for the implementation of this process and the results of the review. Considering this, the lack of attention to the role that institutional context plays in scoring trends for QM course evaluations is notable in the literature.

The proposed session addresses this gap by exploring the scoring trends for internal QM evaluations over the past five years at one public land grant university in the southwestern United States and bridging these trends to local course evaluation and teacher support procedures. Data from internal QM reviews from 2015-2019 were analyzed in this pilot study, and trends were found in standards which were met and not met. These findings were triangulated with institutional records to chart the development of the review process and assess how internal factors shaped the outcomes of the course evaluations. Preliminary findings will be shared during the presentation, and suggestions will be offered for how to implement a review process and teacher support procedures that facilitate successful outcomes in QM-based internal reviews.

The research that has been done to date on the scoring of QM evaluations encompasses large scale studies of multiple institutions (McMahon, 2016; Zimmerman, 2010, 2013), small scale course comparisons within a single university department (Little, 2009), and comparisons between QM evaluations and student evaluations in online graduate programs (Kwon, 2017). However, most of these studies focus only on the standards that were met or not met, the learner response to particular course design features, or revisions based on course evaluation feedback. Interestingly, the influence of the institutional contexts in which the online courses were developed and evaluated is largely absent in these studies. By highlighting this relationship, the current study shows how even standardized practices can vary in response to local ecologies.

The presentation will present findings and engage attendees by posing questions regarding online course evaluation practices and challenges at their home institutions that they can answer using Slido. Small group reflection will be structured as a “Now what?” question, challenging attendees to see how our findings might be applied to their contexts and goals. This will be followed by a ten-minute share out of their reflection and Q&A session to share opportunities and challenges related to online course evaluation and instructor support. Each audience member will leave the presentation with insight into the role of institutional context in the implementation of a standardized course review procedure. They will also deepen their perspectives on the issue by reflecting on their own institutional practices and how these practices compare with the presenters’ and other attendees’ stories.

Jun 19, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Podcasting and the End of the World: Building a Culture of Conversation Through Scalable Technologies

This session focuses on how two faculty members from the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma have utilized their own findings on low-cost, scalable podcasting solutions to jump-start a college-level focus on supporting student podcasting projects. 

Extended Abstract

This session focuses on how two faculty members from the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma have utilized their own findings on low-cost, scalable podcasting solutions to jump-start a college level-focus on supporting student podcasting projects.

We will explain how a changing media landscape and desire for building media literacy skills has impacted one College of Journalism and how it compelled us to begin to procure the tools necessary to support student podcasting initiatives. Is this the end of student newspapers? Of student-produced work? Of networked, mediated information? Or is it a renaissance of a new distributed medium for student voice? And, if so, how can schools support it?

Though we intially had a rough idea of the process of producing, editing, and distributing podcasting, we will explain how our technical process has been refined as we continued to ask the following questions:

  • Are the tools accessible to our students?
  • Is the process cost prohibitive?
  • Is the infrastructure scalable to a college our size?
  • Can our process be easily replicated?

These questions led us to build a local podcasting booth and equipment kit that students can check out. In addition we now have customized web infrastructure that mixes a WordPress-enabled environment with Amazon Web Services (AWS S3) to create a low barrier-to-entry for distributing student-produced content.

Beyond the media literacy introduction, attendees may really find the technology infrastructure discussion incredibly intriguing. This is a fundamentally different route than going with a "podcast solution" in terms of cost structure. AWS is priced by file storage and access rather than a monthly cost, which means universities can pay (literally!) pennies a month. This discussion won't be a pitch for any specific vendor but an opportunity for the OLC community to discuss and reflect on how we might consider technologies that are made to prototype and potentially scale.

Our hope is that attendees will have a better understanding of changes to media tools, the creation and distribution process of podcasts, and creative techniques for faculty and technology staff members to support large podcasting initiatives.

The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication was founded in 2000, after a generous gift from the family of Edward L. Gaylord, owner of the Oklahoma Publishing Company. The Gaylord College is one of the leading centers of mass communication teaching and scholarship in the United States. The College has a state-of-the-art Gaylord Hall completed in 2004 and expanded in 2009. New faculty will take an active part in the growth of the College through superior teaching, innovative curriculum development, and notable research or creative activity. They will join a highly engaged journalism faculty that includes leading scholars and innovative practitioners. The College offers the BA, MA, and Ph.D. in journalism, advertising and public relations, and media arts and a master’s (MPW) degree in professional writing.

Jun 19, 2020
3:15pm - 3:45pm (Eastern)
Virtual Speed Networking Lounge: Virtual Bingo!

 Want to connect with other conference attendees while playing games and winning prizes? Plan to join the Virtual Speed Networking Lounge to take a break from all of the conference action, meet new people and play bingo!

Extended Abstract


Jun 19, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
To PhD or Not to PhD: Is That Your Question?

With the field of instructional design evolving and new leadership pathways emerging, what are the considerations for advanced study for the instructional designer and those in related roles? In this Career Forum Roundtable, panelists discuss their decisions to pursue a PhD (or not),  and the benefits and drawbacks of their decisions.


Extended Abstract

As the strategic goals of institutions change and technologies become easier to use, the role of the instructional designer is evolving. What once was a more technical, hands-on role in building online courses is now a more collaborative role that supports not only designing learning experiences, but also learning spaces, academic program redesigns, and other strategic initiatives. Senior leadership roles with titles like “chief academic technology officer” and “dean of digital learning” are becoming more common, as is the argument that the instructional designer should be classified as an academic role. The PhD seems like a valuable credential in this trajectory.

And yet, instructional design is a practitioner field, with expertise not only in pedagogy, but also project management and quality assurance processes that don’t meet the standards of academic rigor. And there is a rich ecosystem of professional development opportunities that enhance practitioner expertise, in areas such as design thinking, experience design, universal design, and change management, in non-traditional fast-paced modes. The kind of lateral thinking and broad expertise that can be an asset to the practitioner can seem at odds with the narrow focus and time commitment required to earn a terminal degree.

With the profession evolving and new leadership pathways emerging, what are the considerations for advanced study and professional development for the instructional designer, and related roles in faculty development, instructional media, and education technology? 

In this Career Forum Roundtable, panelists in different roles in learning design, faculty development, and innovation will talk about their decisions to pursue a PhD (or not), and what they see as the benefits and drawbacks of their decisions. While this session may be of general interest, the target audience is instructional design professionals and those in related roles. 

Discussion will focus on questions such as: 

  • What learning experiences have been most valuable to you? How have they informed your practice? 
  • What do you see as your career pathways? What are the experiences, credentials, and skills that best prepare you for those roles? 
  • Is the PhD essential preparation for senior roles in academic reporting lines, or is it a credential in service largely to getting faculty and administrative buy-in? 
  • What do you look for in hiring? How much does formal training weigh in your decision-making? 
  • With more credentialing opportunities available, do you see the value of the traditional degree changing for the experienced professional? 
Jun 19, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
Designing for Social Learning - Taking the "Groan" Out of Group Work

In this session, we will discuss evidence-based practices that effectively take the “groan” out of group work. We will reflect on our social learning experiences, as well as share ways to create social learning in course design and instruction through the use of a collaborative Padlet board.

Extended Abstract

Why are people so passionate about social learning, either for it or against it? If we say the word group work, why do people groan aloud? What makes us have such a strong emotional response to group work when we all need to learn how to work well with others?

Is creating social learning opportunities in online learning vital to student success? How do we prepare students for the workforce of the future without social learning? How do we foster communication, teamwork, diversity, and collaboration with no interactions between students?

What are the steps to design effective social learning? What questions should be asked in the designing of social learning? What are some best practices for providing opportunities for social learning in course design and instruction?

These are just a few of the questions we will discuss as we examine evidence-based practices for designing and using social learning in online courses. We will look at examples of both traditional group work and non-traditional group work. We will analyze the positive and negative effect on student outcomes of both traditional and non-traditional group work.  We will also discuss guiding questions for designing, technology tools that support social learning, and the challenges of implementing social learning in online courses.

Conversation Topics & Questions for Reflection and Discussion:

Topic 1 – Are personal experiences and biases influencing the instruction and design of social learning?

  • Do you have a negative or positive view of social learning?
  • Share an example of social learning you experienced?
    • What elements of group work supported your learning and performance?
    • Were there elements of group work that weren’t effective?
    • How could these elements be changed or adapted to support success?
    • How did it influence your view of group work?
  • Has your opinion of social learning changed?

Topic 2 – What is the importance of social learning opportunities in online learning?

  • Do you think providing students with social learning opportunities is essential?
  • How do we create learning opportunities that support diversity, respect, and empathy?
  • How do we foster a sense of community and belonging in an online learning environment?
  • How do we improve students’ ability to communicate and collaborate?
  • How can we support soft or transferable skills that will prepare students for the future workforce?

Topic 3 – What are some evidence-based practices for designing and instructing with social learning?

  • How do you engage students in social learning opportunities?
  • What types of group work have you used/designed in online and blended learning?
  • What are some best practices for creating buy-in for social learning?
  • What technology tools do you use to provide opportunities for social learning?

This session will use Padlet for reflection and discussion. You can download the App from Google Play to your phone, and a link will be provided for laptop use. Participants will receive a digital handout with guiding questions for designing social learning as well as research on social learning. The digital handout will be accessed through a QR code.

Jun 19, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Presenting: A Bigger Picture

You can convey a more meaningful experiences for your audience by using a website rather than a PowerPoint file. You can add interaction, make it more sharable, and add richer content. Whether you are an educator or a conference presenter, it is time to move beyond bulleted, linear slides.

Extended Abstract

This conversation will help people who present information to others to look at options for making the most of web-based formats and creating engaging live presentations, and presentations that have a longer shelf life. Whether an educator in a classroom, a conference presenter, or a student giving a presentation, we live in a time when presentations can move from a single room or building into the rich opportunities (and challenges) of the internet help all of us learn more about the world around us and share our experiences.

The conversation will explore not just moving a traditional slide presentation to a website, but rethinking what it means to be a presenter in this day and age, and how we can best reach a broader audience in a more meaningful way. Questions about the role of the presenter in a modern classroom, the way the information is accessed by the participants, all move toward more active roles by the students or audience and move the content toward a far more accessible space and add longevity to the conversation.

The static traditional slide-based presentation has seen some level of iteration with tools like Prezi and Google Slides, but those tools are still often used in a linear fashion that is still static to the viewer. Building on the web-based nature of those tools, future iterations of presentation move toward more active opportunities for the audience and the web-based nature no longer limits the audience to those in the physical room. 

The discussion will begin with a brief description of some presentations done using various places on the web and move quickly into participants discussing the challenges, possibilities, and methods offered by using alternative web-based tools for the delivery of classroom content or conference presentations. 

Jun 19, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
The No Cost Pathway: Supporting Faculty in Going OER

A panel representing the Center for Faculty Excellence at California State University, Fresno (an OpenStax Institutional Partner) discusses methods for engaging faculty in adopting and creating open license and no cost course materials.

Extended Abstract

Since the 1980s the costs of textbooks has risen twice the amount of inflation. In some cases, students who cannot afford the price of textbooks are not buying required materials and relying on lectures, class notes, and the Internet to learn course content increasing the achievement disparity between the students who have access to resources and those who do not. As a result, there is growing interest among university faculty to adopt and create open education resources. In this session, our team (Director, OER Faculty Fellow, Librarian, and Instructional Designer) from the Center for Faculty Excellence at California State University, Fresno (an OpenStax Institutional Partner) will share information about our OER grant programs, professional development model, technology training, and other support and technology activities for faculty going OER.

Jun 22, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
SUNY Online: Transforming the State University of New York Through Online Learning

SUNY Online is a bold initiative designed to dramatically expand SUNY enrollments from post-traditional learners through online degrees at scale.  Attend this session to learn how SUNY Online will transform the online student experience with innovative digital marketing, carefully integrated IT solutions, and intentionally re-designed supports for faculty and students.

Extended Abstract

SUNY Online is a bold new initiative by the State University of New York designed to dramatically expand its ability to serve post-traditional learners through strategic set of fully online degree programs at scale.  SUNY has identified a set of market-driven degree programs for online delivery with the potential to attract 1000 or more students.  For a diverse system like SUNY, with 64 campuses, 80,000 faculty and staff, dozens of stakeholder groups, and multiple funding models, this initiative presents many challenges.

Academic programs are being selected based on detailed analysis of the projected labor market and the competitive landscape currently being served by online providers and institutions being served by Online Program Managers (OPMs) across the US.  Partner campuses are being selected based on a competitive RFP process.

SUNY Online presents an opportunity for SUNY to reimagine the online student experience with innovative digital marketing strategies and student friendly recruitment and student support processes, as well as a carefully integrated and centrally supported suite of IT solutions.  This is resulting in an intentional redesign of student supports to ensure student success at scale and a redesign of faculty support to ensure quality in online course development and instructional design at scale.  All of this requires a review of financial models and decisions about services provided at the system level versus services provided on SUNY campuses.

The primary goal of SUNY Online is to enable SUNY campuses to reach and serve tens of thousands of new students from New York State, across the US and globally. In achieving that goal, this initiative also has the potential to transform the University and impact the student experience for face-to-face and blended learning students.  There is also an opportunity to create efficiencies and save campuses millions of dollars through shared services.

SUNY Online will formally launch in Fall 2020, with a pilot implementation throughout the 2019-2020 academic year.  The pilot includes testing of all the components of SUNY Online from how to select programs to scale to how the approach for promotion and recruitment of new students.  It also includes a new student support model with SUNY Online student coaches, a new faculty supports model with SUNY Online instructional designers, and the use of artificial intelligence tools both in student recruitment/retention and in online course delivery.   Finally, the pilot is being enabled by a carefully integrated and centrally supported suite of IT solutions, which initially consists of:

  • website of program offerings to capture inquiries
  • customer relationship management system for lead nurturing
  • web application with a view into the student information system
  • learning management system
  • student success platform

Attend this session as members of the SUNY Online staff and campus partners to discuss the vision, motivation, goals, planning, and pilot implementation of this initiative, as well as the lessons learned from the pilot.  You will also hear how transformational change theory is being applied to this initiative to achieve the desired transformational impact of SUNY Online across the SUNY System.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences and perspectives on transformational change initiatives involving online learning.

Jun 22, 2020
9:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Creating and Sharing VR with Google

A virtual hands-on workshop where participants will learn how to create simple 360 VR content using free Google-based tools with their smartphone and computer, and view their product with an inexpensive VR head mount such as Google Cardboard.

Extended Abstract

Instructional goal:  

At the end of this workshop, participants will have shared a virtual tour that they create using Google Tour Creator. The tour will consist of scenes that participants capture with Google Cardboard Camera using their smartphone. Participants will share their tours using Google Expeditions to view using a Cardboard and a smartphone. Participants will be able to take home a set of detailed instructions to transfer and apply what they have learned.

Activities include: 

  • Take and share VR pictures using a smartphone and the Carboard Camera app
  • Create stereo images of VR images using a laptop computer and Google converter
  • Create and share a Google Tour that contains at least two scenes
  • View tours using Google Cardboard and Expeditions app with smartphone

Estimated time allotment: 

  • 15-minutes: Introduction to Google tools (Cardboard, Cardboard Camera, Tour Creator, and Chrome)
  • 20-minutes: Take VR pictures
  • 40-minutes: To create and share a Google Tour
  • 20-minutes: Share experiences and discuss challenges and opportunities 

Engaging WS experience:

Educators and instructional designers from all educational levels and in any modality (hybrid, online, of f2f) can benefit from this workshop. Our responsibility as educators, instructional designers, and decision makers is to better understand the tools and technologies, their pros and cons, challenges and issues, before we embark into full integration of VR into the teaching-learning strategies. Inasmuch as VR is today seen as innovative technology to engage students with immersive learning, creating or purchasing highly VR immersive experiences can be expensive.  A good start is for educators and students to first use/test themselves free/inexpensive and readily available tools and low level 360 VR technologies. This experience can lead to excitement and open possibilities for the use of more advanced and sophisticated VR technologies. Participants will easily produce 360 VR content, they will also realize and troubleshoot, if need be, challenges that can arise with BYOD activities that are easier said than done. 

Materials needed:

Participants will need to be prepared before session and have readily available the following:

  • A computer with Google Chrome browser 
  • A smartphone suitable for VR. Most Android or iOS phones with screen sizes from 4 to 6 inches will work. For an Android phone, the phone’s version should be 4.1 or higher.
  • Following apps installed on smartphone
    • Google Cardboard
    • Google Cardboard Camera
    • Google Expeditions
    • Gmail 
  • Gmail account
  • Optional  - VR headset.  For a complete immersive VR experience, a VR headset like Google Carboard is needed (from $8 to $15).  If no VR headset is available, 360 images can also be viewed with computer or phone.   However, participants are highly encouraged to bring a VR headset to the workshop!

For more information on how to use Google Cardboard and the apps please check this site

Jun 22, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Resolving Diminishing Engagement in Repeated Peer Review

Our research has shown that when asked to perform repeated peer reviews over the course of a semester, students' engagement drops significantly, especially among those that are initially highly engaged. In this session, we will present this phenomenon, and then brainstorm ways to address this concern.

Extended Abstract

Peer review is a common part of online learning environments. Not only has research shown that peer review is a valuable learning activity for both the reviewer and the reviewee, but peer review allows massive open online courses and other resource-constrained online environments to scale: adding more students in need of reviews necessarily adds more reviewers. With this unique alignment between pedagogy and scalability, along with new technological advances allowing on-demand and self-paced peer review, this construct has become a mainstay in online courses.

However, in our experience using peer review in an online at-scale graduate program, we have seen a common refrain from students: they feel they are putting more into peer review than their classmates, and thus getting less out of it by comparison. To investigate whether this is a perceptual issue or an actual concern, we performed a study where we investigated three semesters of two classes that each used repeated peer review. We wanted to see if students' commitment to peer review waned over time. We discovered evidence that it does: over the course of the semester, students' engagement in assigned peer review tasks dropped tremendously. More troubling, it was students initially highly engaged in peer review (as assessed by length of review and time spent on the review) that saw the most significiant drop: by the end of the term, students who initially were highly invested were barely more engaged than those who started the semester disengaged.

Peer review is still a valuable learning activity, and still plays a strong role in facilitating grading at scale. However, if the drop-off in engagement is this steep, then its value to reviewers and reviewees will drop over time. In this session, we'll present our specific data on this phenomenon, and then lead a brainstorming session to consider different ideas for addressing this issue. As part of this brainstorming session, we'll divide the audience into groups based on attendance; each group will be given a different set of constraints under which to brainstorm a solution. For example, in a MOOC, giving human feedback on peer reviews is unscalable; in a for-credit course, manually grading peer reviews may be possible, but may introduce other issues; and so on. Then, we'll reconvene to discuss the solutions.

This presentation is based on the paper "Eroding Investment in Repeated Peer Review: A Reaction to Unrequited Aid?" by David Joyner and Alex Duncan, from the 2020 Hawaii International Conference on Education.

Jun 22, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Reviving Reading with Collaborative Annotation

As researchers argue that students are less engaged with online course readings, educators are using collaborative annotation to renew students’ relationships with texts and with each other. This session looks at use cases from across the disciplines to provide participants with pedagogical models to follow on their own campuses.


Extended Abstract

In April of this year, The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article lamenting the decline of reading. While it’s nothing new to complain that students aren’t doing their assigned reading, some studies show that reading in the digital age is especially problematic. The arguments hold that students tend to skim while reading online and don’t retain as much of what they read or engage as deeply. Yet the same CHE article — along with a growing body of research — suggests that collaborative annotation practices can revive reading practices. 

Reading is a core general educational practice and an essential lifelong skill. Writing in the margins of texts has always been an essential activity for students and everyday readers. Annotation helps in reading comprehension and in developing critical thinking about course materials. Digital annotation enables readers to continue this essential activity with online texts. In a time when diverse media clamor for our attention — audio, video, interactive games and experiences, and now virtual and augmented reality — teachers and students are using collaborative annotation to focus on and get value from the basic act of reading. 

Digital annotation also offers new affordances that can be used not just to maintain traditional learning practices but to develop new literacies as well. Collaborative annotation enables students to respond to text using different media, leveraging the distractions of the digital environment for renewed focus. Further, unlike traditional marginalia which is so often confined to personal use, collaborative annotation empowers students to collaborate on understanding and developing ideas about their readings, resituating the core skill of reading as a social activity. 

This session brings together educators and instructional designers that have implemented collaborative annotation on their campuses. They will share stories and research about how incorporating this emerging technology has transformed specific teaching and learning practices around reading in different disciplines, at a variety of skill levels, and at a range of institutional types.

Session Goals


Participants will come away from the session with new understandings of how educators are using collaborative annotation to revive reading and build traditional and emergent literacies, as well as practical examples for how to integrate annotation into real classroom experiences in different contexts, and their reflections on how they might start using annotation in their own work and with others.

Engagement Strategy


Speakers will present real-world examples of how collaborative annotation is being used by teachers and students to engage with texts and each other. Participants will then have an opportunity to reflect on how annotation could be used in their own educational practices by contributing to an openly-published resource guide on annotation in teaching and learning. The group will then discuss best practices and issues that arise from their sharing and reflection. The resource guide will be shared with the broader OLC community to spread ideas and gather additional contributions.


Jun 22, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
The Open Patchbooks

Educators from around the world have built (& continue to build!) a community patchwork of ‘chapters’ into a quasi-textbook about pedagogy for teaching & learning in higher education called the Open Faculty Patchbook. Each patch of the quilt/chapter of the book focuses on one pedagogical skill and is completed and published by different individual faculty members from any institution wanting to join in. The success of the project has lead to a follow up/companion piece known as The Open Learner Patchbook, which collects similar stories from a student perspective. The stories will continue to be collected for as long as they keep coming in! This session will describe the Patchbooks and participants will discuss and advise where the projects should go next.

Extended Abstract

Educators from around the world have built (& continue to build!) a community patchwork of ‘chapters’ into a quasi-textbook about pedagogy for teaching & learning in higher education called the Open Faculty Patchbook. Each patch of the quilt/chapter of the book focuses on one pedagogical skill and is completed and published by different individual faculty members from any institution wanting to join in. The success of the project has lead to a follow up/companion piece known as The Open Learner Patchbook, which collects similar stories from a student perspective. The stories will continue to be collected for as long as they keep coming in! The project recently won the Open Pedagogy Award from the Open Education Consortium. This session will describe the Patchbooks and participants will discuss and advise where the projects should go next. And of course, participants will be asked to think about and share what they might want to add to the quilt!

Jun 22, 2020
10:45am - 11:15am (Eastern)
Virtual Speed Networking Lounge - The Innovation Studio

Pop into our virtual breakout room and join the Co-Chairs of the Innovation Studio in fun and collaborative activities which will playfully introduce you to storytelling, get you thinking about how stories impact educational design, and onboard you to design thinking methods and process. Not only will there will be fun conversations and opportunities to network with other virtual attendees, but a prize will also be given away!


Extended Abstract

If you have been to the conference before and have stopped by the Innovation Studio, you might be expecting a few days of highly engaging programming in a face-to-face environment. Responding to the needs of the OLC and you all, we have moved to Innovation Studio to be a fully digital and fully asynchronous program this year. This means that you can pop into and out of the Innovation Studio space as your schedule permits (and at any hours of the day). Better yet, the Innovation Studio online space will live on beyond the conference, giving you access to the many activities and resources that this year’s Co-Chairs have designed for you. Keep in mind, though, that OLC Innovate is not a passive conference experience and this year in the Innovation Studio is no different!  

If you’re looking for synchronous opportunities to connect, though, look no further! While the Innovation Studio itself is fully asynchronous this year, you can join your two Innovation Studio Co-Chairs (Maddie and Dan) in the Speed Networking Lounge for conversations around the Innovation Studio’s design this year and to engage in story-centered activities which will onboard you to Design Thinking methods and process.

Check out the fun and fully asynchronous Innovation Studio space to learn more!


Jun 22, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
Leading in Online Learning Environments: A Conversation About Challenges and Solutions

Leadership is tricky.  Online learning is complicated. It is easy to understand why many consider leading in online learning and online environments difficult.  This conversation session invites participants to discuss the challenges they face in online learning leadership and invites participants to engage in creating solutions to address these challenges.  

Extended Abstract


Leadership is tricky.  Online learning is complicated. Thus, it is easy to understand why many consider leading in online learning and online environments difficult.  This conversation session invites attendees to discuss the challenges they face in online learning leadership and invites participants to engage in creating solutions to address these challenges.  The overall goal of this session is to help participants develop strategies to create positive online learning relationships and outcomes.

Session Structure:

The session will begin with the facilitators projecting one slide for all to see.  The slide will list common struggles of leading in online environments: departmental communication, training and onboarding, building leadership capacity in faculty, leading change initiatives, creating online student support structures, engaging online faculty, engaging online students, and setting appropriate (and fair) expectations.  The facilitators will ask the participants to select two to four (depending on the size of the group) topics to explore during the session.  Once the group chooses the topics, the facilitators will create groups in the session.  Each group will spend 20 minutes coming up with challenges they face and potential solutions that would address these challenges.  Once that time elapses, the smaller groups will share their challenges and solutions with the entire group and invite others to comment on other solutions.  The facilitators will document all challenges and solutions and ensure these are shared with the group after the session ends.  

Jun 22, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
Implementation and Evaluation of a Course-embedded Faculty Advising Model

Course-embedded advising can positively impact student satisfaction and retention by creating regular engaging interactions between students and instructors. This presentation discusses the development, implementation and evaluation of a course-embedded advising model and its impact on student engagement, satisfaction, and retention in an online MA degree program.

Extended Abstract

Implementation and Evaluation of a Course-embedded Faculty Advising Model

Dennis, M., Fornero, S., Snelling, J., Thom, S., Surles, J. and McPheters, E.

Low student retention in online higher education programs can result in a significant loss of revenue to an institution, jeopardizing its financial health and potentially, survival (Faculty Focus, n.d.). Although research shows that faculty advising, instructor presence, community, the incorporation of synchronous sessions and the use of web-conferencing software have a significant positive impact on student outcomes (Allen & Seaman, 2014; Bailey & Brown,  Craft, Augustine-Shaw, Fairbanks & Adams-Wright, 2016; King & Alperstein, 2015; Richardson, Besser, Koehler, Lim, & Strait, 2016; Stewart, Harlow & DeBacco, 2011), facilitating effective interaction continues to remain a challenge in the online format. By creating regular engaging interactions between students and instructors, course-embedded advising can positively impact student satisfaction and retention.

 This presentation introduces a study on the development, implementation, and evaluation of a course-embedded advising model, within the online programs of a mid-sized University that emphasizes the preparation of socially responsible practitioners, as a strategy for increasing student engagement, satisfaction, and retention. The course-embedded advising model consists of structured, individual synchronous faculty advising sessions built into 4 courses of an online MA degree program. A sample of 13 students completed a student experience survey. Results and future directions are discussed in the context of relevant theories and best practices.


Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2014). Grade change: Tracking online education in the United States. Retrieved from

Bailey, T. & Brown, A. (2016). Online student services: Current practices and recommendations for implementation. Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 450-462.

Craft, C., Augustine-Shaw, D., Fairbanks, A. & Adams-Wright, G. (2016). Advising doctoral students in education programs. NACADA Journal, 36(1), 54-66.

Gallo, C. (2018, July 23). 7 presentation tips that will turn your presentation into a competitive advantage. Retrieved from

Faculty Focus. (n.d.). Strategies for increasing online student retention and satisfaction. Retrieved from Magna website:

King, E. & Alperstein, N. (2015). Best Practices in Online Program Development: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Richardson, J., Besser, E., Koehler, A., Lim, J. & Strait, M. (2016). Instructors perceptions of instructor presence in online learning environments. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(4), 82-105.

Stewart, A., Harlow, D. & DeBacco, K. (2011). Students experience of synchronous learning in distributed environments. Distance Education, 32(3), 357-381.

Jun 22, 2020
12:00pm - 12:45pm (Eastern)
Field Guide "Power Hour" - Week 2

Come join other conference attendees online and create an OLC Innovate game plan. During this power hour, you’ll have the chance to organize your Week 2 conference schedule and select presentations and activities you want to attend. The OLC Field Guides will be there to suggest interesting presentations and virtual social activities, train you on the use of the OLC Innovate Virtual conference venue and website, and point out Engagement Maps designed to help with your program planning. We’ll also discuss ways to participate in virtual chats during the conference. Meet up virtually with old friends, make new acquaintances, and plan your schedule while you grab some lunch between sessions - all in the comfort of your home.

Jun 22, 2020
12:45pm - 1:15pm (Eastern)
Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk With Soomo Learning

Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions. David Lindrum, representing our sponsor Soomo Learning, will lead off with a chat about enhanced open education resources (OER).  We look forward to your contributions to the chat to see where it takes us.

Extended Abstract


Jun 22, 2020
1:15pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
25 Years of Ed Tech – Or Why Understanding Some History is Useful in the Pandemic

In this talk I will look at some recent history of educational technology, drawing on the open access book 25 Years of Ed Tech ( The talk will address some of the justification for such a historical analysis, some sample technologies from the past 25 years, and analyse some emergent themes. The relevance of a history of ed tech to the impact of the pandemic in higher education will be discussed, drawing on relevant examples.

Extended Abstract


Jun 22, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Teaching Identities and the Learning Sciences: Questions of Research to Practice

Having gained prominence in recent decades, the learning sciences represent themselves as a timely theoretical initiative in online education. What ideas are most important? How can we tell what is most effective in practice?  Can the potential for application of the learning sciences strengthen the reputation of online teaching?   

Extended Abstract

This “Conversation, Not Presentation” falls within the conference track on “Process, Problems, and Practices.”  It addresses the challenge of faculty resistance to technological innovation in course design and teaching, or the prospects for bringing ideas from the learning sciences into instruction. For explanatory purposes, this proposal presents an extensive rationale for the timeliness of the subject. It will be condensed considerably in presenting it in favor of making the most of the conversational nature of the session.    

Many professors are unconvinced that technology necessarily contributes to student learning. The online curriculum is now well established. But, as surveys show, there is also a persistent lag in faculty enthusiasm for technology in teaching, whatever the signs of its effectiveness from recent work in the learning sciences, an interdisciplinary and empirically oriented research enterprise that has had only a limited impact on the faculty.

Of course, proponents of technology in teaching can say that its effects are only as good as any professor’s understanding of learning allows it to be, or whether they are “innovation ready.”   Recent studies seeking to advance knowledge of the learning sciences reflect optimism about faculty interest and adaptability. For example, cognitive psychologist Michelle Miller’s Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology (2014) counts on the faculty’s “drive to innovate.” By using technology informed by learning science, she and her Northern Arizona University colleagues could “do things that [I] knew were beneficial to students, but had never managed to consistently carry out before.”

We are familiar with manifestos for academic transformation, institutional initiatives championing pedagogical reform, and start-up driven models of automated teaching that depend on images of faculty work constrained by habit and indifference to innovation. Proponents of an increased role for the learning sciences in course design and teaching, like Miller, take a different view, focusing, at a suitable scale, on what the operations of the brain mean for how we can teach. Such lessons have been codified in allied work (e.g., Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel, Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (2014), James Lang, Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning (2016), and Flower Darby with James Lang, Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes [2019]). 

Miller’s approach focuses on attention, memory, thinking, motivation, and the cognitive impact of multimedia. She explains the mental processes in each and how what we are learning about the brain’s structure and operations can guide us to effective teaching, online and in hybrid formats. She sees the learning sciences and technology as natural allies but with admirable caution: “I don’t believe that instructional technology promotes learning by its mere presence. Nor does it let us evade some of the apparently immutable truths about how we learn—especially the fact that learning requires focused attention, effortful practice, and motivation. Rather, what technology allows us to do is amplify and expand the repertoire of techniques that effective teachers use to elicit the attention, effort, and engagement that are the bases of learning.”
For Miller,  the learning sciences offer permanent improvements in making the most out of  technology: “With knowledge of which types of [scientific] approaches have proven effective in actual uses, you will be empowered to make more powerful design choices and to innovate after today’s learning management systems, applications, and gadgets du jour are long gone.”  Miller presents herself as a scholar/teacher speaking to colleagues, conveying friendly classroom advice. The goal is “cognitive optimization.”  She is decidedly practical and refrains from what some call the evangelical postsecondary discourse.  Her aim is to dislodge common cognitive assumptions made by professors, or what is behind their instructional habits. 

Such habits are the subject of a competing view of the prospects for moving from research in the learning sciences to instructional practices. Thus, a recent study of the uses of the technology in course design and teaching extends our knowledge of why the faculty often resists instructional innovation, including what represents findings of the learning sciences. The authors, historian of science Joel Smith and anthropologist Lauren Herckis at IT leader Carnegie-Mellon University, say this to introduce their work, which appeared as an extensive CMU report in mid-2018: “Many who have worked in the field of technology enhanced learning over the last 30 years have experienced a frustrating dichotomy. On the one hand, the increasing collaborations among faculty content experts, learning scientists, and technologies have produced significant innovations in instruction with measurable improvements in learning. On the other hand, many (if not most) of these innovations have relatively short lives and seldom propagate beyond the research, development, and initial implementation stages” (“Understanding and Overcoming Institutional Roadblocks to the Adoption and Use of Technology-Enhanced Learning Resources in Higher Education”).

The CMU scholars, both with considerable experience in course design and faculty development, brought a novel approach (reflected in their academic disciplines) to the problem of building and maintaining an institutional culture that welcomes technological innovation in teaching. The ambitious ethnographic and interview study of teaching at CMU revealed several “roadblocks” to instructional innovation, including problems of poorly coordinated collaboration and miscommunications, lack of a “champion” for one or another innovation to guide experimentation and implementation, risk-averse teaching strategies and anxiety about evaluation, and difficulties in aligning the needs and interests of faculty members in different disciplines and at different points in their careers with institutional resources (e.g., teaching and learning centers).

The presentation will feature what may be the deepest “roadblock,” or the durability of teaching “identities” (some may prefer the term “dispositions” to the theoretically dense “identities”). Thus, the CMU report found that the faculty generally have a deep “mental model” of what constitutes effective teaching in their fields. It is based on their personal educational experiences and is “difficult to displace, even with evidence-based alternatives.” The session will offer a brief account (with the help of a print handout) of the four “metal models” the report identifies as standing behind “good teaching”: relational, content-focused, measurable, and practical. In each, “strong feelings” shape instruction and “If advice about how to teach conflicts with these personal feelings about good teaching, faculty are likely to reject it even if it comes from scientific studies of effective instruction and improved learning.” Professors are most likely to accept technological innovation when it is “compatible with the specific tenets at the core of their instructional identities.”

While CMU has been influential in codifying principles of the learning sciences for higher education in the fully automated courses making up its famed Online Learning Initiative, it acknowledges that its own faculty displays considerable diffidence about applying them to their own teaching. As Herckis told EdSurge in an interview about the project: “For faculty who believe that teaching is an art, that it is just something that you develop with experience and time. . . . no amount of exposure to learning science research is going to disrupt their sense that this is something you learn by doing, that they need to follow their gut on.” Accordingly, efforts to make a place for the learning sciences means adapting its theoretical propositions in a demanding partnership of course designers and instructors. 

With the competing positions on bringing theory to practice as a backdrop--including wariness of constructing them as an unyielding binary--participants in the session will be invited to consider what their experience tells them about the merits of each and what activities may be available to close the space between skeptical teaching identities and learning science oriented course design.

Questions like these can offer participants opportunities to express their views: “Can the different “identities” and instructional strategies reflecting the learning sciences be seen as complementary?”  If so, “What can be done to identify and mobilize the ‘drive to innovate’?” “Where is the best place to begin in the integration of the learning sciences into course design?” And “How can attention to the learning sciences be coordinated with older theoretical initiatives, like Asynchronous Learning Networks and the Community of Inquiry, or the group of practices, borrowed from the face-to-face classroom, known as “Active Learning?”  Conversely, to recognize the durability of the competition between different ideas about teaching and technology: “Are the ‘roadblocks’ to adopting the learning science approach too daunting to count on the technological transformation of teaching its advocates anticipate?” “Is there a case for recognizing resistance to innovation as a legitimate feature of teaching for some professors?” And, “Where do instructional designers themselves see the limits of remaking the foundations of teaching according to the learning sciences?”  

Jun 22, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Competency Based Professional Development: A Guide for Developing Micro-credential Experiences

Micro-credentials (MC) are an innovative approach to professional development within a variety of settings that align with the marketplace demands for online learning with sharable digital representations of competency. Presenters will share case studies, step-by-step guide for developing MC’s, and website of resources with participants to design their own MC’s.

Extended Abstract

Innovative approaches to professional development through competency based education and smaller grain size measures of learning are relevant in the marketplace based on the changing landscape of Higher Education and the needs of employers. Changes in the approach to professional development within many careers impact validation of initial licenses and advancement of knowledge and skills; for example, teachers, administrators, nurses, marketing, advertising, digital literacy, communications, etc.


Micro-credentials (MC) are an innovative approach to professional development within a variety of career settings that align with the demands for quality online learning, easily accessible on demand timeframes, and sharable digital representations of competency learning. Micro-credentials are digital representations of educational achievements that identify the issuing institution / organization that issued the micro-credentials, the specific competencies attained, and how mastery of the competencies was achieved.  The focus of learning is rooted in the application of content knowledge within a specific professional setting. Within a Micro-credential experience, participants demonstrate mastery through assigned project based activities; submit artifacts of reflection, participant learning, video evidence, data, etc. There is an expectation that the participant applies the learning.  Through instructor feedback, participants receive coaching through verification of competency.



Micro credentials, also known as badges are purely a digital online record of achievement that can be shared on a global level. Successful demonstration of competency through the Micro-credential experience are issued in the form of a badge by the institution; participants can share their badge on their linkedin, social media, with employers, etc. Integrated Badges are defined as integrated competency-based digital badges that can be awarded at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level within courses and programs. Integrated badges are integrated into current credit bearing courses offered by the university. Participants may or may not be enrolled in a program to earn a badge; however, badges are awarded as a result of the participant demonstrating competency and earning a grade of B- or higher / Pass on a specific assessment. This approach to badges allows the university to offer badges if they follow an agreed upon process for awarding badges. The benefit of integrated badges is that the participants can earn micro-credentials represented as badges as they earn their degree. Employers can view competencies achieved prior to completing the degree.


Participants in this session will learn about our Micro-credential case studies, engage in a discussion about the marketplace professional development needs and changes in higher education, and review our step-by-step Micro-credential guide and website. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and reflect on their own organization’s current and future practices for innovative professional development offerings.


Presenters will share a research-based step-by-step guide that includes processes and instructional templates for developing a Micro-credential experience that participants can utilize within their institutions. The first section of the guidebook includes a FAQ sheet that defines micro-credentials and badges, describes how Micro-credentials are similar and different from a course, clarifies participant populations, and outlines the steps to submit a proposal to our organization to design a Micro-credential. There is a need to establish a procedure for submitting proposals within large organizations so that branding, validating, and consistency of offerings follow the mission and vision of the organization. The second section of the guide includes a research -based Micro-credential planning template with examples that align with best practices in teaching and assessment of participants understanding. Within an organization, it is essential that the Micro-credential experiences are designed in a consistent manner to ensure grain size and provide consistency among both the Micro-credential designers and participants who would engage in the Micro-credential experience. The third section includes a meta-data proposal form with examples. The meta-data information, a summary of the MC experience, is stored within the digital badge and is shareable with outside organizations and employers. Meta-data includes Micro-credential experience content, key methods, evidence of learning with rubrics. The fourth section includes a visual example of what a Micro-credentials experience looks like on the online Canvas Learning Management System. This section includes how to utilize Quality Matters standards to develop the online learning experience that includes participant engagement, developing an understanding, and evidence of learning. Each of the sections of the guidebook provide ease of planning and implementation for a potential author of a Micro-credential within an organization. 

Jun 22, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Virtual Office Hours - Consulting With HBCU AL$ Leadership Team Members- Part 1

HBCU AL$ Leadership team members will be available to consult 1:1 with attendees regarding planning an implementation of AL$ programming at their universities

Extended Abstract


Jun 22, 2020
3:15pm - 3:45pm (Eastern)
OLC Live: The Heart of Engagement

OLC engagement programs (like the Innovation Studio) have become a staple of the OLC conference experience. Join current and past Innovation Studio chairs and learn how these programs came to be, why they came to be, and where they plan to go.


Jun 22, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
Design for Learning with Neuroscience, UDL and Inclusive Teaching

This presentation will engage participants in exploring strategies for optimizing emotions, interests, attention, memory and skill development in learners, with the help of neuromyth worksheet, activity to redesign a teaching challenge applying neuroscience and Universal Design for Learning, and two case studies on inclusive design.


Extended Abstract


o          Present on neuroscience findings that serves as the theoretical underpinnings for Universal Design for Learning and Inclusive Design, with the guide of a worksheet on neuromyths, promoting individual reflection/interaction (10 min.)

o          Present on the principles of UDL with examples (5 min.)

o          Present on the five steps for Inclusive Design with specific examples and strategies (10 min.)

o          Activity: Re-design a teaching challenge using inclusive design principles (5 min.)

o          Activity: Microaggression Case Study (5 min.)

o          Activity: Inclusive Teaching Case Study (5 min.)

o          Q& A and resource sharing (5 min.)


Key Findings:

  • Neuroscience for Learning

o          Neuroplasticity

o          Neuro-variability

o          Prior knowledge and experience

o          Stimulus driven or goal driven

o          Emotions

o          Neuro-pathways & Interest/Curiosity/Attention/Memory/Expertise development

o          Visual Brain

o          Social Brain

o          Metacognition, critical thinking, and decision-making brain

  • Universal Design for Learning Principles:

o          Multiple means of representation

o          Multiple means of action & expression

o          Multiple means of engagement

  • Five Steps for Inclusive Design:

o          Establishing and supporting an inclusive course climate

o          Setting explicit expectations

o          Promoting diversity and inclusion through course content

o          Designing all course elements for accessibility

o          Cultivating critical self-reflection


Relevance to Higher Education:

The research on neuroscience, Universal Design for Learning and Inclusive Teaching are universal principles and can be applied to any learner, including students in higher education.

Jun 22, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
HBCU Summit: Closing Session - Sharing Reflections, Needs and Next Steps

All participants will be invited to spend 2-3 minutes sharing their plans and/or issues to take some next steps in the AL$ plans.

Extended Abstract


Jun 22, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
Inquiring Minds Want to Know: The Value of Adding Optional Synchronous Elements into Online Asynchronous Courses

How much do our efforts to include synchronous elements in online asynchronous courses matter to students?  This wondering provides the foundation for an action research study that utilizes The Inquiry Cycle (Dana, Thomas, and Boynton, 2011).  The value of including optional, real-time learning experiences in anytime courses is investigated. 

Extended Abstract

This session focuses on the value of including optional synchronous elements in asynchronous classes.  In traditional classroom settings, building relationships with students is the first step in creating a collaborative, student-centered learning environment.  Bridging the distance between virtual learners and instructors can be a challenge, especially in courses that are designed to be asynchronous in nature.  For that reason, synchronous elements tend to find their way into asynchronous courses.  Experiences such as real-time discussion sessions and virtual office hours provide students with opportunities to engage with each other and course instructors as they would in a traditional classroom setting.  The work that is done to incorporate synchronous elements into courses can leave instructors wondering how valuable those efforts actually are to students, along with the question of which experiences are most beneficial to student learning.  This wondering provides the basis for the action research study that will be presented. Through application of The Inquiry Cycle (Dana, Thomas, and Boynton, 2011), the action research study examines the value and benefit of weaving optional elements of synchronous courses into asynchronous design. Findings from an action research study involving data from three online asynchronous course instructors who teach multiple graduate education courses will be shared with attendees. 

Throughout the presentation portion of the session, attendees will process the steps of The Inquiry Cycle as the presenters discuss the conceptual framework of their study. Opportunities to develop ideas for potential action research studies will be included in the presentation. Attendees will also engage in developing wonderings of their own that can be used to frame potential future inquiries.  Following the presentation of the study framework and findings, attendees will participate in individual reflection along with a group Q&A session (facilitated by the presenters) that will utilize Padlet.

Jun 22, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
Does Structure Matter? The Evolving Nature of Online Organizational Structures in Higher Education Institutions

In response to the ongoing dialog in the online community about where online programming “lives” in an institution of higher education, CORAL research collaborative launched a study to investigate the intersection of organizational structure and academic functions of colleges and universities throughout the United States.  Let’s discuss the findings together!


Extended Abstract

In response to the ongoing dialog in the online community about where online programming “lives” in an institution of higher education, CORAL (Collegiate Online Research Leaders) research collaborative launched a study to investigate and determine a typology of the structures of online education units in U.S-based colleges and universities.  Moreover, the study intends to make sense of the potential trend identified in the CHLOE 3 Report (2019) that indicates more institutions are now identifying with a more centralized online operation; as well as address the gaps in the literature around online organizational structure and its implications on important student lifecycle functional areas (e.g., Student Onboarding, Student Support, Academic Functions, and Administration).

With the understanding that higher education institutions are complex organizations, this study seeks to create a typology of organizational structures of online units that institutions can identify with, and then use to better understand strengths and challenges of the [their] current structure(s) through the findings of the study.  Specifically, Chief Online Officers (COLOs) at institutions across the United States were asked about the precedent conditions and decisions that lead to the current structure of the online unit within the institution in regards to the five areas of organizational design:

1)      Work specialization - the degree to which tasks in an organization are divided into separate jobs.

2)      Chain of command - answers the question of “who reports to whom?” and signifies formal authority relationships.

3)      Span of control - represents how many employees each manager in the organization has responsibility for.

4)      Centralization - refers to where decisions are made in organizations.

5)      Formalization - the degree to which rules and procedures are used (not simply codified) to standardize behaviors and decisions in an organization.

COLOs were then asked to indicate what the implications of the current structure of the online unit within the institution is/was and/or if any changes are planned.  Each quarter interviews are conducted with Chief Online Officers covering one of the four dimensions designed by the CORAL team as important student lifecycle functional areas within an institution:

1)      Student Onboarding – marketing, enrollment, admissions, financial aid, entrance evaluations, and new student matriculation services. 

2)      Student Support Services – student retention services, student engagement, student well-being, and learning support. 

3)      Academic Functions – curriculum, programmatic oversight, instructional design, quality assessment, and faculty professional development and support. 

4)      Administration – online program manager (if applicable), institutional research, information technology, finance, and facilities. 

This presentation will include an overview of findings from the first round of qualitative interviews specific to the online Academic Functions conducted in the late Fall of 2019.  Attendees will have an opportunity to self-assess their Academic Function according to the organizational structures used in the study, analyze the implications of their current structures, and discuss possible future changes for optimal performance.  

Attendees can expect to:

  1. Evaluate and identify the organizational structure of their online academic affairs function.  

  2. Analyze the implications of the current organizational structure of their online academic affairs function.  

  3. Compare and contrast the benefits and consequences of other organizational structures of online academic affairs function for future strategic planning.  

  4. Reflect on future changes that may optimize online academic functions at their institution.  

CORAL is comprised of educational administrators from a diverse set of higher educational institutions across the United States who were participants in the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) 2018 Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Education (IELOL) program.  CORAL collaborative members are engaged in several research studies. This study was planned with advisement from the lead researchers of the CHLOE reports as well.


Jun 22, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Building A Community of Belonging: A Fireside Chat

Surfacing inequities within the classroom is a critical practice for supporting the success of all learners. Belonging uncertainty remains a formidable challenge, particularly in that it disproportionately affects underrepresented and marginalized student populations. In this informal fireside chat, we will collectively discuss challenges and amplify impactful approaches to creating learning spaces that are inclusive and focused on the achievements of not just a subset of learners, but for all of our students.

Jun 22, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Bridging Existing Content into Learner Interactivity to Increase Engagement and Satisfaction

This session invites attendees to view course material in innovative ways to increase learner engagement through interactivity. Attendees will be introduced to the presenters’ guidelines when creating interactive course content. Guidelines will be demonstrated through digital examples from presenters’ course content. After a brief individual reflection period, the session will wrap-up with a large group discussion to pull together session take-aways from attendees and include a Q&A opportunity.

Extended Abstract

This session invites attendees to view course content in innovative ways to increase learner engagement through the introduction of meaningful interaction with the course material. Attendees will be introduced to the presenters’ guidelines when creating interactive course content. Guidelines will be demonstrated through digital examples from presenters’ course content that was created with Articulate Storyline. After a brief reflection period, the session will wrap-up with a large group discussion to pull together session take-aways from attendees and include a Q&A opportunity.

Learning outcomes of this session include:

  1. Discuss guidelines to increase learner engagement and satisfaction when creating interactive digital content.
  2. Analyze interactive digital content examples for presented guidelines.
  3. Identify potential areas within own course content to increase learner interactivity.

During our time together, attendees can expect:

  • Presentation of Guidelines and Examples (30 minutes)
    After a brief welcome and session introduction, presenters will share examples of their own interactive digital content from several different medical education courses to introduce attendees to thinking differently about course material. Specific, presented guidelines will be highlighted through examples to assist attendees in innovative thinking. Lessons learned from the presenters' personal experiences and pilot data of learner satisfaction will also be shared.
  • Individual Reflection (5 minutes)
    Time will be provided for attendees to process the presented guidelines to increase learner interactivity in a meaningful way. Attendees should begin to identify potential areas within their own course content in which interactivity could be increased.
  • Q&A / Large Group Discussion (10 minutes)
    The session will wrap-up with a large group discussion to pull together session take-aways from workshop attendees and include a Q&A opportunity.

The primary audience for this session is anyone involved in creating course material and is looking for innovative ways to engage learners. Highlighted examples use medical education courses but the guidelines can be applied to any type of course content or material. Attendees will be provided a handout highlighting the guidelines outlined by the presenters.

The goal of this workshop is to introduce ideas and skills to evaluate passive course content for opportunities to create meaningful learner interaction to increase learner engagement with digital course content. Highlighted examples from the presenters were created using Articulate Storyline 3. However, learner interactivity can be implemented using any compatible software platform available at attendees’ home institutions.

Jun 22, 2020
5:45pm - 6:30pm (Eastern)
From Zero to Engagement: Creating Versatile Assignments Using OER in MERLOT

Developing engaging, versatile assignments across curricula using OER is never easy.  Use MERLOT to bring challenging and relevant material to your students.  Work with members of the MERLOT Teacher Education Board to explore sample assignments and learn how to create your own student-centered assignments from MERLOT materials.

Extended Abstract

Using open educational practices (OEP) to create teaching and learning materials (including assignments) has proven effective in "increas(ing) student learning while breaking down barriers of affordability and accessibility." (, 2019)  This session will provide a process for virtual and onsite attendees to develop meaningful assignments for and with their students.  The session will include an overview of MERLOT, how to search for materials and assignments, and how to use them for teaching and learning.  Using the Learning Exercise Template makes it easy to create an assignment for any material within MERLOT.  Additionally, faculty and students can embed assignments in a MERLOT Content Builder page to share with others and/or to submit to MERLOT.  Presenters will give examples of assignments they have developed using MERLOT tools and resources.  Attendees will break into small groups to work on enhancing an already published assignment in MERLOT, with presenters serving as resources; virtual attendees will have online mentors through the use of a Zoom room.  The virtual and face-to-face breakout session will conclude with sharing practices and examples that have surfaced during the discussion; participants can include their work in a link available to all attendees.  At the end of the presentation, attendees should be able to use MERLOT resources to develop a new assignment or enhance an existing assignment in their discipline.

Pennsylvania State University.  (2019).  Benefits of Using OER.  Retrieved from

Jun 22, 2020
7:00pm - 8:00pm (Eastern)
A Very Happy Happy Hour

It's the start of week 2 of the OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual Conference! Join in at A Very Happy Happy Hour! For this happy hour we ask those joining to spread happiness with some fun activities. Participants can share a visual image and story that makes you happy, share your happy place, or share a Zoom background that brings you happiness. 

Grab your favorite beverage and snacks and join us in spreading happiness and listening to live tunes.  Led by host Angela Gibson, co-host Erica Kennon of Innovate Educators, guest host Angela Gunder (OLC) and with the amazing musical stylings of special guest Rick Franklin. Sponsored by Innovative Educators.


Jun 23, 2020
8:15am - 8:45am (Eastern)
Meditation and Mindfulness

Join us for some quiet time to decompress, reconnect mind and body, and practice some self-care as we turn our focus inward for a short while.  Mindfulness has been defined as a practice of "bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occuring in the present moment" (Baer, 2003).  Join Clark Shah-Nelson for some guided mindful meditations.  These sessions will be geared toward centering ourselves on higher levels of consciousness so that we can experience OLC Innovate Virtual Conference in a healthy and present way together.

Baer, R.A.  (2003).  Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention:  A conceptual and empirical review.  Clinical psychology:  Science and practice, 10(2), 125-143.

Extended Abstract


Jun 23, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Efficiently Producing Learner-Centered Videos (Con Altura!)

Sure, we’ll kvetch about how high quality videos we want to make for our learners take more time and resources than most institutions have. But then we’ll focus on how we can make videos “con altura!” (with style) with a better understanding of what matters most to the learners watching.

Extended Abstract

In the many years that I have been producing videos with faculty, the tools have become increasingly easy to use. We can make so much more in so much less time, and yet we continue to struggle with the time investment needed to produce high quality educational media. I hear more and more people (from instructional designers to OPM presenters) talk about how the videos we make in online learning need to be “more than just a talking head” while I see the struggle faculty have in even finding time to make those talking head videos.

We recently surveyed students taking an online course that we had produced twenty three course content videos for. We purposefully had three different levels of post-production effort on all of the videos. We were surprised at the students’ responses. They cared about the keywords coming up on the screen, but not all of the parts that we, as a media team, had the most fun making, like animations and motion graphics. We plan on repeating this survey for an upcoming course taught by the same faculty member, and I am eager to hear that feedback, but also nervous.

I propose having this session because I don’t have a perfect solution and I want to discuss it with as many of my colleagues in online education as possible. I added the “con altura!” (with style) because I think that there is always room for that, even if other aspects of high production value video are deemed unimportant and fall to the cutting room floor.

Aside from the kvetching about high quality videos taking more time and resources than most institutions have, and facing feedback and hard truths about what matters most to learners, we will be putting a really positive spin on this topic in the activities and discussions. Because we cannot wallow, it’s not good for our creative juices.

As this session type is limited to one slide, each of the tables will have a short URL to look up on their own devices. Together, each table will look at a different type of course content video. They will discuss what matters to them from the learner perspective. They will then work together as a “media team” to make decisions about what they would change about the video in a short split script (template provided). They will also discuss what tools they would use to produce this new version. And then, each of the teams/tables will share out to the group at large con altura, their own unique style.

Jun 23, 2020
9:00am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Building Bridges Between Technology and Pedagogy: The Creation of an Online Teaching Faculty Toolkit

The presenters will explain their work to scale up online teaching support at their institution. Random acts of improvement shifted to systematic, purposeful improvement. An Online Teaching Faculty Toolkit transformed scattered actions into a well-articulated and accessible vehicle to improve enthusiasm for and quality of online teaching and learning.

Extended Abstract

Presentation Takeaways

Participants will

  1. Recognize the value in building a faculty-developed Online Teaching Faculty Toolkit that supports the design and delivery of online courses that stimulate deep and reflective learning.

  2. Identify ways to shift from a technical, process-driven focus to a pedagogical focus that addresses common problems of instructional practice.

  3. Appraise their institution’s needs and readiness to support the creation of a faculty-developed Online Teaching Faculty Toolkit.

When new to online teaching, instructors eagerly seek guidance on how to use the learning management system (LMS). In fact, each year at our institution’s New Faculty Orientation, there are several breakout sessions on teaching-related topics such as reaching students, course design, and using the LMS. Without a doubt, the LMS session led by instructional designers attracts the most instructors. The LMS itself acts as a kind of magnet that draws faculty to the Center for Teaching and Learning. After a semester or two, however, instructors become comfortable with navigating the LMS and overcome the inevitable frustrations that come along with learning a new technology. Their attention then turns to the matters that faculty care about most deeply: effective teaching and genuine student learning. Faculty realize that while they possess the ability to “build” a course in the LMS, they lack the necessary strategies and skills to teach online.  In the words of one of the presenter’s esteemed colleagues whose goal is to ensure that students engage with high-quality learning experiences, “I’m not interested in flashy gizmos. I miss face-to-face instruction but understand that our students both need and want online. So help me use the technology in ways that strengthen and deepen student learning.” Her observation confirms a key principle in Darby and Lang’s recently published book, Small Teaching Online (2019): Technology should never drive instruction. Indeed, the instructional goals determine the instructional design and technological tools selected to engage students. The arguments Darby and Lang make in their text prompted a cascade of events undertaken by the presenters as outlined in this proposal.

Prior to January 2019, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and what was known as the Online Faculty Development Center (FDC) were two separate units. In a nutshell, the CTL focused on face-to-face courses while the FDC focused on online classes. The FDC had a rich history of providing high-quality online technical support to faculty, and while that support was much appreciated, the missing piece was the “faculty mindset.” The FDC sought to update faculty’s skill set for using technology by manning a helpdesk that employed a just-in-time-technological support service model and offering workshops that covered the “how-to’s” of using LMS tools such as grade book, quizzes, and assignments. To address quality assurance concerns, the FDC encouraged online instructors to take Quality Matters workshops and submit their courses for both internal and external course reviews. In sum, the focus targeted HOW to use instructional technology rather than WHY to use it. Indeed, the FDC developed written support through job aids that faculty could access via their website; however, the help page was difficult to locate and, once located, difficult to navigate. More problematically, the job aids were process-driven, not pedagogically-driven.

Around the same time that one of the presenters was preparing to return to teaching after spending eight years as a faculty ranked administrator in the provost’s office, a comprehensive administrative review determined that the FDC and the CTL should merge. The returning instructor arranged a one-on-one tutorial on using the LMS that resulted in her meeting a newly hired instructional designer (the other presenter) with a background in teaching. During this meeting, rather than solely focusing on how to use the LMS, the two discussed the pedagogical why. What they uncovered was a piece that had been missing in the FDC: a faculty mindset. During this first meeting, the two presenters recognized the formation of a much-needed bridge between technology and pedagogy. Now, questions, explorations, and solutions for online teaching are grounded in learning theory, knowledge of effective instruction to include discipline-specific standards (McEwan, 2003), and standards that support online course design (Quality Matters, Higher Education Standards for Course Design, 6th edition). 

The 2019 publication of Flower Darby’s book Small Teaching Online inspired the idea to establish a faculty reading group. As the presenters read the book and planned the sessions for the reading group, they were inspired to develop an Online Teaching Faculty Toolkit.  They recognized both an opportunity and the need to scale up online teaching support at their institution. Random acts of improvement needed to shift to systematic, purposeful improvement. The Online Teaching Faculty Toolkit is a self-service type of website that provides instructions on how to use the technology in a way that is framed within the faculty’s instructional context. The OTFT transformed well-intentioned but scattered actions into a targeted, focused, well-articulated, and accessible vehicle to improve enthusiasm for and quality of online teaching and learning. Three key factors influenced the development of the toolkit: (1) Instructional problems of practice drive the selection of “tools” placed on the toolkit’s website, (2) Faculty present their instructional questions and solutions quite differently from how-to content available on other support sites, and (3) Both the reading group and toolkit development honor long-standing adult learning principles, i.e., adults have a deep need to be self-directing and they are motivated to learn when the need and their interests coincide (Lindeman, 1926; Knowles, Holton, and Swanson, 2005). The kinds of instructional needs that faculty regularly identify as they are teaching their classes determined the organization of the site. For instance, clicking on a question such as “How do I get students to read?” will take users to another page with suggestions for learning activities such as discussion boards that use Socratic questions, quizzes that give learners multiple opportunities to master the material, and concept maps that require students to make connections between their readings. Additionally, the Online Teaching Faculty Toolkit has links to videos in which online instructors (many of whom participated in the faculty reading group) talk about their online teaching experiences. They share their favorite technology tools and their strategies to use them to enrich student learning.

Plan for Audience Engagement

During this Present and Reflect session, participants will learn about the evolution of online teaching support at the presenters’ institution and have an opportunity to explore the Online Teaching Faculty Toolkit. In a think-pair-share activity, they will receive a handout with screenshots of the old website with the list of job aids and the new (and much improved) Online Teaching Faculty Toolkit. 

Their task will be to look at the before and after images of the resources that our institution has provided for our faculty. In the after images, they will pay special attention to the instructional needs that we have identified. In pairs, they will consider the following questions: What kinds of instructional needs have you heard faculty talk about on your campus?  How have faculty attempted to meet those? Can you think of examples of how faculty have met those needs? How did it go? Did it work? If so, do you have a sense of why it worked? What was good about it? What were the obstacles? Which technology tools have you used? Which teaching strategies did you employ in your use of the tools? 

Toward the end of the sessions, participants will take a Readiness Assessment Survey that poses questions to help them determine if the culture of their institution is one that might support the development of a faculty-designed toolkit. 


Darby, F., & Lang, J. M. (2019). Small teaching online: Applying learning science in online classes. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2005). The adult learner (6th ed.). London: Elsevier.

Lindeman, E. C. (1926). The meaning of adult education. New York: New Republic.

McEwan, E. K. (2003). Seven steps to effective instructional leadership (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Quality Matters (2018). Higher education rubric workbook: Standards for course design, 6th edition).

Jun 23, 2020
9:00am - 9:15am (Eastern)
Developing a MOOC Series: Pedagogical Considerations for Learning Designers

This research examines 5 MOOC series to provide learning designers with guidelines for practice. Results suggest learning designers should attend to 1) objectives of series with respect to learners’ educational and professional goals, 2) course order within a series, including progressions that support learners in succeeding in higher order tasks.

Extended Abstract


As the landscape of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) continues to evolve, instructional forms are emerging that expand on the original MOOC form. For example, the MOOC series—a grouping or sequence of related courses—is rising in prominence (Hollands & Trithali, 2014) and has begun to eclipse the standalone MOOC in popularity and visibility (Shah, 2019). This development presents an important design challenge for instructional teams who must now consider the pedagogy of a series of courses while simultaneously attending to the coherence of individual courses. Instructional teams may find themselves confronted by new kinds of design questions:

  • How important is it to prioritize consistency of course structure (e.g., length, sequence of item types) so that learners become familiar with the learning experience and are able to anticipate workload over the duration of several courses? 
  • How important is it to consider pedagogical design from the perspective of course order, such as assessments in earlier courses that require learners to present declarative knowledge, and assessments in later courses that ask learners to apply knowledge to real world tasks? 


Our overarching goal is to provide instructional teams with guidelines that will allow designers to be more intentional about how they approach the design of a series of MOOC courses. To achieve our goal, we set the following objectives: 

  • Define series requirements: Use Specializations—a particular type of MOOC series that are offered on the Coursera course delivery platform—as the object of our inquiry. Courses are generally designed to be taken in order, although this is not a requirement (Wong, 2016). 
  • Assess series characteristics: Use an expanded version Quintana et al., 2019) of the Assessing MOOC Pedagogies (AMP) tool (Swan et al., 2014) to characterize the pedagogies of courses within multiple Coursera Specializations. 

Given our overarching goal and the objectives we have set in order to meet that goal, we ask the following research questions:

  1. To what extent are courses that are designed as part of a series similar to other courses in that series pedagogically? Across which dimensions? 
  2. To what extent are courses that are designed as part of a series similar to courses in other series?
  3. What underlying factors may account for pedagogical similarities or differences?


Standalone MOOCs consist of a variety of elements including video-lectures, automated multiple-choice assessments, and discussion forum prompts (Conole, 2014; Margarayan et al., 2015). Although course delivery platforms have limited options that constrain design (Head, 2017), great pedagogical variation exists within MOOCs (Quintana et al., 2018; Major & Blackmon, 2016) and they are thus worth examining.

Typically, MOOCs include 6-10 weeks of content, but learner activity declines precipitously at week four (Hollands & Tirthali, 2014; Lacker et al., 2015). The cadence of these high drop-off rates led to the development of the MOOC series (Lackner et al., 2015). Researchers posited that a modular four-week course design would allow learners to “see the light at the end of the tunnel” and make greater progress in the course (Hollands & Tirthali, 2014; Lacker et al., 2015). A series could consist of multiple courses and each course in the series could focus on a specific aspect of a larger topic.

The AMP tool allows researchers to characterize the design of MOOCs across ten dimensions (Swan et al., 2014). Each dimension is anchored by two poles (e.g., artificial and authentic in the “Characteristics of Tasks” dimension), and has five score levels (see Table 1). Thus far, MOOC researchers have focused on characterizing the pedagogies of individual MOOCs using AMP (e.g., Admiraal et al., 2014; Bonk et al., 2015; Skrypnyk et al., 2015). In this research, we use an expanded version of the AMP tool (Quintana et al., 2019) that was designed to improve consistency of use through standardized language, detailed descriptions of score levels, and a list of course elements on which to focus. In our study, we will show that when combined with other research methods (i.e., hierarchical clustering methods), the AMP tool shows promise for providing researchers with a common language to describe potential pedagogical similarities and differences within and across MOOC series. 


Our study was conducted in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Characterize pedagogies of MOOCs within multiple Specializations using the expanded AMP tool. 
  • Phase 2: Plot hierarchical clusters (depicting pedagogical similarity) on a dendrogram (i.e., a tree style plot). 
  • Phase 3: Describe clusters, considering quantitative and qualitative aspects of the data 


  • We selected five Coursera Specializations across a range of subject domains, models of faculty involvement, and iteration stages. We selected Specializations a public research university (our home institution) which provided insight into unique aspects of their design and production processes. 
  • We generated nested clusters using hierarchical clustering in R using the hclust function from the stats package. 

Approach to analysis

Using the AMP tool, four researchers analyzed 23 individual MOOCs belonging to the five Specializations we selected. In order to ensure consistency and replicability of observations between independent observers, all four researchers analyzed the first course in each Specialization and the remaining courses in the front-end programming series. Over a series of four group meetings, they compared their scores across each dimension and reached consensus through discussion. Through this process, researchers developed a common understanding of how to apply score levels across each dimension and achieved an intra-class correlation coefficient of 0.86, which surpasses Koo and Li’s (2016) lower bound of “good” inter-rater reliability. Each researcher independently analyzed the remaining courses in one of the four remaining Specializations. We imported final scores into R and generated clusters. We built a dissimilarity matrix using the “daisy” function and fed the matrix into the “hclust” function, generating hierarchical clusters. Finally, we plotted the hierarchical clusters on a dendrogram, which allowed us to see which courses exhibit pedagogical similarities. 


We identified three potential heights to cut the dendrogram and build clusters. This method allowed us to visualize three sets of clusters, which we have named according to each set’s most distinct feature: 

  • Pedagogy A: the highest cut set (2 clusters)
  • Pedagogy B: the middle cut set (4 clusters)
  • Series: the lowest cut set (7 clusters) 

Each set contained all of the courses we analyzed and emphasizes different aspects of the pedagogies underlying individual courses and Specializations as a whole.

  • The “Pedagogy A” set divides courses into two clusters that have distinct epistemologies: 1) learning through interaction with instructor-created content (objectivist) and 2) learning through interaction with a rich set of resources, including peers (constructivist). They also roughly divide according to the “left” and “right” poles of the AMP framework (refer to Table 1). 
  • The “Pedagogy B” set  separates courses into four clusters and reveals differences in approach to content presentation, task requirements, and structure: 1) concrete content and authentic tasks; 2) abstract content and artificial tasks;  3) self-directed tasks, with some structure; 4) self-directed tasks with little structure. 
  • The “Series” set displays seven clusters that roughly group courses by series (with some exceptions). 
    • Two series (financial and human anatomy) formed their own respective clusters, suggesting that the overall pedagogical design is similar across all courses in each series. 
    • Courses in two series (front-end development and data analysis) appeared in three clusters, showing pedagogical variation across courses in each respective series. Earlier courses in the series mapped to the “left” pole of the AMP framework and later courses mapped to the “right” pole. 
    • Clusters 6 and 7 contain one course each, showing that these courses are somewhat distinct from other courses. These courses are the capstone courses of the leadership and management series and the front-end development programming series, and they are distinguished by being far more learner-centered than courses in the other clusters. 

Scholarly Significance 

Our results show that instructional teams prioritized “fit for purpose” at the Specialization level over ensuring consistency from course to course for its own sake. 

  • In two Specializations (finance and anatomy), we observed that each course was pedagogically similar to all other courses in each respective series. In this example, these two Specializations were designed to support learners who intend to pursue advanced education within their respective domains (e.g., advanced business degrees and professional medical degrees). 
  • In two different Specializations (leadership and front-end development), we observed that courses appeared in multiple clusters and that course order determined if they fell in “left pole” clusters or “right pole” clusters. In other words, courses that were earlier in the series tended to be more instructor-centered in their epistemologies, and courses that were later in the Specialization tended to be more learner-centered and constructivist. These Specializations prioritized providing scaffolding in earlier courses that would allow learners to be more independent in later courses. 
  • In the final Specialization (data analysis), we observed that earlier courses used concrete approaches to content presentation with authentic tasks, and later courses used abstract approaches to content presentation with artificial tasks. 

This study reveals the pedagogies that underlie a specific set of MOOC Specializations and offers early insight into how instructional teams have approached the design of a series.

Jun 23, 2020
9:30am - 9:45am (Eastern)
Emotional Presence in Building an Online Learning Community Among Non-traditional Higher Education Students

The research argued that emotional presence should exist as a critical presence in the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. The current study focused on non-traditional graduate students in higher education. Both qualitative and quantitative data showed that emotion evidently emerged as a natural component in CoI among non-traditional students. 

Extended Abstract

The Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework posits that cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence are three components of structuring the collaborative teaching and learning process in an online learning environment (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000). Meanwhile emotion has long been researched in educational settings (Pekrun, 2006; Phelps, 2006; Tyng, Amin, Saad, & Malik, 2017) and considered as an important factor in successful online learning (Artino, 2012; Gilmore & Warren, 2007; Marchand & Gutierrez, 2012; Swerdloff, 2015). Lipman (2003) argued that online learning was a process where “emotive experience, mental acts, thinking skills, and informal fallacies” (p. 18) work together to improve reasoning and judgment. “Emotional expression” appears as one of the three categories under the social presence in the CoI framework. Cleveland-Innes and Campbell (2012) further added emotional presence to CoI and defined it as “the outward expression of emotion, affect, and feeling by individuals and among individuals in a community of inquiry, as they relate to and interact with the learning technology, course content, students, and the instructor” (p. 283). It has been argued that emotional presence should exist as a unique presence other than being combined into social presence. By examining students’ online learning experiences in a one-to-one online math coaching program, Stenbom, Hrastinski, and Cleveland-Innes (2016) suggested that emotional presence could be outside of social presence. Aactivity emotion (Pekrun, 2006) and directed affectiveness (Derks, Fischer, Bos, 2008) emerged in the one-on-one Relationship of Inquiry framework. Related research also found that activity emotion was the most common emotional presence element (Stenbom, Jansoon, & Hulkko, 2016) and emotional presence in teaching presence may foster social and cognitive presence in online learning (Majeski, Stover, & Valais, 2018).

Purpose of the Study and Research Questions

Despite the research discussed above, research on emotion and online learning are far from sufficient. Garrison (2011) argued that it was important to understand the educational purposes and its related contexts when applying the theoretical insights of CoI to build a collaborative-constructivist learning community of inquiry. Thus, the current study focused on non-traditional graduate students in higher education aiming at answering following research questions:

RQ1: To what extent emotion would emerge in the online learning process for the non-traditional adult learner students?

RQ2: What is the relationship between emotional presence and cognitive, social, and teaching presence? Does emotional presence have a significant correlation with gender, age, personal experience with computer technologies, self-paced online learning, and social media/communication tools usages?

RQ3: Do emotional, cognitive, social, and teaching presence have a significant predictive relationship with students’ satisfaction towards their online learning experiences?  


The students in the online master’s and doctoral programs in Educational Leadership and Higher Education in a Texas public university were invited to participate in the study. Due to the nature of the programs, students recruited were all working professionals thus were considered as non-traditional students. Participants’ cognitive, teaching, and social presence were evaluated by the 34-item Community of Inquiry survey (Arbaugh et al.’s, 2008) with ratings from 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The emotional presence was measured by Cleveland-Innes and Campbell’s (2012) six emotional presence items on the same ratings. Artino’s (2008) online course satisfaction survey was used to measure students’ online learning satisfaction. An open-ended question was used to gather students’ perceptions about their online learning experiences. Participants’ gender, age, and personal experience were also collected.

Data Analysis

To answer RQ1, a content analysis (Gbrich, 2007; Nagai, 2015; Stone, 2001) was used to identify emotion surfaced in participants’ qualitative responses, in a two-stage coding procedure that includes 15 emotional constructs (Cleveland-Innes & Campbell, 2012) and emotion categories (i.e., activity emotion, outcome emotions, and directed affectiveness) (Derks, Fischer, & Bos, 2008). To answer RQ2, descriptive statistics, correlation, and repeated measure ANOVA were used. To answer RQ3, a hierarchical regression analysis was used with emotional presence in block 1 and all other presences in block 2.


Forty-seven students participated in this study, with one participant completed CoI survey only and one wrongfully filled out all ratings thus they were excluded from the analysis. The remaining 45 participants had an average age of 46.20 (SD = 11.98; range = 24 -75).

RQ1: The content analysis revealed dichotomous emotions from participants’ responses about their online learning experiences. First, out of the 15 emotional constructs (Cleveland-Innes & Campbell, 2012), “enjoyment” was identified 21 times out of 45 responses and “happiness” emerged 12 times and “pride” 5 times; whereas “frustration” 7 times, “disappointment” 7 times, and “desire” 6 times,. Other emotions found were “yearning” (2 times), “wonder” (2 times), and “unhappiness” (2 times). The second-stage analysis revealed that emerged emotions belonged to different categories: 30 showed directed affectiveness, 22 responses showed activity emotion, and 8 showed outcome emotion.

RQ2: On the quantitative survey data, the reliability of the emotional presence items was first assessed using Cronbach’s (1951) alpha. The six emotional presence items were found to be highly reliable (α = .876), which is consistent with Stenborm, Hrastinski, and Cleveland-Innes’ (2016) Cronbach’s alpha reporting (α = .74) with a similar sample size (n = 41).

A repeated measure analysis of variance, with Greenhouse-Geisser correction, revealed a significant difference among four presences, F(2.386, 107.38) = 49.514, p = .000. partial ŋ2 = .524. Emotional presence held significant differences with cognitive presence, t(45) = 9.627, p = .000, social presence, t(45) = 7.136, p = .000, and teaching presence, t(45) = 8.916, p = .000. There was also a significant difference between social and cognitive presence, t(45) = 3.646, p = .001. Item level analysis on the six emotion measures was also examined. A repeated measure ANOVA, with Greenhouse-Geisser correction, revealed a significant difference among six emotional items, F(3.746, 117.493) = 8.62, p = .000. partial ŋ2 = .161. Further analysis revealed no gender difference on the emotional presence, t(43) = 1.546, p = .129. No correlation was found between emotional presence and age, r(45) = .165, p = .278k. Furthermore, no significant relationship was found between emotional presence with participants’ experiences using online computer technologies, r(45) = -.132, p = .388, and experiences with social media and communication tools, r(45) = -.042, p = .783, and experiences with self-paced online learning, r(45) = -.035, p = .821.

To answer RQ3, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis (see Table 4) showed that emotional presence alone significantly predicted online learning satisfaction, F(1, 44) = 4.847, p = .033, adjusted R2 = .079. The addition of cognitive, social, and teaching presence showed a significant improvement to the prediction, R2 change = .186, F(3, 41) = 3.553, p = .022. The entire group of independent variables significantly predicted online learning satisfaction, F(4, 41) = 4.088, p = .007, adjusted R2 = .215.

Conclusion and Discussion

Past research suggested that in structuring a collaborative teaching and learning space online, emotion should be “at least as a ubiquitous, influential part of learning” (Cleveland-Innes & Campbell, 2012, p. 285). In this study, emotion evidently emerged as a natural component under the CoI Framework among the non-traditional students with an average age of 47. The quantitative survey data revealed that emotional presence was distinct from all other components of CoI, interestingly, with a lower rating and a larger dispersion compared to other presences, which is consistent with past research. Such a discrepancy was echoed by the dichotomous emotions participants demonstrated in reflecting their online learning experiences, i.e., enjoyment/happiness vs. unhappiness/frustration/disappointment. On one side, enjoyment/happiness was repetitively spotted when participants talked about how they benefited from online learning, such as “online learning allowed me to take classes around my fulltime job as an administrator”. On the flip side, unhappiness was evident when they complained: “there is a disconnect between coursework and the dissertation process”. It is worth noting that such mixed emotions were evident among participants’ reflections.

This study demonstrated participants’ directed affectiveness, the recognition of emotions in building a relationship with professors or peers. Such emotions highlight that relationship is the key factor in building an effective online learning community. This result echoes the distinctive appearance of emotion in the survey data (regardless of gender, age, online experiences), as well as the relationship between emotion presence and students’ online learning satisfaction. Meanwhile, participants demonstrated more emotions tied to ongoing achievement-related activities compared to the outcome (Pekrun, 2006). Different from past research (Stenbom, Jansson, & Hulkko, 2016) where outcome emotion was “rare”, the emotion pertaining to the learning outcome was present in this study, and participants showed anxiety of failure for not being able to complete the degree in time. The reason behind this is that for the master’s and doctoral level non-traditional students with the major goal of completing the degree, learning outcome plays a major role in assessing their online learning experiences, thus, they often showed outcome-related emotions. The overall results imply that emotion plays an important role in building an online learning community, and emotion may be particularly important for non-traditional adult learners.

Jun 23, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
You're Teaching. Are They Engaging?

You skillfully constructed a captivating online learning environment, but they’re not engaging as you intended. Despite varied content and methods, student engagement is unremarkable. Why don’t they seem to be making personal and lasting connections to the content you developed? Perhaps because they weren’t engaged in the most essential role.

Extended Abstract

Track: Teaching and Learning Practice

Session Type:  Conversation

The presentation will model UDL strategies by providing multiple means of engagement, multiple means of representation, and multiple means of action and expression. Every effort will be made to ensure presentation materials and resources are accessible in an easy to retrieve format from a multitude of electronic devices and platforms.


Why aren’t students engaging as you intended in content you skillfully constructed for a captivating online learning experience?

Discussion Questions

  1. What is your institution’s definition, goal, objective for student engagement in online learning?
  2. How is online learner engagement measured in your institution?
  3. Are online learners in your institution disciples, customers, or partners?
  4. What’s your approach to successfully building the bridge between online learners and the online learning environment?


Student engagement. It’s jargon used among education professionals, but what is it, and how do teachers facilitate it successfully? Engagement is the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught (Great Schools Partnership, 2016). Student engagement occurs dynamically whenever a student and his or her unique characteristics and experiences intersect with the institution and its practices (Kahu & Nelson, 2018). It is the ongoing object of discussion, debate, critique, and research. Those who research student engagement seek the tangible representation of how and where interactions between a student and institution occur.

High levels of engagement are desirable. In fact, student engagement is frequently used as a primary indicator of teaching and learning quality (Bigatel & Edel-Malizia, 2017). This seems reasonable given the evidence that students who consistently engage with course content and their peers persist at higher levels than those who do not. Quite simply, students who engage in learning tend to be more successful (Bigatel & Edel-Malizia, 2017).

In the online learning environment, without face-to-face contact, there is heightened risk of isolation. Engagement of online learners is essential because learning online requires students to initiate the process of learning. They must use technology effectively, navigate the course site successfully, and determine how to access content readily. They decide when to engage in course work and how to interact with course peers. Motivating online students through engagement with content and engagement with their peers is vital to sustaining their interest. Models of student engagement vary around the world as well as among institutions within a given country. Student engagement is typically characterized by an institution’s approach to the manner in which student behavior is managed and instructional practices are implemented (Tanaka, 2019).

Establishing a strong sense of community is frequently cited as a requirement for student engagement in online learning (Bigatel & Edel-Malizia, 2017). Creating the bridge between learner and the learning environment is essential. It facilitates self-determination and thereby student persistence. Several factors have been discovered, through research, that support student success and persistence in the online learning environment. Among these are faculty involvement and feedback, procedural/instructional clarity, and a sense of belonging to the online learning community (Morris & Finnegan, 2008).

Why then might a teacher’s efforts to create an engaging online learning environment not result in higher levels of learner engagement? There is no single best model of student engagement. Institutions of higher learning define the concept as they wish it to apply to their learners. And, just as there is no single best model to implement, there is no single approach that will captivate every student.

How do institutions perceive their students? Are they disciples, or customers, or partners? Tanaka (2019). A post-secondary institution develops its online student engagement objectives based on the institution’s goals and its perceptions of online students. Even if institutions shared online student engagement objectives, there would likely be differences in their methods of engaging students based on their perceived relationship between student and teacher.

There is a promising practice. Given the unique qualities of every learner, student engagement is highly individualistic. Of the factors discussed by Morris and Finnegan (2008) that support student success and persistence in the online learning environment, procedural/instructional clarity and a sense of belonging to the online learning community can be guided through a commitment to online course design that is a collaborative effort between the teacher and students.

There is evidence that when students are invited to participate in course design, a deeper engagement with content and a higher level of interest with the content results (Jafar, 2016).

  • Collaborative course design fosters personal accountability through ownership of some part of course design. This could lead to a stronger personal desire to participate and succeed in the course.
  • Collaborative course design explicitly cultivates the empowerment of students. The teacher, by giving up some control, enables students to exercise autonomy and agency.
  • Collaborative course design promotes inclusion and encourages equity among students. All students are invited to contribute and given an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the online learning environment.

While the demonstrated advantages of collaborative online course design are clear, there are practical challenges to consider. How does the teacher manage the collaboration of a very large group of online learners? How does the teacher encourage students’ creativity when students may be uncomfortable with the idea? How does the teacher ensure essential content is presented? How will the concerns of students who are overwhelmed by the task and related technology be addressed?

These are worthy concerns, but they are likely surmountable. Inviting learner collaboration in the design of courses in which they will engage helps build a bridge to success between the online learner and the online learning environment.


Bigatel, P. M., & Edel-Malizia, S. (2017, December). Using the "Indicators of Engaged Learning Online" framework to evaluate online course quality. Retrieved from Association for Educational Communications & Technology website:

Great Schools Partnership. (2016, February 18). Student engagement. Retrieved from

Jafar, A. (2016). Student engagement, accountability, and empowerment: A case study of collaborative course design. Teaching Sociology, 44(3), 221-232.

Kahu, E. R. (2013). Framing student engagement in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38(5), 758-773. https://doi:10.1080/03075079.2011.598505

Kahu, E. R., & Nelson, K. (2018). Student engagement in the educational interface: Understanding the mechanisms of student success. Higher Education Research & Development, 37(1), 58-71.

Morris, L. V., & Finnegan, C. L. (2008). Best practices in predicting and encouraging student persistence and achievement online. Journal of College Student Retention, 10(1), 55-64.

Tanaka, M. (2019). Student engagement and quality assurance in higher education: International collaborations for the enhancement of learning. New York, NY: Routledge.

Jun 23, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Deploying Customizable Learning Pathways in Online University Courses: A Case Study from History Courses at a Public University

Educators know that all learners are different, but building systems to empower individuality is difficult. This session will examine the results of utilizing one design structure called Self-Mapped Learning Pathways (which encourages learners to self-determine their educational experience) in online History courses at a Texas public university.

Extended Abstract

Each learner is unique. However, providing a unique solution for each learner proves expensive and overwhelming for instructors that are increasingly asked to do more with less each year. One solution is to have students learn how to create their own learning pathway, but so many are afraid to step outside of the instructor-focused systems that have shaped the vast majority of their educational experience.

Our recent work at the University of Texas at Arlington has focused on how to address this issue. One idea we have been piloting is a design methodology called Self-Mapped Learning Pathways (SMLP) ( This heutagogical approach to designing courses is one that creates two modalities for learners: one that is a typical instructor-led pathway through the course, and another that is a learner-centered open option for adapting the content and outcomes according to personal interests, unique contexts, and professional goals. Learners are allowed to move back and forth between modalities, as they need, in a process that basically creates a map of their own unique learning pathway through the course. In many ways, this design methodology draws upon game theory concepts that involve players making their own way through open-ended game designs.

While this approach might sound like a good idea in theory, the question remains: how would students in traditional online courses react to the agency that SMLP affords?

Over the course of three academic years, History of Civilization courses incorporated SMLP in various ways. Initially, all course materials were in Blackboard with three pathways to choose from (instructor suggested, geographic, and thematic). Students accessed materials through direct links in whichever pathway they chose. As the study progressed, one course utilized ProSolo for distribution of course content. Students in the ProSolo course had access to all materials in the instructor-suggested order but were provided with written instructions on other paths (such as geographic and thematic) they could pursue. Students were asked to set goals for their own pathway through course units, and then reflect on the process after completion for a total of three times in the course. In the final year of research, all materials were in Blackboard with provided written instructions on pathway options available. In all versions of the courses, students also had the opportunity to choose their own assessments to show content mastery according to their own strengths, interests, and professional goals. Choices of assessment varied across the time period of the study.

We have been conducting various research projects about the results of these courses over the past year. Since the courses have produced a large volume of data, we have had a team out of Serbia conducting data process mining on the activities of learners to determine patterns (or lack thereof) in students activities. We have also asked learners to fill out response surveys to give us qualitative insights beyond the learning analytics. Finally, we are also currently conducting correlational analyses of activities and grades to see if there are any course level effects of SMLP. While this is not a research session, we will explore the various results (preliminary and final) of these analyses during the session.

The session will also cover examples of other courses that have implemented pathways as well as tools that can be utilized to create a SMLP course. These tools include ProSolo, WordPress, H5P, Twine,, Wakelet, and SAP chatbots. Various theories and ideas like gamification, heutagogy, and competency-based education will also be covered.

For the individual reflection sessions, participants will be a given a self-contained pathways micro-lesson to go through. Their experience in that lesson will be the basis for the discussion time. However, in following the topic of the session, participants will be given the choice of discussing our discussion questions, asking their own discussion questions, or having a mixture of both.

Jun 23, 2020
10:00am - 10:45am (Eastern)
Building Bridges of collaboration for Successful Course Design

In education, you often hear the phrase “Content is King”. Yet, during the course design process, the content can also become a major limitation when trying to develop innovative, high-quality learning experiences. In these circumstances, the development clock runs out while design teams wait for the prized content. When the content is received, there is often little time left to review and implement any revisions. While this is not always the case, this scenario happens more often than we prefer. 

Extended Abstract

Design Perspectives:

Designers are focused on helping faculty understand the processes and procedures which are proven methods for developing quality education. Designers share tools such as blueprints, timelines, learning design models, technologies, links to sample courses, etc. all in an effort to facilitate content creation. In the end, the result is often the same. The course design process encounters multiple delays and design teams rush to put it online in time for students to access. Integrations of new technologies and innovations fall by the wayside. 


Faculty Perspectives:

Faculty want to gain an understanding of what it actually means to create an online course. During the initial consultations, their minds are buzzing with a million questions they are hoping to find answers to. 

  • What is the time commitment for creating an online course?
  • What is it exactly, they are supposed to be creating? 
  • What technologies are available to make the course engaging for their students? 
  • How are they going to create the content given all their other responsibilities?
  • What will their course look like when it’s finished?

To address these questions, faculty are provided with a plethora of documents, links, and other resources intended to support the course design and development process. These resources address a number of questions, but other questions are unresolved because they depend on the content. 

Not being able to obtain answers to all of their questions can leave some faculty feeling confused. Others can feel the entire task of creating the course falls on their shoulders with the only task being writing the content. As a result, they may disengage from discussions with designers and cancel meetings. The course creation process stalls as they work to create content on their own while managing numerous other teaching and research priorities.  


The Solution:

We’re all invested in reaching the same goal - providing students with a high-quality learning experience. But different visions, approaches, and working styles lead to an unproductive dynamic. The only way to move past this is by building bridges of understanding and collaboration. 

In the fall of 2018, the models and protocols for traditional course design were set to the side and a new approach was implemented. A radical shift in the dynamic occurred. Faculty became fully engaged in the content creation process. Meeting cancelations became a thing of the past. There were no more missed deadlines. Faculty left consultations feeling energized, the time was productive, and most importantly they felt the collaboration resulted in a higher quality course for the students. 

It was through this approach that designers and faculty were able to establish a deeper level of trust and to form more meaningful, collaborative relationships. With this foundational bridge in place, faculty were able to explore avenues of design strategies, pedagogical approaches, and new opportunities for innovation. This opened up a new world of course design practices to faculty and ultimately enhanced the student experience.    



Session attendees will: 

  • Learn the key steps of this new approach for course design.
  • Discuss the new approach for course design collaborations with their peers.
  • Describe either the strengths, weaknesses, or opportunities of the new approach with their peers. 
Jun 23, 2020
10:45am - 11:15am (Eastern)
Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk With GoReact

Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions. Wing Butler, representing our sponsor GoReact, will lead off with a chat about digital transformation is now risk mitigation.  We look forward to your contributions to the chat to see where it takes us.

Extended Abstract


Jun 23, 2020
11:15am - 12:00pm (Eastern)
OLC Research Summit - Part 1: Research is for Everyone!

Research is foundational for a variety of roles and practices across the online learning landscape. This session will focus on talking about what ‘research’ is and means, the current state of research and emerging trends, and a panel discussion about professionals’ experiences, engagement, with, and use of research in a variety of roles. 


Extended Abstract


Jun 23, 2020
11:15am - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Make it Better With H5P!

Many professors are under the assumption that to have a course online, all one needs to do is to put all the documents online. This fallacy in thinking leads to frustration with the students and the teachers. H5P is a powerful content development tool that permits users to create interactive content


Extended Abstract

Many professors are under the assumption that to have a course online, all one needs to do is to put all the documents online. This fallacy in thinking leads to frustration with the students and the teachers. This frustration can lead to students not successfully completing their course. Without students successfully completing courses, an online class cannot survive.

H5P is an abbreviation for HTML5 package. The purpose is to make it easy for anyone to create and share HTML5 content. HTML5 is important to anyone building interactive content as it has the ability to be used across platforms and browsers.

H5P is a powerful content development tool that empowers users to create interactive content that builds the bridge between high content courses and engaging interactions. H5P has the tools to turn standard powerpoint content into course presentations with interaction slides, videos that are enriched with interactions, games/activities that include multiple-choice questions, true/false questions, and fill-in-the-blank questions. H5P also has tools used in gaming theory that gives students the way to experiment with the content in a non-threatening environment.

 The learning objectives for this workshop are:

  1. The learner will be able to demonstrate how to use the different tools within H5P.
  2. The learner will be able to design a learning module using H5P tools.
  3. The learner will be able to identify the best tools for creating interactive content.

In this interactive workshop, I will review the options available in H5P. I will show the learners a high content self-paced course and together we will decide which H5P tool will be used to best enhance the pedagogy. The learners will then beable to practice the tool. With the interactivity of this workshop, no matter the level of the participant, they will be able to gain an understanding of the importance of creating engaging materials for the learners.

I will provide handouts and weblink tutorials. I will make sure that they have access to all of my training materials.

Jun 23, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Caring, Connection, and Community: How to Design Accessible Learning Professional Development

Sure you think about accessibility in classroom spaces, but how do you handle it in professional development situations? Join us for a lively conversation about how Michigan State University implements accessible practices in the Accessible Learning Conference and beyond. Expect to come away with action items for your own institution.

Extended Abstract

Many institutions have policies in place for how faculty can meet digital accessibility standards in the classroom. But what about other learning spaces like conferences or professional development workshops? What can be done to make those events more inclusive and more accessible to people with disabilities?

As the Accessible Learning Conference has evolved from a small, departmentally-focused even to a regional attraction, the conference designers have incorporated intentional design and assessment sprints each year, assessing how well needs were met for presenters, attendees, and exhibitors alike. As an example, after the 2017 conference, a need was identified to offer more options for neurodivergent presenters and attendees. So, starting in 2018, we implemented varying levels of presentation engagement: light, medium, and heavy. The idea being that presenters could indicate how interactive they wanted to be and also signal to audience members what to expect and think about what they were comfortable with. Additionally, presenters could choose to match those levels of engagement to a time length that worked for them: 15, 30, or 45 minutes. These small changes resulted in big gains for reported feelings of inclusion and comfort in a conference environment - a professional development scenario that many already find to be outside of their comfort zone.

This session will begin with a 30 minute description of how Michigan State University continues to create accessible learning experiences through the Accessible Learning Conference and other general workshops. We will then pose a series of questions for attendees to consider and reflect on how they can adopt these practices in their own learning spaces. These questions include:

  • Are there any strategies we’ve discussed that you could easily implement into current PD workshops you offer at your institution? How? What about ones you could not implement? What stands in the way? Let’s troubleshoot together

  • Let’s apply what we’ve talked about together. Consider your experience at the OLC Innovate conference this week - how could this event be made more accessible and inclusive?

This session will conclude with 10 minutes of Q&A and sharing, as well as group discussion with guidance on creating action items that you can apply at your home institution and initiatives.


Jun 23, 2020
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Eastern)
Orienting Students for Online Learning: Creating a Holistic Program to Build a Foundation for Success

Learn from one community college’s experience in creating a holistic approach to orienting online learners.  Presenters will share solutions for developing programming that bridges the gap between student and faculty expectations. Attendees will leave with data outcomes & implementation plan. Session perfect for professionals developing new or re-envisioning orientation programming!

Extended Abstract

Preparing students for success in an online learning environment can positively impact retention numbers and facilitate certificate and degree attainment.  An effective orientation to online learning can create a foundation for addressing expectations set forth in the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Scorecard regarding student engagement. How do institutions develop holistic programming that both prepare students for success and create opportunities for engagement and community building?  What are different approaches for developing orientation programming using existing campus resources?  Come participate in a lively discussion about how we can create the best possible beginning for our online learners.  Presenters will share a model used by one community college which combines the web-based video content of Go2Orientation, the online student success workshops of StudentLingo and human support resources to holistically approach orienting learners. We will discuss utilizing Faculty Facilitators and Online Peer Mentors to facilitate student engagement and community building. Presenters will also talk through options for building web-based, video orientation programming that is easy to update, adaptable to changing institutional needs, allows for ease of data collection and student access, and is ADA compliant. Presenters will cover the challenges of selecting a vendor for online orientation.  Attendees will get to view several web-based orientation programs as well as discuss how to best promote to students. Presenters will share data collection, considerations for program assessment, and share the results of specific assessments demonstrating the impact online orientation is having on online student success.  


Level of Participation:

In order to create an interactive and engaging learning environment for attendees, the presenters will divide session attendees into small groups.  Presenters will utilize this small group format to jump start discussion amongst attendees regarding their college’s or university’s needs in orienting online learners. Session attendees will build a model of a comprehensive orientation program considering the various components that go into preparing online students for success.  Groups will report out their findings and presenters will facilitate a larger session-wide discussion. Attendees should come prepared to share their institution’s successes and challenges in preparing online learners! Prizes will be awarded to those participating!


Session Goals:

Session attendees will take away a model for orienting students to online learning as well as the challenges faced along the way.  Session handouts will include a timeline for developing an online orientation program, guest user access information, and a model for orientation programming. It is the presenters’ goal that each attendee will leave the presentation with practical steps they can readily implement at their institution to impact online student success!


Jun 23, 2020
1:00pm - 1:30pm (Eastern)
Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk With CogBooks

Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions. Heather Shelstad, representing our sponsor CogBooks, will lead off with a chat discussing how can (or should) what we've learned about effective online learning help improve courses taught in any modality.  We look forward to your contributions to the chat to see where it takes us.

Extended Abstract


Jun 23, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
OLC Research Summit - Part 2: Research and Collaboration

Participants will break into small groups based on their research interests and goals. Collaborative work, including the use of digital annotation for enhanced and effective co-work, will include the development of current or potential opportunities to contribute to knowledge and practice. 


Extended Abstract


Jun 23, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
Bridging Learner Motivation and Online Course Design

Join us in bridging learner motivation and online course design by tapping into the three psychological needs of Self-Determination Theory (SDT) by Ryan and Deci (2000a; 2000b). We will showcase a scaffolded, summative assignment from an online Business Ethics course and explore further application of the theory together.

Extended Abstract

Meal planning and prep, playing blues guitar, going to the gym, background reading for a project at work, laundry, perfecting your grandmother’s marinara recipe, driving your children to various have we all managed to accomplish so much?   How have we managed to complete degrees and programs? It is likely that we have struck a balance between that which rewards us, what we value, and those things that we are intrinsically motivated to do. We, of course, are no different from the online learners we support.  Motivation plays a huge role in online learning (Zvacek, 1991) and face-to-face classrooms (Hartnett, 2012) with “[l]earners’ motivation [being] consistently linked to successful learning” (Clayton, Blumberg, & Auld, 2010, p. 350).

Thus, it’s no surprise the lack of motivation in an online environment has been identified as a key reason for the high dropout rate (Hartnett, 2012; Visser et al., 2002) with online learners facing drop-out rates of up to 50% (Lee, Pate, & Cozart, 2015).  Luckily, as online faculty and instructional designers, we are keenly placed to engineer a best-practices response to address this brain-drain.

Using a learner-centered approach inspired by Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT; 2000a; 2000b), we did just that in a semester-long Business Ethics course. SDT posits that when our interconnected psychological needs are met, along with positive support, we are more likely to engage in a task.  This provided us with a theoretical framework to promote student motivation in the course by better understanding and supporting their needs for "autonomy, perceived competence, and relatedness" (Jacobi, 2018, p. 2). 

Our journey into SDT began with a question posed by a business ethics professor.  She found that this course was different from the core business courses, in that there weren’t clear right and wrong answers or concrete business concepts and thus, students didn’t seem to see the same value.  They just didn't engage to the same degree that they did in their economics and management courses.  We were collaborating to take her face-to-face ethics course online and she stated that her main goal was to make her 400-level business students care and, ultimately, adopt a more ethical mindset. 

In this session, we will showcase a scaffolded project that was designed to immerse students in realistic ethical scenarios, allowing for a degree of autonomy, perceived competence, and relatedness.  Students were placed in groups and were tasked with creating their own companies, starting with a mission statement, values, and a unique company name.  They stayed with their groups throughout the term, being hit “randomly” with a different ethical scenario four times. Examples include a data breach, a sexual harassment report, the gender pay gap, and inappropriate social media use.  Her focus was on exposing students to more of the realistic, day-to-day ethical dilemmas, moving away from the larger, more “news-worthy” issues that they were less likely to face on the job. Each time, they would choose between two-three provided courses of action, discuss, and share their decision along with the assumed consequences of their decision.

At the end of the term, students presented their final decision to the "board" (i.e. the rest of the class) who then voted on the future of their company.  Groups had the option to present as they saw fit, as long as they met the rubric requirements.

We will wrap-up with a small-group activity, wherein attendees will take a stab at applying the theory to a given course or project.  A checklist will be shared electronically to facilitate incorporating the theories into their own course design.

Session Structure

  • 30-minute presentation
    • How backward design led to examining motivation in a Business Ethics course
    • How the theory was applied: A brief showcase the project
    • Next Steps:  Initial impressions and reactions; ideas for the next iteration
  • 5-minute individual reflection and time to organize into groups
  • 10-minutes group Q&A and brainstorming session
    • In small groups: draw a card with a course or project, identify your main objective, and outline how to apply SDT.  Groups will share with the whole group.
  • Notes/resources will be shared along with a checklist to try out when applying SDT to their courses (shared electronically)


Clayton, K., Blumberg, F., & Auld, D. P. (2010). The Relationship Between Motivation, Learning Strategies and Choice of Environment Whether Traditional or Including an Online Component. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(3), 349-364. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.00993.x

Hartnett, M. (2012). Relationships between online motivation, participation, and achievement: More complex than you might think. Journal of Open, Flexible, and Distance Learning, 16(1), 28 – 41.

Jacobi, L. (2018). What motivates students in the online communication classroom? An exploration of self-determination theory. Journal of Educators Online, 15(2), 1 – 16.

Keller, J. M., & Suzuki, K. (2004). Learner motivation and E-learning design: A multinationally validated process. Journal of Educational Media, 29(3), 229 – 239.

Lee, E., Pate, J. A., & Cozart, D. (2015). Autonomy support for online students. Tech Trends, 59(4), 54 – 61.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000a). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54 – 67. Doi: 10.1006/ceps.1999.1020.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000b). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68 – 78.

Visser, L., Plomp, T., Amirault, R., & Kuiper, W. (2002). Motivating students at a distance: The case of an international audience. Educational Technology, Research, and Development, 50(1), 94 – 110.

Zvacek, S. M. (1991). Effective affective design for distance education. Tech Trends, 36(1), 40 – 43.

Jun 23, 2020
1:30pm - 2:15pm (Eastern)
How My College Keeps Its Promise of Academic Integrity and Why It Matters To Me

How do your students feel about academic integrity? Do any of your students cheat on exams or coursework? Do they care about honor codes and ethics? Does your institution have measures in place to foster academic integrity and deter cheating? What role can faculty play? Come join the SmarterServices’ team and special guest, Sally Jones (AKA “Jonesy” - student) to learn how she feels about cheating, academic integrity, and her expectations of her school’s responsibility. She will share what academic integrity means to her and why it matters.

Extended Abstract

We know academic integrity is important to schools & students! What is your institution doing to ensure you are meeting accreditation standards and financial aid regulations? Advances in technology & changes in regulations are requiring schools to take a closer look at student authentication and testing integrity. SmarterProctoring Automated and SmarterID work together to empower faculty to identify cheating instances, protect schools from costly fines, work as a companion to authentic assessment, and contribute to an overall climate to deter & prevent cheating. 

SmarterServices has defined 2020 as “The Year of the Student. See your students. Know your students. Learn from your students”. We’ve decided to include them in the dialogue and hear what they have to say. Don’t miss this interactive session to learn more about affordable tools that authenticate student identity during coursework & securely proctor exams.

Those who attend this session will learn:

  1. The latest federal regulations & accrediting standards related to student authentication, testing security, and academic integrity.
  2. How students feel about academic integrity, facial recognition, and how they cheat & why.
  3. Some risks of not having a student authentication tool in place.
  4. Why offering multiple proctoring modalities is essential for scalability and growth in online programs.
  5. How other schools are using our tools SmarterID & SmarterProctoring to address #1-4
Jun 23, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Student Connectedness in an Online Program: Bridging the Retention Gap

The presenter will share findings of a mixed-methods study that explored student connectedness in an online MBA program that achieved a high (95%) retention rate and is ranked 28th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Data describing student perceptions offer insights related to retention and satisfaction.

Extended Abstract

Importance of Topic

Improving retention rates is a goal likely to be shared by most online programs. If online programs are to survive in the current competitive market, educators must understand the needs of their students and ensure the quality of their programs. Attrition rates vary widely between 20 and 80% (Rostaminezhad, Mozayani, Norozi, & Iziy, 2013), a major challenge for online educators. Social interaction (Boston, Diaz, Gibson, Ice, Richardson, & Swan, 2009) and student satisfaction of course delivery were two factors important for student persistence. One of the best indicators of student satisfaction in an online program is its retention rate. Student satisfaction is considered one of the five pillars of quality online education, and institutions that can increase student satisfaction and maintain high retention rates are more likely to be perceived as having quality programs (Lorenzo & Moore, 2002).

Session Outline

This session aligns with the “Research: Designs, Methods and Findings” track and the “Present and Reflect” session type. Our time together will include a 30-minute introduction where participants will learn the results of a mixed-methods study and student perceptions of the design of an online program that intentionally fosters student connectedness. The retention rate in the program is greater than 90%, and more than half of the students traveled to campus to participate in graduation.

The mixed-methods study sought to answer the following research questions:

  1. To what extent do current students and did alumni feel connected in their online program?
  2. How and to what extent did opportunities for students and/or alumni to connect with others in the program influence their intention to persist in a course or the program?

During the first 30 minutes, Dr. Karen Conner, Director of Academic Innovation in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary, will describe the results of the study and the structure of the online program from which it was drawn. She will offer a number of considerations for program administrators, educational leaders, course developers, course designers, course facilitators, and students. Participants will learn implications for potential positive online graduate education change on a number of levels including program and curriculum development; course development, design and facilitation; and the student’s academic experience.

The mixed-methods study included the results of the Online Student Connectedness Survey (Bolliger & Inan, 2012) and the qualitative case study which offered insight into the level of student connectedness in the program and what influenced student perceptions in that regard. A response rate of 41% from the survey taken by students and alumni informed the participant selection process for the qualitative case study. The researcher considered a number of factors in making those selections to ensure a diverse group of participants.

The data suggested several strategies and techniques that positively influenced student connectedness. Of all the learning activities that students participated in, group work had the greatest potential to influence student connectedness. Participants will learn how online group work influenced student connectedness in both positive and negative ways. A major finding of the study showed that 50% of the students interviewed said that their best or most-effective group experience was in their first course, where students participated in what may be considered a “shared ordeal” as defined by Howey and Zimpher (1989). Participants will learn about that first course experience and how it may have helped promote the student connectedness that persisted throughout the program.

The presentation will describe how course design, expectations of the professors, and careful consideration of the structure of the assignments and requirements for group work all played significant roles in fostering student connectedness and building community.

Karen will begin with the following prompt for self-reflection:

  • Consider any challenges your program may face with retention, student connectedness, or students connecting back to the institution. What one change might you make in your course or program that could improve connectedness and/or retention?

During the 10-minute discussion, participants will share their idea(s) from the 5-minute reflection and discuss in small groups about how they might design opportunities in an online environment that promote student connectedness and improve retention rates. Participants may tweet their ideas using the hashtags: #OLCInnovate #OnlineStudentConnectedness

Karen will share all presentation materials with conference attendees and will post to the conference website.

Bolliger, D. U., & Inan, F. A. (2012). Development and validation of the Online Student Connectedness Survey (OSCS). The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(3), 41-65.

Boston, W., Diaz, S. R., Gibson, A. M., Ice, P., Richardson, J., & Swan, K. (2009). An exploration of the relationship between indicators of the community of inquiry framework and retention in online programs. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(3), 67-83. Retrieved from

Howey, K. R., & Zimpher, N. L. (1989). Profiles of preservice teacher education: Inquiry into the nature of programs. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Lorenzo, G., & Moore, J. (2002, November). The Sloan Consortium report to the nation: Five pillars of quality online education. Retrieved from

Rostaminezhad, M. A., Mozayani, N., Norozi, D., & Iziy, M. (2013, July 4). Factors related to e-learner dropout: Case study of IUST Elearning Center. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 83, 522-527.

Jun 23, 2020
2:30pm - 3:15pm (Eastern)
Where Are Your Accessibility Issues STEM-ing From?

When you hear the word “accessibility” in conjunction with STEM, do you break into a cold sweat thinking about the arduous task of making content accessible for all learners? Well, panic no more! Bring your problems, expertise, and your own device to this conversation and we will use design thinking techniques to tackle a few of your most heady accessibility problems.


Extended Abstract

When you hear the word “accessibility” in conjunction with STEM, do you break into a cold sweat thinking about the arduous task of making content accessible for all learners? Well, panic no more! Bring your problems, expertise, and your own device to this conversation and we will leverage design thinking techniques to tackle a few of your most heady accessibility problems.

Attendees will also engage with the OLC community at large on Twitter to develop a toolkit of technologies, techniques, and strategies to improve access to digital STEM materials.

Jun 23, 2020
3:15pm - 3:45pm (Eastern)
OLC Live: Sponsor Chat with Carolina Distance Learning

Join us as OLC Live guest host Matt Norsworthy, OLC Director of Strategic Partnerships, and Shannon McGurk, Director of Distance Learning with Carolina Distance Learning, discuss the quick pivot colleges and universities have had to make from traditional F2F science labs to online science labs.


Jun 23, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
OLC Research Summit - Part 3: Preparing For Practice And/Or Publication

A short panel discussion on choosing a dissemination outlet (applied practice, publication, presentation, etc.) and navigating the process will precede small breakouts where participants refine their discussions and annotations with an orientation toward preparing for dissemination. 


Extended Abstract


Jun 23, 2020
3:45pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
FlipGrid Basics: An Unconference Primer on Using Asynchronous Video for Student Engagement

In this impromptu “unconference” style session, participants chose to direct this time towards a primer on the asynchronous video tool, Flipgrid. Instructors shared different approaches and methods for creating points of connection for students with asynchronous video discussions, and surfaced new opportunities to humanize the online classroom with this free and easy to use video tool.

Jun 23, 2020
3:45pm - 4:00pm (Eastern)
Measuring the effectiveness of online instruction in preparing culturally responsive early childhood educators

This study examines the impact of coursework designed with the community of inquiry framework on the development of culturally responsive early childhood educators in their first year of an online bachelor’s degree completion program. Results suggest the program had positive effects on student attitudes, beliefs and perceived efficacy.

Extended Abstract

As increasing numbers of early childhood professionals are expected to earn bachelor’s degrees, they face additional barriers as nontraditional students who must balance family life, work, school, and the potential for long commutes (Fishman, 2015). Online and hybrid bachelor’s degree teacher preparation programs are one solution for early learning professionals earning college degrees. However, teacher educators must ensure that the design of online learning is effective in promoting early childhood teachers to be culturally responsive, supporting them to recognize the importance of diversity and how to break down inequitable systems of power (Hammond, 2015) while honoring the histories, cultures, communities, and ways of knowing and being of students and families (Gay, 2010). Positive beliefs, values, and perceived efficacy regarding culturally responsive pedagogy are crucial for the success of early childhood educators. The current study examines the impact of coursework designed with the community of inquiry framework (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000) on the development of culturally responsive early childhood educators in their first year of an online bachelor’s degree completion program. Coursework, including online asynchronous discussions, was designed to integrate cognitive presence, teaching presence, and social presence, with a special emphasis on the importance of social presence in mediating teacher development of culturally responsive pedagogy. This study is a one-group pretest-posttest that surveyed 31 students in the fall and spring of their first year in the online bachelor’s degree completion program to determine if the coursework helped prepare students to be culturally responsive educators. Results suggest that participation in the courses had positive effects. Of the four survey scales (Praxis, Community, Social Justice, and Perceived Efficacy) there were significant changes for Social Justice and Perceived Efficacy from pre to posttest. Analysis of a qualitative question suggests that students gained a deeper understanding of the concept of equity. Finally, an examination of coursework using the community of inquiry framework provided insights regarding why these changes may have occurred. Limitations and future research are discussed as well as implications for the design of effective online learning experiences related to culture, diversity, and culturally responsive practice which are intended to prepare teachers or other professionals who serve diverse populations.



Fishman, R. (2015). Community college online. Washington, DC: New America.

Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2.87-105.

Gay, G. (2010). The power of culturally responsive caring. In Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice, 2nd Ed. (pp. 47-75). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Hammond, Z., & Jackson, Yvette. (2015). Culturally responsive teaching and the brain : Promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin, a SAGE Company.


Jun 23, 2020
4:15pm - 4:30pm (Eastern)
Using Asynchronous Video-based Discussions in Online Learning: An Investigation of Students’ Perceptions of Flip Grid

Asynchronous video-based discussions have affordances that can address some of the constraints of asynchronous text-based discussions. However, very little research has been conducted on the use of asynchronous video-based discussions in online courses. As a result, the purpose of this study was to investigate students’ perceptions of using FlipGrid for asynchronous video-based discussions in fully online courses. In this session, we will report the results of our inquiry and implications for research and practice.

Extended Abstract

The first online course was offered over 30 years ago (Harasim, 1987). However, despite the decades that have passed and advances in technology since, the main ways that instructors and students interact with each other in online courses, and the challenges that this in turn presents, has changed very little. For instance, the first online courses differed from the traditional distance education correspondence courses that came before them primarily by adding the ability of a group of students and an instructor to communicate asynchronously with each other from a distance (Harasim, 1987, 1990). While the development of learning management systems (LMS), various educational technologies (e.g., Blogs, Wiki’s, etc…), and approaches to designing online instruction have evolved--and arguably even matured--in many ways, the typical online course today centers around the same type of asynchronous text-based discussions used over the past 30 years.

This is not inherently a bad thing. Asynchronous text-based discussions have certain affordances.  For instance, asynchronous text-based discussions enable learners to interact and engage with each other at their own time and place; they also have been shown to promote reflection and even help encourage equitable participation (Hrastinski, 2008; Johnson, 2008). However, despite affordances like these, asynchronous text-based communication in general--whether one-on-one email or many-to-many threaded discussions--has some inherent constraints. For instance, asynchronous text-based communication has been criticized, almost since its inception, for being impersonal and antisocial and therefore only good at task-oriented communication  (Author). Further, the text-based format may not be inclusive or effective for all students (Green & Green, 2018). For some students, the text-based nature of online discussions lacks the essential personal elements needed for students to feel connected with each other, the instructor, and the course content (Green & Green, 2018). Constraints such as these are often used to explain the high rates of attrition in online courses  (Ludwig-Hardman & Dunlap, 2003; Richardson, Maeda, Lv, & Caskurlu, 2017). 

Practitioners and researchers alike believe that if students are able to communicate better with each other in their online courses, and in turn develop a sense of social presence and classroom community, they will ultimately persist and be more successful in their online courses (Boston et al., 2009; Boston et al., 2011; Picciano, 2002; Rovai, 2002a; Whiteside, 2015; Whiteside, Garrett Dikkers, & Lewis, 2014). Given this, many have focused on improving the use asynchronous text-based online discussions (Aloni & Harrington, 2018).  However, technological advances over the past few years now provide online educators with other ways for students to interact and communicate with each other. One of these is through the use of asynchronous video-based discussions. However, very little research has been conducted to date on the use of asynchronous video-based discussions in online courses. As a result, the purpose of this study was to investigate students perceptions of using FlipGrid for asynchronous video discussions in fully online courses.


Literature Review

Online educators have become increasingly interested in the power of asynchronous video. Basically, this type of video is recorded (e.g., with a webcam or even a phone) and then later shared with others (e.g., emailed, uploaded to a learning management system, or hosted on a video server like YouTube) to watch on their own time. However, during the past few years, web applications have been developed to simplify this entire process; two examples of this are VoiceThread and FlipGrid. 

VoiceThread has been around longer than FlipGrid. VoiceThread enables users to narrate and record presentations and then discuss these presentations using multimodal commenting tools (Ching, 2014). Therefore, while VoiceThread has the ability to create and share asynchronous video (in the form of narrated presentations), in many ways through its commenting features, it can do much more by enabling users to comment on videos in text, audio, or video. Online educators have been interested in using VoiceThread because of the potential of multimodal communication to “humanize” online discussions (Ching & Hsu, 2013; Koricich, 2013; Pacansky-Brock, 2012, 2014; Trespalacios & Rand, 2015). In one study, Borup, West, and Graham (2012) investigated student perceptions of asynchronous video using VoiceThread or YouTube. They found that asynchronous video helped establish an instructor's social presence but that it had less of an impact on establishing the social presence of students. In a follow up study, Borup et al. (2013) found that the type of discussion prompt influenced students’ perceptions of asynchronous video. In another study, Pacansky-Brock (2014) investigated students’ use of video commenting in VoiceThread. Among other things, she found that students in this study reported stronger perceptions of community and improved emotion when leaving voice or video comments instead of text-only comments.

Similar to VoiceThread, FlipGrid is a video-based discussion tool that works both as a web application and a mobile app (Green & Green, 2018; Moore, 2016). Unlike VoiceThread, FlipGrid is a platform that focuses on doing one thing, asynchronous video-based discussions. These video-based discussions allow students to interact and engage with each other in ways not possible before and further can help increase social presence in online courses (Green & Green, 2018; Jones-Roberts, 2018; Mahmoudi & Gronseth, 2019; Moore, 2016). With FlipGrid, students are able to respond to each other’s videos with video replies of their own. Additionally, they can incorporate emojis to add a social media element to their replies. Very little research, though, has been conducted on FlipGrid to date.



Given the purported affordances of asynchronous video-based discussions, and the lack of research on FlipGrid in particular, we set out to investigate students’ perceptions of using FlipGrid in fully online courses. The following research questions guided this exploratory study:

  • What are students' perceptions of using FlipGrid in a fully online course?

  • What is the relationship between the use of FlipGrid, classroom community, and social presence?

FlipGrid was used in two different graduate courses over two different semesters in a fully online educational technology program. Students in the courses used FlipGrid for an initial meet-and-greet asynchronous video-base discussion and then later in the course for a weekly discussion, as an alternative to using text-based asynchronous discussions as in previous semesters. A total of 64 students took part in the study. Students completed a pre-course survey that provided various demographic information and then completed a post-course survey at the end of the course. The post-course survey included Rovai’s (2002a) Classroom Community Scale, the social presence questions included in the Community of Inquiry Questionnaire (Arbaugh, Cleveland-Innes, Diaz, Garrison, Ice, Richardson, & Swan, 2008),, and specific questions focused on the use of FlipGrid. The FlipGrid questions included likert style questions as well as open-ended questions focused at answering the research questions for this study. The results were downloaded and analyzed.



Due to the word count limit for proposals, we will simply highlight a few of the results from our inquiry.  As a whole, the students who took part in this study appeared to like FlipGrid. For instance, when asked if they liked using FlipGrid the average response was 4.17 on a 5.0 scale, with the majority of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that they liked it. Further, when asked how likely they would use FlipGrid in an online course that they were teaching, over 81% responded that they would likely or very likely use FlipGrid in a course they were teaching. And when specifically asked if they would rather simply used text-based asynchronous discussions, over 65% essentially responded that they would not (see Table 1). In the response to the open-ended questions, the majority of students noted how intuitive and easy it was to use. They also mentioned the ability to get to know their peers as captured in the following comments:


  • “I liked that I could see my classmates mannerisms, hear their voices, and get a sense of who they are.” 

  • “I thought that was the best way to get to know my classmates.”

  • “I don't generally like being in videos, but Flipgrid feels different. It is the closest that I have ever felt like I was having a face-to-face conversation with another person in an asynchronous setting.” 

  • “Seeing the other students was really helpful in getting to know them”


There were not many things students disliked. But one student found the use of “stickers" a bit childish. Another felt that students did not actively participate enough in the video discussions. And a few others pointed out that they did not like to record themselves as captured in the following comment “I am not a big fan of recording myself, but I understand the need for it in an online course”.


Table 1

Student Perceptions of FlipGrid

[Note: table removed for online submission] Substantiated Conclusions

Video, whether asynchronous or synchronous, is not a panacea. Rather, it is how video is used that matters the most. With that said, there are some inherent affordances with video and specifically asynchronous video--one of these being the ability to see and hear one another. FlipGrid is a relatively new web-based application that simplifies the process of having asynchronous video-based discussions. We set out to investigate students perceptions of using FlipGrid in fully online courses. Due to the sample size, the results should not be generalized. However, the results suggest that FlipGrid was easy to use, students enjoyed using it, and it helped them get to know their peers in an efficient manner. In this session, we will elaborate on ways to improve the use of asynchronous video-based online discussions.


Scholarly Significance

FlipGrid is relatively new. However, since the purchase by Microsoft and becoming a free and easy to use application, the use of FlipGrid has increased dramatically overnight. However, very little research has been conducted on students’ of using FlipGrid. For instance, do students really want to see each other? Are students really not happy with asynchronous text-based online discussions? This research is an important first step in investigating a brand new communication technology, one that holds promise to help improve and possibly further humanize our online courses.



Aloni, M., & Harrington, C. (2018). Research based practices for improving the effectiveness of asynchronous online discussion boards. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 4(4), 271–289.

Arbaugh, J. B., Cleveland-Innes, M., Diaz, S. R., Garrison, D. R., Ice, P., Richardson, J. C., & Swan, K. P. (2008). Developing a community of inquiry instrument: Testing a measure of the community of inquiry framework using a multi-institutional sample. The Internet and Higher Education, 11(3-4), 133-136.

Boston, W., Díaz, S. R., Gibson, A. M., Ice, P., Richardson, J., & Swan, K. (2009). An exploration of the relationship between indicators of the Community of Inquiry framework and retention in online programs. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(3), 67-83

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Borup, J., West, R. E., & Graham, C. R. (2012). Improving online social presence through asynchronous video. The Internet and Higher Education,15(3), 195-203.

Ching, Y. -H. (2014). Exploring the impact of role-playing on peer feedback in an online case-based learning activity. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(3). Retrieved from


Ching, Y.-H., & Hsu, Y.-C. (2013). Collaborative learning using VoiceThread in an online graduate course. Knowledge Management & ELearning, 5(3), 298–314.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 7–23.

Green, T., & Green, J. (2018). Flipgrid: Adding voice and video to online discussions. TechTrends, 62, 128–130.

Harasim, L. (1987). Teaching and learning on-line: Issues in computer-mediated graduate courses. Canadian Journal of Educational Communication, 16(2), 117-135.

Harasim, L. M. (1990). Online education: Perspectives on a new environment. Greenwood Publishing.

Hrastinski, S. (2008). Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning. Educause quarterly, 31(4), 51-55.

Johnson, G. (2008). The relative learning benefits of synchronous and asynchronous text-based discussion. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(1), 166-169.

Jones-Roberts, C. (2018). Increasing social presence online: Five strategies for instructors. Distance Learning, 15(2), 47–50.

Koricich, A. (2013). Technology review: Multimedia discussions through VoiceThread. The Community College Enterprise, 19, 76–79.

Lowenthal, P. R. (2009). The evolution and influence of social presence theory on online learning. In T. T. Kidd (Ed.), Online education and adult learning: New frontiers for teaching practices (pp. 124-139). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Ludwig-Hardman, S., & Dunlap, J. C. (2003). Learning support services for online students: Scaffolding for success. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 4(1). Retrieved from 131/211

Maddix, M. A. (2012). Generating and facilitating effective online learning through discussion. Christian Education Journal, 9(2), 372–385.

Mahmoudi, L., & Gronseth, S. (2019). Video-based discussion: Promoting presence through interactions in online higher education courses. In E. Ossiannilsson (Ed.), Ubiquitous Inclusive Learning in a Digital Era: Advances in Educational Technologies and Instructional Design (1st ed, pp. 128–153). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

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Moore, R. L. (2016). Interacting at a distance: Creating engagement in online learning environments. In L. Kyei-Blankson, J. Blankson, E. Ntuli, & C. Agyeman (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Strategic Management of Interaction, Presence, and Participation in Online Courses (pp. 401–425). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

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Jun 23, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Stone Soup, MERLOT, and Change Management

MERLOT has successfully delivered twenty-two years of open educational services for higher education worldwide in part due to its change management strategies based on the Stone Soup folktale. Learn how you can apply MERLOT’s Stone Soup strategy within your own institution.

Extended Abstract

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching; www. provides a suite of free online tools to enable learning for everyone. MERLOT’s open and free online library provides teachers, faculty, students, librarians, and anyone who has internet access with a collection of free and open teaching and learning materials for their personal and institutional use. These online teaching and learning materials are often called open educational resources (OER) when they are free of cost and free to use and revise, because users are provided permission to do so, typically with Creative Commons licenses. With its birth by the California State University in 1997, MERLOT began with the goal to enable a “cottage industry” of college and university faculty and campuses to develop and distribute academic technology and content in scalable and sustainable ways. MERLOT also intended to support individual faculty members in their development of scalable and sustainable academic technology and high quality educational content (Hanley, 2001; Hanley, Schneebeck, & Zweier, 1998; Schneebeck & Hanley, 2001). Today, the MERLOT consortium is composed of higher education systems, consortia, individual institutions of higher education (representing over 500 campuses), professional academic organizations, other digital libraries, education industries, and over 165,000 individuals to form a community of people who strive to improve the teaching and learning experience with high-quality online resources. The free and open MERLOT library has over 86,000 online resources, including over 7,600 e-textbooks and over 7,900 online courseware.

With the leadership of your institution, you can use MERLOT’s services and resources to effectively and efficiently integrate academic technology innovations into their educational practices in a timely and reliable manner. How can this be done?

Stone Soup for the 21st Century

Marcia Brown’s 1947 publication of a folktale provides a powerful metaphor for integrating organizational practices, individual leadership and participation, sharing and adoption of technologies, and a pathway that the AKA can chart its strategic plan. I am retelling the story below in my own words and will draw upon the metaphor. In the late 1700s, three soldiers are returning from war. They are tired, hungry, and thirsty. They see a village ahead and say, “Maybe the townspeople will provide us some food, water, and a place to rest on our way home.” At the same time, the villagers spy the soldiers and say, “Ah soldiers are coming! They will take our food and drink, of which we have so little! Let’s tell them we have nothing so they should keep going to the next village which is better off.” As the soldiers come into the village square, the mayor comes out to greet them. The soldiers say, “We are on our way home, we are hungry, thirsty, and tired. Might you have some food and drink to spare?” The mayor says, “No, we are so poor ourselves, we have no food or drink but the village over the hill is better off.” “Ahhh,” says the first soldier, “I see you are hungry too! We will show you how to make stone soup.” “Stone Soup!” said the mayor. “How do you make soup from stones? If we learn this, we will never go hungry!”

 Ahhh,” says the first soldier, “we will show you. First get your largest pot, fill it with water, and put it to boil in the center of the town square. We will then find the stones and show you what to do.” The mayor brought out his huge pot as asked and with the fire about it, started to boil the water. While the soldiers were out gathering three large stones, rumors spread, “Did you hear, the soldiers are going to make soup from stones!” Others said, “How can that be? How can you do that?” People’s curiosity was peaked and many gathered around the pot in the center of town. The soldiers brought the three stones and carefully dropped them in the water. Everyone was staring and wondering about what would happen. Then the first soldier said, “If we only had a little cabbage, it would really add flavor to the soup.” Immediately, one of the townspeople said, “I have some cabbage!” She ran home, pulled the cabbage out of its hiding place, chopped it up, and carried it back to the large pot. As she dropped it in the boiling water, everyone said, “He is right, I can smell the better flavor already!” Then the second soldier said, “If we only had a little bit of carrots, it would really add flavor to the soup.” Immediately, another of the townspeople said, “I have some carrots!” He ran home, pulled the carrots out of its hiding place, chopped them up, and carried it back to the large pot. As he dropped the carrots into the boiling water, everyone said, “He is right, I can smell the better flavor already!” Over time, each of the soldiers would say, “If we only had a little bit of… pepper or salt or pork or any of the other ingredients to make a wonderful soup,” and over time, one by one, the townspeople would say they had some of the ingredients to add to the soup, would run home and back to make their contribution. After three hours, the mayor declared to the townspeople, “A wonderful thing has occurred today, these three soldiers taught us to make soup from stones. We will never go hungry with this recipe. Let’s celebrate and invite everyone to the table for supper. All the townspeople joined in the feast, whether they contributed an ingredient or not; they sang, danced, and at the end of the evening, the three soldiers were invited to sleep in the finest rooms in town. The next morning, the soldiers said goodbye and the mayor and the townspeople said, “Thank you for teaching us how to make soup from stones.” The soldiers returned the thanks and continued their journey home.

The story is a metaphor for putting educational innovations into practice and nine elements to the metaphor will be highlighted. The elements can become principles to guide the change management strategy of your institution:

  1. Engaging people and opening doors
  2. Recognizing and validating needs
  3. Exciting curiosity
  4. Creating the gathering place in the open
  5. Inviting solutions
  6. Offering personal contributions
  7. Encouraging publicity
  8. Enjoying the fruits of labors
  9. Celebrating accomplishments and saying thank you

The presentation will review how MERLOT has designed its Open Educational Services to enable its partners to implement the Stone Soup metaphor within their change management strategy for putting innovations into practice. 

Jun 23, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Your Mission Should You Choose To Accept It: How a Futuristic Narrative Framework Helped to Increase Math Discourse and Engagement in an Online Undergraduate Course

Using a futuristic video narrative, two professors and a learning design team created a course that challenged students to apply mathematical concepts as a means to save the world. Presenters will highlight the specific design decisions from the perspective of the learning design team and the faculty. 

Extended Abstract

It all started with a story.  Two professors and a learning design team decided to tackle the issue of increasing mathematical discourse and student engagement in online math courses.  Their solution was twofold. First, they created a futuristic video narrative that challenged the students to apply mathematical concepts as a means to save the world. Secondly, they designed a course that offered synchronous conversation opportunities and just-in-time resources to aid in the translation of the language of math.

The Importance of Mathematical Discourse

In 2014, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics called for the infusion of teaching practices that “facilitate discourse among students to build shared understanding of mathematical ideas by analyzing and comparing student approaches and arguments” (NCTM 2014, 23)   Increased mathematical discourse has benefits for both students and instructors (Katt et al, 2018). For students, discourse provides an opportunity to reflect on their own understanding while learning from the perspective of their peers. For instructors, discourse provides a mechanism to assess and extend their students’ mathematical understanding. The unique challenge of this design opportunity was in creating a framework that promoted this type of discourse in an online setting.

Using Novelty to Increase Situational Interest

Motivating students to talk about math can be a challenge in a traditional classroom; this challenge is amplified in an online environment. Inherently, the perception of interest is tied to the individual student, but findings suggest that the selection of content and increased engagement can be linked to the development of situational and individual interests (Hidi & Renninger, 2006).  Students who are intrinsically interested in an activity are more likely than students who are not intrinsically interested to exert effort (Downey and Ainsworth-Darnell, 2002; Miserandino, 1996), and learn at a conceptual level (Ryan, Connell, and Plant, 1990). Intentional course design that includes challenge, choice, novelty, fantasy, and surprise can increase students’ situational interest (Malone and Lepper, 1987).  For this course, the infusion of a novel approach (video narrative) was selected as the main strategy to influence discourse. 

Synchronous Sessions for Discourse

The development of the learning environment also has an impact on the level of discourse.  A learning environment in which concepts and material are presented from a growth mindset can increase the self-efficacy of students and thereby increase their willingness to participate in the discourse (Dweck, 2006).  When mathematical content in a course is framed as an open growth subject, students respond with an increased sense of motivation and perception of interest (Boaler, 2016). For this course, a biweekly synchronous session schedule (two times per week) was built into the course design to allow for discourse between the students and the instructor. The storyline of the video narrative was written to create a problem that could be viewed from multiple perspectives.  This open-ended approach links with the principles of growth mindset: difficult situations can be viewed as opportunities to experiment to find solutions. Breakout rooms were used to provide opportunities for student-student sessions and collaboration tools were used to allow for instructors to offer a conversational approach to the ‘worked’ examples. 

As students discussed the challenges, linked to a shared narrative example, they were able to engage with their peers and instructors in a way that went beyond a standard asynchronous approach common in online formats.  The novelty of the narrative increased the engagement level of the students in alignment with Boaler’s findings in 2016:

“Mathematics is a subject that allows for precise thinking, but when that precise thinking is combined with creativity, flexibility, and multiplicity of ideas, the mathematics comes alive for people. Teachers can create such mathematical excitement in classrooms, with any task, by asking students for the different ways they see and can solve tasks and by encouraging discussion of different ways of seeing problems.” (p.59)

Creating Audio Tools to Translate the Language of Mathematics

And, lastly, a major hurdle to increasing discourse in mathematics is linked to the language of math.  Faculty observations led to the conclusion that some students are hindered in participating in classroom conversations simply because they do not know how to speak the language of math.  They hesitate from asking questions or making a statement because they are not sure how to translate a visual image (equations, symbols, etc.) into a verbal statement. Developing the language of a subject (mathematics in this case) requires students to engage in practicing and using its discourse (Duschl and Osborne, 2002, p. 40).  A just-in-time solution to this issue was built into the design of this course. An audio library was developed that offered students a chance to listen to the pronunciation of common mathematical terms and notations. The faculty members read the equations to present the format and nuance of the language of math.

Session Focus

This session will document the design decisions behind the transformation of this course from a traditional lecture to a dynamic and interactive online learning environment for non-math majors.  The presenters will trace this design process including the context, theory, and implementation experiences that shaped the design and discuss unforeseen obstacles and design alterations that arose during this process. Through a Case Study approach, presenters will highlight the design process from the perspective of the learning design team and the faculty.  Specific strategies will be shared including audio tools for increasing mathematical understanding, framing a course for discourse, and the steps involved with developing a dynamic video narrative. Additionally, we will offer insight into opportunities for future iterations and applications.  

Audience Engagement 

To engage the audience, we will integrate interactive elements throughout the presentation.  For example, we will use an interactive strategy to quiz the audience to select the most accurate pronunciation of a Linear Algebraic equation.  After listening to three distinct options, the attendees will use Poll Everywhere to select the correct response. This strategy offers attendees insight into the difficulty that learners can face as they attempt to transition from the written to the verbal language of math.  

Following our presentation, we will offer an opportunity for attendees to contribute responses via PollEverywhere to the following questions.  A follow-up discussion on each will complement the anonymous responses: 

  • This course relies heavily upon a video with professional quality media production.  How could this be replicated in an alternative format?

  • Is it possible to capture the essence of the synchronous session in a different format?  Does anyone have a strategy for replicating the spirit of this discourse in an asynchronous manner?

  • Literacy enables learners to fully participate.  In addition to math, what other subjects or topics might benefit from a clarification of the language / nomenclature?


Boaler, J. (2016). Mathematical mindsets: Unleashing students’ potential through creative math, inspiring messages and innovative teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Downey, D.B., and Ainsworth-Darnell, J.W. (2002). The search for oppositional culture among black students. American Sociological Review, 67, 156-164.

Duschl, R.A., and Osborne, J. (2002). Supporting and promoting argumentation discourse in science education. Studies in Science Education, 18, 39-72

Malone, T.W., and Lepper, M.R. (1987). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning. In R.E. Snow and M.J. Farr (Eds.), Aptitude, learning, and instruction: Cognitive and affective process analysis (vol. 3, pp. 223-253). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Miserandino, M. (1996). Children who do well in school: Individual differences in perceived competence and autonomy in above-average children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 203-214.

S. Hidi, K.A. Renninger The four-phase model of interest development Educational Psychologist, 41 (2) (2006), pp. 111-127, 10.1207/s15326985ep4102_4

Ryan, R.M., Connell, J.P., and Plant, R.W. (1990). Emotions in non-directed text learning. Learning and Individual Differences, 2, 1-17.


Jun 23, 2020
4:45pm - 5:30pm (Eastern)
Fostering Student Engagement via Professional Associations

This session will detail the partnership that Western Governors University has developed with the Society for Human Resource Management, to increase student engagement in a virtual learning environment, provide student leadership opportunities, create industry relevant lifelong learning support, and bridge the gap between programs in the College of Business. 

Extended Abstract

This session will detail the partnership that Western Governors University has developed with the Society for Human Resource Management, to increase student engagement in a virtual learning environment, provide student leadership opportunities, create industry relevant lifelong learning support, and bridge the gap between programs in the College of Business. We plan to use a combination of presentation and conversation, as well as gamification of the content to increase engagement and interaction during the session.

In 2019, WGU partnered closely with SHRM on a number of various initiatives to drive stronger industry relevance to our Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. We realized how incredibly important it is to our students, particularly in an online environment, that they feel strong ties to the professional communities in the fields they are interested in working in, as well as a sense of support and engagement – with other students, with faculty, and with those individuals with whom they can network with in their respective professional fields. This is particularly challenging for those operating in an online environment, but throughout this inaugural year we have learned many valuable lessons that others in virtual based learning programs may offer to their students. It can be challenging to bridge the gap for virtual learners so that they feel connected to their learning community, and our efforts with SHRM have helped pave the way for this type of connection.

First, we ensured our HR degree curriculum was aligned with SHRM’s “Body of Competency and Knowledge” to maintain current industry relevance and grant our students the ability to sit for their SHRM-CP exam, if they choose to do so, earlier than they typically would be eligible to do so. Next, we founded a WGU SHRM Virtual Student Chapter – one of only a handful of approved SHRM virtual chapters in the country. By participating in the