Next month, I will be presenting the keynote at OLC Collaborate in Anchorage, Alaska on August 21-22, 2017! I attended an OLC Collaborate about a year and a half ago in Los Angeles and had many wonderful takeaways from the experience. This post will share some of them with you and provide a glimpse into the presentation I am planning.
What is OLC Collaborate?
The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) organizes three main types of events each year: Two international conferences (OLC Accelerate and OLC Innovate) and several regional gatherings hosted by a local institution of higher education (OLC Collaborate). The location of the Collaborate events is contingent upon the where the need lies. In this way, Collaborate events are organic. Institutions share their hot topics with OLC, OLC identifies themes in these needs and aligns them with a hosting institution — and the next Collaborate emerges.
What is the experience like?
Collaborates are more active than conferences. The program includes dynamic speakers, as well as hands-on workshops and activities that engage you with your peers about the event’s topic(s). You’ll spend time with other participants in a large group setting, as well as have opportunities to participate in smaller breakout sessions.
What I appreciated most about the Collaborate event I attended was the opportunity to discuss a topic (Open Educational Resources) with peers across my region, not just people from my own institution or my own system. This diversity of viewpoints contributed to my knowledge of the topic, as well as my understanding of how various institutions are engaging with the same topic.
What’s brewing in Alaska?
The next OLC Collaborate will be hosted in beautiful Anchorage by the University of Alaska. On Friday, I participated in an EdSurge Loop call (if you don’t know what that is, check it out!) with Dave Dannenberg, Director of Academic Innovations and eLearning and Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. My conversation with Dave was timely, as it provided me with many powerful insights about the context for next month’s OLC Collaborate. Dave shared that the University of Alaska, which has a fascinating history that involves merging two-year community colleges with 4-year universities, is making an effort to increase their online offerings by implementing a more strategic and supported approach to online course design and facilitation. This effort is fueled by a $2.25 million, 5-year grant from the Department of Education.
What will I bring to the table?
I was asked to contribute a presentation that addresses “creating a culture of eLearning.” I will be developing an adaptation of a presentation that I gave at OLC Innovate last April titled Straddling the Chasm, which is a metaphor I use for change. I also prepared the ideas from that presentation in the form of an article for EdSurge titled 5 Invisible Barriers Preventing Change in Higher Education. As I leverage those ideas to craft my presentation for OLC Collaborate, I will be encouraging the participants to consider the following:
- What does eLearning mean to you?
- Who are your students and why are online classes important to them?
- What are your own experiences with technology and how do they influence your perceptions about its value in teaching and learning?
- Imagine your institution as a system comprised of dependent parts that are constantly in motion and connected to the outside. Where are you in this system? What parts of this system do your efforts impact? Which parts do you feel you have no impact?
- How might your organization use digital tools to foster a culture of sharing and learning? What are the barriers preventing this from happening?
If you are looking to travel to Alaska and would like to learn about innovation, digital courseware, and fostering organizational change while you’re there, click here to learn more.