5 Takeaways from Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning #ALN13

I have always been a big fan of the Sloan Consortium’s International Conference on Online Learning hosted in Orlando, Florida each fall. It’s a great conference hosted in my backyard (Disney’s Swan and Dolphin). It’s full of practical applications and research in online learning for faculty, instructional designers, and faculty development teams from around the world. Below are five takeaways from Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning 2013 (#ALN13 for tweeters). Plus a few of my awesome sketches from the conference.

Sloan C ALN13 Sessions

1. Instructional Designers don’t just train on “Button Pushing”

It’s key for administrators, faculty, and others to remember that instructional designers are not just there to training faculty to use the Learning Management System (LMS) or other technologies. The majority of instructional designers are the experts in pedagogy, technology integration, theory, and many other educational necessities beyond “Button Pushing”. Many instructional designer have been teachers themselves, they can understand your pains and tribulations. They have worked with faculty from a variety of subject areas, in which they have seen the good, bad, and ugly of online learning. Take advantage of these experts in all phases of learning and building curriculum!

Sloan C ALN13 Keynote Thursday

2. MOOCs might not be the answer but can be good examples of designing quality into online courses

I don’t believe MOOCs are the save all, change all, answer to education. I do believe MOOCs have showcased how with effort; money, and talent, very well designed online material can be in integrated into an online course. Quality and interactive short videos. Building community among students. Peer grading and automatized rubric. Automatic grading for quick feedback built into lessons and videos. Bringing real world experiences into the classroom. I think it’s time we take at how we build online learning and share resources.

Sloan C ALN13 Vendor Reception

3. App development isn’t just for computer science courses

Image the creativity, research, and planning that goes into developing an app. You don’t have to be a computer science major to understand physiology, gamification, and elements needed to make a successful app. I’m thinking about turning my group project for my Student Success course into an app development project next semester.  Have students pitch their ideas on certain app that promotes a cause, study skill, or something related to your curriculum.

Sloan C ALN13 Keynote Wednesday

4. Continue to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN)

Conferences are always a great place to continue to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN) because you are surrounded by people who are in a similar field of work, have similar interests, and are already there to learn. Always remember to connect with those using Twitter by the conference hashtag (#ALN13). Search out people who you have been talking to already online to meet in real life. Here are several other tips for networking at a conference for the future.

Sloan C ALN13 Keynote Friday

5. Presenting at a poster session can be a great meet colleagues

I really enjoy sharing and presenting at regular sessions. I love to hear that someone learned something new, was inspired to try something different, or couldn’t wait to connect on future ideas. At first, I wasn’t really looking forward to just having a slot in the poster sessions, after having presented at the last three Sloan-C conferences. FYI: Poster sessions (digital posters) happen during a particular time, where lots of tables are setup for people to talk about their project, research, or presentations as people circulate around the room.

I was amazed at the amount of people interested in learning more about my Magical Multimedia Tools for Educators in this format. It was great to talk with people individually and see what they wanted to learn about my presentation.

Sloan C ALN13 Poster Session Sketch


I hope to be back again next year for another Sloan Consortium’s International Conference on Online Learning in Orlando at the Swan and Dolphin, October 29-31, 2014.

Did you have any great takeaways to share?

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