Introduction to the Special Issue: Best Papers Presented at the OLC 21st International Conference on Online Learning and Innovate 2016

Anthony G. Picciano, Paige McDonald, Patsy Moskal


The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) traces its roots to the Alfred P. Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) that emerged in the 1990s when a cadre of early adapters of online learning began to coalesce into a professional community. Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this community embarked on a number of activities designed to promote quality in the design and implementation of online and blended learning applications. In 1995, a one-day meeting of grantees of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Anytime, Anyplace Learning Program met in Philadelphia to discuss their work and share their experiences. Ninety individuals attended this first event. This meeting grew into an annual event for the next five years. In 2001, it was decided that the event be expanded into a full conference with paper submissions and reviews, workshops, and exhibit areas. The University of Central Florida agreed to host the conference in Orlando in November. That was a fateful decision as the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 followed by the anthrax scare in Florida in October of that year severely limited the number of people willing to fly to Orlando to attend the conference. Still, three hundred and sixty participants attended to share and discuss research, effective practices, student services, and administrative support for online learning. Since 2001, the conference has grown and has evolved into the premiere event for presenting current ideas, research, and best practices in online learning.

In 2015, the Online Learning Consortium celebrated the 21st anniversary of the International Conference on Online Learning. The theme of the conference, Shaping the Future of Online Learning, focused on the latest developments in online and blended learning. Almost 3,000 individuals attended this conference either in person or virtually. Six hundred and sixty-eight proposals were submitted for presentation.

In April, 2016, the Online Learning Consortium initiated a new conference, OLC Innovate: Innovations in Blended and Online Learning. Almost 2,000 individuals attended this conference and 506 individuals submitted presentation proposals. Of the 1,172 proposals submitted for both conferences, the nine articles selected for this special edition represent the best presentations as determined by the conference track chairs and editorial staff of the Online Learning Journal.


online learning, blended learning, faculty, students

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Archambault, Leanna; Kennedy, Katheryn & Freidhoff, Joe, (2016) Accountability for students in K-12 online learning: perspectives from Michigan stakeholders and beyond Online Learning 20 (3),

Ciabocchi, Elizabeth; Ginsberg, Amy & Picciano, Anthony (2016) A study of faculty governance leaders' perceptions of online and blended learning, Online Learning 20 (3),

Dziuban, Charles D.; Moskal, Patsy D.; Cassisi, Jeffrey & Fawcett, Alexis, (2106). Adaptive learning in psychology: wayfinding in the digital age, Online Learning 20 (3),

Futch, Linda S.; deNoyelles, Aimee; Thompson, Kelvin & Howard, Wendy, (2016). “Comfort” as a critical success factor in blended learning courses, Online Learning 20 (3),

Larkin, Ingle; Brantley-Dias, Laurie & Lokey-Vega, Anissa, (2016) Job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intention of online teachers in the K-2 setting. Online Learning 20 (3),

Merillat, Linda & Scheibmeir, Monica, (2016). Developing a quality improvement process to optimize faculty success, Online Learning 20 (3),

Meyers, Shelley & Feeney, Linda, (2016). Examining interactive and metacognitive processes in student learning: findings from a hybrid instructional environment, Online Learning 20 (3),

Shea, Peter & Bidjarano, Temi (2016). A national study of differences between distance and non-distance community college students in time to first associate degree attainment, transfer, and dropout. Online Learning 20 (3),

Wladis, Claire; Conway, Katherine & Hachey, Alyse C., (2016). Assessing readiness for online education — research models for identifying students at risk, Online Learning 20 (3),


Copyright (c) 2016 Anthony G. Picciano, Paige McDonald, Patsy Moskal