Navigating the AI Landscape in Education: My OLC Accelerate Reflection

Teaching with Generative AI Keynote

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the OLC Accelerate conference, a gathering of brilliant minds in the world of online learning and educational technology. Among the many intriguing themes, AI stood out prominently. It seemed like everyone had something to say about artificial intelligence, and as a Learning Experience Designer with a deep commitment to education, I was eager to dive into these conversations. What I found was a spectrum of views, from outright skepticism to unbridled optimism. In this blog post, I’d like to share my thoughts and experiences from the conference, as well as my encounters with both old friends and new acquaintances.

AI: The Dilemma of Two Extremes

Leveraging AI to Enhance Higher Education Access

The prevailing discourse on AI in education at the conference seemed to fall into two camps: the “AI is bad” and the “AI is a panacea” perspectives. While both views have their merits, I couldn’t help but feel that we needed more nuanced discussions. Education is a complex field, and AI’s role within it should reflect that complexity. It’s crucial that we explore the nuances and find the middle ground, where AI can enhance education without compromising its core values.

Promoting Deeper Conversations

Friends in an elevator

To encourage a more profound exploration of AI in education, I had the opportunity to share the “A.I. Dilemma” video on YouTube with fellow conference attendees. The video aims to broaden the AI conversation beyond the context of education, inspiring viewers to think critically about the broader implications of AI in our lives. I hope that by sharing this content, we can spark more nuanced discussions about AI’s role in education and beyond.

Meeting Old and New Friends

UNC Charlotte Team

As always, the most enriching part of the conference for me was the conversations. I reconnected with old friends, Maddie, Clark, and Angela, and had the pleasure of making new acquaintances like Josh, Chuck, Curtis, Garvey, Lynn, Melanie, Blair, Megan, John, and many more. These interactions allowed me to see diverse perspectives and approaches to AI in education, broadening my own understanding and deepening my commitment to the field.

Sessions I Attended

Josh Herron, PhD

During the conference, I had the opportunity to attend a range of sessions that touched on various aspects of AI in education. Some of the highlights included the Leadership Network Symposium on leveraging AI for higher education access, the discussion on equitable and inclusive mental health and wellness solutions, and a session on personalized professional development in the changed world. I was also excited to present on “Design for Change: Building DEI Training Hiring Committees at MSU.” These sessions I attended provided valuable insights and reinforced the idea that AI should be used thoughtfully and purposefully.

The Way Forward

Charles D. Dziuban

As I reflect on the conference, I’m convinced that AI’s role in education is not a binary choice. It’s a tool that can be harnessed to make education better but should be used with care, consideration, and nuance. Our journey to harness the potential of AI in education requires ongoing conversations and a commitment to responsible AI integration.


Angela Gunder, PhD and I being goofy

The OLC Accelerate conference was a remarkable experience filled with insights, conversations, and meaningful connections. As I continue my path as a Learning Experience Designer and a PhD student in education, I’m excited to contribute to these discussions and work towards an educational landscape where AI supports our goals without compromising our values. Thank you to all the friends, new and old, who made this conference so memorable.

I look forward to continuing the dialogue on AI in education and exploring the ever-evolving world of educational technology.


Author: Dave

LX Designer, entrepreneur & change agent. Immersed in collaborations that improve learning & working environments. Sometimes, I go fishing.

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