Digital Learning Innovation Award Information Session

In October 2015, the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) was awarded a $2.5 million dollar 3-year grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through this webinar, the OLC seeks to respond to the interest expressed by college and university faculty and administrators surrounding the Digital Learning Innovation Award (DLIAward). While webinar attendance is not required in order to submit an award application, attendance is beneficial as attendees will receive an overview of the foundations for the award, the award criteria, the award application and evaluation rubric, as well as an interactive question and answer session. Participants have the opportunity to submit questions in advance of the webinar via These questions will be prioritized for inclusion in the webinar, while questions submitted during the webinar will be answered as time permits. Responses to all questions will be available through the DLIAward (hyperlink to FAQ section) website the Friday following each webinar. In addition to the FAQs, recordings of the sessions will be available on the DLIAward website following the webinars.

The intent of the Digital Learning Innovation Award is to support the use of next generation digital courseware to improve student success, especially among minority, first generation and other disadvantaged student populations.  With a focused lens on increasing the number of underrepresented students who complete general education or gateway courses, the funding aims to build awareness, assess readiness, and provide guidance on the use of next generation digital courseware. With online environments as the platform for digital courseware, the grant furthers the reach of the OLC mission through the continued expansion of online learning for students. Applications will be accepted from US-based accredited institutions for either an institutional award or faculty-led team award.

We look forward to having you join us for one of these informational sessions!

Speaker Bio

Karen Pedersen - Photo 1Karen Pederson, Ph.D.
OLC Chief Knowledge Officer

Dr. Karen Pedersen currently serves as the Chief Knowledge Officer for the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). Dedicated to excellence in online learning, the consortium is the leading professional organization devoted to advancing quality online learning by providing professional development, instruction, best practice publications and guidance to educators, online learning professionals and organizations around the world. Prior to joining OLC, Pedersen served as the Associate Vice President for Extended Campuses at Northern Arizona University.  In this role she was responsible for leading a system-wide enrollment management transformation as well as managing marketing, technology, and academic operations.  With a focus on operational excellence, Pedersen served as the Lean champion for Extended Campuses launching a train-the-trainer approach to realize process improvement within the division.  

Previously, she served as the Vice President for Professional Studies at Southwestern College (Kansas) for eleven years.  Her responsibilities included envisioning and building an online program from the ground up, including seeking regional accreditation approval, as well as launching over 25 innovative online degree programs.  Additionally, Pedersen had responsibility for expanding military partnerships, engaging in strategic infrastructure projects, and positioning the institution in an enrollment growth trajectory.  Pedersen also held the academic associate and dean roles at Upper Iowa University’s Extended University.  In these roles she was responsible for curriculum development, academic issues, learner success, as well as faculty hiring, training, and evaluation.  While there she built the foundations for an online operation and traveled internationally to develop partnerships in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia while at UIU.  Prior to starting her administrative career, Pedersen served as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. 

Pedersen holds bachelor of science and master of science degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a doctor of philosophy degree from Oklahoma State University.


Kathleen Staff Photo Color
Kathleen Ives, D.M.
OLC Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Kathleen S. Ives, D.M. has worked in online technology for over 20 years and is currently the Online Learning Consortium’s Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director where she oversees the organization’s strategic direction. Dr. Ives assumes this leadership role after serving as interim CEO and Executive Director since October 2013. Additionally, she serves as faculty for the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (sponsored by Penn State and OLC) and on the Leadership Advisory Board for the Center for Learning Innovations & Customized Knowledge Solutions (CLICKS).

Formerly, Dr. Ives oversaw all forms of alternative instruction at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, MA (distance learning, accelerated programming). She serves as adjunct faculty for University of Phoenix, Denver-based American Sentinel University, and Bay State College in Boston.

Dr. Ives began her career at CBS and helped to develop the service that evolved into Prodigy. She then spent fourteen years designing and implementing consumer online information services, first at AT&T and then at Verizon where she spearheaded the development of the nation’s first online Yellow Pages product, now called Dr. Ives has degrees in communication, communication management, and organizational leadership from the University of California at Davis, the University of Southern California, Annenberg School of Communication, and the University of Phoenix-Online, respectively.