A Town Hall on Diversity and Inclusion in Digital Education and Student Success

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Digital education faces a number of challenges in 2018: increased enrollments, budget shortfalls, competition for enrollments and widening disparity in access, economics and student success. These challenges are fuelled by a number of factors including the value (or possibly, declining value) of college degrees, social movements, local contexts, and demographic change (Smith, 2014).

This moderated panel seeks to surface some of the challenges and opportunities for growth presented by diversity and inclusion initiatives in technology-enhanced and distance higher education and student success. Panelists represent perspectives from an array of institution types, and will interact with not only the moderated questions, but also questions and prompts from the panel audience.

“Creating an inclusive higher education community is an essential ingredient in helping achieve social equality, and is an important element of meaningful lifelong learning (Stefani & Blessinger, 2014, p. 3).” Join our panelists for an open, critical discussion of the challenges we face as a field, and how we might collaboratively shift the structures and cultures that allow them to manifest.

Smith, D. G. (2014). Diversity and inclusion in higher education: Emerging perspectives on institutional transformation. Routledge.
Stefani, L., & Blessinger, P. (Eds.). (2017).Inclusive Leadership in Higher Education: International Perspectives and Approaches. Routledge.

Presenters

Melody Buckner is the Director of Digital Learning and Online Education for the Office of Digital Learning, and the Interim Dean of UA South. In her role as director, she oversees the design, development and maintenance of over 700 courses within almost 80 fully-online programs the UA Online campus. She began at the UA almost a decade ago as an Instructional Designer, charged with helping faculty create online courses that reach out and engage students in an online UA experience. Before coming to the University, she served as an Instructional Designer in Professional Development and as an adjunct faculty for Pima Community College. Her educational background includes, a Bachelor of Science from the College of Architecture at Arizona State University and a Masters in Educational Technology at Northern Arizona University. She is earned her Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona in 2015. Her informal education consists of living in over 40 different places including several countries overseas.
Angela Gunder serves as Director of Instructional Design and Curriculum Development for the Office of Digital Learning at The University of Arizona. Angela came into instructional design rather circuitously, helming large-scale site designs as webmaster for The City College of New York, the honors college at ASU, and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA).  Her over fifteen year career as a designer for higher education informs her instructional design practice, where she leverages her expertise in usability, visual communication, programming, and standards-based online learning. Angela holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Fine Art from Fordham University, and a M.Ed. in Education Technology from Arizona State University.  Prior to her position at UA, she was a member of NOVA’s instructional design team, supporting over 23,000 students in 550 unique courses.   Angela is an Associate Editor for the Teacher Education Board of MERLOT, and a Quality Matters certified peer reviewer and online facilitator.  Her research interests include technology for second language acquisition, open educational resources, and emerging technology to promote digital literacy. A voracious culinary nerd, Angela spends her free time composing, cooking and photographing original recipes for her food blog.
Pronouns: she, her, hers Twitter: @MaddieShellgren As the Director of Online Engagement, Madeline (Maddie) Shellgren serves as the lead innovator, designer, and project manager of the OLC's portfolio of online engagement opportunities. Known for her love of storytelling, play, and all things gameful, Maddie thrives on facilitating and designing meaningful ways for people to connect, learn, and grow together. Within the OLC, she has served on steering and operations committees for several of the organization’s conferences (including as Technology Test Kitchen and Innovation Studio lead, as well as Engagement Co-Chair) and has had the distinct honor of being the mastermind behind the OLC Escape Rooms. She looks forward to continuing supporting OLC community building efforts, is committed to sustainable, equitable, and anti-oppressive ecologies within education, and is genuinely excited to leverage her interdisciplinary scholarly and professional backgrounds as she helps lead the OLC towards truly innovative and transformative models for what’s possible for online and digital engagement. Maddie joins the OLC from Michigan State University (MSU), where she has served as the lead on numerous student success initiatives related to instructional design and technology, accessibility, and equity and inclusion. Over the past eleven years, Maddie has dedicated her professional life to teaching and learning related initiatives and has strategically sought out opportunities that give her a multi-dimensional perspective on teaching and learning, including working as a Standardized Patient training medical students, serving as Program Director for Teaching Assistant development, taking lead on a number of cross-institutional educator onboarding and professional development projects, and teaching across online and face-to-face contexts. She most recently worked as an Assistant Rowing Coach for the MSU Varsity Women’s Rowing Program. There she was given the opportunity to help redesign a community from the bottom up, story the team's new journey together in fun and multimodal ways, lead in the co-construction of community expectations and norms, help ensure alignment across a variety of stakeholders and initiatives, and develop and operationalize strategic structures for long-term sustainability (such as entirely new social media, marketing, communications, and content management strategies). She had the privilege of seeing the impact of her human-centered and equity-oriented approach each and every day as the team reimagined what it meant to be a Spartan on the MSU Rowing Team. With her move to the OLC, she will continue on as a volunteer coach, still supporting these efforts and the team, and is excited to get back on the water.
Joshua Steele is the Senior Director of University of Arizona Online, partnering with centralized student services to ensure that students who attend 100% online have the necessary resources and guidance to be successful.
Mad scientist specializing in faculty support, student focus, digital spaces and human experience As the interim Senior Manager of Instructional Technology and Development for MSU Information Technology I lead a talented team of staff and postdoctoral scholars to support faculty and academic staff in creating quality, caring, and exemplary digital experiences at Michigan State University. We're builders, tinkerers, researchers, collaborators, fixers, and figurers. Mister Rogers told us to look for the helpers. We took that to heart, and work to be the helpers partnering with you to leverage academic technologies to build the best digital learning experiences for MSU students. I have worked in information technology since 1998, spanning the private and academic sectors. I live in Lansing with my pretty amazing partner Ryan and has spent more perfectly good hours playing video games than I am comfortable admitting in polite company. All that aside, I love thinking, reading, volunteering, rolling around on things with wheels, gardening, tinkering, and learning new things.

Additional Authors

Chris is a Professor of English at Macomb Community College. His scholarship concentrates on privacy, institutional tech policy, digital redlining, and the re-inventions of discriminatory practices through data mining and algorithmic decision-making, especially as these apply to college students. His forthcoming article, “The New Pythagoreans,” looks at how popular misunderstandings of mathematical concepts create the illusions of fairness and objectivity in student analytics, predictive policing, and hiring practices.

Extended Abstract