Join “TOPcast Live!” A Recorded-Live Podcast and Dialogue Session for Leaders in Online/Blended Learning

Concurrent Session 3

Brief Abstract

Join in for an interactive, “recorded live” episode of TOPcast: The Teaching Online Podcast, a podcast for leaders in online/blended learning. Stimulate your thinking. Grow your network.

Sponsored By


A popular speaker and facilitator, Dr. Kelvin Thompson regularly addresses groups throughout the US on topics related to online/blended learning and educational technology while he serves as the Executive Director of the University of Central Florida's (UCF) Center for Distributed Learning ( with a faculty appointment as a graduate faculty scholar in UCF's College of Education & Human Performance. Dr. Thompson has collaborated on the design of hundreds of online and blended courses over the past twenty years and is active in the online education community. Kelvin developed the BlendKit Course open courseware ( as part of UCF's Blended Learning Toolkit, and he also co-hosts TOPcast: The Teaching Online Podcast available on iTunes and at His personal research interests center around how interaction affects learner engagement, and information on his Online Course Criticism qualitative evaluation model for facilitating the scholarship of teaching and learning in online and blended environments is available online ( Kelvin Thompson holds an EdD in curriculum and instruction and an MA in instructional systems technology from UCF and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Florida State University. Curriculum vitae is available online at
Thomas Cavanagh, Ph.D. is Vice Provost for Digital Learning at the University of Central Florida. In this role he oversees all classroom technology and the distance learning strategy, policies, and practices of one of the nation’s largest universities, serving 68,000 students, where online learning represents more than 47% of the university's annual credit hours. In his career, Tom has administered e-learning development for both academic (public and private) and industrial (Fortune 500, government/military) audiences. He has been recognized with a number of awards including the WCET Richard Jonsen Award, the USDLA Outstanding Leadership Award, and been named an Online Learning Consortium Fellow. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and serves on a number of national advisory boards. He is also an award-winning author of several mystery novels.
Devon A. Cancilla, Ph.D., is the Chief Knowledge Officer with the Online Learning Consortium. Prior to this, Devon was the Vice Provost for Academic Innovation at UMKC. Devon also served as Dean and then Associate Provost for Learning at American Sentinel University, a fully online institution. He was an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Director of Scientific Technical Services (SciTech) at Western Washington University (WWU) where he led the development of the Integrated Laboratory Network (ILN), an online laboratory initiative funded by the National Science Foundation. Devon has received both the Sloan-C (now OLC) Outstanding Achievement Award for Online Education and an Effective Practice Award for his research into the development and use of online laboratories. He attended the University of Iowa, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and UCLA, where he received his doctorate in Environmental Health Science. Devon’s current research interests relate to the use of analytics in the design and development of online courses. Devon lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Extended Abstract

Over the past three years, OLC has promoted TOPcast: The Teaching Online Podcast co-hosted by Tom Cavanagh and Kelvin Thompson from UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning. This monthly 30-minute podcast for online learning leaders emulates a collegial conversation on relevant issues over a shared cup of coffee. During this session, OLC’s Chief Knowledge Management Officer, Devon Cancilla, and the TOPcast hosts will provide a brief review of milestones from the evolution of higher ed podcasting, OLC Podcasts, and TOPcast prior to presenting a “recorded live” episode of TOPcast based upon crowd-sourced topics suggested by leaders in our online education professional community. (To suggest a topic NOW for this session, please visit: Following the recording, in a Q&A session participants will have the opportunity to dialogue with the TOPcast hosts and OLC Chief Knowledge Management Officer about the needs of current and aspiring online learning leaders and the place of resources such as TOPcast in meeting those needs. Following established TOPcast practice, freshly brewed gourmet coffee selected especially for the session will be distributed to participants in tasting cups until the coffee runs out!


Consistent with OLC’s goals for the Accelerate conference of “driving quality online learning, advancing best practice guidance and accelerating innovation” and the focus of the Leadership and Institutional Strategies track on “strategies and leadership approaches,” the intent of this conference session is to add value to those seeking to lead in online education so that each of us as leaders can be more effective in our own institutional context. This session will provide an opportunity for current leaders to dialogue on high-level issues and an on-ramp for professional development growth for those seeking to “lead from where they are.” Participants will be encouraged to exchange contact information to expand their personal network.


TOPcast is currently enjoyed by an increasing number (700+) of regular listeners and many more colleagues who listen occasionally. The target audience of TOPcast is those who seek to lead online education from their vantage points as administrators, instructional designers, and online faculty. TOPcast episodes are available on the OLC website ( or via all of the mainstream podcast outlets (e.g., Apple Podcasts). The OLC website links to resources and interaction opportunities associated with each episode. A previous TOPcast Live! session was part of the 2015 OLC International Conference and resulted in a popular TOPcast episode along with bonus content archived at


Participants in this session will:

  • Consider pressing leadership issues in online education

  • Dialogue with participants and presenters about the needs of leaders in our field

  • Connect with other online learning leader colleagues for follow-up


I. Context for TOPcast (10-15 minutes)

A. OLC Podcasts & TOPcast

B. Milestones since 2015 (higher ed podcasting, OLC Podcasts, and TOPcast)

C. How does TOPcast work?

D. How will our “recorded live” session work today?

II. Live Recording of TOPcast on Crowdsourced Topic (20 minutes)

III. Q&A with OLC and UCF Presenters (10-15 minutes)

A. Pair-and-share question formation

B. Whole group dialogue

C. Wrap-up/Exchange contact info