Insights from the Field: Moving Outside Our Comfort Zone


Jennifer Rafferty

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The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is reaching out to our global community of thought leaders, faculty, innovators and practitioners to bring you insights from the field of online, blended and digital learning.  This week, Dr. Angela Gibson, instructor for the Online Teaching Certificate Program, joins us to discuss moving outside our comfort zone when choosing learning opportunities, as well as a variety of other topics.


OLC: How do you define innovation?

Innovation is the application of new skills, tools and knowledge to positively change how we work.

OLC: What was the last book, journal or article you read that relates to the field?

I recently read a publication by the U.S Department of Education entitled, “Retention; Promising and Practical Strategies to Increase Postsecondary Success.” It can be found on the US Department of Education website.

OLC: There are many opportunities to teach online. Why did you choose OLC and which Institute course(s) do you teach for OLC?

The Online Learning Consortium is the leading professional organization in the field on online, blended and digital education. The professional development offerings are numerous and created with great quality and focus on current issues as well as those topics on the horizon. At the OLC Institute for Professional Development, I teach the Foundation course in the Online Teaching Certificate (OTC) program as well as the New to Online Learning Essentials workshops. 

OLC: What are the 3 most important things prospective participants should know about the course you teach?

Within the OTC course we examine theory and translate concepts into applied practice by modeling effective practices for online design and delivery. In doing so we scaffold the learning while including regular hands on application of concepts through an iterative process.

OLC: OLC’s Institute offerings help professionals stay current in their prospective fields, and often times assist in the advancement of their profession. What do you believe are the top 3 ways in which professionals in our field can stay current and move ahead?

Professionals in our field should continually seek ways to move outside their comfort zone in order to learn things for which they do not yet have a knowledge base. They can do so by adding skills, tools, and resources to their professional toolbox for success in an online world that is constantly changing and advancing. The development of connections both globally and locally within communities and institutions is imperative in order to gain support and to further one’s knowledge and skills.

OLC: How can people connect with you?

Twitter: @AgilistaAG


About Dr. Angela Gibson

Dr. Angela Gibson

Dr. Angela M. Gibson has served in higher education as faculty and staff in academics and student affairs. She has taught face to face, blended, and fully online at various institutions including community colleges, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), state universities, and for-profit institutions teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. She has been published in various peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Community College of Research and Practice, and Issues in Educational Research. She is active in national education associations performing in roles as reviewer, chair, discussant, and mentor. Additionally, she serves as a reviewer for education journals. Dr. Gibson serves with the rank of Professor for the School of Arts and Humanities at American Public University System. Additionally, she serves as a facilitator for the Online Learning Consortium workshops and as a facilitator for the OLC Online Teaching Certificate Program. Dr. Gibson received a Masters of Arts in Human Performance Systems, with a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design, from Marymount University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, with concentrations in Adult Education and Community College Education, from Texas A & M University – Kingsville. Additionally, Dr. Gibson volunteers as an informal STEM educator creating learning opportunities at schools and with community organizations as well as providing social media outreach for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). She is a recipient of the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan Consortium) 2014 Effective Practice Award.


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