Leading the eLearning Transformation of Higher Education: Leadership Strategies for the Next Generation - A Roundtable Discussion with the Authors

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session Leadership

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Brief Abstract

Originally published in 2015, Leading the eLearning Transformation of Higher Education (2020) showcases original and new chapter authors discussing diverse perspectives on leadership in the current digital higher education landscape. Join these e-learning leaders in a rich conversation about significant developments, challenges, and opportunities that will shape our e-learning future.

Presenters

Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Ciabocchi currently serves as associate provost for academic affairs at Adelphi University. In this role, she oversees all curricular offerings, working closely with each of the University’s deans, faculty and administrative offices to implement, manage and revise the curriculum, including interdisciplinary offerings. She also serves as the primary Adelphi University liaison with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the New York State Education Department and the U.S. Department of Education. With more than 25 years of experience in higher education, Liz most recently served as vice provost for digital learning and executive director of online learning and services at St. John’s University, where she led academic initiatives to develop digital learning strategies for programs offered in fully online and hybrid formats. Prior to her time at St. John’s, she served in various roles at Long Island University, such as associate vice president for online learning, and also in areas including instructional technology, academic planning and academic affairs. She previously worked at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and the New York College of Health Professions. Author of two book chapters, Liz has published peer-reviewed journal articles and has presented her research on leadership and e-learning in higher education and other topics at dozens of conferences. Her teaching experience includes graduate-level courses in St. John’s University’s School of Education and undergraduate courses and graduate thesis supervision at the New York College of Health Professions. She has been extensively involved in committees and evaluation teams for Middle States reaccreditation and has held board and committee positions with the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), which named her a fellow in 2015. Liz earned her EdD in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University; a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Scranton. She holds certifications from the OLC in Online Teaching and Leadership in Online Learning.
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Premiere online scholar and James Stuckle professor, University of Illinois Southern; OLC Fellow and Outstanding Achievement Award in Online Learning; member of IACEHOF and significant role in development and dissemination of the Community of Inquiry (COI) framework. Karen Swan is the James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and a Research Associate in the Center for Online Learning, Research, & Service (COLRS) at the University of Illinois Springfield. Karen’s research has been in the general area of electronic media and learning for the 25 years since she received her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University. For the past 20 years, she has been teaching online, researching online learning, and writing extensively about her experiences. She received the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, National University Technology Network (NUTN) Distinguished Service Award, and the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award for her work in this area. She is also an OLC Fellow and a member of the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame. In 2010 she also was given the Distinguished Alumni award by her alma mater.
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.
Dr. Victoria Brown is the Assistant Provost for eLearning at Florida Atlantic University. She oversees instructional technology, including training, supporting, and assisting faculty and staff who utilize eLearning, as well as managing the day-to-day operations at the Center for eLearning. Dr. Brown also has twenty years of experience teaching instructional technology for educators and business trainers and managed instructional design teams. She received her bachelors and masters degrees from Central Missouri State University and her doctorate from the University of West Florida.
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 (http://cdl.ucf.edu) 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 (http://bit.ly/blendkit) as part of UCF's Blended Learning Toolkit, and he also co-hosts TOPcast: The Teaching Online Podcast available on iTunes and at http://topcast.online.ucf.edu. 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 (http://onlinecoursecriticism.com). 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 http://bit.ly/kelvin_cv.
Kaye Shelton, Ph.D. is a Professor of Educational Leadership in the Center for Doctoral Studies in the College of Education at Lamar University. Previously as the Dean of Online Education for Dallas Baptist University, she led the development and ongoing operations of their online education programs with over 55 majors and degrees offered fully online. She is certified as an online instructor, teaching online since 1999, and also an online education consultant. Winner of the both the Blackboard and eLearning exemplary online course awards, she has published over 40 articles and book chapters in the field of online education, including a coauthored book entitled An Administrator's Guide to Online Education. Dr. Shelton was also awarded a Sloan-C Effective Practice award for her research on the Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Education Programs, the John R. Bourne award for Outstanding Achievement in Online Education and the NCPEA Morphet Dissertation award.  Dr. Shelton has been involved with research in online education since 1997 and has spoken at numerous conferences and workshops and advised peer institutions regarding the creation of an online education program and best practices for teaching online and faculty support.  Recently, Dr. Shelton has been involved in the national and international use of the OLC Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs as it has been adopted by institutions in Latin America. She is also an Online Learning Consortium Quality Scorecard program evaluator and teaches workshops regarding its implementation.  
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D serves as the Chief Executive Officer at the Online Learning Consortium. In this role, she provides the strategic direction for the organization and supports the development of key projects and programs to support OLC members. Dr. Mathes has 25 years of experience in both public and private education where she has continuously supported digital learning initiatives. In addition, Dr. Mathes is the author of the ICDE Report Global Quality in Online, Open, Flexible and Technology Enhanced Education: An Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (2019) and co-editor of the OLC Quality Scorecard Handbook: Criteria for Excellence in Blended Learning Programs (2017). She continues to write and present on key topics in online, blended and digital learning.

Additional Authors

Ray Schroeder is Professor Emeritus, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning at the University of Illinois Springfield and Director of the Center for Online Leadership at the University Continuing and Professional Education Association (UPCEA). Each year, Schroeder publishes and presents nationally in online and technology-enhanced learning. Ray publishes five daily blogs on various aspects of news, research, and trends in technology-enhanced learning in higher education. He is recipient of the 2002 Sloan-C award for the “Most Outstanding Achievement in ALN by an Individual,” University of Southern Maine “Visiting Scholar in Online Learning” 2006-2009 and inaugural 2010 recipient of the Sloan Consortium's highest Individual award - the A. Frank Mayadas Leadership Award. Ray received the 2011 University of Illinois Distinguished Service Award. He is an inaugural Sloan Consortium Fellow, the 2012 Innovation Fellow for Digital Learning by the UPCEA, 2014 Illinois Council of Continuing Higher Education Past President's Award for Service, and 2016 United States Distance Learning Association Hall of Fame Award.
Dr. Cyndi Rowland is the Founder and Executive Director of WebAIM and the National Center on Disability and Access to Education both housed at Utah State University. Since 1999 she has focused on research, tool and resource development, training, and policy initiatives for web accessibility in education. The work of both WebAIM and NCDAE are viewed as important resources in web accessibility. Both groups have a rich history of research and product development to benefit the broader community and an inclusive web. WebAIM is consistently in the top 8 Google returns when searching for “web accessibility”, where there are typically millions of returns. Some of WebAIM’s content includes issues and technical recommendations for developers who wish their designs to be inclusive of individuals with disabilities. NCDAE has rich resources for administrators and faculty alike who wish to make changes in their systems and individual practice. This includes a Benchmarking and Planning Tool as well as accessibility Cheatsheets used frequently by others. Dr. Rowland has engaged in her accessibility work at top tier national and international levels. Examples include sitting on the U.S. Section 508 refresh committee, and working on initiatives out of UN organizations. Examples include the ITU and UNESCO where she was an invited expert to assist in the creation of global guidelines for online distance education. Accessibility plays a role for UN Member States.
Eric E. Fredericksen is the associate vice president of online learning at the University of Rochester and associate professor in educational leadership at the Warner School of Education. A national leader in online education, Fredericksen provides leadership for the exploration of online learning initiatives across the University. Previously, he was the associate vice provost at the University, where he provided leadership and services that supported the academic and research missions of the University. Prior to the University of Rochester, Fredericksen served as the director of academic technology and media services at Cornell University. As a senior manager in Cornell Information Technologies, he helped craft Cornell's presence and direction in the use of contemporary technologies to support research, outreach, and teaching & learning both in and out of the classroom. Before Cornell, Fredericksen was the assistant provost for advanced learning technology in the Office of the Provost in the State University of New York System Administration, where he provided leadership and direction for all of SUNY's system-wide programs focused on the innovative use of technology to support teaching and learning. This included the nationally-recognized SUNY Learning Network - winner of the EDUCAUSE Award for Systemic Progress in Teaching and Learning and Sloan-C Awards for Excellence in Faculty Development and Excellence in Institution-wide Online Programming. It also included the SUNY Teaching Learning and Technology Program and Project MERLOT, which were designed to complement the classroom with technology-supported instruction. Fredericksen was also a co-principal investigator and administrative officer for three multi-year, multi-million dollar grants on Asynchronous Learning Networks (ALN) from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He was responsible for the fiscal management, strategic planning, policy development, faculty development, marketing & promotion, a technical support center for faculty and students, and operations and technology infrastructure. He managed a distributed statewide staff of IT, administrative, instructional design, and faculty support professionals. Under his leadership, the program grew from two campuses offering eight courses to 119 enrollments to 53 campuses offering 2,500 courses to more than 40,000 enrollments in just seven years. He has also designed, developed, and taught online courses for the Department of Educational Theory and Practice in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Albany for the past 12 years. Fredericksen is active in national efforts, including EDUCAUSE, the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, and the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan-C). He was chair of the Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning and previously served as chair of the Sloan-C Awards Program for Excellence in Online Teaching and Learning. He also served on the advisory board for Enterprise Learning at NYU. In 2012, Fredericksen was elected to the board of directors for the Sloan Consortium and served as the President of the Board of OLC in 2018 and 2019. He was honored as a Sloan-C Fellow in 2013.
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D serves as the Chief Executive Officer at the Online Learning Consortium. In this role, she provides the strategic direction for the organization and supports the development of key projects and programs to support OLC members. Dr. Mathes has 25 years of experience in both public and private education where she has continuously supported digital learning initiatives. In addition, Dr. Mathes is the author of the ICDE Report Global Quality in Online, Open, Flexible and Technology Enhanced Education: An Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (2019) and co-editor of the OLC Quality Scorecard Handbook: Criteria for Excellence in Blended Learning Programs (2017). She continues to write and present on key topics in online, blended and digital learning.
Mary Niemiec is the Associate Vice President for Digital Education and Director of the University of Nebraska Online. In her role at the University of Nebraska, she coordinates the system-wide collaborative initiative that pulls together the 150 plus online programs offered by the four campuses of the NU system. She has worked in the areas of higher education continuing, online, and blended learning for more than twenty years. In addition to her University responsibilities, she represents and serves the University within the state of Nebraska and nationally by serving in leadership roles in various professional organizations. She currently serves as President for the Board of Directors of the Online Learning Consortium. She also serves as a member of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission’s Education Council and a member of the Policy Committee for UPCEA. She was named an OLC Fellow in 2011.
Peter Shea, Ph.D Dr. Peter Shea is Associate Provost for Online Learning and Associate Professor in the School of Education and the College of Computing and Information at the University at Albany, State University of New York and also the Online Learning Journal Editor in Chief. His research focuses on the development of communities dedicated to learning in online environments. He has published widely on this topic in journals such as Computers and Education, JALN, Internet and Higher Education, The Journal of Educational Computing Research, Interactive Learning Environments and others. He is past director of the SUNY Learning Network, the online education enterprise of the 64 campus and 400,000 students in the SUNY system. Peter's research has been supported by the US Department of Education and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has been co-recipient of three national awards for online learning, faculty development and online programs from EDUCAUSE and the Online Learning Consortium.
Dr. Andrew Shean is the Chief Academic Officer at NUS Online at National University System. Previously, Dr. Andrew Shean was the Chief Academic Learning Officer for Bridgepoint Education, where he led the development of new program design, the strategic direction for products, curriculum operations, instructional design, library, tutoring, and the writing center. Dr. Shean was the Vice Provost of Curriculum and Innovation at Ashford University, where he was responsible for providing leadership, supervision, and direction for all academic and educational affairs of the university and related programs. Prior to assuming the position of Vice Provost, Dr. Shean was the Executive Dean of Ashford’s College of Education. In 2014, Dr. Shean was selected to be one of six faculty to lead the Institute for Engaged Leadership in Online Education through Penn State World Campus in partnership with Online Learning Consortium. This program is intended for a selective group of emerging leaders from online institutions. In 2017, Dr. Shean was selected as a Chief Academic Officer Digital Fellow, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with 31 other CAO's from across the country. In the earlier stages of his career, Dr. Shean helped lead the Poway Unified School District’s initiative to develop online and 1-1 education programs. He also served as a high school English teacher where he was named the 2009 District Teacher of the Year. Dr. Shean serves on multiple non-profit boards, dissertation committees, is sought out to give keynotes, and is highly involved in academic research. Dr. Shean earned his Doctorate of Educational Leadership and Management degree from Alliant International University. He holds an MA in Education and a BA in Sociology from the University of Northern Colorado.
Josh began serving online students and faculty in 1998, as the first distance learning help desk employee at the College of Central Florida. He has experienced the pains associated with the growth of online learning from the administrative, as well as the student perspective. He has served as his college's representative to the Members Council for Distance Learning and Student Support, of the Florida Virtual Campus, since 2010 and is currently serving as chair. This combination of student, administrative and policy experience services him well, as he seeks to continually improve the learning experience for online students.

Extended Abstract

E-learning has entered the mainstream of higher education as an agent of strategic change. This transformation requires e-learning leaders to develop the skills to innovate successfully at a time of heightened competition and rapid technological change. There are few comparable positions in higher education than that of e-learning leaders who work across multiple academic and support units and whose work fundamentally affects the institution as a whole.

In this environment e-learning leaders must act within their institutions as much more than technology managers and assume the prime role of helping their institutions understand the opportunities that e-learning presents for faculty, for students, and for client organizations in the community. They need to prepare to participate in policy development around these opportunities. They must understand the multiple dimensions of practice in the field—operations, administration, and working within the complex culture of a higher education institution—while also functioning as scholars of the field who can bring the best ideas from other institutions to help shape policy around e-learning. 

Leading the eLearning Transformation of Higher Education: Leadership Strategies for the Next Generation presents both the collective expertise of veterans who have pioneered the field for 20 years, and of a rising generation of e-learning leaders that are transforming online programs at their own institutions, to address these challenges. This session is organized as a roundtable discussion with many of the chapter authors—some of whom contributed to the original volume, and others who bring new voices to the table in the second edition—offering diverse perspectives on leadership in the current digital higher education landscape. Participants will not only hear from leading and emerging e-learning experts on a wide range of leadership topics, but will also be invited to pose questions and offer commentary as active participants in the discussion.

Session participants can expect to:

  • Increase their knowledge and understanding of a broad array of current and emerging leadership issues, challenges, and opportunities in higher education e-learning
  • Identify strategies to address e-learning leadership challenges and opportunities and serve as change agents within their own institutional context
  • Broaden their understanding of e-learning scholarship and its relationship to policy development in higher education
  • Examine the evolving role of the chief online/digital learning officer in higher education institutions
  • Deepen their understanding of the importance of accessibility, diversity, equity and inclusion in e-learning leadership; the affordances of technological advances in computing, teaching and learning; the increasing role of learning analytics and data-informed decision-making; the open educational resources movement, among others
  • Extend their professional network with e-learning pioneers and emerging leaders who contributed chapters to the new book

Additional authors for this session include:

  • Meg Benke
  • Kathleen Ives