Networking Coffee Break - Coffee Talk with Harmonize by 42 Lines: How to Keep Students Engaged in Online Discussions

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Brief Abstract

Take a break from the rich idea sharing in the sessions with a virtual coffee talk. Grab a hot beverage and join us for an informal discussion and light networking as a connection between sessions.  Join Rhonda Blackburn, PhD & President of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) and Marcus Popetz, CEO of Harmonize as they discuss  how to increase student engagement in online discussions. During the session they discuss best practices, lessons learned and specific tactics that can be used create welcoming and engaging online discussion.


Marcus Popetz is CEO and co-founder of 42 Lines, a higher education software development company that recently launched Harmonize, a next-generation online discussion platform that unites students and instructors in a more engaged and collaborative learning experience. Since 2009, 42 Lines has delivered custom software solutions to higher education, helping institutions work more efficiently to serve students, improve engagement and retention, and support their missions. Marcus believes that technology can radically change how institutions imagine themselves and he works to overcome barriers between what is and what can be. Marcus lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and two boys. When he’s not thinking about technology, you can usually find him on a mountain, sometimes biking, sometimes skiing.
Dr. Blackburn has been working in academia for the pasts 20+ years as a teacher, administrator, trainer, and consultant. Before serving as VP and Chief Academic Officer for LoudCloud Systems, she was the Senior Advisory Consultant and Strategic Account Manager for Higher Education for Desire2Learn, where she provided guidance and planning for state-wide consortiums and large institutions. Prior to Desire2Learn, Dr. Blackburn was the Associate Provost of Educational Enhancement at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her office covered faculty development, instructional technology, distance education, media/video services, and classroom experience. Within this capacity, she supported faculty while helping them develop well designed courses, both traditional and online. She also guided her staff in understanding the technology and how it can be used effectively in a classroom setting. She spearheaded the redesign and integration of technology into the classrooms throughout the campus. Dr. Blackburn received her B.S. in psychology at Texas A&M University and M.A. in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Career Development Education and a specialty in Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University.

Extended Abstract