Fusion Summit - Part 2: Centering Community Experiences and Expertise

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session HBCU

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Brief Abstract

This panel discussion situates change-oriented and action-based work within a critical reflection on the ways in which we do (and do not) build and lead with models that center the diverse experiences and expertise in our community. Join us for collaborative storytelling, strategy sharing, community building, and future landscape-reflecting.



Angela Gunder is the Chief Academic Officer and VP of Learning for the Online Learning Consortium. In this role, she is responsible for gathering, curating, and leveraging the intellectual capital created by and disseminated through OLC. Prior to her position at the OLC, Angela served as the Director of Instructional Design & Curriculum Development for the Office of Digital Learning, managing and mentoring the team that builds the fully-online programs for The University of Arizona. Her over fifteen-year career as a designer for higher education informs her instructional design practice, where she leverages her expertise in web design, usability, visual communication, programming, and standards-based online learning. She is an Associate Editor for the Teacher Education Board of MERLOT, and the recipient of the 2018 MERLOT Distinguished Service Award, the organization’s highest honor. She is also the recipient of two Online Learning Consortium Effective Practice Awards for the creation of a framework for personal learning networks, and for the creation of exploratory installations of education technology, respectively. In 2019, Dr. Gunder was named an OLC Fellow for her dedication to service, innovation, and scholarship in support of student success in online learning. Her research interests include open educational practices, digital literacies, narrative in online course design, and emerging technology for second language acquisition. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Fine Art from Fordham University, a M.Ed. in Education Technology from Arizona State University. Angela completed her Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies at The University of Arizona, where in 2020 she was named an Erasmus Scholar by the College of Education for her commitment to the college, the university and to the community. Pronouns: she/her/hers

Extended Abstract

In the second session of our multipart Fusion Summit, Angela Gunder will moderate a panel of visionaries and leaders. Together, they will engage in a dialogue around the future landscape of our field, focusing particularly on the ways in which we do (and the ways in which we do not) build and lead with models that center the diverse experiences and expertise in our community. They will provide commentary, inspired from their own experiences engaging in change-orientated and action-based work, around the various blunders commonplace in this work (like the inclusion of minoritized and historically oppressed groups simply for the sake of being able to claim their presence, or the treatment of / approach to engagement with these groups as “service areas”). Included in this commentary will be a critical reflection on the implications of our actions and leadership, as related particularly to our engagement with community experience and expertise. Participants who attend this panel session will leave with a better understanding of key differences between the types of actions which serve to benefit the field of online, blended, and digital learning, and those which serve to further perpetuate harmful narratives and practices (often western and colonial) in our field. 

Apart from stories, panelists will offer up a digital strategy, model, or practice they have utilized in their educational spaces. They will contextualize their examples within the lessons they learned along the way, their own journeys in coming to understand the characteristics of quality online learning, and how they came to prioritize digital strategies that center diversity, equity, and inclusion. Given that an explicit goal of the Fusion Summit is collaboration and community building, session panelists and the session moderator invite participants to bring to this session their own stories, along with any specific questions they have.

About the Fusion Summit: The success of the field of online, blended and digital learning is bolstered by the dimensions of diversity present across our community, centering practices of sharing and collaboration in support of student success. The Fusion Summit spotlights the diverse thought leadership and visionary actions of prominent voices from the respective communities of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AAPISIs), providing guidance and strategic vision for the entire community. 

Focusing on the quality characteristics of online learning as well as digital strategies prioritized by these visionaries through their work in online education, this multipart summit uses actionable design practices and collaborative work to create a community of practice supporting work well beyond the conference.