Reflecting Onwards: Voices from the Field of Online and Blended Learning

Streamed Session

Watch This Session

Brief Abstract

OLC Accelerate 2022 will feature a series of lightning talks from thought leaders and advocates in our field reflecting on the future of online, blended, and digital learning. In this series of rapid fire talks, each presenter is given a brief amount of time to share calls to action and empowering practices that will offer participants a way to both reflect and advance quality teaching and learning within online environments. With speakers representing the diversity of roles within the OLC Community, including educators, designers, students, and advocates, we hope that this dynamic series of short talks will provide a spark of inspiration for sustainable and equitable methods for expanding access to quality education worldwide.

Note:  Access Pacific Hall today by taking the Europe escalator down and walking through the Pacific Foyer.  Access through the exhibit hall is no longer available on Friday morning.


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
Kiara Williams has been a strong leader and passionate voice in student-centered spaces for as long as she can remember. In 2017, she was awarded the Goizueta Foundation Endowment Scholarship, which awarded her a full ride to Georgia State University and memories to last a lifetime. As a proud graduate of Georgia State University, she received her degree in Human Learning and Development with focuses on Family & Community Advocacy, Psychology, and working with multilingual populations. Kiara has served as a teacher, mentor, scholar, world adventurer, university ambassador, student fellow, and is now taking on the nonprofit field! Kiara currently works with Braven as the Program Manager of their Career and Leadership Accelerator, an experiential course that inspires, develops, and supports underrepresented college students as they work towards securing strong first jobs and living their legacies. Before Braven, Kiara worked at Apple where she was able to serve as a student liaison with Apple’s College Inclusion & Diversity team, work hands on with Apple’s Diversity Network Associations, and connect with Apple leaders during her experience as a team manager, all while supporting the larger population of Apple users around the globe. In 2020, she received the Fall Applecare Excellence Award for her hardwork and dedication to Apple support. In 2021, Kiara entered the education, equity, and online learning space when she was chosen to be a part of Every Learner Everywhere’s Inaugural Student Fellowship cohort. This work allowed her to share her unique identity and experiences with an extensive network of higher education leaders, researchers, and major stakeholders in the student learning journey. In her continued work with Every Learner and the overall WICHE network, she was able to support network recruitment, content management, and most importantly, the organization’s student-centered endeavors. Kiara strives to ensure that student voices do not go unheard when and where it matters the most. She has a passion for education, impact, and growth, and believes that if she can share her light with at least one individual, then it will all be worth it. Above all, Kiara is an avid life-liver, joy-seeker, and music enthusiast.
Emma Zone, EdD has over 20 years of experience teaching, leading, and driving change within and across organizations. During her time as Vice Provost at Colorado Technical University, Emma was responsible for driving cross-functional collaboration to impact student success of nearly 25,000 students. In addition, she has experience leading large-scale courseware implementations. Emma served as the chair of the executive committee for the Courseware in Context framework, and she continues to share in the national conversation on leveraging educational technology in large, complex organizations. As Senior Vice President of Academic Operations & Innovation at Faculty Guild, Emma’s collaboration with higher education institutions empowered faculty communities of practice in embracing evidence-based instructional practices. She has been long-committed to discovering, applying, and supporting teaching and learning innovation to impact meaningful change for learners and faculty. Currently, Emma is the owner and managing member of Shine & Rise Insights, LLC, a consultancy focused on working with organizations to build more effective learners, leaders, and teams. Recently, her work has centered on helping organizations redefine their learning strategies across modalities, with an emphasis on access, quality assurance and continuous improvement. Her research interests include organizational leadership topics relating to work engagement, perceived organizational support, faculty support and job satisfaction, and strengths-based leadership. In addition, Emma has teaching experience spanning the secondary, community college, and university levels, and she currently holds two faculty appointments.
Dr. Janue Johnson has a diverse teaching background with experience in K-12 and higher education settings. Her educational journey began with a Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach, a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Phoenix, and a Ph. D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University. She is currently a tenured Associate Professor and oversees Professional Learning for the campus community in the Learning Opportunities for Transformation (LOFT) at San Diego Mesa College. The LOFT is the College's hub for Professional Learning. In her role, she oversees the design and implementation for professional learning activities for faculty and campus employees with a focus on Equity. Her philosophy about learning, teaching, and pedagogy is influenced by the work of bell hooks, Laura Rendon, and Paulo Freire, to name a few. She has three children; a daughter and two sons. They love going to the beach, movie night, and playing basketball.

Extended Abstract