Plenary Lightning Talks

Brief Abstract

OLC Innovate 2023 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 & MERLOT 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.


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
Casey Henley is the Director of Online Programs in the Michigan State University Neuroscience Program, the Digital Accessibility Coordinator for the MSU College of Natural Science, and an Assistant Professor in the MSU Physiology Department. Her work focuses on creating equitable and inclusive online learning environments by implementing evidence-based teaching practices and using technology to improve student outcomes. She directs the fully online Medical Neuroscience Graduate Certificate Program and teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in online, in-person, and hyflex environments. Her graduate course, Medical Neuroscience, won the 2019 AT&T Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award for best fully online course at MSU. Dr. Henley also takes an active role in sharing inclusive online education practices with other faculty by co-facilitating a learning community that focuses on equitable pedagogy. Additionally, Dr. Henley is engaged in improving accessibility of course materials to provide equivalent educational experiences to all students. Dr. Henley recently published an open education resource (OER): Foundations of Neuroscience, Open Edition. Following the principles of Universal Design for Learning, the text provides multiple means of representation for students to engage with the content. Creating and using the OER in her classroom decreased the financial burden of higher education for her students. She received three OER awards at MSU from the MSU Libraries and the student government, ASMSU. Additionally, her OER was selected as one of Pressbooks’ favorite OER of 2021. Dr. Henley is also the faculty outreach co-coordinator in the Neuroscience Program. She has a strong interest in promoting neuroscience to the public, particularly K-12 students. The Neuroscience Program organizes many outreach events including the Brain Bee at MSU, the Neuroscience Fair, and visits to local school Prior to taking on a full-time teaching role, Dr. Henley completed a B.S. in Human Biology, a B.S. in Zoology, a Ph.D. in Zoology, and post-doctoral research at MSU. Her work centered on the effects of hormones on the development of the nervous system.
My name is Samantha Agee-Roark. I live in Manchester, Kentucky, and I am a second semester second-year student studying pre-law at the Motlow State Smyrna campus. I am a full-time student fully devoted to my education and experience here at Motlow State. In addition, I am blessed to be a mother to my year-old daughter, aside from my full-time student career. After obtaining a four-year degree, I plan to further my education by applying to the Vanderbilt School of Law and the University of Kentucky School of Law.
Dr. Morris Thomas is responsible for providing visionary, strategic, and operational leadership to CETLA by developing and implementing learning-centered professional development initiatives that ultimately foster dynamic learning environments and experiences. He has an extensive background in facilitating learning across modalities (face-to-face, hybrid-blended, and online). Dr. Thomas employs Quality Matters, a nationally recognized, peer-review process used to ensure the quality of online and blended course design. He holds several Quality Matters certifications, including Master Reviewer, Peer-Reviewer and Quality Matters Coordinator. He is also certified to facilitate the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop face-to-face and online. He is also a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Dr. Thomas is an established scholar, his research focuses on instructional dynamics which encompass instructional domains, design and delivery. He has developed a conceptual framework called the E.N.H.A.N.C.E. Learning Model. This conceptual framework provides seven strategies to inform intentional course design and delivery. He is the author of a book titled, Focus: The Missing Factor; A Practical Guide to Accomplishing Your Goals. Dr. Thomas serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of African American Males in Education, the American Research Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, and as reviewer for the International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and for webinars. Dr. Thomas received his Ph.D. in higher education administration from Morgan State University, a M.A. in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University, a M.S. in instructional technology management from LaSalle University, a M.M. in classical vocal performance from New Jersey City University and a B.A. in music from Fisk University. He has completed post graduate studies at Cornell University and Georgetown University in project management and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification with the Project Management Institute, Inc. (PMI). He has also completed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business.

Extended Abstract