Going the Distance: Online and Blended Models of Sustained Professional Development Guest Biographies

Marie Cora | Barbara (Bee) Dieu | Kristine Góngora | Dafne González | Crystal Hack
Elizabeth Hanson-Smith | Debra Hargrove | Noreen Lopez | Susan Ohlsen | Leslie Petty
Tim Ponder | Sharon Reynolds | Lynda Terrill | Marian Thacher | Aiden Yeh


Marie Cora, Adult Education Consultant

Marie Cora is the Moderator of the NIFL Assessment Discussion List, Coordinator of assessment materials for the Program Planning Resource Collection (in process), and facilitates on-line courses in assessment in adult basic education through AE Pro.

Barbara (Bee) Dieu, Educator and life long learner. Member Tesol EVO and Braz-Tesol EduTech SIG Coordinator

Barbara (Bee) Dieu has been teaching EFL for more than 30 years and coordinates the Foreign Language Dept at the Franco-Brazilian secondary school in Sao Paulo. She has been networking, presenting, facilitating online, producing material, publishing and collaborating in several national and international communities of interest and practice online since 1997 and is currently interested in how social tools and networking can enhance language learning, online facilitation and "u-learning".

She presently leads the Blogstreams Salon, a monthly gathering at Tappedin for educators interested in web-publishing and and co-runs Dekita.org, a project which advocates open approaches and participatory uses of Web applications in EFL/ESL teaching.
She blogs at Wide Open Spaces.


Kristine Marane Góngora, Instructional Designer, ProLiteracy Worldwide.

My background is in the design, development, evaluation and management of professional development projects. I’ve been developing computer-based training and reference systems since 1993 for systems that range from mainframes to the Web. I worked as a development analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield, designing computer-based professional development, online help applications and reference systems, conducting business process reviews, and integrating training and reference systems between BCBS plans. I served as the online training coordinator for an Internet services company and later as a business analyst/software engineer, working on the team that developed the information architecture and knowledge management systems for organizational Intranet sites. I’ve been developing courses for the Verizon Literacy Network/Thinkfinity project at ProLiteracy since 2002, and starting this year, will be working on the ProLiteracy America professional development offerings.

Dr. Dafne González, Full Professor, Universidad Simon Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela

Dr. Dafne González coordinates the Graduate Studies in Education Programs and is the Head of the Specialization in Informatics and Education at Universidad Simon Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela. She teaches blended technology-related courses at the graduate level, and English for Architecture and Urban Planning courses. A webhead since 2002, she is currently the coordinator of the TESOL Electronic Village Online and co-moderator of the Becoming a Webhead (BaW) online Workshop. She also co-facilitates the "Teaching Vocabulary and Grammar Online" for the TESOL Principles and Practices of Online Teaching Certificate Program. She has delivered online courses for the UNED and Universidad de Valencia, in Spain. She has published in different national and international journals and regulary presents at national and international events about e-learning.

Crystal Hack, GED-i Coordinator, Center for the Application of Information Technologies (CAIT), Western Illinois University

I have over 10 years of adult education, training, and instructional design experience and over 15 years in adult education in general. As an instructional designer and project manager, I have coordinated and facilitated high-quality and nationally- recognized professional development opportunities in both traditional and online mediums.

Slightly over five years ago, I was given the opportunity to coordinate GED Illinois Online. This was the first, and only, state-wide distance learning adult education initiative. Over the course of five years, the project has developed a national presence, literally going from coast to coast.

As GED-i grew, the need for professional development training also expanded. Instructors in the field needed to learn how to navigate the features and functions in GED-I, as well as how to facilitate teaching and learning online. In order to meet the needs of administrators, instructors, and adult learners, I coordinated the development and facilitation of several professional development modules that has served literally hundreds of participants. These professional development experiences have received the highest ratings from participants and administrators.

In addition to GED-i professional development modules, I have coordinated the development of a variety of online learning modules for the Central Illinois Adult Education Service Center, the Illinois Secretary of State Literacy Office, and the Ohio Literacy Resource Center. I have also facilitated teaching and learning experiences in the online environment, which range from independent study, direct email trainings, and fully facilitated courses. Throughout each experience, I worked closely with administrators and participants in order to ensure that the original objectives and professional development integrity was maintained.


Dr. Elizabeth Hanson-Smith, professor emeritus at CSU, Sacramento

I have been teaching online since the early 2000s. My experience has been mainly with free, voluntary courses, which I have run for TESOL's Electronic Village Online. The EVO is perhaps unique in providing an annual free
banquet of 6-week workshops and discussion groups oriented very
specifically to the pedagogy of English teaching and to issues in technology.

The sessions are run totally by volunteers, and having no budget, we have
found numerous free online tools to make our work easier. At the same time,
the gradually changing coordination team has developed quite a data bank of
resources, online "handouts," and illustrative materials that are used to train
new session moderators and help them make their sessions more engaging.
Some of these materials are written by us and some appropriated from sites

One of the most exciting elements of our work is the collaboration and
genuine comeraderie that has developed over the years. Many of us on the
team have been together for over 5 years, and we also form part of the
online community, Webheads in Action. Many of us are the only "techies" at
our respective schools, so taking part in theis community has been essential for our continued growth as online teachers. And our willingness to share our
expertise and to develop new techniques makes us an attractive group for
others to join. We are all aware of how much we are indebted to each other.


Debra L. Hargrove, Ed.D. ~ Coordinator Florida TechNet

For the past 7 years, Debra has worked with content developers throughout Florida in the design and delivery of online professional development. There are currently over 34 courses online, through Florida TechNet, that target teachers from areas such as ABE, ESOL, LD, and GED.

While these online courses have been widely used, even nationally, they are all non-facilitated. Debra feels that it's time to move online PD forward and begin to migrate the courses into a platform that allows for online facilitation. She currently facilitates online courses for AE Pro (http://www.aeprofessional.org) using The Learning Manager system, and is in the process of migrating some of the Florida courses into Moodle, an open source Learning Management System that was recently installed on the Florida TechNet server.


Noreen S. Lopez, Adult Education Consultant

As Director of the LiteracyLink project, I participated in the development and implementation of several online courses for adult education teachers and program administrators. I also participated in one of the courses that was offered to experience online PD as a learner. I was involved in the efforts to make the courses available on a trial basis for free, and later for payment. We learned a great many lessons during these early efforts.

Recently I prepared a report for the National Institute for Literacy on adult education online PD. As part of that report, I reviewed the activities of AEPro, had some participants in online PD respond to several questions, and compiled information from nine states about what they were doing in online PD. Also, in cooperation with staff from AEPro, we compiled a chart of what states, various associations and other organizations are offering in online PD for teachers. This chart includes activities specifically for adult education teachers, as well as more generic online PD that is not directed towards adult education but could still be valuable to adult education teachers.


Susan Ohlsen, Project Manager - ProLiteracy America, Verizon Literacy Network

Susan Ohlsen is the Verizon Literacy Network (VLN) Project Manager for ProLiteracy Worldwide. In that capacity, she is responsible for overseeing the development and delivery of online courses available on VLN. Previously, Ms. Ohlsen managed the Training Services Department for a high technology company that provided Internet access and hosting services to a wide variety of customers. She has also developed and designed Internet-focused training programs for corporate and education clients.

Dr. Leslie Petty, Associate Director, Project IDEAL, University of Michigan

Dr. Leslie Petty is the Associate Director of Project IDEAL, a multi-state consortium exploring the uses of distance education for adult learners. A key component of Project IDEAL is training adult educators to teach at a distance. Dr. Petty has been involved in the development of two types of online professional development courses: a traditionally structured course for teachers and administrators new to distance education and study groups on specific topics for experienced distance teachers. She also trains facilitators to teach these courses and participates in Project IDEAL's course evaluation process.

Tim Ponder, Ohio Literacy Resource Center (OLRC)

Tim has been involved in adult literacy and technology for 14 years. His experience includes development implementation and support of a variety of online resources as well as developing supporting and providing Professional Development. During the last five years several of Tim's projects have included the development of learning objects, learning modules, self paced courses, web meetings and facilitated workshops and courses, all of which have been delivered online. Current interests include feasibility, evaluation, implementation and development of Open Source software for use in adult education environments, including Moodle, Sakai, ATutor and LINUX for the desktop. He is also exploring Second Life and its potential as a community building and instructional tool.

The OLRC has partnered with the Center for Literacy Studies (CLS) to develop AEPRO (www.aeprofessional.org), a project providing facilitated online professional development opportunities as well as support and infrastructure for states and organizations wishing to explore online Professional Development. AEPRO will also provide a database of online PD opportunities and links across the country and supports a community forum for discussion of distance learning for the adult education field. Tim works closely with CLS staff and several outside consultants on this project.


Sharon Reynolds, Coordinator, Central/Southeast ABLE Resource Center, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

I have been working in the field of professional development for 12 years. I have been with the ABLE Resource Center Network for four years, first as a Curriculum and Training Specialist, now as Coordinator. During my time with the Resource Center, I developed and facilitated several online professional development opportunities for ABLE instructors and administrators, including videoconferences, webcasts, blended PD, and video-based online training.

As one of five ABLE Resource Centers in Ohio, the Central/Southeast ABLE Resource Center is responsible for providing professional development and resources to ABLE programs regionally and statewide in the area of special needs and GED. We are continually revising our professional development offerings in an effort to meet the needs of our ABLE practitioners. Many individuals in Ohio have expressed a desire for "alternative" opportunities for professional development.

Within the past three years, the state of Ohio, with guidance from the state Special Needs Task Force, has developed a set of policies related to serving adults with learning disabilities. To support implementation of these policies, the state requires that all instructors and staff attend Learning Disabilities training. We are currently offering the first part of the LD Series online and the follow-up session in-person.

As a network of Resource Centers, we have been offering a blended approach to New Teacher Orientation, similar to the LD model above. The instructors work through an online course (via Blackboard) and then attend the second session in-person. Our Resource Center has also developed several video trainings in the area of the procedures for obtaining GED Accommodations.

Overall, the evaluations for our online learning opportunities have been positive. We do see a need to raise the level of technological competence in our ABLE practitioners. We also need to ensure that the infrastructure is present to support online learning.


Lynda Terrill, Technical Assistance and Web Coordinator, Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC

Lynda’s 12 years at the Arlington Education and Employment Program (REEP) included teaching adult English language learners (from literacy to pre-academic levels) in intensive and non-intensive classes as well as in a learning center environment. As REEP’s technology manager, Lynda investigated using various modes of technology for learners and practitioners as well as participated in the early development of REEP’s Web site--a resource for practitioners and learners.

At the Center for Applied Linguistics since 2000, Lynda worked on the NCLE (National Center for ESL Literacy Education) Web site—from coding to developing online resource collections for adult ESL practitioners. She also helped redesign and continues to develop the CAELA Web site. CAELA’s goals include producing and disseminating easily accessible materials that synthesize research and make applications to practice for teachers, administrators, researchers, and others related to adults learning English as a second language. A second goal of CAELA is to provide technical assistance to teachers, programs, and states. CAELA is exploring and expanding the ways it can combine the CAELA Web site with in-person, email, video- and telephone-conferencing to provide appropriate, practical professional development for practitioners in adult ESL.


Marian Thacher, Director, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN)

AT OTAN we have offered online workshops, webcasts and videoconferences as part of professional development. We are currently increasing our use of online workshops (using Breeze), and hoping to do more videoconferencing with teachers when the equipment becomes more readily available. I am also engaged with AdultEd Online, a federal project that is developing two online self-assessments for teachers, and doing a feasibility study for a web portal for adult learners.

Aiden Yeh, MSc, Lecturer, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages

Aiden Yeh is a lecturer at Wen Zao Ursuline College of Foreign Languages in Southern Taiwan. She coordinates the Cross-Cultural Distance Learning (CCDL) Project with Waseda University and heads the World Englishes and Virtual Movement against Global Warming blended learning courses. She received her MSc in English Language Teaching Management from Surrey University and she is a PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests are NNES teachers' Professional Development [TPD] and blended learning. She has presented in local and international conferences and has also published in various journals. She is a member of Webheads Online Community of Practice, TESOL's Electronic Village Online Sessions coordinating team, TESOL's Technology Advisory Committee, and TESOL's Membership Committee. She is also TESOL's NNEST Caucus Listserv Asst. Manager.

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