November 2, 2023

Digital Teaching Symposium - Speakers

Discover new tips and tactics to excel and thrive in a shifting higher education landscape.


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B. Mairéad Pratschke

Chair in Digital Education & Associate Director for eLearning and Teaching Innovation, The University of Manchester

Mairéad holds a Ph.D. in History from McMaster University in Canada and an M.A. in European Studies from K.U. Leuven in Belgium. She began creating online courses over twenty years ago and her career has straddled the worlds of higher education, education technology and start-ups. Irish-born, she has worked in Canada, the USA, Belgium and Spain, in multiple languages and sectors, as a researcher, designer, lecturer and consultant for digital programmes in the arts, humanities, social sciences, sports and business.

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Dr. Morris Thomas

Assistant Provost for Digital and Online Learning & Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CETLA), Howard University

As Assistant Provost for Digital and Online Learning, Dr. Morris Thomas provides oversight for the selection and implementation of digital learning tools as well as the coordination for matters pertaining to online course and degree program development. He leads this office in facilitating the development and implementation of the university’s digital learning infrastructure which supports the university’s strategic plan. As Director of CETLA, Dr. Thomas provides oversight for learning-centered professional development initiatives that ultimately foster dynamic learning environments and experiences.


Brianna Basanta

Instructional Designer, University of Miami

Brianna is an Instructional Designer for the Division of Continuing and International Education's Distance Learning Institute. She earned her bachelor’s in psychology from FIU, master’s in social science from NSU, and certificate at UM in Instructional Design and Technology. She collaborates with faculty to create quality courses for online learners and enjoys designing from the learner’s perspective, creating opportunities for student engagement, and the use of interactive tools in the online classroom. She has been exploring the use of AI and its impact on higher education instruction.

Marcia Bohn

Instructional Designer, D'Youville University

Marcia Bohn is an accomplished instructional designer with years of experience in creating engaging and accessible courses. She serves as an Instructional Designer for D'Youville University, where she works closely with instructors to develop courses that meet the needs of diverse learners. Marcia has a strong commitment to creating accessible courses that are designed with regular and substitute interaction (RSI) in mind. She is also a certified peer reviewer for Quality Matters Rubrics, an internationally recognized quality assurance organization that promotes excellence in online education.

Paulita Brooker

Executive Director of Online Learning, University of Tulsa

Dr. Brooker has been a leader in the online learning space for two decades. From program design, course development, faculty training and beyond she has served as a champion for quality learning experiences and specializes in start up program design. Dr. Brooker most recently returned to her home state of Oklahoma to serve as the Executive Director of Online Learning at the University of Tulsa as they begin their first foray into online programs. She holds a doctorate in Adult Learning from the University of Arkansas.

Toby Brooks

Assistant Dean of Faculty Success, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Toby Brooks currently serves as Assistant Dean of Faculty Success, Professor, and Program Director of the Master of Athletic Training Program at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock. His research interests include various aspects of improving sports performance and in improving preparation of healthcare clinicians for teach roles in higher education.

Paul Cave

Digital Education Manager, University of Leeds

Paul is a Digital Education Manager in the Digital Education Service at the University of Leeds, working to ensure the University provides sector-leading digital education systems to enable delivery of an outstanding teaching and learning experience. From 2020, he led a project to upgrade the University's Blackboard VLE, first from managed hosting to SaaS, and subsequently from Original to Ultra Course View for the institution's 8,500+ module teaching areas.

Tamela Crickenberger

CEO and Founder, Phoenix eDesign Solutions

Tamela has held many different roles, from instructional designer, learning management system administrator, executive leadership in online student support, director of course development, and creator and strategist for the development of online infrastructure in college/university and corporate settings. Over the past four years and through her firm Phoenix eDesign Solutions, she has extended her service to create innovative and immersive digital learning experiences for schools offering continuing/professional education and non-profit organizations.

Catherine Dowman

Senior Instructional Designer, University of Miami

Catherine Dowman holds a masters in social policy from Massey University in New Zealand. Prior to heading overseas, Cate worked for the New Zealand government in business development and training. She continued her interest in adult education while spending nine years in Asia working with adult English language learners, primarily corporate clients and training English language teachers. Previously, Cate worked for the Florida International University’s FIU Online program. Cate's interests lie in learner experience design, accessibility, and stakeholder relations.

Rubén Durán

Director of the XR Lab & Studio, Houston Community College

Rubén Durán founded the XR Lab/Studio and Reality Collab at Houston Community College. He was awarded the League of Innovation award 2018 as well as 4 New Media awards. He has presented at national and international conferences, including Educause, AACC Annual Conference, Kaltura Connect, and HBCU Tech Conference. Mr. Durán was instrumental in implementing VR4Empathy in the City of Houston in partnership with the Center for the Healing of Racism and HCC. VR STEM Summer Camp for Students with Disabilities. He also implemented the area’s first VR Symposium and Edutube Media Summit.

Jacqueline Gibbons

Instructor, Owensboro Community & Technical College

Jacqueline Gibbons has been teaching college-level English since 2014.She teaches one online class at Owensboro Community and Technical College and teaches full-time at Western Kentucky University (WKU). Jacqueline worked full-time at Southcentral Community and Technical College and served as a Blackboard Ultra expert/consultant for other faculty members. She was one of the first to pilot Blackboard Ultra at SKYCTC and WKU and continues teaching all her classes in Blackboard Ultra.

Tim Gottleber

Professor, Dallas College

13 years in the Computer industry, training at EDS, DEC, and E-Systems. Master's degree in Computer Assisted Instruction, Michigan State. PhD in College Teaching with a focus on Computer Education and Cognitive Systems. 30 years full time faculty at North Lake College now the North Lake campus of Dallas College.

Courtney Grim

Associate Professor, Digital Arts, Medaille University

Courtney Grim’s adaptive and inclusive teaching style embraces contemporary issues in art and digital media, while also empowering students – guiding them towards their learning objectives. In the past twenty plus years, she has taught art and culture in both on-ground, hybrid and on-line formats. She is committed to preparing her students to be lifelong learners, in part by incorporating community-based learning curriculum into her course designs, and by using technology to encourage engagement between students both in and outside of class room.

Humberto Hernandez

Director of Online Learning, D'Youville University

Humberto Hernandez is a Colombo-American accessibility activist, Universal Design Advocate, and experienced online instructor who has worked for companies in the public and private sector to analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate courses and educational products for the last 10+ years. As a certified Front-End Web Developer and Universal Design advocate, Humberto has a deep understanding of digital accessibility and has devoted himself to making digital educational environments more inclusive and accessible for individuals with all abilities.

Hannah Hurdle

Instructional Designer, Nashville State Community College

Hannah Hurdle works as an Instructional Designer at Nashville State Community College. Before that, she was the Library eLearning Specialist at The University of Arkansas at Little Rock. While there, she presented on her librarianship at various conferences including ArLA Annual Conference, the Illinois Library Assocation Annual Conference, and OLC Accelerate. Before starting her career in higher education, she graduated with a master's degree in Library and Information Studies from The University of Alabama.

Roshanak Jafari

Assistant Professor of Biology, El Paso Community College (EPCC)

I am an assistant professor of biology at El Paso Community College. I have practiced, taught, and researched medical, biological, forensic, and biomedical fields for about 27 years in different countries. I have twelve years of teaching experience in higher education in the United States in face-to-face and online classes teaching anatomy and physiology, human biology, microorganisms and diseases, forensic pathology, etc. I advocate using technology in the classroom and online to enhance teaching effectiveness and increase student engagement.

Farah Kashef

Senior Instructional Technologist, University of Northern Iowa

Dr. Farah Kashef is a Senior Educational Technologist at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), where she has worked for the past 12 years. She has received an M.A. in "Performance and Training Technology" from UNI in 2011 and her Ph.D. in "Education" from Drake University in 2022. Prior, she has worked as an instructional developer, faculty technology integration specialist, and educational technologist. She also teaches courses as an adjunct faculty when she can. Her research agenda so far has been in the areas of hybrid teaching as well as in authentic assessment in higher education.

Jerome Kiley

Senior Lecturer, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Dr Jerome Kiley has over 25 years of experience in higher education and has contributed to various training and development, organisational psychology and business management textbooks. He is currently exploring how AI and big data can be used to examine graduate employability and the quality thereof. He also serves on the Institution's committee, formulating a response to Chat GPT and other generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Elizabeth Kinan

Clinical Assistant Professor, Medaille University

Elizabeth Kinan is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the master’s degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) at Medaille University and plays a critical role in the admissions process for CMHC. Her research centers around diversity, equity, and inclusion, faculty development, educational technology, and fostering interconnectedness among students and faculty. ​Dr. Kinan has served as a school counselor for over 15 years on all levels. This has afforded Dr. Kinan with the opportunity to help children develop as young adults to effectively deal with a variety of problems.

Tamilla Mammadova

Assistant Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, ADA Univeristy

Dr. Tamilla Mammadova is Assistant Professor in Humanities and Social Science at ADA University, Azerbaijan. After completing her MA at the Azerbaijan University of Languages, she headed to France to complete pre-doctoral studies. Later, she moved to Spain to do another MA course and pursue a PhD degree. Tamilla Mammadova is a Blackboard-accredited digital facilitator. She is the writer of numerous academic books and papers. Among her recent publications is "Academic Writing and Information Literacy Instruction in Digital Environments" with Springer, Palgrave Macmillan.

Misty Miller

Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Dr. Miller completed her Master of Physical Therapy (1997) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (2011) at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. In 2011 she joined TTUHSC as an adjunct faculty member helping with guest lectures and lab and in 2014 she accepted a full-time position as an Assistant Professor and is also currently serving as the Director of Clinical Education for the PT program. Her primary teaching responsibilities include Foundational Skills, Communication and Clinical Education, Inpatient and Integumentary Practice, Cardiopulmonary PT Practice, and Clinical Reasoning.

Steve Montagu-Cairns

Lecturer in Law, Academic Lead Blackboard Ultra Project, University of Leeds

Dr. Steve Montagu-Cairns is a specialist in financial regulation, corporate governance and prevention of financial crime within multinational corporate entities. He is a Lecturer in Finance and Corporate Law at the University of Leeds. His research has a particular focus towards the concepts of control and responsibility within multinational corporate entities. More recently he has shifted his research focus to engage with important pedagogical debates within digital education and game based learning. He is the Academic Lead for the Blackboard Ultra Implementation Project at the University of Leeds.

Kathryn Panasci

Associate Professor & Assistant Dean for Inter-Professional Education, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Dr. Kathryn (Kate) Panasci is an Associate Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and Assistant Dean for Interprofessional Education within the School of Health professions at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). Her teaching activities focus primarily on professional development, clinical reasoning, and acute care and integumentary physical therapy management. She has published and presented in the areas of acute and wound care physical therapy practice, ethics and professional responsibility, interprofessional education, and innovative teaching strategies.

Amy Poteet

Instructor, Western Technical College

I've enjoyed a 30+ years teaching career in higher education. Using Bb to build accessible online content is a real passion of mine. Bb's Ally is amazing! In addition to my MA in Communication (with a Speech Emphasis) from Morehead State University, I also hold an MS in Higher Education with an embedded Graduate Certification in Distance Learning from the University of KY. I've been a Bb administrator and online trainer at several colleges. Teaching is my passion, though! I enjoy sharing all of the ways educators can leverage the robust Bb tools for building great online content!

Kristen Quinn

Associate Professor, Northern Essex Community College

I've been teaching accounting for the past fifteen years at Northern Essex Community College. I teach all levels of accounting (financial, managerial, and intermediate) in face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses. I've been using CNOWv2 since I started teaching in 2008 and use it in all of my courses. With CNOWv2, my students have become more engaged with the material and are not so quick to give up on homework assignments since they have so many resources to help them along. They also ask more questions because they have the Email Instructor, their grades are higher and so are retention rates.

Mary Beth Scumaci

Director of Online Learning, Medaille University

Mary Beth Scumaci is passionate about designing engaging and pedagogically sound online experiences. She specializes in helping instructors create an online presence to assist with motivating & engaging students. With over twenty years of teaching and course design experience, Mary Beth serves as the Director of Online Learning and Chair of the Online Advisory Board. She serves as an Anthology Learn Ultra Ambassador, on the Anthology Circle of Leadership governance board and as a leader on the Bb Learn Ultra User Group that encourage institutions from across the globe to share institutional practices.

Muddassir Siddiqi

President-Central College, Houston Community College

In 2017, Dr. Muddassir Siddiqi began his tenure as the President of the Central College, one of the colleges under the Houston Community College System and home to seven state-recognized career and technology programs. He has created collaborative and progressive initiatives alongside stellar teams at the district and college with local high schools, four-year institutions, businesses, industry partners, and community-based organizations to create inclusive, diverse, and equitable opportunities for students. Dr. Siddiqi has served on several non-profit organizations’ boards of directors.

Wendy Velez-Torres

Senior Instructional and Digital Accessibility Specialist, Coppin State University

Wendy Torres has been teaching for over 21 years and has a BA in Special Education and a Masters of Educational Leadership in Instructional Technology. She has taught at all levels from Kindergarten to Higher Ed. She is currently the Senior Instructional Technologist and Adjunct Instructor for Coppin State University. She has given numerous professional workshops for Roland Park Country School as well as the St. Francis of Assisi School, the Digital Harbor School, Coppin State University, the University of Maryland, the Online Learning Consortium and multiple professional organizations.

Cheryl Whitaker

Fashion Professor, Houston Community College

Cheryl Whitaker is the Fashion Merchandising Program Coordinator and a faculty member at Houston Community College. She has experience in both the IT and the Retail Fashion industries. After a successful career in IT, she took a different path and decided to pursue her dream career of working in the Fashion industry. Her research interests include the impact of technology on the fashion industry and how fashion and identity are linked. She is currently exploring the use of AI and immersive spaces in her course curriculums.

Jerry White

Professor, Everglades University

Jerry White has been a graduate professor of business for over 35 years in the US, Canada, and the UK. My specialties are entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. I have authored over twenty books in these areas. My work experience includes being a CEO or director in fields ranging from college book publishing, international management consulting, college administration, food service, and executive search. I have also worked in international non-profit medical relief in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.

Rebecca Wiggins

Instructional Designer, Cuyahoga Community College

Rebecca Wiggins is an Instructional Design Specialist at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). Her work is focused on creating high quality, accessible learning experiences for faculty, students, and the community. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Hiram College, both a Master of Science in Instructional Systems and Learning Technology and a Master of Arts in Religion from Florida State University, and is the recipient of two Tri-C President's Awards of Achievement.

Jenifer Willson

Clinical Assistant Professor, Medaille University

Jenifer Willson is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Medaille University. Prior to joining Medaille University, Dr. Willson worked for over 20 years at the University at Buffalo’s (UB) Graduate School of Education (GSE). As part of her role as Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Administration, she was responsible for supervising the professional staff and giving her invaluable experience in recruitment and admissions work in higher education. In her present role at Medaille University, Dr. Willson teaches and advises students in the master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC).

Julianna Woite

Instructional Designer, D'Youville University

Julianna Woite is an Instructional Designer for D’Youville University, and an Adjunct Faculty member in Medaille University’s MSED program. Julianna has always been passionate about designing engaging and pedagogically sound online classes and excels in helping instructors create a strong online presence. With over fifteen years of online teaching and course designing experience, Julianna is a certified Peer Reviewer for the Quality Matters Rubric and focuses on creating courses that excel in both accessibility and regular & substitute Interaction (RSI).

Victoria Wolf

Instructional Designer, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Victoria Wolf works for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore as an Instructional Designer and has been with the university since 2020. She is certified through Quality Matters as an Online Instructor and is currently on track to graduate with her Masters in Educational Technology from Louisiana State University Online this Fall. Her areas of academic interest include neuropsychology in teaching and learning, educational neuroscience, trauma-informed pedagogy, and exploring new and existing technology to elevate pedagogy.

Eugenie Wolff

Project Manager, Online Education, University of Pretoria

Eugenie Wolff currently works at the University of Pretoria’s, Comprehensive Online Education Services Directorate as Project Manager of the Online Education team. She recently completed her PhD (Computer Integrated Education), focusing on Scrum as a project management framework to promote social interactions among curriculum design teams. Eugenie is passionate about all things Curriculum Design and Development related and has supported course design for both hybrid and fully online programmes across numerous disciplines.

Heather Young Mandujano

Senior Instructional Designer, Cuyahoga Community College

Heather Young Mandujano is the Senior Instructional Designer at Tri-C's Eastern Campus Center for Learning Excellence. She advocates for student-centric lesson design and merging student engagement with technology. She has presented at over 20 regional, national and international conferences. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Education degree, magna cum laude, from Youngstown State University, and a Master of Education in Learning and Technology degree from Western Governors University.