I am a lifelong, life-wide learner, media-explorer, technology scout, scholar, researcher, occasional pioneer, and community activist who has infinite curiosity. I love to read! I am also an educator committed to inclusivity and accessibility. I want to contribute to building smart, enabled communities to extend the Academy in new ways to reach more people.
Academic Credentials, Publications and Research
Most of my career has been invested into higher education within the United States. As a scientist, I would like to find new ways to bridge international collaborations to solve wicked problems such as security, climate science, and educational access.
My research interests involve Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and include identity-cultivation, cross-cultural communication, and collaboration using virtual reality and digital game-based learning. I also study authentic assessment, ePortfolios, simulation, social constructivism, and appreciative inquiry. As a transdisciplinarian, I am also interested in the technology platforms, integration, and security. Someday I will be involved in building engaging games for STEM that span across middle, high-school, college, and beyond. I dream of cross-generational learning opportunities for family- and community-based learning.
From Single Parent to Founding Mother
As a Web pioneer, I helped create the University of Central Florida’s first fully online course with Dr. Steven Sorg when I completed my masters in Instructional Systems Design. Soon after, I was hired to help UCF go online to meet its growth needs and became a founding mother of online learning.
While a faculty development program (IDL6543) was supposed to be my focus, it was necessary to build an unplanned, fairly large production department. I founded Course Development & Web Services (CDWS) at UCF. It was an extraordinary experience to have a concurrent instructional and information technology mission. CDWS was reorganized and merged in July 2009 due to budget cuts of 49%. UCF had grown to 60,000+ students during this time of budget cuts.
Challenges of Academic Attainment
Many people dream of earning a degree. My grandmother was a dirt poor, single parent, who did not have government assistance and somehow managed to get her Bachelors degree with four children. Her daughter, my mother, managed to get an AA degree at age 50 while working full-time. These women compelled me to seek self-improvement. As a young, married, USAF enlisted spouse, inaccessible higher education drove me back home to start life over in order to get an education. That’s how I got involved at UCF, as a single parent HUD scholarship award-winner. It was a miracle I got my BA degree at such a traditional, state university. Then the Internet changed everything.
In 2001, I was close to beginning a dissertation in an Ed.D program at UCF, when illness struck preventing me from finishing my degree. Years of work were lost that had cost my family and my health. What a challenge to recover. In 2009, I decided to get an online certificate degree in Human-Performance Technology (HPT) from the University of West Florida. This degree made me much more interested in societal functions where intersections of R&D, commerce, and governance converge.
Trailblazing and Tribute
In January 2013, I chose to take a new eLearning position in industry despite being in the middle of a new doctoral program. My colleagues at UCF produced a heart-warming video tribute for my service. Special thanks to Aaron Hose, Tim Reid, and Miles Johnson for telling my story as “A Life’s Work”
In 2010, I chose to go beyond UCF to pursue a doctorate. I am very fortunate that I succeeded in 2013, despite working full-time, changing jobs, and moving across the country. My program was offered from Colorado Technical University (CTU) in Computer Science, Emerging Media as a DCS. For reasons unclear, CTU ceased offering the program and the faculty were prematurely retired. This was the only doctoral program in the US that offered leadership using immersive, virtual worlds. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to learn in this format. Confusion persists about the DCS degree and whether it’s equivalent to a Ph.D. (see Wikipedia talk page). I encourage everyone to examine graduate degrees not for the type, as in the misattributed image below, but by what the research design entailed. What was studied?
How difficult was it to obtain data? What methods were used? What were contributions made by the study to the field? If you are pursuing graduate research in immersive learning, please feel free to contact me. I am committed to research and practice. In other words: praxis. All the best!
Here is a favorite quote:
One must not always think so much about what one should do, but rather what one should be. Our works do not ennoble us; but we must ennoble our works.
Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) Work and Being