I have been involved in distance education for nearly 30 years. In the early days of AU in the mid-1970s, I was an instructional designer and helped to develop some of the first distance courses. When the university moved to northern Alberta in 1984, I left my position at AU and returned to unive...
I have been involved in distance education for nearly 30 years. In the early days of AU in the mid-1970s, I was an instructional designer and helped to develop some of the first distance courses. When the university moved to northern Alberta in 1984, I left my position at AU and returned to university to complete my doctorate in Educational Psychology, specializing in computer-based learning. After that, I set up my own consulting firm and worked as an educational consultant for more than 10 years. Over that time I worked in various sectors -- government, post-secondary education, business (profit and not-for-profit), training -- designing and developing an array of instructional materials (and even a couple of self-help manuals as well as some addiction treatment/prevention programs). In 1998, I returned to AU as a core faculty member in the Centre for Distance Education.
In addition to teaching MDDE604 and MDDE603, I also supervise thesis research and conduct research of my own. I have a special interest in DE for students with disabilities and inclusive education. I currently have a research program titled the Inclusive Libraries Initiative, where I am investigating how assistive technology and community-based programs can promote the use of information and communication technology (ICT) among library patrons with disabilities. This stems from an earlier study, which used a specially designed web site, NorthEast Community Online, to investigate how to introduce adults with developmental disabilities to ICT. Not to ignore AU's population of learners with disabilities, I conduct research on an ongoing basis to study their characteristics and academic success as well.
My research in disability-related matters reflects my personal interest in this area. A few years ago, I contracted meningococcal disease, which resulted in hearing loss and the amputation of my toes and the fingers on my right (dominant) hand. My experience has provided me with some insight into the barriers and special needs that disabilities create. Distance education has much to offer learners with disabilities, and our work in this important area is just in its infancy.