17 Distance Learning Experts Worth Knowing About

The cost of higher education has driven the desire to work while learning, and this has lead to an online learning revolution, where students often get an education from programs that are located miles away. While distance education may seem an impossible task for some, the following 17 experts have made it their goal to provide learning to individuals through easier methods, through exceptional programs, and through advice that can help students be the best and most effective students possible.

The following list is categorized alphabetically by surname.

  1. Emily BenderEmily M. Bender, PhD, is an assistant professor at the University of Washington. She received the 2009 R1edu Award for Distinguished Faculty Contributions to Online Learning and was recognized for her groundbreaking work in development of the UW online master’s degree program in computational linguistics. Her current research projects include the LinGO Grammar Matrix, an open-source toolkit designed to jump-start the diverse language development.
  2. Curtis BonkCurtis J. Bonk is a professor at Indiana University and adjunct in the School of Informatics. He also is president of CourseShare. Drawing on his background as a corporate controller, CPA, educational psychologist, and instructional technologist, Bonk offers unique insights into the intersection of business, education, psychology, and technology.
  3. Sir John DanielSir John Daniel is president and chief executive offices of the Commonwealth of Learning in Canada. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for services to higher education in 1994 and holds 30 honorary doctorates from universities in 17 countries. His internship with the UK Open University in 1972 opened his eyes to the future of higher education, including distance learning.
  4. Stephen FirengStephen Fireng is the president and chief executive officer for Embanet-Compass Knowledge Group, a non-profit university launching and growing only online programs. Prior to this position, Mr. Fireng managed a portfolio of almost $1 billion in revenues and led the launches of Career Education Corporation’s University and Art & Design Groups’ online universities, expanding them from 3,000 to 32,000 students in five years.
  5. Anne GaskellAnne Gaskell currently is based at the Open University’s center in Milton Keynes with a university-wide role as assistant director, Teaching and Learner Support. She is responsible for the support and professional development of the OU’s 7,800 part-time tutors and have a major role in ensuring that they are provided with appropriate skills and pedagogical expertise to work online.
  6. Pam KnightPam Knight provides a wealth of experience in educational training and instructional technology in her position as executive consultant for ISIS Multimedia in Austin, TX. She offers a client-centered focus on learning strategy, content and visual design and more in interactive media, including video and audio media elements.
  7. Tanya KnightTanya Knight is one of the country’s leading experts on student retention, recruitment, college admissions and student motivation. As a past Senior Admissions Officer and Director of Corporate Development, Tanya has successfully helped many colleges retain and enroll students. Additionally, she has worked with parents and students in the process of college admissions.
  8. Maria KostinaMaria Kostina is a PhD candidate and online professor and developer at Blended Schools and an online professor at Kendall College. Her focus is on the Russian language, and she looks at both the language and its cultural identity for foreign students. She has served as a Russian instructor and also as an ESL instructor at Coe College.
  9. Michael LambertMichael P. Lambert has served as the executive director of the Distance Education and Training Council, a national accrediting body for distance education programs, since 1992. He joined the DETC staff in 1972. Over the years he has served on more than 400 accreditation review committees in five countries. Mike also has taught, written and lectured widely on distance education and accreditation.
  10. Steve LawrenceSteve Lawrence is a senior staff research scientist at Google. Before joining Google, he was a senior research scientist at NEC Research Institute in Princeton, NJ. Dr. Lawrence works in information retrieval and machine learning, and is the creator of Google Desktop. Dr. Lawrence has received widespread international press, and his research interests include information retrieval, digital libraries, and machine learning.
  11. Trey MartindaleTrey Martindale is an associate professor in the Instructional Design and Technology program in the College of Education at the University of Memphis, TN. Dr. Martindale is also Director of the Instructional Design and Technology Studio. The Studio is a research and development center for the design of learning environments, performance support, and instructional resources. He also is the associate director of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Workforce Co-Lab.
  12. Thomas NixonThomas Nixon is an author and online writer. His writings include Complete Guide to Online High Schools, Bears’ Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning, Bears’ Guide to Earning High School Diplomas Nontraditionally and Bears’ Guide to the Best Education Degrees by Distance Learning.
  13. Warren RedmanWarren Redman is an author, counselor, life coach, trainer and facilitator. He founded the Emotional Fitness Institute (formerly known as the Centre for Inner Balancing) in England, and is now practicing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He holds a degree in philosophy, social science and psychology. He has authored fifteen books, including the Award-winning The 9 Steps to Emotional Fitness and his latest, Recipes for Inner Peace.
  14. David RiklanDavid Riklan David is a self-professed self-improvement junkie — and proud of it. He is the president and founder of Self Improvement Online, Inc., the leading provider of self-improvement and personal growth information on the Internet. He founded his company in 1998 and now maintains five Web sites on health, finances, relationships, spirituality and personal success.
  15. Anne Marie TharpeAnne Marie Tharpe, PhD, is professor and Chair of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (DHSS) at Vanderbilt University. She also conducts Central Michigan University/Vanderbilt University distance-learning doctor of audiology program, and the First Years distance-learning program for early interventionists working with children with hearing loss at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
  16. Brad VoellerBrad Voeller founded the Global Leadership Institute, Inc. in 2000. Through this work, he trains young people around the world to use distance and accelerated learning methods to become the next generation of global entrepreneurs and leaders. He has participated in numerous projects designed to encourage creative learning, student responsibility, Biblical worldview study, and excellence in coaching.
  17. Jenny WattJenny Watt, MSEd is a certified online instructor and has been developing and teaching online courses for 9 years. She started developing online classes when she was working at her local community college. She has over 10 years experience in teaching at the college level and now designs classes for Interactive Online Classroom, led by instructors who are trained in the skills needed to teach students in an online environment.
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