Featured Speaker: Ken Hudson

Ken Hudson is Managing Director of the Virtual World Design Centre, Loyalist College, where he creates virtual world environments and experiences for business, education, and government. He has collaborated with dozens of organizations using virtual worlds including Harvard and Brown Universities, US Department of State, US Naval Postgraduate School, University Health Network, Canadian Border Services Agency, and the Government of Canada. Ken launched the use of Second Life at Loyalist College in 2006, making it the first post-secondary institution in Canada to apply this new medium to learning contexts. His Canadian Border Simulation is Second Life demonstrated successful metrics for the use of virtual worlds for applied learning, and is one of the most often cited case-studies illustrating successful virtual world learning. In 2008, Ken's work was recognized with the Colleges Ontario Innovation Award and the Orion Learning Award of Merit. Ken is also a freelance digital media strategist, who recently worked on the California earthquake alternative reality game "After Shock," which was featured in both TIME and WIRED magazines. He has several forthcoming publications examining applied learning in virtual environments. He was educated at University of Toronto and the Institute for the Psychological Study of the Arts. Ken resides in Belleville, Ontario where he sits on the board of directors of the Quinte Economic Development Commission.


Speaker: Cathy Cheal

Dr. Catheryn Cheal is the Assistant Vice President of e-Learning and Instructional Support. Cathy institutes and organizes new online programs, works with individual faculty who want to transfer a course to an online format, teaches workshops, researches new instructional technology, helps faculty with learning an solving problems in Moodle, sets policy in relation to Moodle and managers the office of e-Learning and Instructional Support.

Marshall Kitchens

Speaker: Marshall Kitchens, PhD.

Marshall Kitchens, associate professor, is chair of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric. He received his B.A. in English from Northeast Louisiana University and M.A. from the University of Connecticut in 1992. He earned a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from Wayne State University in 2001, where he was also co-director of computers and composition. His dissertation, "Literacy, Technology, and Justice in Posturban Detroit," examines the intersections among technologies of literacy and social justice in the urban setting. He has previously been director of writing at the University of Detroit Mercy and writing center director at Capital Community College in Hartford,Connecticut and at the University of Detroit Mercy. He has published on technology, literacy, and culture in Computers and Composition and Kairos.


Speaker: Nic Bongers

Nic Bongers is the Instructional Graphic Designer for the e-Learning and Instructional Support Department. Nic works with faculty members to help post course content into Moodle; so course development time could be much quicker and the instructor wouldn’t have to re-conceptualize their course. He also designs visual element s for online classes including lesson modules and Moodle themes. Nic instructs and assists faculty workshops such as Moodle, Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat. Nic also manages The Oakland University virtual island in Second Life, as well as, the scheduling of Elluminate sessions.

Cindy Sifonis

Speaker: Cindy Sifonis

Cynthia Sifonis is an associate professor in the psychology department at Oakland University. In the last ten years, she has taught a variety of courses including Research Methods, Cognitive Psychology, and Creativity & Innovation. She enjoys exploring how technological innovations might enhance student learning and enjoyment in her courses. Consequently, she is often one of the first faculty members in her department to incorporate those technologies into the classroom. The most recent addition to her pedagogy is the virtual world of Second Life. She has been a resident and user of Second Life since she created her avatar in 2005.


Vagner Whitehead

Speaker: Vagner Whitehead

Detroit-based Brazilian artist and educator Vagner Mendonça Whitehead works with time-based and traditional media. His work employs original and researched multilingual texts, found and created photo-based imagery, their translations and his interpretations as allegorical devices that reframe personal trans-cultural experiences vis-à-vis mass media and communication technologies. In the classroom Vagner aims to expose his students to conceptually, critically and analytically engage with new media technologies and practices as a means to understand, converse with and contemplate contemporaneity.


Speaker: Eric Merrill

Eric Merrill is the Learning Management Programmer for the e-Learning and Instructional Support Department. Eric develops web applications and web-based tools in PHP. He works with Shaun Moore, John Coughlin and UTS to transition from WebCT to Moodle, and to integrate Moodle with Banner. Eric also maintains backups and archives of Moodle, along with providing technical support.


Pamela  Mitzelfeld

Speaker: Pamela Mitzelfield

Pamela Mitzelfeld is a member of the Department of English. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Mitzelfeld is the Associate Director for Oakland University's Writing Center.


Rachel Smydra

Speaker: Rachel Smydra

As a member of the English Department at Oakland University for the past 17 years, Rachel Smydra has taught upper level writing courses in both the traditional and online environments. Smydra has published several articles on plagiarism and ethics.


Speaker:  John Coughlin

John Coughlin is the Senior Systems Analyst for the e-Learning and Instructional Support Department. John develops custom web applications and web site prototype for administrative and academic units. He also assists in the management of the physical web environment.  Examples of web sites that he has developed include the Transfer Credit Equivalency Guides site, the Oakland University Student Congress bookswap, and the School of Health Sciences site (in cooperation with University Communications and Marketing).

Rebecca Rivard

Speaker: Rebecca Rivard

Rebecca Rivard is a Special Lecturer in the Writing and Rhetoric department at Oakland University, avidly interested in digital literacy. She lives in Ray, Michigan with her three children.


Speaker: Shaun Moore

Shaun Moore is the Manager of Support Services for the e-Learning and Instructional Support Department. Shaun works in conjunction with John Coughlin to develop web applications and web site prototypes. He also provides support to faculty and students who have questions about Moodle, Elluminate, iClicker, and he assists in the instruction of workshops. Shaun supports both ParSCORE test scanning and ScanBook evaluation scanning, and helped develop the process by which Scantron course evaluations are processed.


Holly Gilbert

Speaker: Holly Gilbert

Holly Shreve Gilbert has been teaching journalism at Oakland University since 1994. A former feature editor and feature writer (The Oakland Press), she continues to pursue writing and designing on a freelance basis. Her extensive portfolio of published articles and design projects includes “What You Need to Know About Ritalin,” a self-help book published by Bantam. Holly is also the professional adviser for The Oakland Post, Oakland University’s student-run print and online publication.