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COVID-19 Free Learning Tech, Mobile/Internet Access Services, and OER

In response to Higher education’s increased need to access learning technology, open educational resources (OER), and access services (e.g. wireless, internet) due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many corporations and service providers are offering free or significantly discounted pricing for educators and students as they transition to remote education. EDUCAUSE, working with higher education institutions across the United States and abroad, maintains an exhaustive list of these offerings.

We encourage you to review the three tabs included in this list, Technology, OER, and Access Service Offerings. The DLI staff access and contribute to this growing list to enhance its usability and accuracy. If you would like to add an organization, please email with a link to the relevant web page for higher education institutions to contact the organization.

We hope that bringing awareness to this resource helps you to more efficiently identify potential technologies, OER, and access services in support of your transition to remotely learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Be well,



John Falchi, M.S.

Director, Special Projects

UNC System Office

Invitation: DLI Webinar, May 22, 2020 at 11:30 AM

UNC System Digital Learning Webinar

May 22, 2020, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM


Phone: (646) 558-8656   ID: 943 706 306

 11:00 AM – 11:10 AM

Welcome and Overview

James Garner Ptaszynski, Ph.D.

Vice President, Digital Learning

UNC System Office

 11:10 AM – 11:30 AM


Jennifer Cutts

Director, Curriculum and Innovation

Kenan-Flagler Business School

UNC Chapel Hill

In this session, Jennifer Cutts will share Kenan-Flagler Business School’s experiences in transitioning to virtual teaching in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jennifer will highlight a workshop strategy that was implemented to expedite faculty orientation to teaching in Zoom as well as faculty feedback on what worked well, challenges, and what could still be improved. Additionally, she will share the many lessons learned that will be applied to the Summer and Fall terms to enhance faculty and student experiences in the “newish” norm. Finally, Jennifer will share the business school’s efforts to create digital content in a virtual working environment and how they are partnering with faculty to prepare for a variety of possible teaching scenarios in the fall.

Jennifer Cutts is the director of Curriculum and Innovation for UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Jennifer specializes in faculty community, curriculum development, and the creation of an innovative, centralized center for excellence that serves multiple degree programs and focuses on digital presence in learning environments and promoting communities of learning for faculty. Jennifer has over 20 years of online learning and higher education experience. She has been a leader with two top distance education consulting companies, Bisk Education and Embanet-Compass Knowledge Group (now Pearson-Embanet). Jennifer is a doctoral student in the Leadership and Learning in Organizations Ed.D. program at Vanderbilt University and holds an MBA from Regis University and a Bachelor’s in Communications from the University of South Florida.

11:30 AM – 11:50 AM

Connecting the Dots: Leveraging Connectivism to Support Competency Based Learning

This session will explore how connectivism, connective teaching methods, and data-driven decision-making support learners in achieving proficiency in industry related competencies through personalized adaptive learning. Speakers will offer tangible tools and innovative strategies for educators to bridge the divide between connectivism theory and competency-focused skills development. The UNCW team will discuss how this educational model enables learners to chart a personalized course toward competency attainment by leveraging divergent, diverse, and distinctive experiences while acquiring professional skills, knowledge, networks, and certifications.

Sheri Conklin, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor

 UNC Wilmington

Dr. Sheri Conklin has extensive experience in online course design and best practices for online delivery. As a former instructional designer, she focused on professional development for faculty and staff teaching online. She has also engaged in multiple research projects to contribute to the growing body of knowledge surrounding online course design and delivery. Sheri has been teaching online for more than 12 years and focuses on problem-based learning, applied learning, and integrating community-based service learning in the online course environment. Her research interests include online course design, instructor social presence, service learning, and cooperative learning.

Eric L. Richardson, Ph.D., MPH, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP, CHHR, ACHE

Program Coordinator, Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)

Assistant Professor, School of Health and Applied Human Sciences

 UNC Wilmington

Dr. Eric L. Richardson brings to UNCW extraordinary experience with market analyses, program/course design, and implementation of new academic programs and specializations. He has documented proficiency delivering results related to applied learning, accreditation initiatives, and regulatory analyses. He is a 2018 Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) Fellow and a higher education leader with more than 14 years’ experience teaching and developing curriculum for traditional and online learning environments focused on applied learning. His research interests focus on healthcare, job satisfaction, turnover, retention, and commitment.

Nikki Strawn, M.S.

Instructional Designer

UNC Wilmington

Nikki Strawn is a public educator with more than 12 years’ experience in teaching and designing instruction for traditional and online learning. Her focus areas in online teaching include faculty professional development, Universal Design for Learning, gamification, interactive video, authentic assessments, and online student engagement strategies. Nikki is a certified Quality Matters Peer Reviewer and a member of the Online Learning Consortium. Using her knowledge and skills of technology tools combined with her learner-centered and systematic approach to instructional design, Nikki brings engaging course design and quality online teaching methods to enhance student learning outcomes and learner satisfaction.


Questions Comments and Suggestions?

Questions related to the monthly webinar? Want to suggest or present on a topic during a future webinar?  If so, please email the UNC digital learning team at

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DLI Webinar, May 8, 2020 – Invitation and Resources

UNC System Digital Learning Webinar

Special Edition: Virtual Labs Landscape

May 8, 2020, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM


Phone: (646) 558-8656   ID: 943 706 306

Download Agenda and Presentation Slides: DLIWeb.May 8-2020.Final

COVID-19 has accelerated the growing interest across the UNC System in examining the options for moving physical course labs to a virtual environment. This special edition of the Digital Learning Initiative webinar is designed to provide an overview of the major options available.

Faculty across the UNC System, and industry partners, will share their in-depth perspectives on specific types of virtual labs. In addition to demonstrations, there will be an emphasis on answering the following questions:

  • The problem addressed (e.g., give students a lab experience online when they could not physically go to a lab).
  • The alternatives considered – Were check-lists or rubrics used when considering solutions, commercial products or creating your own?
  • Any changes you had to make in the face-to-face learning objectives in order to move from a physical class to online?
  • Overall, how difficult was it to adopt or create these virtual labs and was the effort worth it?
  • What was the cost?
  • Other lessons learned?    

 Download Agenda and Presentation Slides: DLIWeb.May 8-2020.Final


Invitation to Digital Learning Webinar, Friday, March 27 – UNC System Alternative Instruction Response to Coronavirus

This Friday, at 11:00 a.m. – Noon, I am changing our normal monthly Digital Learning Webinar agenda, usually focused on innovation, to a focus on the impact of our online response to the Coronavirus. Here is the Zoom url, and phone number, (646) 558-8656ID 943 706 306.

I have invited a few members of the critical communities across the university (Faculty Development Centers, Faculty Assembly, Distance Learning Directors, Faculty Fellows) to be on the webinar and provide their perspective on:

  • Adjusting\coping to moving online so quickly
  • Identification of any major issues that have been observed (impediments)
  • What might we do to make the rest of this semester a little better for faculty and students
  • What do we need to start thinking about to prepare for Summer and Fall semesters

If you have other questions you would like the panel to address, please email them to me ( prior to this Friday’s webinar or, enter them into the chat during the webinar.

Our panelists include:

Eli Collins-Brown, Ed.D.

Director, Coulter Faculty Commons

Western Carolina University

Timothy J. Ives, Pharm.D., M.P.H., FCCP, CPP

Professor, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Vice Chair, Faculty Assembly

Heather McCullough, Ph.D. 

Associate Director, Center for Teaching and Learning

UNC Charlotte

Anne Ogg, Ed.S.

Instructional Designer

Center for Teaching and Learning, UNC Asheville

Ellen Pearson, Ph.D.

Professor of History, UNC Asheville

System Office Faculty Fellow

Katherine Saul, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NCSU

System Office Faculty Fellow

Bethany V. Smith, M.S.

Associate Director, Instructional Technology Training

Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA), NCSU

Benjamin Powell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Appalachian State University

System Office Faculty Fellow

Tom Van Gilder, M.S.

Director of Learning Technology Services, Center for Academic Excellence

Appalachian State University

Wanda White, Ed.D.

Director, Center for Innovative and Transformative Instruction

Winston- Salem State University

Jeremy Dickerson, Ed.D.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Distance Education and E-Learning

Associate Professor of Educational Technology

UNC Wilmington

I look forward to this important discussion on Friday at 11:00 a.m. and I hope you will be a part of it.


James Garner Ptaszynski, Ph.D.

Meeting Report: UNC System Quality Matters Council Summit, January 31, 2020

The UNC System Quality Matters Council Summit met Friday, January 31, 2020, on the UNC Charlotte Center City Campus. With representatives from most of the UNC System institutions, themes ranged from campus implementation to course design strategies.

The day opened with a warm welcome delivered by UNC Charlotte’s Dr. Garvey Pyke, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. He used the city of Charlotte’s recent tremendous growth as a metaphor for the Summit.

Birds of a Feather kicked off the sessions, allowing members to gather and discuss, in an unconference format, issues at their respective institutions. This was followed by two breakout sessions of five sets of presentations each, demonstrating the wealth of knowledge and interest in a variety of topics related to Quality Matters. During lunch, participants were treated to a keynote by Mr. Steve Kaufman, Quality Matters Ohio Consortium, detailing the success of Ohio’s programs. Highlights included the inter-institutional bartering system and incentives created to foster state-wide collaboration.

Recorded archive of keynote:

After lunch, an additional breakout session offered another six presentations. Drs. Racheal Brooks and Enoch Park, co-chairs of the Council gave a few brief concluding remarks along with upcoming events. The full program and links to the presenters’ slideshow and additional resources are available at this link:

Pictures from the Summit are available here:

(Photo Credit: Jules Keith-Le, UNC Charlotte)

Anne Ogg, UNC System QM Council Communication Coordinator

Project Lagro: Microsoft and LinkedIn Pilot Program Opportunity – Thursday, January 30

Following up on my presentation to the CAOs, and a note to this group back in December, we are moving forward with the potential of one or more of our universities participating in the Project Lagro “Private Preview (AKA mature beta) with Microsoft and LinkedIn.

I have arranged for them to visit on Thursday, January 30 here at the System Office.  The purpose of this meeting will be to provide an in depth overview of the application they are developing and to understand its value to our universities and to understand our responsibilities in the project if we choose to participate.

This .PDF, Private preview guide_Dec2019, provides a good overview of the program.

In addition, here is a video that that contains screen shots that illustrate the design and use of the program.

While several of our universities have already expressed significant interest in being involved in this project, I wanted to make sure all of our universities were informed of this opportunity.

Please contact me ( if you would like to attend this meeting with Microsoft and LinkedIn to discuss Project Lagro on Thursday, January 30 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. as it is my invitation only.