The United States Distance Learning Association Has Concluded
National Distance Learning Week November 6th-10th
How Artificial Intelligence Is Redefining Distance Learning in The Year 2023
This 16th annual celebration of distance/digital learning will provide a week of complimentary webinar sessions focused on how AI is impacting the industry with respect to education and training. We are in the process of uploading all 2023 presentations.
In a long tradition of annually honoring the study of digital and distance learning, USDLA hosts a free virtual week-long series of webinars meant to:
- generate greater awareness and appreciation for distance/digital learning;
- spotlight applications in K-20, telehealth, corporate, and government/military;
- discuss current issues and emerging trends;
- highlight best practices;
- recognize leaders in the field.
This year’s NDLW takes place November 6 ~ 10, 2023. See what past NDLW attendees have to say:
Schedule and Presentation Links
Day 1: Monday, November 6th
Monday, November 6, 2023 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm EST
Session: Finding the Yin-Yang in Faculty Development Balancing AI-Centered with Student-Centered Learning
Presenters: Dr. Kiran Budhrani and Heidi Echols
Dr. Kiran Budhrani is dedicated to leading transformative change in teaching and learning to impact the future workforce and a better world. Her dynamic energy, creative systems thinking, and bold ideas drive her as the Director for Teaching and Learning Innovation at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) within the School of Professional Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her focus is on leading strategic initiatives and extending capabilities within teams to drive growth, excellence and student success through faculty-centered programs involving teaching innovation, generative AI, personalized and adaptive learning, online learning, instructional design strategies, and academic technology solutions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heidi Echols has a rich background of over two decades in higher education. Now with the Teaching and Learning Innovations Team at UNC Charlotte, Heidi champions holistic learning experiences. Her tenure as a full professor and department chair provided insights into leadership and curricular innovation. Her role as Director of a Center for Teaching Excellence highlighted her commitment to faculty development. Heidi collaborates closely with faculty, emphasizing student-centered design principles. Across her varied roles, she seeks to make education more personal, engaging, and meaningful. Email: email@example.com
Abstract: With the rise of Generative AI systems and platforms, universities can no longer get too comfortable. Integrating Generative AI into a university culture requires a certain level of risk-taking and commitment from a campus. Join this presentation to uncover how and why Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTL) must take on a primary leadership role in faculty development towards awareness, positive and ethical use of AI, and supporting the development of curricula that integrates AI pedagogy while driving student-centered learning approaches. We will explore strategies to build up faculty development competencies and instructional design capabilities amidst this rapidly changing technology environment of Generative AI.
Monday, November 6, 2023 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST
Session: Gaining the Competitive Edge with Cutting-Edge AI-Powered AV Solutions
Presenter: Charlie McCarrel, Technical Director. Charlie joined Huddly in August of 2021 as Technical Director for the Americas. Before coming to Huddly, he worked as Sales Engineer for the Western US at Mersive Technologies and has been a expert in the industry for over 20 years with an audio and acoustics background. His current focus is on video and collaboration technologies in telemedicine. In his
spare time, you will find Charlie attempting to cook and spending time with his three kids. He is based in Southern California.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: Discover how Huddly is challenging the conventions of video conferencing to solve distance learning challenges. We will discuss why AV is becoming the big differentiator in education, why schools that rely on cheap webcams are not enough to fulfill the needs of today’s tech-savvy students, and how AI-driven innovations like Huddly Crew transform education.
Day 2: Tuesday, November 7th
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm EST
Session: Using AI and Hard Data to Teach Soft Skills
Presenter: Scott Provence (email@example.com), MA, MFA, is a healthtech leader and content developer whose print and web-based curricula have served millions annually across the world. Scott has worked in both public and private sectors, creating federal education programs and leading L&D teams from small startups to Google. Scott is the founder of Versant Metrics whose award-winning algorithm empirically measures how well caring gets communicated in a conversation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: Ask 10 people to express empathy, and you will get 10 different answers. How can we expect Artificial Intelligence to teach us about something we can’t even agree on ourselves? Perhaps you’ve struggled in the past to justify the ROI of a soft-skill training program. Or perhaps you’ve had groups push back on virtual role-plays. In this session, you’ll journey from the evidence-based shores of clinical psychology to the new frontier of Large Language Models as we uncover new AI-powered conversation tools. You’ll see real-world examples of how machine-learning can help us standardize how we use communication skills for talking to customers, and to each other.
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST
Session: Uncovering the Potential, Realities, and Future of Generative AI through Research
Presenters: Dr. George Veletsianos, Canada Research Chair in Innovation Learning & Technology, Royal Roads University and Dr. Cristi Ford, VP of Academic Affairs, D2L.
Dr. George Veletsianos (Γιώργος Βελετσιάνος) is Professor in the School of Education and Technology at Royal Roads University where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology. His research agenda focuses on design, development, and evaluation of online and blended learning environments; the study of learning experiences and participation in emerging online environments; and learning futures. He writes at http://www.veletsianos.com and email: email@example.com.
Dr. Cristi Ford is a Vice President of Academic Affairs at D2L. She has over 20 years of experience in higher education, secondary education, project management, program evaluation, training, and student services. She is a tireless advocate for quality online education and has helped institutions build capacity to launch and expand online programming through effective faculty development, instructional design, and pedagogical practices. Email: Cristi.Ford@d2l.com
Description: While much has been said and written about Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education, systematic investigations about its use are slow to emerge. The Canadian Digital Learning Research Association recently surveyed 438 administrators and faculty across 126 Canadian institutions to gauge their perspectives on generative AI. This webinar will present findings and provide a space for an expansive discussion. Findings reveal that AI policy development in Canadian higher education is nascent. AI use appears to be inconsistent and primarily experimental, driven by individual faculty yet supported by some institutional initiatives. While respondents believe that AI offers potential and may become a staple in higher education, they note that its value hinges on multiple factors and are concerned about its biases and limitations.
Day 3: Wednesday, November 8th
Wednesday, November 8, 2023 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm EST
Session: Navigating the AI Education Space: Incorporating AI Into the Learning Environment.
Presenters: Amrit Ahluwalia, Asim Ali and Frederick T. Wehrle
Amrit Ahluwalia | Editor-in-Chief, The EvoLLLution: A Modern Campus Illumination, ahluwalia@evoLLLution.com. Amrit Ahluwalia is the Editor-in-Chief of The EvoLLLution, an online newspaper focused on non-traditional higher education and the transforming postsecondary marketplace. He also serves as Director of Strategic Insights for Modern Campus. Ahluwalia was part of the team that conceived of and launched The EvoLLLution in 2011, and served as its Managing Editor from 2011-2021. Ahluwalia works personally with every contributor at The EvoLLLution to produce the content that has supported the site’s rise to becoming the top resource for non-traditional higher education. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asim Ali | Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Innovation, Auburn University, email@example.com. Asim Ali is currently Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Innovation at Auburn University. He advances the center’s mission of providing professional development programs, services, and resources to enhance instructional innovation and support scholarly and creative activities. Ali oversees a team of more than 90 professionals, graduate students, and staff members across the center’s various units, which include Auburn Online, Biggio Teaching, Biggio Technology, Biggio Testing, and Engaged and Active Student Learning, or EASL, classrooms, and classroom buildings. Ali co-leads Auburn’s augmented and virtual reality initiative, AUX, in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology. Ali also co-leads work on artificial intelligence for the Office of the Provost to build faculty capacity for understanding and implementing AI in teaching and learning. Ali holds a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, a master’s degree in information systems management, and a Ph.D. in adult education from Auburn University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frederick T. Wehrle | Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, University of California-Berkeley, email@example.com. Frederick T. Wehrle is currently Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of California Berkeley and has been at U of C Berkeley since 2018. Some of his other roles there included Assistant Dean for Academic Design and Innovation and Director of International Initiatives. Prior, he was Director of Accreditation and International Relations in the Center for Global Engagement at EDC Paris Business School. Wehrle holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Management Science from the University of Paris, and a Master of Science in Behavioral ecology, neurobiology, bioinformatics and anthropology from the University of Freiburg. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: In this panel discussion, leaders in the digital and innovative learning space will share their insights into how generative AI tools are being blended into the educational environment. Panelists will reflect on how educators can navigate the tools available to them, how to assess the value of these tools, and how to teach learners to use them effectively.
Presentation Link (No Presentation)
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Session: A real-world implementation of AI in education
Presenter: Al Pisano is a versatile professional with extensive experience in the education and corporate sectors. He is a presenter, thought leader, author, innovator, entrepreneur, administrator, curriculum developer, and consultant. With a background in K-12 and higher education, Al has created and taught numerous programs and courses in areas such as educational leadership, technology, business, and more. He has also established successful businesses focused on leadership development and program design. Al has collaborated with influential stakeholders at companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon and is a published author with multiple titles, including The Collective Mindset: A Roadmap for Continuous Innovation and Mindful Change. His breadth of experience allows him to provide valuable perspective and insight in various domains. Email: Al.Pisano@stonybrook.edu
Description: Join us for this engaging presentation to explore the real-world implementation of AI in education. This presentation provides educators with practical knowledge about AI education and its potential transformative impact. Learn about AI fundamentals, using AI as an instructional tool for personalized learning, reimagining assessment with AI, ethical considerations for student use of AI, and administrative uses of AI for streamlining tasks and decision-making processes.
Day 4: Thursday, November 9th
Thursday, November 9, 2023 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm EST
Session: Data Justice, Data Rights and AI Ethics
Presenters: Kae Novak and Farah Bennani
Kae Novak has fifteen years of experience in online learning and is the Assistant Director, Learning Design at Front Range Community College. She teaches multimedia, computer information systems, and marketing courses in the Colorado Community College Systems. She is the Co-Chair of the eLearning Consortium of Colorado and for the past three years has led the organization in its annual virtual and hybrid conferences. She is currently doing research on online learning, immersive learning experiences and social justice. Her most recent publication is co-authoring a chapter titled Constructivism for Active, Authentic Learning. Email: email@example.com
Farah Bennani, Ph.D. has over twenty-two years of combined leadership, instructional experience, and innovation in the STEM field. She served as Vice-President of the Colorado Distance Learning Association and in 2018, won the eLearning Advocate of the Year Award from the eLearning Consortium of Colorado.
Dr. Bennani championed and served as the Allied Health Curriculum Expert at the North American Network of Science Labs Online (NANSLO) developing remote-web based science labs (RWSLB) where she designed virtual online labs curricula that allowed students to remotely control lab activities.
Her leadership in STEM and online learning has resulted in her teams being the recipients of multiple grants that focus on student engagement, multiculturalism, and immersive learning in the STEM field. She presents and publishes both nationally and internationally on emerging technology, augmented and virtual realities, adaptive learning, and game-based learning. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: Data Justice is an emergent area of digital rights and activism that has its roots in protecting the use of citizens and consumers’ data in Europe which includes how AI is impacting worker and student rights. Technology is not neutral. We do need to question what rights learners and workers have in the age of big data, surveillance capitalism, algorithmic bias, and ubiquitous AI.
Thursday, November 9, 2023 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST
Session: Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Higher Education and Distance Education – Innovative Techniques and Technologies (e.g., Artificial Intelligence (AI), AR/VR/XR, Gamification, and more)
Presenter: Dr. Robbie Melton, Interim Provost/VP Academic Affairs and VP Technology Innovations for the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and tenured professor at Tennessee State University, serves as a global researcher and international consultant for Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Education and Emerging IOE (“The Internet of Everything”) Smart Mobile Technology of mobile devices, smart phone-tablets, wearables, smart gadgets and tools, and mixed reality of VR and AR. She formerly served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Emerging Technologies for the for the Tennessee Board of Regents and the primary developer and chief administrator for the system wide Regents Online Degree Programs. Her tributes include: The 2023 Top 50 Women Leaders in Education, 2019 USDLA Hall of Fame, 2018 Distinguished Women of Legend, 2017 OLC Leadership, 2016 WCET Lifetime Achievement, 2014 Top 30 technologists, 2013 Apple Distinguished Educator, 2012 Top 50 Technology Innovator and 2013 WOW Ed Technology Awards. Email: email@example.com
Abstract: Dr. Robbie Melton’s presentation will highlight and showcase how artificial intelligence will impact various areas of higher education. She will demonstrate AI’s power to advance research through modeling and data analytics, while also discussing chatbots and their benefits for student support. Additionally, Dr. Melton will show innovations in AI music generation and arts that are transforming creative fields.
While outlining AI’s vast potential, Dr. Melton will also emphasize the need to develop these technologies with diversity and cultural perspectives in mind. She will stress that to fully realize AI’s benefits, its applications must be inclusive and accommodate varied cultural learning needs and styles. Dr. Melton will also address the importance of promoting diversity among AI researchers and developers to help guard against unconscious bias.
From improving teaching to pioneering new research frontiers, Dr. Melton will describe the transformations AI may bring. However, her presentation will highlight that responsible, people-centered development is key to ensuring AI transforms higher education for the better of all students and society overall.
Day 5: Friday, November 10th
Friday, November 10, 2023 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm EST
Session: GenAI Holds Great Promise for Distance Learning, But There Are Concerns
Presenter: John Agnew, Ph.D. Program Coordinator for the Ph.D. Psychology Program at Walden University, has been teaching in higher education for the past 20 years, both in-person and online. In 2019, he became the Program Coordinator at Walden University and has been teaching exclusively online since then. His background is in cognitive neuroscience and over the past year, he has been exploring the possibilities of generative AI in the classroom. At Walden University, he serves on the AI Innovation Taskforce and has studied the effectiveness of AI detection tools. He has also been involved in developing policies and best practices for the use of AI by faculty and students. Email:
Description: Generative AI has emerged rapidly into public awareness in the past year and much has been written about the cataclysmic threats and vast possibilities of this new technology. Working in distance learning, we know that our students have many needs (editors and statistics tutors are just two examples) that could be met by GenAI. But we also have fears that our students may use this technology to avoid the hard work of critical thinking rather than using it to allow more time for such deeper learning. In this presentation, Dr. Agnew will share his observations about the assignments that are easier or harder for GenAI to complete, talk about the concerns with AI detectors and why they will likely never be successful, and discuss some of the ethical concerns of using GenAI and Large Language Models with student information that is protected by FERPA and research-participant data that is covered by human subjects protection guidelines.
Friday, November 10, 2023 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST
Session: Making the Cut: Distance Learning Quality Standards and Certification
Presenters: Chuck Sengstock and William Ryan
Description: How can you demonstrate that your distance learning programs meet the highest standards of excellence in the industry? How can you benefit from a rigorous and systematic process of self-evaluation and peer review? How can you join a network of distinguished institutions that have achieved Quality Certification from USDLA? In this webinar, Dr. Bill Ryan and Dr. Chuck Sengstock will share their insights and experiences on how USDLA’s Quality Certification can help you enhance your reputation, performance, and outcomes in distance learning.
After you attend a session, kindly take a moment to fill out the NDLW 2023 session survey letting us know your thoughts. We appreciate your feedback as it helps us to constantly improve the event.
Social Media Kit
The official hashtag for this event is #NDLW2023.
Our social media handles are:
- @USDistanceLearningAssoc on Facebook
- @us-distance-learning-association on LinkedIn
- @USDLA on Twitter.
Our logo variations are attached here for presenters and panelists to use in their social media posts and/or to personalize their Zoom backgrounds.
Zoom background 1
Zoom background 2
Affiliate Local NDLW Events
National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) is presented by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), on a national level. However, NDLW is also celebrated by USDLA state chapters as well as schools, colleges, universities, or corporations. The 2023 year’s affiliate NDLW events are as follows:
- Alamo Colleges District’s National Distance Learning Week
- Asia-Pacific Online Distance Education Week
- European Open Digital and Distance Learning Week
- Eastern Virginia Medical School
- SUNY Online
If your school, college, or corporation is planning to conduct an affiliate local NDLW event to celebrate and promote the field of online learning, please:
- Schedule your affiliate event in the EST morning, allowing for USDLA afternoon event attendance
- Kindly the link back to our USDLA 2023 NDLW page and we’ll link to your affiliate event page
- Display the 2023 NDLW logo on your page
- Email Pat Cassella at firstname.lastname@example.org when you are ready for us to link to your NDLW affiliate event page
For questions, suggestions, or to volunteer for NDLW please contact:
All 2023 NDLW sessions will be recorded and the recordings will be available for free to those who register for the webinars, as well as for USDLA members. If you would like to learn more about USDLA membership, please visit https://usdla.org/membership/.
2023 USDLA NDLW Archive