When I think back to the numerous people, I have met over my 28 years in the field of distance / online learning, Dr. Robbie Melton tops the list. Yes, I am older than you think but younger in the mind than you could imagine. I would dare to say the same for Robbie. Every time we chat or meet somewhere, she gives off a warm vibe with a truckload of energy and excitement about our field.
Dr. Melton is a tenured full professor at Tennessee State University. She formally served for twenty years as the chief administrator for the Tennessee Board of Regents’ (6th largest system for higher education in USA, 2016) for overseeing the vision, mission, and initiatives for the Strategic Planning for Emerging Mobile Smart “The Internet of Everything” (IOE) Technologies for Global Education”.
She is a renowned international presenter, researcher, and technology evaluator regarding the transformation of smart mobile devices, wearable technologies, and mixed reality technologies of virtual (VR), augmented (AR), and holograms (HR) technologies for immersive learning. Melton has acquired a new distinction as an “App-ologist” due to her study of the pedagogy teaching with mobile apps, and her curation of mobile apps for all spectrums of education. http://www.appapedia.org
These are exciting times and distance / online learning is transforming the way we work. We live in a globally connected 24 X 7 world that can provide unprecedented opportunities for everyone to take advantage of now. Yes, distance learning has existed in the United States for more than 120 years. Not surprisingly, though, many still consider it a new phenomenon due largely to the emergence of the Internet. The explosion in online / Internet learning has been quickly embraced throughout the education and training communities encompassing K-12, higher education, corporate and government sectors.
Distance learning is about using available technologies and technology infrastructures to make more effective learning opportunities accessible to all learners, whatever their age, location, or reason for learning from anywhere, at any time, and at any pace, in accordance with the individual needs of each student.
Robbie along with Dr. Arletha McSwain and others have done so much work in our field and more specifically, leveraging Open Educational Resources (OERs) for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCUs have been the cornerstone of education for the African-American community for more than 150 years. These institutions have prepared graduates to compete with the best and brightest minds globally. Recently, I had the honor of joining her prior to the HBCU Affordable Learning Summit during the OLC Innovate Conference with Dr. McSwain, Hubert Grimes, Esq., President, Bethune–Cookman University and Dr. Gerry Hanley, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Technology Services, California State University Office of the Chancellor and Executive Director of MERLOT. This was where Bethune-Cookman received the MERLOT/Online Learning Consortium Service Award for their work in the OER space.
Dr. Hanley noted that, “Bethune-Cookman University is not only leading the HBCU Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) initiative, but is a national model for how an institution of higher education can be innovative and agile in adopting Open Education Resources as a powerful student success program. Interim President Grimes, his staff, and his faculty presented their exemplary practices and proven outcomes on the positive impact of their AL$ program for their students. We are so grateful for his leadership and encouragement ‘not to compete but complete’ each other’s mission to improve student success in engaging, innovative and affordable ways.”
Robbie and Arletha have done groundbreaking work with OERs/online/digital learning and they are leading the way for not only HBCUs but for the rest of the industry. This is what makes Robbie so special. She is not only an amazing person but she empowers and challenges all of us to step our game up across a wide-range of technologies. I am looking forward to hearing her keynote during our USDLA 2019 National Conference on Wednesday, May 22. The title of her keynote is “How Smart Are Your Shoes? Future IOE Innovations of Emerging Smart A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) and Mixed Realities Technologies for Distance Teaching and Learning” and will highlight the latest emerging educational and workforce IOE (Internet of Everything) smart A.I. and mixed realities technologies (VR/AR/Holograms/Wearables) innovations and OER transforming teaching, learning, and training, at a distance. In addition, she will do an addition session on May 23rd covering OER Access and Universal Design Strategies.
You do not want to miss her presentations. Join us today in Nashville to hear Robbie and the rest of our amazing speakers. Almost forgot…since you are reading this blog….I will let you know that Dr. Robbie Melton has been elected to the USDLA Board of Directors and will be inducted into the 2019 USDLA Hall of Fame! Congratulate her as you see her traveling around the world doing amazing things for society!
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