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We are delighted to introduce the IABL directors.

Dr. Agnieszka (Aga) Palalas

President & Founding Director

Dr. Agnieszka (Aga) Palalas, long time teacher and researcher of adult education and educational technologies, has focused for almost two decades on exploring and developing blended learning solutions. She has been involved in numerous blended learning projects in North America, Ghana and India. Aga is an Assistant Professor in Distance Education, at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, FHSS, at Athabasca University, Canada. Aga has taught in both the Master’s and Doctoral programs at AU and other universities. Drawing from 25 years of experience as a face-to-face and online adult educator, instructional designer and an academic, combined with her passion for teaching and learning, Aga has focused her research and practice on the issues related to the excellence in online and digital learning, including blended learning. Aga is an internationally recognized expert in technology-assisted teaching and learning, online education, m-learning, instructional design, and mobile-assisted language learning. She is Past-President of the International Association for Blended Learning (IABL) and Past-President of the International Association for Mobile Learning. In those roles, she has interacted and collaborated with academics and training experts around the globe across diverse educational and cultural contexts. Aga has published a number of articles and book chapters as well as edited books pertaining to mobile and blended learning. She has been active in local and international professional associations and is a regular presenter at international conferences. She is excited to be able to contribute to the field of blended learning as a founding director of the International Blended Learning Association.


Dr. Hend Merza

Vice President

Dr. Merza is an Associate Professor who joined IABL in 2015 as Middle East Director.  In 2016 she was nominated for the role of IABL Secretary where she served until  July 2018. Since July 2018 she's been serving as the elected Vice President for IABL.

Dr. Merza received a doctorate in Educational Administration in 2004 from King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She has 38 years of experience in public and higher education in Saudi Arabia. She has published many papers and book chapters, as well as designed and delivered more than 15 training programs for community service and development. Her fields of interest are Scientific Research in Educational Administration, Quality Assurance, Training, and Blended Learning. She is currently working as a teaching staff, and Quality Assurance and Accreditation Manager at the Arab Open University/ Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Chrysoula (Chryssa) Lazou


Chrysoula (Chryssa) Lazou is an EFL educator in the public sector, Hellenic Ministry of Education. She holds a Bachelor Degree in English Language and Literature, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a Master's of Education in Distance Education, Athabasca University, Canada's Open University. Chryssa is a founding member and Past President of the Association of State School Teachers of English in Kavala, Northern Greece, the Secretary of IABL (International Association for Blended Learning), the Chair of the Digital Communications Committee of IABL, and an IVLP and U.S. programs alumna with a specialization in media literacy, cultural awareness, and inclusive leadership and practices in education and community. Chryssa organizes and co-ordinates events and webinars, participates as a presenter and inspirer in national and international conferences and workshops, and facilitates MOOC courses with international students. Her teaching practices are based on the Universal Design for Learning principles and involve the incorporation of new technologies and project-based learning on various fields, leveraging CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) method and blended learning. Her most recent U.S. program participation and project implementation involves Alumni TIES Seminars with a specialization in media literacy and critical thinking in the digital age. She is the coordinator of the “Media Literacy for Teens.gr” (Bravo Schools 2020 distinction) and “DigiTEENS.gr” projects and trains undergraduate students of the English Language Department (Kapodistrian University of Athens) in online instructional design. She is a Northern Lights Award recipient (2017), a World Learning grant recipient (2019), ELT Excellence Awards 2020 recipient, Education Leaders Awards 2020 recipient, and Governor General's GOLD MEDAL Award for academic excellence recipient.

Koni Drampala


Koni Drampala has a bachelor degree from the Department of Primary Education of Democritus University of Thrace in Greece. She, also, has a MEd in Distance Education of Athabasca University of Canada. She obtained a permanent teaching position and she provided after-school support to Roma children population. Currently, she is pursuing studies in Business Administration at the Technological Educational Institute of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace while also she studies Adult Education. For the last 4 years, she is seconded to the Directorate of Primary Education of Kavala region, to assume responsibilities for the educational information system of Greek schools.

Joseph Ganci


Joe Ganci is President of eLearningJoe, LLC, a custom learning company located outside Washington. D.C. Joe has been involved in every aspect of multimedia and learning development. He holds a degree in Computer Science and writes books and articles about eLearning. He is widely considered a guru for his expertise in eLearning development and technology, and he consults with clients worldwide, creating eLearning modules and templates, often training personnel in their use and then making himself available to assist if necessary. Of course, Joe and his team also create eLearning from start to finish, performing the proper analyses, design needs, the development of the learning and its implementation. Joe evaluates eLearning results, both for his own work and the work of others for his clients.

Joe is also a frequent teacher and presenter online and at industry conferences and client sites (during times without a pandemic!) , especially on the subject of eLearning design and development tools. His tool reviews appear each month in Learning Solutions Magazine and he is the recipient of several awards and many letters of recommendation for his work in eLearning, including a Lifetime Achievement Award way back in 1999 and the second ever eLearning GuildMaster Award in 2013. His mission is to improve the quality of eLearning with practical approaches that work.


Apostolos Koutropoulos


Apostolos Koutropoulos ("AK") is the program manager for the online Master of Arts program in Applied Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is also adjunct faculty  in the Instructional Design program Master of Education program at UMass Boston, and faculty at the Online Learning Consortium. AK holds a BA in Computer Science, an MBA with a focus on Human Resources Management, an MS in Information Technology, an MEd in Instructional Design, and an MA in Applied Linguistics with  a focus on foreign language teaching. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Athabasca University. In addition to Blended Learning, his interests include knowledge management, educational technology, open education, MOOCs, and corpus linguistics. AK prefers to research in a collaborative manner, and such collaborations have included research work in MOOCs, gamification, lurking, and open education. AK is also a past editor for Current Issues in Emerging eLearning.

As member-at-large for IABL, AK is the director of IT, as well as a co-chair for the Graduate Student SIG. He is also a working member of the digital communications and membership committees.

Anastasia Mavraki


Anastasia Mavraki is an enthusiastic educator and e-learning specialist. She has worked in secondary and adult education with the challenge of teaching in multicultural environments. She acquired a Master in Distance Education from Athabasca University of Canada and was involved in several research projects. Her publications raise awareness over mindfulness in distance education. She was voted an IABL Member-at-Large twice, taking over as website facilitator. Also, she is on the membership ub-committee. Currently, she works as an instructional designer in corporate and educational settings using the most common learning technologies and authoring tools along with the pedagogical theories that promote sustainable e-learning. As she possesses planning and organizing skills, leadership qualities as well as the ability to manage risks, issues, and change, she is constantly seeking for new opportunities for personal development and lifelong learning.

Ts. Dr. Helmi Norman


Ts Dr Norman is currently the Deputy Director of Instructional Technologies of the Center for Teaching and Curriculum Development, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and currently drives the e-learning transformation in the university. He is also attached to the Research Center for Teaching and Learning Innovations, Faculty of Education and was the Assistant Dean of Teaching and Citra (cross-curricular studies) faculty and initiated the faculty’s fourth industrial revolution initiatives. His research interests are in the field of digital learning and futuristic education. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator where he is involved in driving consultations of national projects for primary, secondary, and higher education in promoting 1:1 pedagogical and learning approaches using the Apple ecosystem. Notably, he was appointed as a master trainer for training lecturers and professors in higher education nationwide in the Educator 4.0 project, to develop education technology champions among professors and lecturers nationwide. He is also a certified Professional Technologist of the Malaysian Board of Technologists and a member of the Malaysia e-Learning Council for Public Universities (MEIPTA). He is currently a director on the board of directors with the International Association for Blended Learning, which pioneers blended learning initiatives around the globe. He has also been attached at global research institutions, where was attached to the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, University of California San Diego, USA, to study research on computational neuroscience; the Bournemouth University Human Computer Interaction Group, United Kingdom, where he collaborated in research on digital health; and Center for Driven Innovation, Learning and Design (eLL), Aalborg University, Denmark, to study on participatory innovation. Ts Dr Norman has also published numerous books, journal articles, and conference proceedings in the field of digital and futuristic education and notably published a book entitled “The Impact of MOOC on Distance Education in Malaysia and Beyond” with leading scholars from Canada, Austria, Denmark, and Malaysia. He is also the pioneer of “dronagogy” in designing futuristic education with drone-based learning.


Dr. Gwendolyn Willis-Darpoh

Past-President & Founding Director

Gwendolyn Willis-Darpoh, Ph.D., is a retired Senior Researcher with the American Institutes for Research. She is an educational consultant (K-16) and an expert in the field educational communications and technology, as well as in cultural and linguistic competence (CLC).  Dr. Willis-Darpoh also has significant expertise in teacher training/culturally responsive teaching, diversity, disproportionality and disparities and is a certified blended learning developer. An educator with more than 35 years of experience, she has presented nationally and internationally on blended learning and conducted research for multinational organizations. Dr. Willis-Darpoh is a two-time Fulbright scholar (Nigeria 1988; Germany 1997) and was a member of the Fulbright Association’s National Board of Directors.  In addition, she served on the Research and Innovation Advisory Board of the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL) and is the Past President and Founding Director of the International Association for Blended Learning. Gwendolyn earned a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, a M.Ed. from the American University, and a B.S. from Virginia State University.



Dr. Mohamed Ally

Founding Director

Dr. Mohamed Ally is Professor in Distance Education and a researcher in the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute at Athabasca University in Canada. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Canada. His current areas of research include mobile learning, e-learning, distance education, and use of information and communication technology in training and education. Dr. Ally is Past-President of the International Federation of Training and Development Organizations (IFTDO) and is one of the Founding Directors of the International Association of Mobile Learning (IamLearn). He was also on the board of the Canadian Society for Training and Development. Dr. Ally chaired the Fifth World Conference on Mobile Learning and co-chaired the First International Conference on Mobile Libraries. He recently edited seven books on the use of mobile technology in education, training and libraries and is currently editing three additional books. His book “Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training” won the Charles A. Wedemeyer Award for significant contribution to distance education. Two of his research papers won the best research paper award at national and international conferences. Dr. Ally has published in peer-reviewed journals, chapters in books and encyclopedia and served on many journal boards and conference committees. He has presented keynote speeches, workshops, papers, and seminars in many countries.


Dr. Avgoustos Tsinakos

Past-Treasurer & Founding Director

Dr Tsinakos Avgoustos is a Professor and Director of Advanced Educational Technologies and Mobile Applications Lab in the Department of Computing Science at International Hellenic University in Greece. He is also the Director of the European Master “Immersive Technologies - Innovation in Education, Training and Game Design (IMT)”, Member of the Institute of Educational Research and Development of the International Hellenic University (12/2019-present), Director of the Education Pillar of the Con-E-Ect Headquarters of UNESCO in Greece (2016-present), Member of the Open Source Working Group for "Content and Equipment in Higher Education" for the Ministry of Education (April 2016-today), Founding Director of the International Association for Blended Learning (IABL) for Europe and Past-Treasurer, National Ambassador of SELFIE (2018-present), Member of the National Advisory Committee EDYTE SA for research and technology issues (2020), Member of the Board of the Lifelong Learning Center of the International University of Greece (2020) - Previous Positions,  Member of the Board of the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (9/2018 to 11/2019), Director of the Lifelong Learning Centre of the International University of Greece - Kavala Branch (2018-4 / 2019) and Member of the Bologna Expert Group for the Ministry of Education (2011-2013).

As part of his academic activities, he participates and collaborates scientifically with several Open Universities such as Canada, Spain, the Netherlands and China. Since 1997 he has been engaged in research in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Distance Education, and since 2010 he has been teaching in postgraduate programs in Greece and abroad in thematic units related to distance education, new technologies in education and learning, and development of Mobile and Augmented Reality applications. He has been / is a Coordinator (or member of the Coordination Team) in more than 19 national / international programs related to distance education and Technology Supported Learning and has participated in more than 50 global / international / national conferences as a guest speaker / presenter. His list of publications includes four books in English and one book in Chinese with over 2,000,000 readers, four book chapters, more than 75 articles on e-learning / mobile learning and Augmented Reality. Awards and Distinctions involve UNESCO GREECE Nomination for the ARTutor augmented reality platform he developed, GOLDEN PRIZE from the Education Leaders Awards 2019 competition, category "Digital Higher Education” and 2020 Outstanding Distinction Award for AU Faculty Members from the AUGSA Committee.

Further Details available at: http://tsinakos.cs.ihu.gr

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