We are delighted to introduce the IABL directors.
Dr. Agnieszka (Aga) Palalas, long time teacher and researcher of adult education and educational technologies, has focused for over a decade on exploring and developing blended and mobile learning solutions. Dr. Palalas has been involved in numerous blended learning projects in North America, Ghana and India. Amongst other assignments, she has worked as a Mobile Learning Specialist at George Brown College, Toronto, Canada as well as in a cross-cultural blended learning project involving Ghana, Canada, and the USA. She is currently teaching graduate courses in m-learning, technology-assisted education, and distance education courses at Athabasca University, Canada and the University of New Mexico, USA. She is also consulting on mobile and blended learning educational interventions. Dr. Palalas has published a number of articles and book chapters pertaining to mobile and blended learning. She has been active in local and international professional associations and is a regular presenter at international conferences. In her over-20-year experience as an educator, Dr. Palalas has taught in the classroom and online, reviewed and designed curriculum, provided professional development, worked as a programmer and instructional designer for mobile, online, F2F, and blended learning programs. 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 is an Associate Professor who joined IABl in 2015 as Middle east Director along with the participation in IABL executive committee where she had the chance to getting in touch with of the best professional experiences. In 2016, she was nominated to handle IABL Secretary role until July 2018, where she was chosen IABL Vice President.
She 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, and designed and delivered more than 15 training programs for community service and development. Her fields of interest are Quality Assurance, training, and Blended Learning. She worked as a teaching staff and Quality Assurance and Accreditation Manager at the Arab Open University/ Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for twelve years.
Dr. Avgoustos Tsinakos is a Professor in the Department of Computing and Informatics Engineering at Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology and he also serves as Coordinator of Master of Distance Education in Greece, on behalf of Athabasca University of Canada since 2009. Professor Tsinakos has a number of publications and was the Coordinator (or member of the Coordination Team) in more than 14 national/international projects on the topic of distance education. Additionally he participated in number of world/international/national conferences as invited speaker/presenter. Since 2011 Prof. Tsinakos has joined the Bologna Expert Team, as National Representative on behalf of the Greek Ministry of Education.
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.
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 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.
Joe Ganci is President of eLearningJoe, LLC, a custom learning company located outside Washington. D.C. Since 1983 he has been involved in every aspect of multimedia and learning development. Joe 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. Joe is also a frequent teacher and presenter at industry conferences and at client sites, especially on the subject of eLearning development tools. His tool reviews appear each month in Learning Solutions Magazine (http://learningsolutionsmag.com/authors/4/joe-ganci) 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. He loves to help others achieve their goals.
He is a currently a Senior e-Learning Specialist at Department of National Defence (DND), Canada. He was hired in 1983 as an educational technologist by Canadore College. He started developing interactive multimedia products in 1984 when he was hired to be part of a team that developed Canada’s first Level III Interactive Videodisc. He contributed as the videographer, graphic designer, programmer and instructional designer. He’s been developing “elearning” ever since. In 1995, he was hired to develop and Coordinate the Interactive Multimedia post-graduate program. It was in this program that the class produced the first online newspaper with streaming video in 1996. In 2011, he developed and taught the first dedicated Mobile Application Development program in North America. This one year program teaches non-computer science students how to develop interactive and engaging mobile apps for Android and iOS platforms. He was also previously on the team that developed Canada’s first Interactive Videodisc (IVD). He still works at home on numerous e-learning projects and commercial mobile applications. He is a published author and wrote a book for Thomson on database driven websites. The book was part of the Web Warrior Series. Mr. Cowcill also travels internationally to speak and host workshops at educational and training conferences.
Dr. Norine Wark is currently a researcher at Athabasca University, Canada. Her international research focuses upon emergent pedagogies, emergent educational and communication technologies (including mobile learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence), the Fourth Industrial Revolution, learner empowerment, and personalized learning. She has taught K-12, special education, and higher education learners, as well as other educators in face-to-face, online, and blended learning environments since the late 1980s. Norine has also developed multimedia courses and programs to be delivered by others in K-12, special education, higher education, and training environments using face-to-face, online, and blended learning approaches. She received the first and second Best Classroom Teacher Awards given in the public school district where she taught and was then recognized as a Master Teacher within her province. Norine is also the recipient of numerous academic awards and scholarships, including the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence and most recently, the Governor General’s Gold Medal for Academic Excellence and Achievement. Norine holds teaching and five-year Bachelor of Education degrees from Simon Fraser University, Canada, as well as Masters and Doctoral degrees in distance education from Athabasca University, Canada. To date, Norine has written, co-authored, and co-presented 30 international peer-reviewed publications and presentations, two of which have won Best Paper Awards. She has just completed a book chapter and is currently working on two books related to her research interests. Norine is an insatiable learner who delights in sharing learning with students and colleagues. She continues to devote countless volunteer hours to assisting students in their programs and research endeavours at Athabasca University, and has now expanded this passion through her work as Founding Chair of the IABL Graduate Student Sub-committee. Norine is also on the newly-formed IABL Podcasting Sub-committee and was recently voted an IABL Member-at-Large.
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.