Rhonda D. Blackburn, PhD, VP and Chief Academic Officer for LoudCloud Systems, has been working in academia for the pasts 20+ years as a teacher, administrator, trainer, and consultant. Now she takes that experience and applies that knowledge to make her clients successful in their eLearning goals and initiatives. As the VP and Chief Academic Officer, she helps clients create competency based courses that allow the students to track their learning and move through a curriculum at a pace that meets the students’ needs and learning experiences and enhance on-ground and online courses through the use of technology and learning outcomes assessment. She is also focused on developing a strong learning community and making sure all clients are positioned to be successful in their implementation and use of LoudCloud technology. Before coming to LoudCloud, Rhonda was the Senior Advisory Consultant and Strategic Account Manager for Higher Education for Desire2Learn, where she provided guidance and planning for state-wide consortiums and large institutions. As a Strategic Account Manager, her responsibilities included developing strategic plans for clients and creating strategies to implement instructional technology across the schools and systems. Rhonda stayed in constant contact with key stakeholders and together they developed yearly goals and initiatives. When she transitioned roles into the Senior Advisory Consultant position, she was able to work with any client at Desire2Learn with implementations, accreditations, and strategic planning.
Prior to Desire2Learn, Dr. Blackburn was the Associate Provost of Educational Enhancement at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her office covered faculty development, instructional technology, distance education, media/video services, and classroom experience. Within this capacity, she supported faculty while helping them develop well designed courses, both traditional and online. She also guided her staff in understanding the technology and how it can be used effectively in a classroom setting. She spearheaded the redesign and integration of technology into the classrooms throughout the campus. Through research on the classroom experience, she was able to show how faculty development, the right technology and classroom materials, could improve student retention and learning. She conducted workshops, departmental trainings, and one-on-one consultations with faculty and support staff across campus and developed a Teaching Academy Certification, which helped faculty and teaching assistance understand the art of teaching.
Dr. Blackburn always expresses how much fun it is to work with a client (either faculty member or state-wide consortium) on redesigning their courses and eLearning initiatives with best practices in mind. Thinking outside the box to determine the best way to help students understand the concepts and apply the knowledge they have learned is a rewarding experience.
Dr. Blackburn is also working with a group of educational professionals through the Texas Distance Learning Association to develop a professional development MOOC that is competency based. This MOOC will be a way for faculty or trainers to learn how to be an online instructor or for someone that would like to receive a refresher to build their skills. This venture is being built completely at a distance with all individuals on the committee working in different geographical locations. The MOOC is planned to go live in the Summer 2015.
Dr. Blackburn currently teaches a graduate course online entitled Emerging Technology Trends in Distance Education and eLearning at the University of Maryland, University College and an undergraduate online course at Tarleton in Research Methods. She previously taught a face-to-face course at University of Texas at Dallas entitled Knowing and Learning in Math and Science. In addition to these courses, she has taught graduate, undergraduate, community college, continuing education, and high school courses since 1989 in face-to-face, hybrid, and online modalities. In all of her courses she utilizes technology to enhance the learning experience for the students.
Dr. Blackburn received her B.S. in psychology at Texas A&M University and M.A. in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Career Development Education and a specialty in Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University. She is also actively involved with numerous associations focused on lifelong learning including Texas Distance Learning Association (TxDLA) where she is past-president, United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) where she is on the advisory board, and the National Universities Technology Network (NUTN) as a board member. She has also participated in diverse associations such as the Association of Higher Education and Disability in Texas (TxAHEAD) where she was secretary and the Texas Blackboard Users Group (TBUG) where she was a past-president.