Meet the Team: Alex

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Alexandra M. Pickett

Alexandra M. Pickett

Alexandra M. Pickett leads the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence and is the former Associate Director of the SUNY Learning Network (SLN), the asynchronous learning network for the State University of New York under the offices of the Provost and Advanced Learning and Information Services.

A pioneer in instructional design and faculty development for asynchronous web-based teaching and learning environments, Ms. Pickett has since 1994 led the development of the instructional design methods, support services, and resources used by SLN to support the development and delivery of full web online courses by SUNY campuses and faculty. She has spent the past 20 years conceptualizing and implementing scaleable, replicable, and sustainable institutionalized online faculty development and course design and delivery processes that in the current academic year will result in the delivery of 7,500+ fully online course sections with 100,000+  student enrollments. One of the original SLN design team members, she co-designed the course management software and authored the 4-stage faculty development process and 7-step course design process used by the network. Her comprehensive approach to online faculty development included an online faculty resource and information gateway, an online conference for all faculty with the opportunity to observe a wide variety of online courses, a series of workshops for new faculty, instructional design sessions for returning online faculty looking to improve their courses, a developer’s handbook, a course template, a faculty HelpDesk, online mechanisms for faculty evaluation of program services, and a assigned online instructional designer.

Her leadership and direction of this area of the program were recognized when in 2001 SLN was honored with the first Sloan Consortium Award for Excellence in ALN Faculty Development. In 2002 SLN received the Sloan-C award for Excellence in Institution-Wide ALN Programming,and the Educause award for Systematic Progress in Teaching and Learning for 2001. SLN was honored with the 2006 USDLA 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Leaning, NUTN Distance Education Innovation Award 2009, and the Sloan-C 2010 Effective Practice Award. She has directly supported or coordinated the development of more than 5,000 SUNY faculty and their web-delivered courses and has trained more than 300 online instructional designers. She also authored a Wave 1 winning proposal selected to receive funding in the Next Generation Learning Challenges competition, sponsored by the Gates and Hewlett Foundations. The project funded the The SUNY SLN “Catch-up and Complete” Enhanced Blended Learning Initiative. She was recognized as a Sloan Fellow in 2012, an honor conferred by the Sloan-C Board of Directors for her outstanding qualifications in the field of online learning; exceptional contributions to the field of online learning; a record of distinguished service to Sloan-C; and extraordinary contributions & leadership in the field of online learning – specifically “For innovation and vision in conceptualizing and implementing high-quality faculty development programs and course design and delivery processes.” In addition to her work at SLN, she is an adjunct in the University at Albany, Department of Education Theory and Practice, teaching Introduction to Online Teaching in the online CDIT master’s program. Her interests are in large-scale online faculty development, effective online instructional design, online student success and support, and technology-enhanced (web2.0) teaching and learning.  She has co-authored a number of studies on these topics and has published, and presents regularly both nationally and internationally. Publications. Awards.

Alex contributes to a number of state and national committees and organizations. She is an elected advisory board member of the National Universities Technology Network and is a member of their executive committee. She has contributed to the NUTN conference planning committee and has served on several awards committees and received the 2015 NUTN Nofflet Williams Service Award. In addition, Alex serves on the steering committees for the Sloan-C  International Conference on Online Learning (now OLC Accelerate) and the Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference and Workshop (now OLC Innovate) and has served as an advisor, program track chair, an effective practices reviewer, and featured sessions chair.  She also serves on the new Campus Technology Advisory Board for 2013-2015, served on the advisory council for the UPCEA Center for Online Leadership and Strategy 2013-2016, was appointed by the New York State’s Governor’s Office to the NYS Education Department’s Online Learning Advisory Council from June 2015 to November 2015, which was charged to produce recommendations for the NYS Governor, Legislature and Commissioner of Education on k12 Online Learning, and most recently was invited to the panel of experts by the New Media Consortium (NMC) to contribute to the higher education Horizon Report for 2017.

Today, leading Open SUNY COTE, she and her team are working to take SUNY online faculty development to scale working with input from various campus work teams and groups to support the mission of access, success and completion by developing, over seeing, or supporting new program areas and initiatives in the four COTE pillars: the Online Community of Practice, Online Competency Development, Course Supports (Review & Refresh with OSCQR), and Online Teaching and Learning Innovation and Research.

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