Online Learning

Our Faculty

OLTD 501 - Foundations of Online Learning (3 credits)

Instructor: Mary O'Neill, AA, MA (DL)

Mary has been with VIU's Education department since 1991 and has seen the program advance in its integration of technology in all curriculum areas. .

She serves as Program Coordinator for the department’s Online Learning & Teaching graduate Diploma (OLTD) and instructs OLTD 501: Introduction to Online Learning and OLTD 510: Capstone Learnings. She also acts as liaison for OLTD graduates laddering in to our Masters of Education (Leadership) MEdL degree program and instructs MEdL 680- Field Inquiry..

Mary holds an Associate of Arts diploma in Applied Communications and a Masters of Arts in Distributed Learning from Royal Roads University, Victoria BC. Her thesis topic presented an investigation of appropriate mind technologies to support effective online learning within a community context. Other research interests include interface design for learning, information architecture and e-Portfolio.

She enjoys travelling, the outdoors, gardening, painting and especially hiking with her trusty Australian Shepherd, Louis Vuitton.

OLTD 502 - Digital Learning Continuum (3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Randy Labonte, BEd, MEd, PhD

Randy has worked as a facilitator, consultant and trainer for schools, districts, corporations, and non-profit groups for 25 years. He is a member of the Canadian Society for Training and Development and a certified strategic planning and facilitation trainer. He has designed workshops and training courses and served as trainer, both online and onsite, for government, non-profit and corporate organizations after 16 successful years as teacher and school administrator.

Randy obtained a Bachelor and Masters of Education, and recently earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia researching leadership in computer-mediated learning technologies. His senior management experience has been in non-profit, government and corporate organizations, presently in an educational software company. For the past 5 years he established and now manages the marketing department of a technology company. The completion of his doctoral studies has led to consulting work in training for the implementation of electronic learning programs for K-12, post-secondary and the corporate sectors.

Specialties: Researcher, trainer, consultant and advocate for technology in education

OLTD 503 - Online Communication (3 credits)

Instructor: Marieke Holtkamp, BA, BEd, MEd

Marieke is the Vice Principal at Navigate (NIDES), a K-12 distributed learning school in the Comox Valley.  Marieke has taught in distributed/blended learning programs for the past 8 years.  In 2012/13 she was part of the team that piloted the ENTER program (Ecademy of New Technology, Engineering and Robotics), a blended program for grade 6-8 students which won the international iNACOL innovative blended and online learning practice award in 2014.  Marieke is also Navigate’s technology support teacher and the administrator of Desire2Learn for the school.  She has experience in developing courses online and has used a variety of platforms to do so.

Marieke is a graduate of VIU’s OLTD and MEdL programs and also has a BEd and a BA in Psychology from the University of Victoria.

Marieke grew up on Vancouver Island and loves all that it has to offer.  She enjoys staying active and her husband and their blended family of 4 daughters and 1 grandson definitely keep her busy.

OLTD 504 - Learning Systems (3 credits)

OLTD 509 - Emerging Technologies and Pedagogies: Challenges and Opportunities (3 credits)

Instructor: Avi Luxenburg, BEd, MEd

In over two decades as an educator, Avi Luxenburg has worked with students from grades two through 12 in subject areas as diverse as Film Production, Humanities, Media Studies, Mathematics, Information Technology, Psychology, Photography, Animation, and much more. 

Avi received the Premier’s Excellence in Teaching Award for School Leadership in 2009.  He received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario, and a Masters in Leadership from Royal Roads University.

Avi has a reputation among his students for challenging them to go beyond their own personal, academic and leadership expectations. He is considered a district leader in using technology for learning, developing processes that help students find a deeper understanding of themselves and of the curricular content, and that help develop skills to exceptional levels.  He works with teachers to help integrate 21st Century Skills into their practice, whether in side-by-side teaching or in a consultative role.

Avi has a reputation for “pushing the edge of envelope” in his work with students and teachers and is a vociferous proponent of student-led learning.

Avi has developed and taught several online courses in various learning management platforms, including Desire2Learn, Moodle, and Google Apps.  He was the Desire2Learn administrator at North Island Distance Education School from 2006 to 2011, in charge of development, trouble-shooting and training.  He is currently one of the School District 71 administrators for the district Moodle course management system, and co-administrator and trainer for the District’s Google Apps learning management systems.

His online development portfolio includes courses such as Photography 11, Discovering da Vinci (Course for secondary gifted students), Humanities 9, Information Technology 10, KEYS: Orientation to 21st Century and Personalized Learning 11, Math 4-9, Information Technology 7-8, and more.

In addition, Avi has developed several educational Web sites and resources, including school Web sites, an Internet Safety site, resource sites for math and technology integration, essay writing interactives, and numerous educational videos.

Avi is a public speaker on topics ranging from Life Online (Internet Safety Workshops for parents), Developing Overarching Principles in Education, Personalized Learning, and more.

OLTD 512 - Instructional Design (3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Alec Couros, BEd, MEd, PhD

Alec helps educators take up the incredible affordances of the digital age while providing them with strategies to avoid the numerous pitfalls.

He has given hundreds of keynote presentations and workshops to K-12, higher education, & corporate audiences across the globe. Popular topics include connected learning through blended and eLearning environments, digital citizenship, digital literacy, digital identity, social media in organizations, digital ethics, internet scams, digital privacy, and cyber-security.

He is an accomplished educator and researcher and has been recognized with numerous awards for teaching and leadership. Alec has worked with education, government, and corporate clients to develop policies and procedures related to technology integration and implementation initiatives.

He has recently been appointed Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Regina.

Most importantly, he's a proud father of four wonderful children and is privileged to learn from them daily as they grow up in this amazing but complex era.

OLTD 506 - Digital Responsibilities and Professionalism (3 credits)

Instructor: Julia Hengstler, BA, MA(DL)

Julia is the Educational Technologist with the Faculty of Education at Vancouver Island University & an Instructor in Educational Technology. Julia has a broad instructional background teaching students from grade 6 to adult in both traditional and non-traditional contexts. Her subject area experience covers English, social studies, math, science, and Spanish courses up to the senior levels. Julia has always had a strong interest in how technology can improve both learning and teaching and developed the Distributed Learning Program at Gulf Islands Secondary. Currently, Julia supports both Education students and faculty in the use of educational technologies. She manages the department website, provides technology related workshops, & supports online course delivery through Moodle.

Julia completed her Certificate in School Management & Leadership at the University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada). In addition, Julia holds a Master of Arts in Distributed Learning from Royal Roads University (Victoria, BC). Her current areas of interest are relational trust, the many ways learners vary, & how technology can optimize learning & teaching.

OLTD 511 - Blended Learning (3 credits)

Instructor: Thomas Diesch, BSc, BEd, Grad Dip (OLTD), MEd

Thomas is a high school science and math teacher with extensive blended learning and teaching experience in both face-to-face and online environments. He has a passion for professional development and has presented regionally and provincially many times. Along with teaching through a blended approach, Thomas is passionate about giving students experiential learning opportunities and has founded various STEAM clubs at schools to provide hands-on experiences for students. He is the President of the BC Educators for Digital Learning Provincial Specialist Association and coordinates professional learning conferences and events in the areas of digital and blended learning for educators in BC. Thomas also teaches for Queen’s Universities Faculty of Education in the Continuing Teacher Education Program. 

Thomas is a graduate of VIU’s OLTD and MEdL programs and also has a BEd from VIU and a B.Sc. from the University of Victoria. 

When he’s not busy inspiring educators to advance their professional practice, he loves spending time with his friends and family in the beautiful outdoors that coastal BC has to offer.

OLTD 508 - Game Based Learning (3 credits)

Instructor: Greg Lewis, BEd, MEd

Greg is a sessional instructor at Vancouver Island University where he teaches EDTE 431 (Instructional Design: Application of Educational Technology).  Prior to joining VIU, he spent 17 years teaching at the secondary level and has taught online courses via the Nautikos/CEAP program for School District 69 – Qualicum. His current teaching assignment includes History 12, network administrator and half-time librarian at Ballenas Secondary School. 

In 2010 he graduated from the MET program at UBC and has a Bachelor in Education from UVic (1994).  

He was part of a collaborative team that produced “The Prairie Populist”, an online site that deals with grassroots democracy and focuses on visual and critical literacy.

Greg is active in professional development for colleagues and has given sessions on blogging, wikis, and using an LMS (Moodle) to assist both students and teachers in their courses.

Faculty members are also offered the opportunity to Supervise students in the VIU MEdL Masters of Education (Leadership) program.