Online Learning

Our Partners


The development of the program and its curricula are informed by ongoing consultations with industry experts and stakeholders including:

  • DL school principals and educational practitioners working in the field of online learning
  • VIU Innovation & Excellence staff
  • A program Advisory Team comprised of DL principals, industry experts and stakeholders:

Karen Flello, BEd, MEd,
Principal, South Island Distance Education School (SIDES)

Dr. David Gregg, B.A., BEd, MEd, EdD.,
e-Learning Division, BC Ministry of Education

Dave has worked as a teacher, administrator and consultant for schools, districts, and non-profit groups for 30 years. He taught, and was a school-based administrator, in a number of small rural schools in Northern British Columbia. In 1993 he was instrumental in the conception and design of one of the province’s first online DL schools, Ebus Academy. Dave worked with Ebus for over a decade and sat on the Board of Directors of BCED Online.

After completing a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Technology, Dave began working with the e-Learning group at the BC Ministry of Education. His prime responsibilities include DL policy and legislation and the province’s DL Quality Review program.

Julia Hengstler, B.A. M.A.(DL)
Instructor / Educational Technologist, Faculty of Education, VIU

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.

Dr. Randy LaBonte, BEd, MEd, PhD
Destiny Education Consulting Ltd.

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

Greg Lewis, B.A., MEd
Librarian/Network Administrator, Ballenas Secondary, School District 68, Nanaimo/Ladysmith

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” (Eugenics), 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.

Mary O'Neill, A.A., M.A.(DL)
OLTD Program Coordinator, Educational Technologies Instructor,
Faculty of Education, VIU

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. Mary instructs courses and workshops in instructional technologies and their applications for pre and in-service teachers. She formally instructs EDTE 611 Instructional Design: Application of Instructional Technologies and EDPB 600: Professional Portfolio.

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 archetecture and e-Portfolio.

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

Scott Saywell, BEd, MEd
Assistant Superintendent , School District 68, Nanaimo/Ladysmith

Scott has been instrumental in the creation and development of distributed learning in the Nanaimo/Ladysmith Public School District and as District Principal of Learning Alternatives continues to administer the day to day operations of both Learn@home K-7 and Learn@Home 8-12.

Over the past few years Scott has been enthusiastically promoting the creation of information rich learning environments that empower learners to be both knowledgeable and knowledge-able. As a learner, Scott continues to be interested in how technology assisted education can improve student learning.

Scott has been an educator for over 20 years and has worked in a wide array of schools/learning environments. His new role as Assistant Superintendent for Nanaimo/Ladysmith Public Schools his will include responsibility for the district's Learn@Home K-12 and Learning Alternatives DL opportunities.

Jeff Stewart, BEd, MEd
Principal, North Island Distance Education School (NIDES)

Jeff Stewart began his professional career in education in 1986 as a volunteer teacher in Bequia,  St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  Over the past 25 years he has worked as a teacher in Ontario and British Columbia, with experience as an educator in First Nations, inner city, rural/interior, suburban and remote communities.  His employment includes working as a faculty associate with the UBC Faculty of Education in the mid 90s.  Jeff has been doing the school based administration game since 1998 and has served as a principal at the district, secondary, middle and elementary levels during that time, including two years as a director of an independent school in BC. 

His journey into distributed learning (DL) began in January 2010 when his career was once again radically redirected by the fickle finger of fat .  Jeff’s fascination with things DL is fueled by the growing importance of online and blended learning as part of the 21st Century/personalized learning agenda and the promise that it holds to support new platforms and frontiers for education in the decades to come. 

He has been a chapter president and/or a vice president for the principals’ and vice-principals’ associations in two districts, served on the provincial pro-d committee for the BCPVPA and is currently the Chair of the BC School Based Mental Health Coalition, as well as a Director with the BC Distributed Learning Administrators Association.  The proud father of three school age children, Jeff resides in the beautiful community of Courtenay, BC.

Tim Winkelmans,
Manager, e-Learning Programs Unit, BC Ministry of Education

Specialties: Distance education and online learning (policy, funding, instructional delivery)