August 8, 2023: Learn about the Ohio Distance Learning Association Paul Hieronymus in this week’s edition of USDLA News

Hello USDLA friends — In this week’s edition of USDLA News, we are happy to introduce you to Paul Hieronymus (pictured right), who is in his third year as chairman of the Ohio Distance Learning Association (OhioDLA).

He is one of the organization’s founding members, serving on its board when it formalized as a state chapter of USDLA. Paul is the Director of Information, Technology & Integration for the North Ridgeville City Schools. Before OhioDLA and North Ridgeville, Paul served as president of ISTE’s Special Interest Group for Interactive Video Distance Learning and as a core volunteer for ISTE’s National Conference, running video operations from 2008 – 2013. He has been very active with Google Apps for Education and is one of Ohio’s first Google Certified Educators. Since 2004, he has worked with teachers from the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia to establish classroom-to-classroom collaborations.

Please scroll down for our Q&A with Paul to learn all about what OhioDLA is working on. Also below, check out the Research Laboratory for Digital Learning at the Ohio State University, where you’ll learn 3 ways to use ChatGPT to help students learn – and not cheat, according to Kui Xie and Eric M. Anderman.

And we want to remind you to complete our survey regarding upcoming Public Policy webinars for 2023-2024. If you want to speak on one of the public policy topics or suggest an expert, click here to complete the proposal form. Webinars are one-hour and include Q&A. Please reply by Friday, September 15, 2023. Questions? Send an email to committee chair Alexandra Salas:

Public Policy topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The Higher Education Value Proposition
  • Economic and Workforce Development
  • Public Perception of Higher Education
  • Enrollment Decline and College Affordability
  • Student Basic Needs
  • The Impact of AI on Higher Education
  • AI and Healthcare
  • K-12 Teacher Workforce
  • State Operating Support for Public Colleges and Universities
  • College Completion and Student Success
  • Accreditation
  • DEI
  • Micro credentialing
  • Online Program Management

Speaking of webinars: Don’t forget to mark your calendar for our Free Friday Webinar Series starting up on Aug. 18. Register for the following at

  • August 18: “The Ivory Tower of Babel? Concerns and Opportunities for ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education” with Dr. Adam Wilson and Instructor Allen Shull. Register here.
  • August 25: “Tapping into Tik Tok: Techniques for Teaching Today” with Shaunice Sasser. Register here.
  • September 1: “Global Educational Mentorship (GEM)” with Toni Hill, Olimpia Leite-Trambly, and Jane Miller. Register here.
  • September 8: “Where to Start with IDEAs (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility)? Understanding the Challenges & Opportunities!” with Rosemary Okoiti and Juliet C. Hart. Register here.

We’ll be back in touch on Thursday with our USDLA Brief. Until then, have a wonderful week! —  USDLA Communications Committee

Q&A with Ohio USDLA Chair Paul Hieronymus

USDLA: Tell us about the Ohio chapter of USDLA.

Paul: The OhioDLA has been a member of USDLA since 2012. As a state member of this organization, we aim to promote video conferencing in the schools we represent. We currently have 37 organizations as paying members, including all 18 of Ohio’s information technology centers, museums like the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the Cincinnati Museum Center. The OhioDLA recently welcomed our first four-year secondary institution when the University of Akron joined our group last year. Every summer, the OhioDLA holds a summer planning meeting to create a list of yearly goals for the association. This year’s goals will focus on strengthening the membership and providing distance learning projects for our member schools. Our governing board will approve the 2023-24 Goals in the fall.

USDLA: What have been your organization’s most significant challenges?

Paul: As a volunteer organization, we are always looking for ways to involve more members in our committees actively. At our summer planning meeting, we elected committee chairs who helped develop our yearly organizational goals. We have a great group of educators taking leadership roles and hope to see an increase in our committee members.

USDLA: Tell us about your organization’s big wins and what you look forward to in the coming years.

Paul: The OhioDLA had several wins last year. We played a key role in our State Technology Conference, returning in person after a three-year remote-only presence. Our collaborations and special project committee had a great year facilitating six events reaching kindergarten through high school students. Our highlighted events include Zoom discussions with Holocaust survivors, Math Marvels, and One World Many Languages. The committee is finalizing its 2023-24 offerings which will be posted to the OhioDLA website in the fall.

USDLA: How has USDLA’s national chapter been helpful to your efforts?

Paul: Being a state chapter has been very beneficial to our membership. Their leadership has guided us to improve our management, and they provide several learning opportunities for our membership. Their notoriety has brought several organizations to our chapter, many of which have played key roles in our success.

USDLA: How do you collaborate with other USDLA chapters?

Paul: Through meetings with other chapters, we have had the opportunity to learn successful programming and leadership strategies. We look forward to meeting with our fellow chapters this year and hearing their success stories.

USDLA: What would you like to see moving forward in terms of a united national effort to increase awareness about distance learning?

Paul: We would love to see our state chapters collaborate on shared projects that enhance learning through distance education.

USDLA: What do you believe is the future of distance learning? 

Paul: We will see an increase in hybrid learning environments. As schools around the country continue to struggle with finding quality educators, the opportunity to share resources through synchronous and asynchronous learning delivery will play a key role as we move forward. OhioDLA is working to help our member schools use distance learning strategies to enhance their curriculums.

Learn more:

Research of the Week: 3 ways to use ChatGPT to help students learn and not cheat

The Research Laboratory for Digital Learning at the Ohio State University strives to understand how students learn in technology-supported learning environments and how to design, develop and integrate innovative technology capable of promoting students’ motivation and engagement in digital learning to impact student success positively. Its research focuses on areas where technology is essential in supporting meaningful learning, including computer-supported collaborative learning, motivation and self-regulated learning, learning analytics and social network analysis, artificial intelligence in education, virtual world and educational games, digital learning design and development, and teacher technology professional development. We are particularly interested in multi-disciplinary collaborative projects where innovative learning technologies bring the potential to benefit students’ learning and achievement.

Since ChatGPT can engage in conversation and generate essays, computer codes, charts, and graphs that closely resemble those created by humans, educators worry students may use it to cheat. A growing number of school districts across the country have decided to block access to ChatGPT on computers and networks. As professors of educational psychology and educational technology, we’ve found that the main reason students cheat is their academic motivation. For example, sometimes students are just motivated to get a high grade, whereas other times, they are motivated to learn all that they can about a topic. The decision to cheat or not, therefore, often relates to how academic assignments and tests are constructed and assessed, not on the availability of technological shortcuts. When they have the opportunity to rewrite an essay or retake a test if they don’t do well initially, students are less likely to cheat. We believe teachers can use ChatGPT to increase their students’ motivation for learning and actually prevent cheating. Here are three strategies for doing that.

Click here to learn 3 ways to use ChatGPT to help students learn – and not cheat, by Kui Xie, The Ohio State University, and Eric M. Anderman, The Ohio State University.