Happy Thanksgiving 2022!
November 22, 2022 — A note from USDLA Executive Director Pat Cassella: Dear friends, as we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we should remind ourselves that no matter the challenges in our lives, we are blessed to have friends and family in the world of distance education. I’m grateful I share this passion with my sisters, both educators who have shown me the importance of giving back to the community.
This month I am excited to shine a spotlight on a good friend and our dedicated USDLA Member of the Month, David Stein. Please scroll down for our Q&A with the former chair and current treasurer of Ohio DLA.
We also want to thank everyone for joining us during our recent 2022 National Distance Learning Week sessions. We had a record turnout! As a special gift to celebrate the start of the 2022 holiday season, we are offering non-members FREE ACCESS to the webinars until December 16th. To view the sessions, click here and create a complimentary account, or you can log in with your prior NDLW registration credentials. Note that all USDLA members will enjoy permanent access to these assets. We invite everyone thinking about joining our association to celebrate themselves and become one of the thousands of members of our international organization. Click here for membership information: usdla.org/membership
From myself and the USDLA Board of Directors, we wish you and yours a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season! — Pat, firstname.lastname@example.org
This Month’s USDLA Member Spotlight on David Stein
Meet David: A lifelong resident of Central Ohio, David Stein has worked at the Licking Area Computer Association in Newark for 19 years. One of 18 Information Technology Centers created by the Ohio Legislature, LACA is an Internet Service Provider for public and community PreK-12 schools. There, David supports video services, including a distance learning program that delivers daily classes and content provider sessions to schools. He also is the treasurer of OhioDLA, having previously been its chair for seven years. Outside of work, David enjoys the outdoors, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends.
USDLA: Tell us a little about yourself and the work you do.
David: I work in a technology support role for K-12 schools in Ohio that includes a longstanding distance learning program of daily courses taught in traditional classrooms and content provider programs. I also serve on the OhioDLA board and work with many great collaborators in distance learning statewide.
USDLA: You have had an impressive career. What are you most proud of?
David: I am most proud of relationships formed with similarly-focused individuals dedicated to bringing greater opportunity to students and educators. It is very rewarding to help remove barriers to quality education and allow equitable access for all students.
USDLA: What has been your biggest challenge?
David: Staff turnover and excessive responsibility make continuity of quality programming challenging to maintain with schools. It takes dedicated, driven individuals who commit to promoting and supporting proven distance learning models within school districts to achieve the greatest possible outcome for students.
USDLA: Regarding the distance learning industry, what are you most excited about in the future?
David: The expansion and flexibility of cloud-based videoconferencing and integration with learning management systems have reduced capital expense, opening doors into and beyond the physical classroom to involve many more remote learners than could have previously been reached.
USDLA: What do you think are the biggest challenges for distance learning?
David: Lack of acceptance by some schools and educators has hindered growth; schools that adopt distance learning programs do not see a decrease in the need for instructors – in fact, options increase for instructors willing to teach remotely or in combination with their local class. Workload increases, and specialized classes can reach more students. The pandemic paved the way for greater familiarity and adoption of distance learning technology. Although there has been a drive to return to the traditional classroom environment, numerous new localized distance learning programs have emerged and continue to develop. Collaboration is key to ensuring that strong programs flourish and best practices are widely adopted.
USDLA: As a member of USDLA, how has the organization helped you professionally?
David: As an individual and state chapter leader, my USDLA membership helped me become organized and understand what traits are most important to create a strong state chapter.
USDLA: Why do you think it’s a great idea to join USDLA?
David: USDLA membership opens doors to other like-minded individuals and groups. It is an excellent collaborative means to exchange ideas, become more effective, and learn from others. Our USDLA membership has introduced us to other Ohio distance learning specialists who have joined OhioDLA and have become strong contributors. The USDLA annual conferences are an indispensable resource.
USDLA: What’s next for you professionally and personally?
David: I intend to do what I can to support distance learning and work with all of the great colleagues I have come to know through my experiences.
USDLA: Thank you so much for your time and support, David! We look forward to continuing to work with you for years to come!