About the Authors

Kim MacKinnon, Ph.D., OCT

Kim MacKinnon is currently an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, and the Online Teaching & Learning Coordinator for OISE’s Master of Teaching program. Her research interests include computer-supported collaborative learning, online teaching and learning, and teacher professional development. She currently teaches courses on Integrating Technology into the Classroom, Social Media & Education, and Educational Research. In Fall 2020, Dr. MacKinnon also assumed the role of Director of the Eureka! Research Institute @ UTS (University of Toronto Schools). She can be followed on Twitter @kimmackinnon.

Lesley Wilton, Ph.D., OCT

Lesley Wilton (she/her), is an Assistant Professor (CLT), Teaching Stream in the Faculty of Education at York University, who has been teaching at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)/University of Toronto since 2012. Her research and teaching interests include issues and practices of integrating technology into teaching, issues in literacy, constructivist and CMC perspectives on the design of online learning environments, blended learning, and artificial intelligence in education. She completed her PhD research at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)/University of Toronto, where she studied social practices and new literacies in online learning. She recently co-edited and contributed to the Handbook of Research on Online Discussion-Based Teaching Methods (2020) and has authored many peer-reviewed papers such as “Quiet Participation: Investigating non-posting activities in online learning” in the Online Learning Journal (2019). She is a member of the International Artificial Intelligence in Education Society and is interested in this area of research. She joins the call for more educators to publish research on issues of AIED. She can be followed on Twitter @LesleyWilton. You can also find her profile here: https://www.digitallife.org/profile/lesley-wilton/.

Shelley Murphy, Ph.D.

Shelley Murphy is a former elementary teacher and current lecturer, researcher, and Course and Curriculum Development Leader in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE/University of Toronto. She teaches in the Master of Teaching Program and in the Wellbeing Emphasis of the Curriculum and Pedagogy Program. Shelley developed and teaches graduate courses in Mental Health & Wellbeing and the Theory and Practice of Mindfulness in Education. Shelley’s current research is focused on educator wellbeing and mindfulness in school settings. She is a certified Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness (TSM) teacher and is a professional member of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association (IMTA) and the American Mindfulness Research Association (AMRA). She is the recipient of A Mindful Society’s 2019 Michele Chaban Spirit of Leadership Award for her work and research in the field. Shelley is the author of Fostering Mindfulness which was released in 2019 through Pembroke Publishers. Visit her at: http://www.fosteringmindfulness.ca.

Brenda Stein Dzaldov, Ph.D., OCT

Brenda Stein Dzaldov is an Instructor, Faculty Advisor, Cohort Coordinator and Course and Curriculum Development Leader in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE/University of Toronto. She teaches courses in the Master of Teaching Program on Child and Adolescent Development, Special Education and Mental Health, Fundamentals of Teaching and Learning, and Curriculum and Teaching in Literacy.  She is also a faculty member in the department of Language and Literacies Education. Her interests lie in all areas of literacy education in addition to researching inclusive practices in schools that result in meaningful assessment and authentic learning. She is a former K-8 classroom teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, literacy mentor teacher and school administrator. Brenda’s most recent publications include: Ready, Set, Learn (Pembroke Publishers, 2015) which investigates how to integrate powerful learning skills and strategies into daily instruction; and Inspiring Meaningful Learning (Pembroke, Publishers 2018) which shares strategies for designing lessons that engage students in deep learning.  In 2019, Dr. Stein Dzaldov was the recipient of the Excellence in Initial Teacher Education Award at OISE/UT.

Dania Wattar, Ph.D., OCT

Dania Wattar is a sessional lecturer in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at OISE, University of Toronto.  She teaches courses related to the integration of technology into teaching and supporting multilingual learners. Dr. Wattar has worked as an Online Teaching Coach supporting staff in transitioning to online teaching since 2020. She is a certified teacher in Ontario and currently works as an academic consultant. Dr. Wattar’s research explores inclusion and equity, international education, technology integration, online learning, supporting multilingual learners, multilingual technology, Math and literacy education and curriculum. She can be followed on Twitter @DaniaW1.

Jacob DesRochers, MA, M.Ed

Jacob DesRochers is currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. His research examines secularisms, sexuality, and religion in K-12 education. Jacob also researches gender and sexual diversity in K-12 and teacher education, and equity, diversity, and inclusion policies and practices in higher education. He currently works with Arts and Science Online to provide support for remote instruction. Jacob also teaches Meeting the Needs of Learners in the Faculty of Education, which supports pre-service teachers in their efforts to plan and implement educational policies and ministry frameworks in their pedagogy and practice. Presently, Jacob is a representative on the Queen’s University Sexual Violence, Prevention and Response Task Force, a member of the General Research Ethics Board, and a Graduate Inclusivity Fellow with the Queen’s School of Graduate Studies. He can be followed on Twitter at @DesRochersJake.

Alison Mann B.A., B.Ed., M.A.

Alison Mann has 24 years of teaching experience in both the K-12 panel and post-secondary education. Currently, Alison is a teaching faculty member at Ontario Tech University’s Bachelor of Education program. She teaches various courses, including Learning in Digital Contexts, Equity and Diversity, Foundations of Education, and Independent Inquiry and Internship. Alison is completing her Ph.D. at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), focusing on collaborative media production in global online learning environments. Her disciplinary background in film production and media education has guided her other areas of research interests, including critical media literacy, instructional video production, and the use of video and audio tools to increase student presence in online contexts. Alison has been a guest at national and international conferences to speak about media education in Ontario and participatory film production with youth.



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Designing for Meaningful Synchronous and Asynchronous Discussion in Online Courses Copyright © 2022 by Kim MacKinnon; Lesley Wilton; Shelley Murphy; Brenda Stein Dzaldov; Dania Wattar; Jacob DesRochers; and Alison Mann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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