Online Teaching

Meet the Team: Alex

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Alexandra M. Pickett

Alexandra M. Pickett

Alexandra M. Pickett leads the SUNY Online Teaching unit, and is the former director of Open SUNY Online Teaching, the director of Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence, and the associate director of the SUNY Learning Network (SLN), the asynchronous learning network for the State University of New York under the offices of the Provost and Advanced Learning and Information Services.

A pioneer in instructional design and faculty development for asynchronous web-based teaching and learning environments, Ms. Pickett has since 1994 led the development of the instructional design methods, support services, and resources used by SLN to support the development and delivery of full web online courses by SUNY campuses and faculty. She has spent the past 20 years conceptualizing and implementing scaleable, replicable, and sustainable institutionalized online faculty development and course design and delivery processes that in the current academic year will result in the delivery of 7,500+ fully online course sections with 100,000+  student enrollments. One of the original SLN design team members, she co-designed the course management software and authored the 4-stage faculty development process and 7-step course design process used by the network. Her comprehensive approach to online faculty development included an online faculty resource and information gateway, an online conference for all faculty with the opportunity to observe a wide variety of online courses, a series of workshops for new faculty, instructional design sessions for returning online faculty looking to improve their courses, a developer’s handbook, a course template, a faculty HelpDesk, online mechanisms for faculty evaluation of program services, and a assigned online instructional designer.

Her leadership and direction of this area of the program were recognized when in 2001 SLN was honored with the first Sloan Consortium Award for Excellence in ALN Faculty Development. In 2002 SLN received the Sloan-C award for Excellence in Institution-Wide ALN Programming,and the Educause award for Systematic Progress in Teaching and Learning for 2001. SLN was honored with the 2006 USDLA 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Leaning, NUTN Distance Education Innovation Award 2009, and the Sloan-C 2010 Effective Practice Award. She has directly supported or coordinated the development of more than 5,000 SUNY faculty and their web-delivered courses and has trained more than 300 online instructional designers. She also authored a Wave 1 winning proposal selected to receive funding in the Next Generation Learning Challenges competition, sponsored by the Gates and Hewlett Foundations. The project funded the The SUNY SLN “Catch-up and Complete” Enhanced Blended Learning Initiative. She was recognized as a Sloan Fellow in 2012, an honor conferred by the Sloan-C Board of Directors for her outstanding qualifications in the field of online learning; exceptional contributions to the field of online learning; a record of distinguished service to Sloan-C; and extraordinary contributions & leadership in the field of online learning – specifically “For innovation and vision in conceptualizing and implementing high-quality faculty development programs and course design and delivery processes.” In addition to her work at SLN, she is an adjunct in the University at Albany, Department of Education Theory and Practice, teaching Introduction to Online Teaching in the online CDIT master’s program and the COLT certificate program at the University at Albany from 2006-2014. Her interests are in large-scale online faculty development, effective online instructional design, online student success and support, and technology-enhanced (web2.0) teaching and learning.  She has co-authored a number of research publications, and consults and speaks nationally and internationally on effective online teaching and learning, large-scale online faculty development, online instructional design, and using web technologies to enhance instruction online.  Publications. Awards.

Alex contributes to a number of state and national committees and organizations. She was an elected member of the former National University Technology Network advisory board, and regularly contributes to varied committees for the OLC Accelerate and OLC Innovate conferences. She is the co-recipient of a number of national awards including the recognizing excellence in online faculty development, distance learning innovation, online effective practices, and institution-wide programming and systematic progress from Sloan-C, USDLA, OLC, WCET, and received the 2015 NUTN Nofflet Williams Service Award. She served on the Campus Technology Advisory Board for 2013-2015, and the advisory council for the 2013-2016 UPCEA Center for Online Leadership and Strategy. She was appointed by the New York State’s Governor’s Office to the NYS Education Department’s Online Learning Advisory Council from June 2015 to November 2015, which produced recommendations for the NYS Governor, Legislature and Commissioner of Education on K12 Online Learning, served as an expert panelist for the Horizon Reports for 2017-2019 and 2023 higher education editions; and was most recently invited to be a Middle States Commission on Higher Education peer evaluator in March 2020, serving as a Team Member in 2022.

Today, leading the SUNY Onlne Teaching unit, she and her team work to support the mission of access, success, and completion by developing, over seeing, or supporting new program areas and initiatives in the four main areas: the Online Community of Practice, Online Competency Development, Course Supports (Review & Refresh with OSCQR), and Online Teaching and Learning Innovation and Research.

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