Culture, Learning and Technology
VP of Membership

Phillip Ward
University of South Alabama

I am a PhD candidate in Instructional Design and Development (IDD) at the University of South Alabama (USA). I work as an Instructional Designer and Graduate Assistant at the university's Innovation in Learning Center, coordinating professional development initiatives and integrated instructional technologies for the traditional classroom, blended courses, and fully online learning environments.

I served in the Peace Corps from 2010-2012 as a Teacher of English as Foreign Language at the National Technical University of Oil and Gas in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. My scholarly interests include instructional design for international students, multicultural issues in higher education, and the use of technology as a tool for transnational faculty development. I hold a BA in International Studies and an MS in IDD from USA, as well as an MBA from the University of Mobile.

Multicultural awareness is essential for designing effective learning experiences for diverse learners; an availability and enhancement of instructor training opportunities is necessary to address the academic needs of international students. My research addresses transferability across different contexts and cultures because cultural groups differ in their perceptions, behaviors, communication, or relationships. Designing effective instructional content for learners from diverse global locations requires faculty and staff to establish cultural competencies. For this to happen, colleges and universities must promote and support the educational endeavors for multicultural awareness.

In the summer semester of 2018, in collaboration with a cultural consultant (i.e. subject matter expert), I developed a mini-online training course to assist faculty with designing effective learning experiences for students from diverse global locations. The course uses the tools of the university’s learning management system to provide an understanding of the similarities and differences of the Taiwanese and Chinese cultures, addressing the academic needs of students from these cultures accordingly. Although the content is specific to the two cultures, the structure of the course is general enough to be used as a template which can be modified for different groups of learners.

Currently, I am working with a small team of graduate students to design a course to facilitate the navigation of online learning tools for nontraditional students and returning students who wish to complete the requirements for a college degree. The course is being developed from content previously taught in a face-to-face format and modified to be delivered in an online learning context. The revised web-based course will make earning a degree more accessible for students of diverse populations by reducing the barriers to academic success.

I was elected to serve as Director of Communications for the Instructional Design and Development Graduate Association (IDDGA) at USA for the 2017-2018 academic year. During that time, I worked to transform the perception of the IDDGA from an organization that simply prepares students for the comprehensive exam (i.e. comps) to that of an active, supportive group of students with diverse professional and academic backgrounds. This required creating awareness of the benefits IDDGA membership (beyond assistance with comps), establishing a sense of relatedness to the field of instructional design, and providing opportunities for new and existing members to connect and integrate into an already established community. As VP of Membership of the Culture, Learning and Technology Division of AECT, I will apply this same dedication to inclusion and the sense of belonging to perform the duties required of the position. I hope you consider my background and experience when you cast your vote. I promise to effectively represent you and the future members of our division with exceptional service and produce results of the highest quality.

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