National Distance Learning Week

This year's NDLW theme is How Artificial Intelligence Is Redefining Distance Learning in The Year 2023.

Nov. 13–16, 2023

We will host a week-long series of course design workshops, activities, and discipline discussions culminating in an exciting capstone event—the yearly Alamo Colleges EduTech Conference, held in person on November 17, 2023, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Schedule of Events

Monday, November 13

10-10:50 a.m. | Set Up for Success! A Q&A with Canvas Support

Join the district IT's Canvas Support team for quick start-of-semester tips to guide you in setting up your Spring courses for student success. Discussion will include common technical issues we see users encounter the first week of class and how to mitigate them. Stick around for a lively Q&A session where you can get all your instructional technology questions answered by the Canvas pros!

Presented by Lia Moore-Lamm, Kori Schneider, and Cesar Hernandez

10-10:50 a.m. | Connecting Classroom Achievement and Skills Attainment: Marketable Skills Badging

During this session, San Antonio College and Alamo Colleges Online will discuss the collaborative work to increase student awareness of Marketable Skills attainment through aligning student learning outcomes assessment to visible student digital badges.

Presented by Rosalind Ong, Amber O'Casey & Cesar Hernandez

11-11:50 a.m. | Let’s Talk About AI: A generative AI discussion

Participants will get a summary of the technological history of generative AI tools, information on ways to use AI in the classroom, and how to use AI in course design.

Presented by Mark Farris

11-11:50 a.m. | Open Educational Resources (OER), Why Use It?

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. In this session, we will explore what OERs are and the rationale behind using OER.

Presented by Reese Hearn and Jerryl Lowe

2-2:50 p.m. | Fighting Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty

The education system has been subjected to extreme conditions (i.e., COVID-19), with teachers having to rethink how they instruct. To help their students make academic gains, educators must construct class materials, activities, and assignments that are both interesting and engaging and scaffold them as they explore and create texts.

This article explicates instructional approaches that scaffold students, especially English Language learners’ academic writing. It is argued that students are less likely to plagiarize when they feel guided and supported.

The agency and lack of monitoring through virtual instruction (synchronous and asynchronous) is a blessing and a curse. Moreover, unlimited access to media resources (i.e., authoritative and fictitious) exacerbates the temptation to copy previously published texts and resort to plagiarism.

Presented by Dr. Kalpana Mukunda Iyengar

2-2:50 p.m. | Creating Faculty Champions! Empowering Students Through Advocacy

Creating a culture of care throughout campus, including the classroom, allows students to build connections & feel supported throughout their education.

The Student Advocacy Centers are a district-wide anti-poverty initiative that serves students by meeting their immediate socio-economic deficits, allowing students to focus on their education.

The Talent, Organization, and Strategic Initiatives department and the San Antonio College Student Advocacy Center have recognized the need to collaborate and move toward creating Faculty Champions! Providing orientation/education and the importance of practicing a pedagogy of care.

Presented by Dr. Lucinda G. Flores and Jillian Denman

3-3:50 p.m. | Faculty Boot Camps? No Sweat! Optimizing Online Course Design through Intensive Hands-on Training

Students often struggle to navigate the online learning environment, getting lost in their courses and frustrated or discouraged. As a result of unclear expectations and navigation, engagement, grades, and retention can be adversely affected. Participants will identify the key components of quality assurance that enhance online course delivery and evaluate the effectiveness of intensive, hands-on online course design workshops for faculty.

Presented by Dr. Meagan Sanders

3-3:50 p.m. | Badges!? Who Needs Stinking Badges?

Join us to learn about incorporating digital badges into your English 1301 and 1302 courses. Respectively, this discussion will cover the Critical Thinking and Intercultural Fluency badges and the assignments used in those courses to help students attain these micro credentials. Participants will see Proving Ground assignments built into the Canvas LMS and have an opportunity for Q&A with the presenters.

Presented by Jamie Miranda and Stephanie Gibson

Tuesday, November 14

10-10:50 a.m. | Micro-Credentials, Digital Badges, and Professional Certificates, Oh My!

Confused about micro-credentials? Curious about digital badges? Attend this session to learn about the value of micro-credentials in a skills-focused economy. The facilitators will highlight the various micro-credentials Alamo offers learners, clarify terms, and share opportunities to get involved.

Presented by Amber O'Casey, Dr. Meagan Sovine, and Austin Baker Wiese


10-10:50 a.m. | Brand Ambassadors, Influencers, and Fans: Who they are, and why they're important

This presentation will showcase an innovative project undertaken by Alamo Colleges Online, where brand ambassadors, influencers, and fans marketing will play a pivotal role in promoting the online programs at our five Alamo Colleges. The project's primary goal is to increase enrollment while simultaneously engaging the community with affordable education opportunities. Through a grant-funded initiative, Alamo Colleges Online partnered with a diverse group of local ambassadors and influencers and contracted influencer talent to reach a wider audience. 

Presented by Dimona Esparza, Diana Rademaker, Anthony Gollab and Carissa Valdez

10-10:50 a.m. | St. Philip's College Master Teacher Certification

The Master Teacher Certification Program was established in the Fall of 1998 at St. Philip’s College and is designed to provide quality learning experiences for new and experienced faculty members to actively engage in reflective and creative exercises and dialogues to enhance teacher effectiveness and student success. It offers faculty opportunities to form communities across disciplines that encourage and facilitate innovative approaches to a student-centered classroom. The program promotes collaborative and cooperative approaches that can be applied to all disciplines, learning styles, and student populations. Since moving to the Canvas platform, over 400 faculty members are Master Teacher Certified. We hope to have you become part of that list.

Presented by Dr. Rebecca Perez

11-11:50 a.m. | A Leader in Every Seat: An Online Leadership Program

A Leader in Every Seat is an online leadership program offered at the Alamo Colleges for all students ready to begin or continue their leadership development. This session will introduce participants to A Leader in Every Seat and discuss the importance of encouraging classroom leadership practices and leadership development.

Presented by Kirsten Anderson

11-11:50 a.m. | Saving the Humanities: The Case for Microcredentials

Several positions about the humanities exist: on one side is the defense of the humanities as a means of fostering liberal education, cultivating among students the beauty of mind and processes of critical inquiry.

On the other side is the defense of its uselessness and justification for declining enrollment across colleges and universities. Yet, businesses seek graduates with skills the humanities cultivate. Seeking to address the problem, the National Endowment for the Humanities offers grants that connect the humanities with key disciplines, including STEM. Similarly, Oberlin College launched an integrative concentration in business that interfaces with liberal education tradition.

McMaster University Business School makes humanities a requirement in its program to respond to the needs of businesses. These forms of intervention single out business degrees. Of course, not all students major in business.

Most students take humanities courses as elective or core courses. I propose an alternative intervention to save the humanities by aligning the humanities with specific microcredentials. Microcredentials are competency-based awards one gains by demonstrating the target competency. Microcredentials offer skills that are on demand, and they offer indicators of satisfaction of the skills. The humanities could serve as the framework for microcredentials (evidence of competence) in critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, tolerance of ambiguity, and ethical judgment. A specific course in the humanities, for example, literature, could offer students a micro credential in problem-solving. Accordingly, students enrolled in the course, literature majors or not, will gain concrete benefits—soft skills—they could use for employment beyond the credit hours. In so doing, taking the humanities will prepare students with the skills employers need while cultivating among students the beauty of mind and “broad sympathy”: “the knowledge of the world that was and is.” I will show how teaching literature, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, for example, could serve as a framework for a micro credential. In addition, I will offer a design for how to implement the framework and thereby offer a way to increase enrollment in the humanities and make the humanities attractive for post-graduate employment outcomes.

Presented by Jude Chudi Okpala

2-2:50 p.m. | Integrating Canva into Canvas for Greater Interactivity

Learn how to use Canva slideshows in Canvas along with other valuable integrations that can enhance student engagement. 

Presented by Zach Fazio

2-2:50 p.m. | The Library and Generative AI - Helping Faculty and Students to Understand Artificial Intelligence

Learn about the presenter's experiences with AI and faculty/students and participate in guided instruction when using AI.

Presented by Angela Fondren

3-3:50 p.m. | Micro-Credentials Showcase: How Four Faculty Have Successfully Created and Implemented New Micro-Credentials in their Departments

Micro-credentials offer learners unique academic experiences that allow them to demonstrate to employers skills that they possess. Presenters in this panel will showcase new micro-credentials that have been created and now offered to learners at three of the five Alamo Colleges (i.e. NVC, SPC, and SAC). Specifically, the Career and Self Development Badge, the Medical Terminology Micro-Credentials, and the Recording Engineer Technical Skill Badge will be further discussed.

Participants will learn about the benefits of micro-credentials, process of creating new micro-credentials, and view sample assessments.

Presented by Dr. Meagan Sovine, Dr. Adrianna Sherman, Patricia Lamson,  Beatrice Avila, and Dr. Ruben Rodriguez

3-3:50 p.m. | Student Engagement Strategies

One of the major challenges that educators face today is the lack of student engagement. It does not matter if you are teaching in-person or online; this issue persists. This section will explore different strategies to keep students motivated and engaged.

Presented by Nancy Tran

Wednesday, November 15

10-10:50 a.m. | Online Lessons, Not Reading Assignments

Students get frustrated when an online class means reading the textbook and taking a test. They feel they are not being "taught." Using video recording and SoftChalk lessons, learn how to create a "lesson" where students feel they are being taught the material rather than having to learn it themselves.

Presented by Susan Cunningham
10-10:50 a.m. | Immersive Reader

Are you looking to increase engagement, equity, and access in your course? Use the Immersive Reader tool within Canvas to level the playing field for all your students to improve reading comprehension and bolster engagement through a "read aloud" feature that brings the text to life and supports your student's unique needs. Learn how to activate the Immersive Reader to access features that allow you and your students to change font sizes, adjust text spacing, choose background colors, highlight parts of speech, and even translate the text on the page.

Presented by Amy Gates

11-11:50 a.m. | Canvas Quizzical Carnival: Unleash the Fun with New Quizzes latest features!

Step right up to the Canvas Quizzical Carnival, where we're rolling out the red carpet for the latest and greatest features in Canvas New Quizzes! Get ready to be amazed as we explore the fun and exciting tools that will transform your quiz-building experience. In this interactive workshop, you'll discover:

  1. Quiz Wizardry: Learn how to create quizzes using the new intuitive quiz creation interface easily. Say goodbye to the old ways and embrace the magic of effortless quiz design.
  2. Question Extravaganza: Dive deep into the world of question types! From multiple-choice to matching and beyond, discover the variety of options at your disposal to make your quizzes engaging and dynamic.
  3. Assessment Amusement: Explore the enhanced assessment features that will leave your students cheering for more! We'll cover auto-grading, rubrics, and feedback options that will simplify your grading process.
  4. Engagement Delight: Unleash the power of multimedia with embedded videos, images, and audio in your quizzes. Make learning a thrilling adventure for your students!
  5. Data Delight: Discover how Canvas New Quizzes provides you with insightful analytics to track student performance and adapt your teaching strategy for maximum success. Join us at the Canvas Quizzical Carnival, where learning meets excitement, and quizzes become a source of joy! Get ready to roll up your sleeves and have a blast while mastering the latest Canvas New Quizzes features.

This is one workshop you won't want to miss!

Presented by Cesar Hernandez

2-2:50 p.m. | Early Alert: What Happens Next?

Early Alert is an early intervention program designed to assist students who are “At Risk” of not achieving Academic Success. Our team will implement support services by scheduling tutoring appointments, providing academic workshops, directing to other resources (financial aid, career services, advocacy, etc), or anything needed for academic success. This session will guide you effortlessly through utilizing Alamo Navigate to issue “Tutoring Needed –” alerts. Once alerts are received, we will reach out to those students and provide the necessary academic support. The question is: what happens next? Come find out!

Presented by Matthew Gomez

2-2:50 p.m. | Virtual Voices: The Online Student Experience

This panel presentation offers a unique opportunity through the eyes of students. In this engaging discussion, a panel of fully online students will share their insights, experiences, and strategies for a smooth transition into online education. Join us for this virtual discussion and gain valuable insights from students who have successfully embraced online enrollment.

Presented by Pamela DeLaGarza and Melissa Flores

3-3:50 p.m. | Letting Innovation Breathe while Standardizing for Scale

As the Skills Lab celebrated its one year in existence, momentum and activity around micro-credentials expanded rapidly. Leaders of the micro-credentialing strategy will describe the Skills Lab's micro-credentialing services and resources developed through innovation to support the scaling of micro-credentials across the five Colleges.

Presented by Amber O'Casey and Peter Thorsett

3-3:50 p.m. | Distance Learning, Change, and Exemplary Leadership

With new ways of work and Covid restrictions coming and going, this presentation is to examine how new research could aid distance learning, change, and exemplary leadership in student engagement.

Presented by Dr. Margo Moreno

Thursday, November 16

8-9:30 a.m. | In Collaboration with Alamo Colleges District's International Programs International Education Week 2023: Global Perspectives in Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education

This event is an international virtual roundtable discussion between faculty and subject matter experts in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The conversation will be presented from a social, cultural, and political lens as current in the U.S., Spain, India, Argentina, and Mexico.

Presented by subject matter experts from five countries (US, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, and India)

10-10:50 a.m. | The International Nursing Pathway by Alamo Colleges District and Tecmilenio

The International Nursing Pathway is a groundbreaking cross-border collaboration between the educational institutions, designed to train qualified nurses from Mexico and Latin America and prepare them to take the NCLEX exam.

Presented by Gabriela Ortiz, MD and Alejandra Bueno

10-10:50 a.m. | ChatGPT Helped Me Write This

Grammarly, Chegg, TURNITIN. Zotero, EndNote, EasyBib. SpeedGrader, Canvas. Canva, PowerPoint. We have already been using AI. Students have already been using AI. Prohibiting 'generative AI' would be hypocritical, neglecting our students' needs. Let's explore AI's pivotal role in higher education! These names highlight AI's pervasive integration, harnessed for years. Restrictive AI policies in syllabi contradict our practices, impeding the educational experience. Let's create an empowering AI policy for higher education.

Presented by Jacquelyn Raimond

11-11:50 a.m. | Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training provides the skills needed to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis. Topics covered will include: -depression -mood disorders -anxiety disorders -trauma -psychosis -substance use disorders

Presented by Jessica Rendon and Tascha Anderson

11-11:50 a.m. | Does Appreciation for Current Academic Performance Provide Future Academic and Workplace Success?

Using foundational change management techniques and awareness, as well as positive organizational performance, attendees will leave with a greater understanding of future academic and workplace success.

Presented by Dr. Margo Moreno and Mr. Joe Muñoz

2-2:50 p.m. | Care to Comment : Promoting and Managing Course Communication in Canvas

This workshop will show and share ideas about increasing effective student communication in Canvas, including Canvas Scheduler, Canvas Announcements, Canvas Submission Comments, Canvas Assignment Feedback Comments, and Canvas Groups. Following a brief show and tell, attendees will be invited to share their distance learning communication concerns as colleagues seek to problem solve and share best practices for helping students communicate online effectively, focusing on the goal of autonomous learners.

Presented by Cecilia Solis-Sublette

2-2:50 p.m. | Empowering Success: A Conversation on Assisting Online Students

Join us for an engaging panel discussion with a team of dedicated Student Success staff members. We'll explore effective methods and share personal experiences in supporting online students. Discover how to foster a sense of community, provide responsive feedback, and create an inclusive virtual learning experience. Join this collaborative session on helping our online learners thrive!

Presented by Monica Guerrero Rogers

3-3:50 p.m. | Intercultural Fluency: Adding Opportunities for Curiosity, Self-Awareness, Diversity Awareness, and Bias Challenge to Courses

Participants in this session will learn about the intercultural fluency badge, the different learning elements it can add to their courses, and the ease with which related rigorous learning activities can be added. This session is intended for either online or face-to-face instructors. No digital badge knowledge is required.

Presented by Spencer Galvan

3-3:50 p.m. | How to use Socrative - a free web-based program that allows real time responses

Engage your students while viewing and sharing real-time results. Socrative is a free web-based survey and quiz program. See it in action in this online study group video.

Presented by La Trenda Walker

3-3:50 p.m. | Unlocking Educational Excellence: Harnessing AI Tools Across Subjects

This presentation will explore the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in the classroom, highlighting their diverse applications across various subjects. AI has rapidly become an invaluable resource for educators and students, enhancing learning experiences, personalizing instruction, and improving outcomes.

Presented by Stacy Ybarra

Friday, November 17


EDUTECH 2023 is a one-day in-person event designed to provide full-time, and part-time faculty and Instructional Technology staff from the San Antonio area with vital knowledge regarding the use of technology to advance high-quality digital teaching and learning. This one-day professional development and networking event features a keynote speaker, a multitude of fifty-minute break-out sessions, a technology showcase, and a closing reception. The purpose is to share strategies for effective teaching with technology in several modalities in the classroom and provide them an opportunity to share, peer-to-peer, their experiences.

More Information

For more information

About National Distance Learning Week, contact:

Diana McCurtain-Talbert
Instructional Designer

Barbara Wong
Instructional Designer


About Alamo Colleges Online Instructional Designers

Instructional Designers provide one-on-one consultations with faculty, deliver specialized workshops to a group of faculty, and conduct in-depth course reviews. Additionally, Instructional Designers offer support for college-directed initiatives to build and strengthen the College’s capacity to deliver premier, quality digital learning experiences for students. 

Schedule a consultation today!

You can also contact your Alamo College's Instructional Designer:


Northeast Lakeview College
Barbara Wong,


Northwest Vista College
Diana McCurtain-Talbert,


Palo Alto College
Dr. Meagan Sanders,


St. Philip's College
Can Cui,


San Antonio College
Amy Gates,