Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes
Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes is Professor and Chair in the Center for Distance Education at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada. She studied the sociology of education at the University of Calgary where she developed her strong views on the importance of high quality education in the development of healthy societies with a well-developed citizenry. Her commitment to open and distance learning is rooted in this perspective; education must be accessible, affordable, and of high quality for everyone, anywhere. Evidence-based practice with sound theory is a main driver in Martha’s scholarly work. She is a principal researcher on the Community of Inquiry framework for online and blended learning (coi.athabascau.ca), which is designed to maximize deep learning and provide students with a learning experience that is developmental and sustainable. She is co-author of a book on the topic with Drs. N. Vaughan and D.R. Garrison: Teaching in Blended Learning Environments: Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry (http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120229). Martha held a major research grant from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council which supported rigorous empirical tests on the value of this framework. In her fifteen years as an academic at Athabasca University, Martha has been involved in numerous research projects on open and distance learning and has taught, supervised, and supported hundreds of graduate students working in the same area of education. She co-edited a book published by Routledge in 2010 entitled An Introduction to Distance Education: Understanding Teaching and Learning in a New Era. This book is now being revised and will be published in 2017 as a 2nd edition. Martha is the Chair of Athabasca University’s Advisory Group on MOOCs. She is the project lead on the development and delivery of AU’s MOOC Learning to Learn Online, currently in its third implementation (www.ltlo.ca). She is also the co-lead of a MOOC designed and delivered in partnership between AU and the Commonwealth of Learning: Technology-Enabled Learning (www.telmooc.org). Both MOOCs are designed using the Community of Inquiry framework for online learning and are the subject of extensive research. This research has been presented and published in North America and Europe. Martha has received awards for her work on the student experience in online environments and has received many research grants to study open and distance learning (see http://cde.athabascau.ca/faculty/martic.php). In 2011 she received the Craig Cunningham Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2009 she received the President’s Award for Research and Scholarly Excellence from Athabasca University. In 2011 Martha was also invited to be a Guest Professor at The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Her work continues there as part of a campus redesign effort toward blended learning. With PhD student Stefan Stenbom, she participated in the development of a theoretical model called Relationships of Inquiry for open and distance learning and is the co-lead of a campus-wide project to integrate evidenced-based practice into the running of the institution called Practitioner-Research in Engineering Education. This year, Martha was invited to Portland, Oregon to present a workshop on Collaborative Online Learning at the Oregon Health and Science University. She will offer a webinar in Scandinavia on Flexible Learning in March and will return to Beijing in September as an invited international scholar by Beijing Normal University to research the Community of Inquiry with teachers at the Open University of China. She currently holds a major research grant through the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to study the development of professional identity through online learning communities.