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Introducing Dr. Emma Zone, Your Higher Ed Teaching and Learning Host

  • 3 Min Read

Dr. Emma Zone, the Senior Director of Academic Affairs at D2L offers her passion, insights and research into various issues impacting both K-12 and HE today, as part of D2L’s Teaching and Learning Studio.



headshot of author dr. emma zone

Dr. Emma Zone brings a wealth of knowledge and experience spanning K-12 and higher education in various roles. We are thrilled to welcome her as Senior Director of Academic Affairs at D2L and are excited to learn from her research and insights as she contributes to master classes, the Teach & Learn podcast and blogs as part of D2L’s Teaching and Learning Studio.

If you had told my college-aged self that I would become an evangelist for educational technology, I wouldn’t have believed you. I started my career as a high school English teacher—a bibliophile who loved the feel of books and building relationships with my students in person within a traditional classroom setting.   

But when I look back, I can see a trail of breadcrumbs leading directly from a research project I participated in during my undergrad in the late 90s, to where I am today, in edtech. The project involved providing high school students feedback on their writing assignments via an up-and-coming technology: online discussion forums. I remember this time fondly, sitting in the computer lab at the University of Michigan, navigating rudimentary discussion threads and sending responses to students at a nearby high school. I didn’t know it at the time, but the use of this “cutting-edge” technology to support learning was the first step on a path that led me here.  

Many years (and breadcrumbs) later, I am the newest member of the Academic Affairs team at D2L, where teaching and learning outcomes are supported by technology.   

While I’ve held many titles and various roles, I have always been an educator in some way and have consistently been focused on creating meaningful learning experiences that transcend modalities.   

My journey continued in both physical and online classroom settings, taking me from K-12 teacher to community college instructor to university faculty. My path then veered into administration, where I became a Vice Provost overseeing nearly 900 faculty and close to 25,000 students, most of whom were studying online. These experiences reinforced my belief that technology can partner with and serve education. I saw first-hand how elements of teaching and learning—creating access, building community, amplifying voices—are possible at a whole new level when technology is embraced.   

This exciting role in edtech means I get to surround myself with design thinkers, creating space for learning communities and good teaching.

– Dr Emma Zone

One of the benefits of maturing in our careers is we learn what brings us joy, what we are good at and how we want to make an impact. Those guideposts become our professional values. And those values led me here, to D2L—a company committed to transforming the way the world learns. It is hard work, but what I know for sure is that innovation happens when people come together and work toward a common goal. When we create communities of practice to tackle the hard stuff, solutions emerge.   

I hope you’ll join me in this wonderfully messy and evolving work. And, please, spend some time in the Teaching & Learning Studio as you continue your learning journey. Drop a breadcrumb or two while you’re at it, as these learning moments will surely become a path we travel together.    

Hear more of what Dr. Emma Zone has to say by subscribing to Teach & Learn a podcast for curious educators. Dr. Zone and Dr. Cristi Ford engage in candid conversations with some of the sharpest minds in the K-20 education space. They discuss trending educational topics, teaching strategies and delve into the issues plaguing our schools and higher education institutions today.

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