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D2L Rise Summit – Dallas



Lifelong Learning

The world is changing at a radical pace, and both the education and labor market are experiencing a fundamental transformation. As workforce requirements evolve, so too must the systems that people rely on to learn and stay relevant.

The Rise Summit will dive into lifelong learning and explore how learning and skills development need to transform to account for the vast demographic, technological and social shifts impacting the way we learn and work, including:

  • Durable skills of the future and how we close an ever-widening skills gap
  • How the skills gap impacts our institutions and organizations
  • Why flexible learning models are more important than ever
  • What employers and education institutions should do to prepare for these changes

Learn More about D2L Rise Summit

Featured Speakers

  • Dr. Cristi Ford

    Vice President, Academic Affairs

  • Dr. Angela Gunder

    Chief Academic Officer and Vice President of Learning for the Online Learning Consortium

  • Dr. Terry Di Paolo

    Vice-Provost of E-Learning at Dallas College

  • Kiara Williams

    Recent Georgia State University Graduate

Rise Up

  • Hear from experts on emerging trends in lifelong learning
  • Enjoy VIP networking opportunities with fellow leaders
  • Build lasting industry connections and partnerships

Why Attend?

  • Join the conversation on lifelong learning to gain insights and perspectives
  • Grow your network with leaders in education and corporate learning
  • Focus your strategy as part of a limited audience for maximum engagement

We hope you’ll rise to the occasion with us. 

W Dallas - Victory


W Dallas – Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane
Dallas, TX, 75219

Summit Venue: Altitude Room
Accommodations: US $279 / night

*Book by December 20, 2022 to secure discounted Rise Summit room rates. Rates based on availability and are subject to applicable state and local taxes in effect at time of booking.

Getting There

Nearby Airports and Ground Transportation.


Dr Cristi Ford
Dr. Cristi Ford Vice President of Academic Affairs at D2L

Dr Cristi Ford serves as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at D2L. She brings more than 20 years of cumulative experience in higher education, secondary education, project management, program evaluation, training, and student services to her role. In this role, she offers thought leadership and direction to the academic affairs unit of the organization. Her previous roles have allowed her to have impact in education from secondary and higher education settings as well as the on the international landscape. Her reach has allowed her to focus on building online education in the US and African continent.

In addition to her experience building new online learning programs and research related to teaching and learning in the online environment, Dr. Ford possesses significant experience in the design and delivery of integrated educational support, training, and transition services for young adults and children with neurodevelopment disabilities.

Dr. Ford was selected by the Online Learning Consortium, as the 2022 OLC Fellow which is the highest professional distinction offered by the association. She is a tireless advocate for quality online education where she has leveraged her passion and expertise in many realms in the education space. She is known for utilizing her leadership in extraordinary ways to help institutions build capacity to launch and expand online programming through effective faculty development, instructional design and pedagogical practices.

Dr. Ford holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field of Psychology from Hampton University and University of Baltimore, respectively.

Angela Gunder
Dr. Angela Gunder Chief Academic Officer and Vice President of Learning for the Online Learning Consortium

Dr. Angela Gunder is the Chief Academic Officer and Vice President of Learning for the Online Learning Consortium. In this role, she is responsible for gathering, curating, and leveraging the intellectual capital created by and disseminated through OLC. Prior to her position at the OLC, Angela served as the Director of Instructional Design & Curriculum Development for the Office of Digital Learning at The University of Arizona, managing and mentoring the team that builds the fully-online programs for university. Her decades-long career as a designer for higher education informs her instructional design practice, where she leverages her expertise in web design, usability, visual communication, programming, and standards-based online learning. From 2013-2021, Angela was an Associate Editor for the Teacher Education Board of MERLOT, and the recipient of the 2018 MERLOT Distinguished Service Award, the organization’s highest honor. She is also the recipient of two Online Learning Consortium Effective Practice Awards for the creation of a framework for personal learning networks, and for the creation of exploratory installations of education technology, respectively. In 2019, Angela was named an OLC Fellow for her dedication to service, innovation, and scholarship in support of student success in online learning. Her research focuses on remix, open educational practices, digital literacies, narrative in online course design, and emerging technology for language acquisition. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Fine Art from Fordham University, a M.Ed. in Education Technology from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies from The University of Arizona, where in 2020 she was named an Erasmus Scholar by the College of Education for her commitment to the college, the university and to the community.

Dr. Terry Di Paolo
Dr. Terry Di Paolo Vice-Provost of E-Learning at Dallas College

Dr. Terry Di Paolo is Vice Provost of E-learning at Dallas College, one of the largest community college systems in the US. He has served as an academic administrator in multiple roles leading major strategic projects associated with college transformation, academic technology and quality in online learning and teaching. Terry moved to Texas in 2012 having spent over a decade as an academic at the United Kingdom’s Open University. With an interest in ways in which technologies and systems enhance the student experience, Terry’s career has straddled both academic affairs and student success. He is a social scientist by training specializing in digital higher education and the socio-cultural influences on educational outcomes and trajectories.

Heather Hensell
Dr. Heather Hensell Provost at Remington College

Dr. Heather Hensell is a passionate and dedicated leader in higher education. She serves as the Provost for Remington College and taught both online and face-to-face for 15 years. After earning her doctorate in higher education leadership from Gwynedd Mercy University, she began serving as a dissertation advisor at her alma mater. Dr. Hensell also has a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in family studies from Texas Woman’s University. Her research interests include instructional technology, academic advising, technical and career college education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has been married for 13 years and is an avid fountain pen collector.

Kiara Williams Recent Georgia State University Graduate

Kiara Williams has been a strong leader and passionate voice in student-centered spaces for as long as she can remember. In April of 2017, her life forever changed when she was selected to be the top scholar for the prestigious Goizueta Endowment Award, granting her a full ride to Georgia State University and adventures to last a lifetime. Kiara received her degree in Human Learning and Development with focuses on Family & Community Advocacy, Psychology, and supporting multilingual populations. She has served as a teacher, mentor, scholar, world adventurer, university ambassador, student fellow, and is now taking on new adventures in the nonprofit field. Kiara’s most recent career move took her back to the “Big Apple” to join Braven and The City College of New York as their Founding Program Manager of Accelerator– an experiential leadership and career course that inspires, develops, and supports underrepresented college students as they work towards securing strong first jobs and living their legacies. Prior to Braven, Kiara entered the tech space with her role at Apple. During this journey, she was able to serve as a student liaison for the Inclusion & Diversity@College team, work hands on with Apple’s Diversity Network Associations, and connect with company leaders during her experience as an AppleCare team manager, all while supporting the larger population of Apple product users in her core position as an iOS Support Advisor.

Kiara immersed herself in the education, equity, and online learning field when she was chosen to be a Fellow for Every Learner Everywhere’s 2021 Inaugural Student cohort. This work allowed her to share her unique identity and experiences with an extensive network of higher education leaders, researchers, and major stakeholders in the student journey. In her continued collaboration with Every Learner Everywhere and WICHE, she has supported network recruitment, content management, and most importantly, the network’s student-centered endeavors. Kiara strives to ensure that student voices do not go unheard when and where it matters the most. She has a passion for education, impact, and growth, and believes that if she can share her light with at least one individual, then it will all be worth it. Above all, Kiara is an avid life-liver, joy-seeker, and music enthusiast.

headshot of speaker Brittany Singleton
Dr. Brittany Singleton Academic Affairs Manager at D2L

Dr. Brittany Singleton is the Academic Affairs Manager at D2L. In this role she provides strategic leadership, guidance and support for the development of innovative programs in the teaching and learning realm in both the K-12 and Higher Ed verticals. Dr. Singleton is an effective and resourceful education professional with over 14 years of experience in holistic student development, instruction, mentorship, and programming for diverse student populations. She also has extensive leadership skills evidenced by complex critical reasoning, collaborative strategic planning, and effective community engagement. Dr. Singleton also has a plethora of experience in curriculum planning, education administration, inclusive teaching, clinical supervision, conflict resolution, presentation facilitation, and higher education. She has served in several roles in the realm of online learning while working within graduate teacher education programs that focus on teacher preparation. She also has done extensive research on the implementation of effective instructional strategies to increase student achievement, and teacher preparation in teaching diverse student populations. Dr. Singleton received her degree in English from Tougaloo College and her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration Pre K-12 from Tennessee State University. Dr. Singleton also holds a certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship from Cornell University.

headshot of speaker Ben Campbell
Ben Campbell VP of Solution Engineering at D2L

Ben Campbell has been a D2Ler for nearly 10 years, and previously spent nearly 10 years in online learning roles at the University of Florida and UC Berkeley. He oversees a team of EdTech product experts focused on amplifying the voice of the customer in D2L decisions. Ben holds a Master’s in Educational Technology and has worked as an Instructional Designer, Product Manager, and Online Program Manager before joining D2L.

headshot of speaker chris faulkner
Dr. Chris Faulkner Manager for Educational Technology in the Office of MedicaEducation at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Dr. Faulkner is the Manager for Educational Technology in the Office of Medical Education at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He has been in education since 2005 serving in various roles as a faculty member and in higher ed administration. Currently, he leads the team responsible for the implementation and curricular integration of educational tools within the medical school. Dr. Faulkner holds a PhD in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Masters in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelors in Electronic Media from Abilene Christian University. His research interests include faculty development, learning space design, and instructional design.

headshot of speaker shani suber
Shani Suber Dean of E-learning Effectiveness and Enhancement at Dallas College

Shani Suber is the inaugural Dean of E-learning Effectiveness and Enhancement at Dallas College. She has served in a variety of educational roles for 23 years including K12 teacher, adjunct, faculty, and as an administrator. In her current role, she is the academic lead administrator for Dallas College’s learning management system (LMS) upgrade by Fall 2023. Her leadership spans across 80k students, 3k faculty, and 7 ‘Schools Of’ at Dallas College. Shani’s portfolio includes leading collaboration across the college to aid in online accessibility, quality, sustainability, and technology. As an online learning leader, Shani has been committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education over the years. She is serving a 3-year term representing 2-year colleges across the U.S. as a WCET-WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) Steering Committee member focusing on practice, policy, & advocacy of digital learning in higher education. It’s her honor and life’s work to commit her professional career to encouraging, developing, and collaborating with educators in this incredible and meaningful industry.

headshot of speaker brad self
Brad Self Senior Learning Specialist, Electronic Arts

Education and training have always been at the forefront of Brad’s ambitions. From music education to youth ministry to contact center instructional design and facilitation, Brad’s focus centers on learner engagement, immersion, and accessibility.

In his current role, Brad is focused on developing new instructional designers and classroom facilitators to go beyond designing and delivering passive participation lessons by challenging learners to research and practice new skills and behaviors.. and have some fun along the way!

headshot of speaker adette ewing
Adette Ewing Director of Global Operations Training and Development at Digital Realty

Pro nouns: She /Her/They/Them

I have worked in Learning Development for 18 years, with a focus on lifetime learners and organizational design and development.

I hold a Doctorate in Veterinary medicine, a CASA for the state of Texas, certified in facilitating mental health first aid, real colors and Myers Briggs.

I have worked for large tech companies like Apple, Anaconda, Electronic Arts, and now as a Director of Training, Operations and Communications.

I am a mom of two great daughters and lots of furry and non furry babies. I believe to change the world we all must do our part in guiding others to success and healthy mental projections.

Agenda At-a-Glance

More detailed agenda and presenters coming soon.

Jan 12, 2023

Day 1

10:00 am - 10:30 am

Registration Check-In

10:30 am - 10:45 am

Opening Intro | Lifelong Learning

Host: Dr. Cristi Ford, VP Academic Affairs at D2L

10:45 am - 11:30 am
  • In Michele Weise’s important work on preparing the workforce, she shares that “lifelong learning is a concept we intuitively understand, but we’re not doing any of the important work today to build the infrastructure we will all need for constant returns to learning throughout our longer work lives” (Weise, n.d.). In creating the infrastructure for a future of lifelong learning that breaks down the walls between learners, educators, associations, and employers, digital learning praxis serves as a key lever for shared understanding, strategic action, and sustainable change. Digital learning praxis is the act of applying or embodying a theory, changing both the digital learning environment around us and ourselves in the process. As we collectively seek out sustainable methods for ensuring access to education across a lifetime of learning, digital learning praxis emerges as an approach to aligning our understanding of the needs of our current and future workforce to high-impact educational practices within quality and equitable digital learning environments. This talk will explore practices for creating resiliency across formal and informal teaching and learning contexts, helping our learners to develop durable skills through experiential and active learning intentionally designed around the affordances of digital learning environments. Covering topics such as multimodal practices, learner agency, and authentic assessment practices for reskilling and upskilling, participants will reflect on their organizational processes for continuous improvement within digital learning environments, both in their individual work and in collaboration with colleagues within and across diverse organizational sectors.


Presenter: Dr. Angela Gunder, CAO Online Learning Consortium

11:30 am - 11:45 am

Q&A with Dr. Angela Gunder, CAO Online Learning Consortium

Facilitator: Dr. Brittany Singleton, Academic Affairs Manager at D2L

11:45 am - 1:15 pm

Lunch + Networking

1:15 pm - 2:00 pm

Panel Presentation | The Rise of Durable Skills

Facilitator: Ben Campbell, VP of Solution Engineering at D2L


  • Chris Faulkner, Manager, Office of Medical Education at University of Texas Southwestern
  • Dr. Brittany Singleton, Academic Affairs Manager at D2L
  • Adette Ewing, Director of Global Operations Training and Development at Digital Realty
2:00 pm - 2:15 pm

Afternoon Snack Break

2:15 pm - 3:00 pm
  • This session explores Dallas as a case study of the challenges and opportunities facing large urban areas in the US. The Living Wage is a concept intended to modernize the ways in which we think of and respond to poverty through a focus on basic needs and the lived experience of poverty for different household types. Examining the concept of the Living Wage in relation to Dallas, this sessions intends to not only illuminate the concept of a Living Wage but how the concept provides new insights into a complex employment market and the widening skills gap. Laying out practical strategies for understanding community needs this session is intended to empower the audience to spend as a little as an hour gaining new and nuanced insights into the communities they serve.


Presenter: Dr. Terry Di Paolo, Vice-Provost of eLearning, Dallas College

3:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Transition Break

3:15 pm - 4:15 pm

Interactive Sailboat Exercise

Facilitator: Ben Campbell, VP of Solution Engineering at D2L

4:15 pm - 4:30 pm

Closing Remarks + Day 1 Wrap-up

Host: Dr. Cristi Ford, VP Academic Affairs at D2L

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

VIP Reception

Jan 13, 2023

Day 2

8:00 am - 8:30 am

Wellness Activity | Beginner Yoga

Morning meditation + stretching

9:00 am - 10:00 am

Breakfast + Networking

10:00 am - 10:15 am

Day 2 Opening Intro

Host: Dr. Cristi Ford, VP Academic Affairs at D2L

10:15 am - 11:00 am

Panel Presentation | Flexible Learning Models

Facilitator: Dr. Cristi Ford, VP Academic Affairs at D2L

  • Heather Hensell, Provost, Remington College
  • Shani Suber, Dean of Effectiveness & Enhancement, Dallas College
  • Brad Self, Senior Learning Specialist, Electronic Arts
11:00 am - 11:15 am

Coffee Break

11:15 am - 11:45 am

Presentation | Student Lightning Talk + Q & A


  • Kiara Williams, Recent Georgia State University Graduate


Q & A Facilitator:

  • Dr. Brittany Singleton, Academic Affairs Manager at D2L


Download the Slide Deck

11:45 am - 12:45 pm

Lunch + Networking

12:45 pm - 1:00 pm

Closing Remarks + Day 2 Wrap-up

Host: Dr. Cristi Ford, VP Academic Affairs at D2L

*Schedule subject to change

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This event occurs in the past

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