Texas Blackboard Users Group 2016 Conference Speakers & Presenters

Keynote Speaker
Alicia Baturoni Cortez, Program Manager for NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars

Alicia Baturoni Cortez, Program Manager for NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars

Alicia Baturoni Cortez is the program manager for NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars, or NCAS, a STEM education program that gives students an authentic NASA experience and encourages them to finish a 2-year degree or transfer to a 4-year university to pursue a NASA-related field. Since Baturoni Cortez began managing NCAS in 2014, the program has tripled in growth and earned the JSC Director’s Innovation Achievement Award in 2015 for implementing research-based practices in online learning to attract and retain post-traditional learners. Baturoni Cortez began her career as a classroom teacher for Walled Lake Consolidated Schools after earning her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Science Education from Lawrence Technological University and worked for the Educational Technology Team at NASA Ames Research Center and later, for NASA Explorer Schools at Glenn Research Center. She currently resides in Houston, TX with her husband and two young children and is an advocate for community college students across the nation. To read more about NCAS, visit http://nas.okstate.edu/ncas/

President (2017)

Ron Nail

Online & Distance Education Support Specialist – TTU Worldwide eLearning

Ron spent many years in Texas Tech’s Information Technology Division – in Information Systems in both the student area, including the Banner conversion, and in the payroll area; in Institutional Research working with the TechReports system, and with Cognos reporting and training; and in Technology Support, providing training, working Red Raider and new employee orientations, and dealing with site license software.

As a member of the TTU Worldwide eLearning team, he will help promote online and distance learning to faculty and students. He will also investigate innovative and emerging instructional technologies, provide Blackboard support for both faculty and students, and will assist the Instructional Designers with course creation and adapting of materials to accessible digital format.

Ron has been at Texas Tech since 1993, having previously worked in banking, sales, and as a professional Boy Scout executive. Ron served on the Staff Senate from 2001-2003, and from 2006-2009, serving as the President in 2008-2009. Ron attended Texas A&M before receiving his B.S. in Agricultural Science from Texas Tech, and is working on his M.Ed. in Educational Technology. He is married with two children, and is an avid cyclist, riding in several bikeMS and other rides.


  • Ed., Educational Technology, Texas A&M (In Progress)
  • S., Agricultural Science/Agricultural Economics, Texas Tech University
Previous Past President

John1Director of Technology Learning Services at the University of Houston Downtown

Mr. Lane earned his Master of Education from McNeese State University, Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma State University and Associates in Information Technology from McNeese State University. His certifications include: Quality Matters Rubrics Certificate 2011 and 2014, and has completed the Online Learning Consortium Advanced Online Teaching Certification.  He  has more than 15 years of higher education experience, which includes work as Blackboard Administrator and Webmaster, Instructional Applications Engineer and Associate Director of Technology Learning Service.  Mr. Lane is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of 15 full-time staff members comprising of instructional support activities, training support services, instructional television operations, video production/editing and digital signage and media services. He actively engages the Information Technology leadership with the development of long-term technology plans and facilitates the course management system application administration and support. Mr. Lane is also the Director of the Technology Teaching and Learning Center which collaborates freely with other directors and managers to improve services.

Secretary (2017)

11836642_10207015305522336_8385989625592891620_nDirector Distance Education at Alvin Community College

Dena Coots is the current Director of Distance Education/Instructional Design at Alvin Community College in Texas. She holds degrees in music (A.A., 1998, College of the Mainland), interdisciplinary studies (B.S.2000, University of Houston Clear Lake), and Instructional Technology (M.S. 2008, University of Houston Clear Lake).
She is very active in the distance learning community and has presented at many distance learning conferences including TxDLA, USDLA, WebCT Texas, Blackboard World, and HumBug. She has been a Horizon Wimba guest speaker and is 2014 alumnus of the Institute for Engaged Leadership in Online Learning. She is also a facilitator for the Online Learning Consortium, OLC.
One unique perspective that she brings to distance education is that she has experience with distance education as a student, instructor, designer, and administrator. Her areas of expertise include instructional design, LMS administration both front and back end, pedagogy for adult learning, e-learning, planning and development of e-learning courses and programs.
Some of her accomplishments include ACC Foundation Excellence Award, ACC 1st employee of the month, two time recipient of the Innovative Grant for technology, Teacher of the Year for the Santa Fe Independent School District, Sallie Graff Educational Leadership Award recipient, and Recognition in Texas City Sun as “Sun Classroom Champion.” She is very passionate about distance education and the unique niche that it fills in aiding others to achieve their educational goals and is excited to be a part of the ever challenging and changing role of distance education.

Treasurer (2017)

Course Designer at Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Since relocating to Texas in 2013, Josiah has found home, friends, and his lifetime partner in Waxahachie,TX. Originally from Belize, he has a passion to invest his time, skills, and heart in the communication area of church ministry. Josiah works for SAGU as a Course Designer and takes leadership in planning mission trips. He currently resides in Waxahachie with his beautiful wife, Emma.

Keynote Speaker

Malizia2Michelle Malizia is the Director of Library Services for the Health Sciences at the University of Houston where she is in charge of program planning and implementation for the university’s new health science library to be open in 2017. In her previous position, she was the Associate Director of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region, where she was responsible for the oversight of a multi-million dollar federal contract. She has over 14 years in curriculum development and has conduct over 150 in-person and e-learning workshops on a variety of topics, such as emerging technologies, grant writing, presentation skills and data collection to audiences throughout the country. She has presented at a wide array of conferences including the Texas Public Library Association, Texas Public Health Association, Medical Library Association, National Association of Student Nurses and American Veterinary Association.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver, a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Arizona as well as certificates in E-learning Instructional Design and Articulate Storyline from the Association for Talent Development.

Past President (2015)

Dr. Anthony Edwards, T-BUG President

Assistant Professor and Director of Global Campus (Online Programs) Outreach at Tarleton State University

2015 Texas Blackboard Users Group President


Blackboard - Keynote

Jorge SalinasSolutions Engineer at Blackboard

With over 15 years of educational technology experience Mr. Salinas as senior solutions engineer has worked with Blackboard’s strategic clients across the continent, from Canada to Brazil, who he has helped meet the most demanding educational challenges from K-12 through higher education and on to continuing education and professional training. In his alma mater, Tec de Monterrey, where he served as director of educational technology Mr. Salinas led several technology deployments and initiatives that enabled Tec’s unique educational model, empowering its more than ten thousand faculty members and over 150,000 students with the right technological tools in order to expand the educational experience in synchronous, asynchronous and mobile environments for students from high school through postgraduate programs.


Rita VelaCustomer Success Advocate at Blackboard

Over the past eight years Rita has assisted faculty in the design and delivery of online, blended and web augmented courses.  Conducted trainings and workshops including being a Quality Matters facilitator.  She has always enjoyed being able to work with different faculty members in all different subjects and grade levels.  The constant variety provided opportunities to learn and grow.

claudiaarcolinSenior Instructional Designer at The University of Texas at San Antonio

Claudia Arcolin is a Senior Instructional Designer at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She has been working in the field of education and instructional technology since 2003. She holds a doctorate in Cognitive and Training Sciences and a Master in Continuing Education and E-Learning. In her doctoral dissertation she analyzed the connection between social capital and quality of learning through Web 2.0 technologies. Her areas of interests include student-generated content, gamification, communities of learning, and informal learning environments.

New Horizons Computer Learning

albarringerStrategic Economic Solutions at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers

Over 30 years of community college teaching and administrative experience specializing in curriculum development, assessment and management in the areas of Public Safety, Logistics, and Manufacturing provides for extensive experience on leadership issues. As the founding Chair for Criminal Justice and Police Training, later renamed the Public Safety Careers division of Houston Community College, he led the vision for the new campus-The Public Safety Institute where police, fire and EMS personnel are all taught in concert with one another. As a former Vice-President for Administration and CEO for Workforce Development Dr. Barringer has consulted with such large organizations as CHI St. Luke’s Healthcare and is currently a certified trainer and Coach for the Leadership Challenge. Dr. Barringer owns his own consulting Business-Strategic Economic Solutions and lives in Houston, Texas with his wife, two children and four grandchildren.

12421_john_blumentrittAssistant Professor, eSchool of Graduate Professional Military Education

Dr. John Blumentritt is an assistant professor at the eSchool of Graduate Professional Military Education (PME), Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. John earned his Ph.D. in 2009 from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. He has championed distance learning programs within universities, the defense industry, and the U.S. Air Force.

LuzManager, Distance Learning Support Services at El Paso Community College

Luz Elena Cadena has worked in the education field for 20 years. She was a high school social studies teacher before making the foray into higher education. She has been with Distance Learning at El Paso Community College for just over 2 years. She is also an adjunct history instructor at EPCC.

kdeeringheadshotInstructional Designer at Texas Women’s University

Katie joined the Department of Teaching and Learning with Technology at Texas Woman’s University as an Instructional Designer in February 2016. Before joining TLT, Katie taught history and government at Texas Woman’s University and North Central Texas College for four years. She received her B.A. from the University of North Texas in 2008 and her M.A. degree from Texas Woman’s University in 2012. In her free time, Katie enjoys doing Pilates and aerial arts, spending time with her husband, and curling up with a good book and a cuddly cat.

Invoke Higher Education

sally-garvin-headshotNational Sales Director, Invoke Higher Education

Sally Garvin is a National Sales Director for Invoke Higher Education, a software company that develops and supports the CoursEval feedback system. Prior to joining Invoke, Sally worked for 13 years at a non-profit organization dedicated to assessment in higher education. Sally has also served as a faculty member at the elementary, high school, and college level.



Instructional Development Specialist at The University of Texas at San Antonio

A graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Vanessa was a K12 teacher for a few years before returning to school to pursue a Masters in Instructional Design and Technology at West Texas A&M University. She returned to UTSA as an Instructional Development Specialist, where her is focus on helping instructors develop online content.


Shon2Support & Training Specialist at the University of Houston – Downtown

LoShon or Shon for short, has been working in the fields of Instructional Technology, eLearning, and Distance Education for over nine years. During this time she spent time developing and designing instructional materials and content for online courses as well as training materials used to support faculty. Shon a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and is currently a Blackboard Admin at the University of Houston- Downtown.

Sharp Electronics

raylinTechnology Integration Manager at Sharp Electronics Corporation

Ray Lackaye is a Technology Integration Manager at Sharp Electronics Corporation. With more than twenty-five years of experience in
the business technology sector, Ray has a strong background in every aspect of the copier, printer, digital signage, interactive displays and software solutions business, which give him a unique view of how help businesses reach desired results in the most cost effective manner.

trish-2016Director of WBUonline at Wayland Baptist University

Dr. Ritschel-Trifilo has been a professor for over 35 years and has 21 years of online teaching experience. Starting out as a Neuroanatomist she researched brain pathways and synapses, and taught genetics, A&P, Pathophysiology, and Life Sciences.. As a military spouse, Tricia had the opportunity to teach for several universities around the world, and developed an interest in distance education and computer technology. With online experiences from UMUC, University of Illinois, and University of Indiana she decided to seek a PhD in Education with a specialization in instructional design for online learning. Her research is in brain pathways related to learning styles or preferences. She implemented an online program for Hardin Simmons University in 2005, and currently is the Director of WBUonline for Wayland Baptist University, with 6000 students, 450 faculty, 15 degree programs, and 14 campuses.

Turning Technologies

our-team-placeholder-femaleSr. Implementation Specialist at Turning Technologies

Tammy Sherrard is a Sr. Implementation Specialist for Turning Technologies and an Educational Technologies Faculty Member at Northern Arizona University. Her work experience has taken her into the fields of Adult Probation to Revocation Court, Student Affairs to Information Technology, General Education to Medical Education. Prior to joining Turning Technologies, Tammy was the Instructional Technology Analyst for clickers at Arizona State University where she built a support infrastructure from the ground up, supporting approximately 30,000 users and 400 faculty and teaching assistants. When Tammy is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, going to concerts and photography.

Cengage Learning

jill-headshotExecutive Marketing Manager, LMS Integrations at Cengage Learning
Jill Staut is the Executive Marketing Manager for LMS Integrations @ Cengage Learning. She loves working with faculty to help them engage and empower their students to be critical thinkers. Jill holds a masters degree in distance education and eLearning and has been working with faculty transitioning their courses to the online environment since the late 90’s.

darbyAssistant Professor / Research & Instruction Librarian at Our Lady of the Lake University

Darby thrives on connecting people to ideas. She is also a strong advocate of creating more collaborative, cohesive, and authentic student learning experiences. Having been an educator and librarian for years, Darby sees how the new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education can facilitate new conversations and positive changes in higher education. She also likes to fish.

Treasurer ('15-'16)

Instructional Specialist at Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Dr. Chuck Wilson has been involved in distance education in Africa and the USA as an instructor, course developer, and administrator for over 30 years. His research interest in his graduate degrees were focused in distance education. He has served for the past five years as Instructional Specialist for Southwestern Assemblies of God University where he leads a team of course designers in developing over 600 online courses each semester.


Sr. Solutions Specialist at Kaltura

Mike has spent the past 11 years in the higher education, video streaming and capture space with Sonic Foundry, Panopto, and now Kaltura. He has meet with thousands of programs over the years learning and watching how video makes an impact in they way they deliver education to students. Based out of Denver, Colorado.