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Press Release

Release Date: September 04, 2020

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office



  • Dr. Stephanie Moore

Regarded as an expert in online and blended learning, Chickasaw citizen Stephanie Moore, Ph.D., has been very busy since the outbreak of COVID-19. Dr. Moore specializes in online and blending learning. Many schools closed early due to the public health crisis, and online instruction became a necessity.

She has been offering advice on best practices and has published a number of public scholarship pieces. One of her early articles in Inside Higher Ed offered tips for moving to online quickly. Her insight on the matter has also been published in Forbes Magazine, as well as academic journals.

Dr. Moore and other experts in her field have been encouraging education leaders to integrate online and blended learning into their disaster preparedness planning for years. She stresses that planning will create a system more adaptable in meeting the needs of students.

“If schools and higher education institutions plan thoughtfully and lean into online and blended learning, it actually builds a more flexible and resilient educational system,” Dr. Moore said. “In times of emergency remote teaching, faculty and instructors are better prepared, students are better prepared, because everyone’s been using the technologies. What happened this spring is a lot of schools and institutions were caught short and clearly hadn’t planned for what they were going to do if there was a major disruption.”

When Dr. Moore and her colleagues started seeing increasing negativity in recent discussion of online learning, it was important to her to help change the narrative and help fellow educators differentiate between online learning and emergency remote teaching.

“We really wanted to distinguish the nature of the practices between typical online learning that is actually effective and has a whole body of research around it to support it, versus what everyone was trying to do in spring 2020,” she said. “It forced them to respond quickly to a crisis without having made some of those necessarily front-end investments, in either technology in the schools or internet infrastructure, or things that would enable more robust online learning.”

Educational success for students is Dr. Moore’s primary goal. That often means finding other educational modalities aside from online learning, like radio-based education and DVDs to continue to reach students.

“Online learning really puts the focus on one particular technology as a solution, and there’s a lot you can do with online when you have reliable internet and you have time to plan for that,” she said. “But in times of emergency, we often see schools or universities or community colleges responding with a range of technologies, not just online learning.”

Dr. Moore started her professional career in marketing after receiving a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in French from Oklahoma Baptist University. She was working in areas of desktop publishing, multimedia and e-commerce. As time passed, designing things solely for profit left her feeling emotionally empty.

“I decided to turn my skills toward helping education, but I really needed to learn a lot more,” she said. “In particular, learning about how people learn. Our field has a whole branch to it called the learning sciences. The more I started studying that and learning about it, the more I wanted to learn and do.”

Dr. Moore continued her education and received a master’s degree and Ph.D., both in education technology, from the University of Northern Colorado.

“I felt like there were big questions to tackle around technology, both in learning and in society,” she said. “It’s not just about whole-heartedly embracing it, but really pushing it and challenging it, and trying to make it serve our needs and society’s needs better. That demands critical thoughts and approaches, and all of that combined is what really pushed me to keep pursuing further.”

At UNC, Dr. Moore’s journey with building online programs began and she has since been a part of teams that have built three innovative online curriculums.

“We worked to build an online program for a master’s in blindness and visual impairment,” she said. “One of the cool aspects of that program is there’s a higher instance where people who are blind or have visual impairments tend to teach, so we had to figure out how to make that accessible.”

Following her time at UNC, she served a brief stint as director of assessment for the Department of Education in Colorado, overseeing assessment matters for the state. From there, she joined the University of Virginia in 2008 in a support role for the university’s school of engineering and applied sciences.

“I helped them build an undergraduate online engineering degree,” Dr. Moore said. “There were unique design challenges working in that space and we’re actually getting ready to roll out a paper on that to talk about it. But a really fun challenge.”

About six years ago, Dr. Moore joined the Curry School of Education at UVA. She helped build the school’s first online degree plans for master’s degrees in education.

Dr. Moore and her team recently learned the program ranked number three in the nation. The success of the program can be attributed to the collaboration of the program builders and instructor of the course.

“Building an online degree plan program really entails working course by course to take a look at what the curriculum is that we’re going to put into an online format, and then working with individual faculty to design that course where it’s really effective in the online modality,” Dr. Moore said. “It’s a lot of meetings, helping faculty learn the technology, showing them different ideas, and then putting it together in a Learning Management System.”

On top of building nationally-ranked online programs, she also teaches courses of her own as an assistant professor of instructional design and technology.

Dr. Moore is a member of the U.S. Speaker program. This has allowed her to share the knowledge she’s acquired with global audiences. Her teaching focuses on three main ideas for what works for online learning – clear organization, interaction and feedback.

Dr. Moore is thankful she is able to make a positive impact in education.

“For so many of us who work in online education, the real purpose of it is about access to education,” she said. “If I can make a difference in terms of increasing access to education and also ensuring that what students access is quality education, then I just feel like my life’s purpose is met. And, if that’s happening, then I’m just deeply honored to be a part of that.”

Dr. Moore will join the University of New Mexico in the fall as an assistant professor of organization information learning sciences. She is also conducting research projects and will be working with the Barbara Bush Foundation and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Dr. Moore is the daughter of Chickasaw elder Robert Moore. She is the great-granddaughter of Thomas Nowell Moore, an original enrollee. Dr. Moore is also a sixth great-granddaughter of James Logan Colbert.