New Online Education Director to Oversee Lehman’s Online Learning Initiatives

Dr. Olena Zhadko, Lehman’s new Online Education Director, has ambitious plans to support online learning initiatives. As a senior administrator, Zhadko will be overseeing all facets of online instruction, from web-enhanced learning experiences to hybrid course development and fully online programming. The Office of Online Education will be providing support services to faculty members to meet Lehman’s highest standards of academic quality.

Zhadko comes to Lehman after five years at New York Institute of Technology(NYIT), and seven years at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis (UMSL). Having emerged as a thought leader,  she stays ahead of the trends in a fast-changing academic field. “Lehman’s faculty members and staff care about our students and work very hard to help our students succeed,” says Zhadko. “Many of our students have full-time jobs or family obligations, and look for a flexible school schedule.”

In 2014 and 2015, Lehman enrollment in online and hybrid courses reached nearly 10,000 students. Hybrid and online course offerings have been steadily growing, reaching 700 and 800 courses in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

One of the goals at the Office of Online Education is to build a structure of support for faculty to prepare them to teach with technology, hybrid and online, so they can meet the demands of Lehman students.

At UMSL and NYIT, Zhadko was responsible for integrating technology into instruction. She has initiated and led professional development initiatives and programs about teaching and learning with technology. Zhadko has worked in the field of educational technology since 2004, and attended the University of Missouri- Saint Louis, where she received both her masters and doctorate in education, with a focus on educational technology. While completing her graduate work, she worked at two distinguished campus centers that provide professional development services to faculty, students and staff.

During her first months on the Lehman campus, Zhadko has met with faculty and administrative units to determine individual and departmental needs. “I have met with a number of faculty members, and they are very eager to explore teaching with technology,” she says. During these meetings she’s found some faculty with years of experience teaching online and others needing to learn how to use educational technologies efficiently and effectively. Our faculty want to set our students up for success, and collectively and  as a senior college of The City University of New York, we will use research based instructional strategies, and educational technologies to get them there.”

She also spoke with faculty participating in the Writing Across the Curriculum Program and they expressed interest in using “Turnitin.” a tool that addresses academic concerns about plagiarism, but also provides the ability to give detailed feedback, including the use of audio comments. “Voicethread” is another popular tool that can be used in online classes and Zhadko refers to the technology as “PowerPoint on steroids.” The interactive tool allows students to add slides, documents,  and video, while students and the instructor, can add their own voice, text and video comments. “ Learning new technology can be challenging and  designing a course with active learning strategies, experimenting with flipped learning, hybrid or blended, can  feel like traveling to another country without speaking the language,” says Zhadko. “The Office of Online Education is here to help.”

During the first few months of her tenure,  the Office of Online Education has launched a course readiness review for hybrid and online courses. This tool allows faculty to review their course readiness, identify areas for improvement, and let the Office of Online Education know how they can be of assistance.

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Olena Zhadko as our new Director of Online Education,” says Stefan Becker, the Vice Provost for Academic Programs. ” Since joining Lehman College only a few weeks ago, she has already taken on a pivotal role in our efforts to re-envision online education and assist faculty in creating rich and rewarding learning experiences for our students. I have learned to know Dr. Zhadko as a true team player who is more than willing to do whatever is necessary for us to make a remarkable positive difference here at Lehman College.”