Friday, June 05, 2009

Interview with Angie McQuaig, Knowledge Delivery Systems: Innovators in E-Learning Series

Finding effective ways to engage teachers and help them take advantage of new technologies, instructional strategies, and content is not easy. The conditions under which teachers are having to work are constantly in flux, and the assessments that teachers must prepare their students to take are often high-stakes, high-pressure. Dr. Angie McQuaig, Chief Academic Officer at Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS) shares her insights into how teachers can meet the challenges. She also provides insight into how and why teachers may rely on a repository of online courses.

What is your name, and your affiliation?

Dr. Angie McQuaig, Chief Academic Officer at Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS)

What is your background in e-learning?

I’ve been an educator since 1989 with teaching and coaching experience ranging from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade in Florida, Georgia, Washington DC, Japan, and England. I also served as a professional development presenter, curriculum designer, and school administrator at both the middle and elementary school levels.

I have written and spoken on instructional leadership, trait-based writing instruction, character education, cooperative learning, and conflict theory. I also teach university courses in leadership theory, strategic management, leadership ethics, research methodology, statistics, and business communications.

I have a B.S. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, an M.A.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. I work directly with the KDS team to provide dynamic professional development courses for educators nationwide.

What is KDS? Why does it exist? What is its mission and vision?

KDS is a leading provider of professional learning courses for teachers. We are unique because our well-known experts deliver the courses in a web- and video-based format on a platform that includes several interactive features, helping teachers improve their classroom practice. We benefit teachers by providing them with approved courses, which earn them salary increases, recertification and graduate credit with a number of universities, and even full master's degrees. Our mission is to provide dynamic professional learning experiences that help educators reach personal career goals and promote student success.

What are the core values of KDS? What are the instructional philosophies that KDS values?

KDS is committed to broadening access to high-quality professional development so that teachers across the nation can be their very best professionally and positively impact the world of education.

What kind of instructional strategies that KDS employs? What makes them unique?

KDS employs an award-winning and dynamic learning platform to deliver relevant, high-interest courses that improve instruction. We do this by capturing some of the nation's best educational experts on video, and we pair their presentations with a number of useful resources that help teachers implement innovative and effective strategies in their classrooms. Video presentations include research-based foundational theories, classroom demonstrations, interviews, panel discussions, and workshops that focus heavily on strategies and useful teaching tips.

How are the courses interactive? What kinds of innovative approaches are being implemented?

Each of KDS's courses includes a discussion forum where teachers can share their thoughts, questions, lesson plans, and ideas related to a wide variety of teaching strategies and approaches. Courses also include syllabi, navigable video presentations, searchable and printable transcripts, and downloadable resources that teachers can use right away. Instructional leaders use KDS courses to take a fresh approach to the facilitation of professional learning communities.

Are instructional designers used throughout the process of design, course evaluation, and process improvement?

KDS employs a team of experienced curriculum developers that collaborate with education experts in the design of each course. The team ensures that courses are relevant, high-interest, easy to navigate, and immediately applicable to the classroom. The team's chief priorities include quality control, innovation, and responsiveness to teachers' feedback.

What changes have you made over the last few months or years to improve your products and provide a meaningful learning experience?

KDS continually surveys the education landscape in order to develop the most relevant courses that lead to instructional improvement and student achievement. For example, we have recently launched courses in educational technology, English language learning, grouping models, response to intervention (RTI), differentiated instruction, assessment, and middle school strategies. KDS has expanded its video presentation formats to include more classroom footage with exemplar teachers, interviews with experts in the field, and panel discussions that feature practitioners exploring solutions to common classroom challenges

What are your future plans?

KDS endeavors to lead the industry in providing the most effective and gratifying professional development courses for teachers in the nation. Our goal is to help teachers maximize their potential in the service of students.

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