Office of Innovative Instruction and eLearning | Provost | Concordia University Irvine

Office of Innovative Instruction and eLearning (OIIE)

The Office of Innovative Instruction and eLearning (OIIE) collaborates with schools within Concordia University Irvine to identify and develop academic programs, innovate instructional strategies based in research and learning theory, and support faculty in the design, development, and delivery of learning experiences that foster wise, honorable, and cultivated citizens.


Dr. Jason Neben

Executive Director

Biography

Dr. Jason Neben grew up in Orange County, California, where he attended St. John’s Lutheran School and Orange Lutheran High School. Enjoying the Lutheran educational environment throughout K-12, he was called to the vocation of teacher in Lutheran education and pursued post-secondary studies at Concordia University Irvine.

Jason graduated from CUI with honors and was awarded the Mathematics Student of the Year award. Earning a teaching credential and Student Teacher of the Year recognition the following year launched the first phase of his professional journey in education as a middle school math and science teacher at his alma mater, St. John’s Lutheran School. After 10 years in elementary and middle school education, a call from his collegiate alma mater brought him back to CUI.

Now an Associate Professor of Educational Technology, Jason has previously served at CUI in multiple roles for Student Affairs, the School of Education, and the Provost’s Office. In his appointment as Executive Director for the Office of Innovative Instruction and eLearning (OIIE) he leads a dynamic team tasked with facilitating new academic initiatives and supporting instructional design and academic media development across all schools and disciplines.

Jason completed his doctoral studies in instructional technology and distance education at Nova Southeastern University where he studied instructional design, media development, and online administration. He completed the program with a doctoral dissertation titled Perceptions of College Regents Regarding Diffusion of Online Education in a Small Liberal Arts University. His research interests include diffusion of innovations theory, its implications for online education, and application at the institutional level. A part of his doctoral study work, "Attributes and Barriers Impacting Diffusion of Online Education at the Institutional Level: Considering Faculty Perceptions", was published as a chapter in the book Beyond the Online Course: Leadership Perspectives in eLearning.

More often than not, Jason is recognized as Amber Neben’s husband, and he wouldn’t want it any other way. Amber is a two time Olympic and three time World Champion cyclist for Team USA and much of Jason’s free time is spent supporting Amber’s cycling career as it has brought both of them to many different parts of the world. In his vocation as husband he has been a mechanic, soigneur, manager, counselor, attorney, accountant, travel agent, web designer, and sherpa; and loved every minute of it. In 2010 Jason and Amber founded The Dare To Be Project, a nonprofit 501c3 charitable organization that inspires and equips physically challenged children with adaptive cycles to actively DARE TO BE their dream.

Tonya McPherrin

Administrative Assistant

Biography

Tonya McPherrin serves as the Administrative Assistant for the Office of Innovative Instruction and eLearning. In this position, Tonya manages the day-to-day tasks of the OIIE office including serving as the main point of contact, providing general support to the OIIE team, overseeing the OIIE quarterly newsletter, and managing contracts with Subject Matter Experts. Prior to joining Concordia Irvine, Tonya served as the Administrative Assistant at Stanford University for several years at various institutes and departments including the Chair’s Office in the Department of Medicine, the Stanford Cancer Institute, the Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. In addition to her administrative experience, Tonya has over 13 years of court reporting experience, which has given her a keen eye for detail.

Instructional Design and Development

The OIIE is committed to providing our faculty with the best available tools and resources to promote deep learning and meaningful experiences for students. In working with an instructional designer, you may develop new media for instruction, improve course organization, connect course activities that focus on student outcomes, or consider student situational outcomes when delivering course curriculum. Contact us to learn how our Instructional Designers can assist you.

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Seema Atalla

Director, Instructional Design

Biography

After studying comparative literature at UCLA, Seema Atalla began her career as a literary translator and community college professor. She taught in the English department at Mt. San Antonio College for nearly ten years, focusing mainly on developmental writing courses. She also initiated development of the Arabic language program for the Department of World Languages, writing curriculum and creating instructional materials, then becoming the first to teach Arabic classes at Mt. SAC.

Eventually she returned to graduate school to earn her M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology from Cal State Fullerton, completing a five-semester cohort-based program with honors. Her thesis project focused on high-impact practices that foster student engagement.

In 2015, Seema joined CUI as Assistant Director of Instructional Design. She served in that position for nearly three years, before her promotion to the role of Director in August 2018. As Director, she is tasked with managing online course development across all programs. She also continues to work one-on-one with subject matter experts to design and develop individual courses. At CUI, Seema appreciates the warm and welcoming community, and the chance to work with so many staff and faculty members across campus. She also enjoys the opportunities for Christian fellowship, and especially loves the traditional hymns at Tuesday-Thursday chapel.

Christie Sosa

Instructional Designer

Biography

Christie Sosa serves as Instructional Designer for the Office of Innovative Instruction and eLearning. Working with subject matter experts to design and develop courses, Christie loves to dive deep into curricular matters and find new and innovative ways to teach students.

Christie earned her Bachelor’s in Literary Journalism from UC Irvine in 2011, and after graduating, went on to earn a Master’s in Education (TESOL) in 2014. Since then, she has been teaching, conducting research on students’ writing and reading processes, and working with faculty to write curriculum and design courses that support students in their academic careers and beyond.

Her interest in instruction and eLearning developed at the University of California, Irvine, where she most recently served as an Academic Coordinator and Lecturer in the Program in Academic English/ESL and Composition. In this position, Christie developed and designed curriculum in addition to providing instructional support to faculty using LMS systems to foster learning, communication, and community in hybrid courses.

Christie also currently serves as the Children’s Ministry Director for Trinity Presbyterian Church of Orange County located in Orange, CA. Eager to share and teach the gospel, she found herself at Trinity nearly three years ago and has since become an expert in crafts and hand motions for children's Bible songs.

Academic Media Development

We love to share our expertise in support of academic media initiatives by incorporating media-based methods of instruction and interactivity into courses, seminars, speaking engagements, workshops, and trainings. In addition, we can create video lessons and animations to augment your on campus, online, or hybrid course. We would love to collaborate with you - please contact us.

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Alex Ray

Director, Academic Media Development

Biography

After earning his B.S. in Aquatic Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Alex Ray worked as a field scientist conducting subtidal marine surveys with the PISCO Lab at the northern Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura. The purpose of the surveys was to monitor and assess the effectiveness of marine protected areas in supporting wildlife populations and biodiversity. Some of the results and conclusions can be found at CINMS After 10 Years.

Alex ultimately left fieldwork to return to school to obtain his single-subject teaching credentials in biology, chemistry, and geosciences from the University of California, Irvine. His work in the credential program eventually led to a master of science degree from UCI in Biological Sciences and Educational Media Design. This in turn led to his work on a multiyear National Science Foundation grant tasked with investigating the effects of arts-science integrated curricula on student achievement in earth, life, and physical sciences. Publications of results are pending.

In 2016, Alex came to Concordia University Irvine to join the Office of Innovative Instruction and eLearning where he currently serves as Director of Academic Media Development. Although his responsibilities vary, his academic and research interests are focused on efficient leveraging of media to support student learning in ways that weren’t readily accessible during his own undergraduate and graduate school education. Of particular interest to him is the concept of tailoring asynchronous design to meet students’ spatial and temporal limitations through the use of intentional versus opportunistic learning opportunities and matching them to appropriate instructional media.

Alex and his wife, Jess, live in Dana Point with their two children. When he can get the time, he enjoys free diving and spearfishing off the California and Baja coastlines and, after a good day on the water, feeding his family freshly caught treats from the deep.

  • Emily Wells Emily Wells
  • Undergraduate Production Assistant
Emily Wells

Undergraduate Production Assistant

Biography

Emily Wells is from Ontario, California and is a graduate of Upland Christian Academy. Emily is a fine arts-studio artist studying Studio Art and Graphic Design with an emphasis in painting and illustration. She is in her senior year at Concordia University Irvine and will graduate in May of 2020. Emily has worked as an Undergraduate Production Assistant for OIIE since the beginning of her Sophomore year. She has contributed to or taken lead on a wide variety of projects including graphics creation for courses, eLesson authoring, and recording/editing of course videos. After graduation Emily would like to work as an illustrator, free-lance artist, or graphic designer.

Faculty Training and Development

The Department of Faculty Training and Development (FTD) is part of the Office of Innovative Instruction and eLearning. FTD (formerly CELT) facilitates the creation and support of diverse learner-centered teaching environments. Request individual or group training on educational technologies.

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  • Dr. John Randall Dr. John Randall
  • Senior Director, Faculty Training and Development
  • (949) 214-3358
Dr. John Randall

Senior Director, Faculty Training and Development

Biography

Dr. John Randall has been helping others use technology in educational settings since 1994. His professional career began as a corporate instructor who trained employees on various software applications. In 1998, John accepted the position of Technology Coordinator at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church and School in Lake Forest, California, where he taught computer classes, managed the network, servers, and website, as well as helped teachers use technology in a sound pedagogical manner. In 2004, he began teaching for Concordia University Irvine as an adjunct professor in the School of Education. In 2007, he took a full-time position with Concordia Irvine as a professor of Instructional Design as well as the Senior Director of Faculty Training and Development. In 2016, John earned his Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University.

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