About the ILC
The Innovation in Learning Center (ILC) and USAonline, both part of the University
of South Alabama's Academic Affairs Division, are in essence the same organization
with two discrete purposes.
Our goal is to improve the quality of learning at USA by promoting a culture of innovation
in which faculty, staff, and students participate collaboratively in creative teaching
and learning experiences. The ILC promotes innovation through coordinated professional
development initiatives and integrated instructional technologies for the traditional
classroom, blended courses, and fully online learning environments. Our overall vision
is to serve as a hub for faculty members, scholars, and researchers from all over
the world to brainstorm, promote educational research, and improve upon pedagogy and
develop innovative learning opportunities.
Founded in March 2011, when the University of South Alabama's Online Learning Lab
(OLL) and the Program for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (PETAL) pooled
personnel and resources to form a new department under the auspices of Academic Affairs.
The Online Learning Lab (with Dr. Jack Dempsey and four Instructional Design grad
students) began offering faculty development and technology training in 1998.
The Program for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning began in 2003 and was originally
housed at the University Library.
The ILC provides faculty and staff at USA with a host of resources and professional
development opportunities to assist them with developing sound pedagogical skills,
incorporating technology into teaching, and gaining proficiency with the University's
Learning Management System.
USAonline is the University's virtual campus that houses the learning management system
and a number of other e-learning tools. The University of South Alabama has an open-source
learning management system (LMS), known as Sakai. USAonline is a combination of the
LMS and a variety of third-party tools. USAonline helps to deliver content, create
assessments, and provide a collection of course communication tools. It also contains
a gradebook tool and media gallery.
Dr. S. Raj Chaudhury - Executive Director
Dr. S. Raj Chaudhury joined USA in August 2016. As Executive Director, he provides
strategic oversight and direction for the teaching, learning and support functions
of the ILC and USAonline. He also holds an academic appointment as Associate Professor
of Physics. His research has focused on faculty and graduate student professional
development as well as designing and assessing new learning technologies and research
based pedagogies. Past projects to improve the learning of science by future scientists
and future educators have received funding from NASA, National Science Foundation,
U.S. Dept. of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Chaudhury served as a
2003-04 Carnegie Scholar through the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching
and Learning. An avid musician, he has founded and directed university based Indian
Music ensembles that specialize in the classical and semi-classical traditions of
North Indian vocal and instrumental music. A native of Kolkata, India, Dr. Chaudhury
is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar College and received the Ph.D. in Physics from
the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Sue Mattson – Assistant Director, Course Development
Sue Mattson – Assistant Director, Course Development
Dr. Sue Mattson supports course design and development at USA, including new and existing
courses. Sue received a B.A. in Biology from UC Berkeley, and an M.S. in Biology
and Ph.D. in Science Education from Florida State University. More recently, she
earned professional certificates in Project Management (UCLA), Non-profit Management,
and Mediation and Conflict Resolution (Cal State Northridge). Previously, she worked
in the Science Media Group at the Harvard -Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics where
she designed multimedia professional development programs in science and math education. At
USA, Sue coordinates the launching of the ALISA project (Active Learning Initiative
at South Alabama), Fall 2015.
Dr. Jennifer Yates - Assistant Director, Faculty Development
Dr. Jennifer Yates joined the ILC in July 2017 as the Assistant Director focused on
Faculty Development. A neuroscientist by training, Dr. Yates spent 16 years as a faculty
member teaching courses in Neuroscience and Psychology. She was funded by a National
Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant to train undergraduate
students. Dr. Yates will oversee the New Faculty Scholars Program launching in September
2017 and the Innovation in Learning Center Certificate in College and University Teaching
which will start in January 2018. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology
and Biology at the University of Dayton and earned a Ph.D. in Neurobiology at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jason Smith - Manager, Learning Technology Services
Jason is responsible for overseeing USA’s learning management system and all third-party
tools and services used to deliver online learning. He received a B.S. in Computer
and Information Sciences from USA, and has over 15 years of experience in educational
Dr. David Williams - Distance Learning & Assessment Analyst
Dr. David S. Williams provides support to faculty, staff, and students on matters
pertaining to online, blended and web-enhanced courses for all colleges and departments
at the University of South Alabama. He also provides assessment support for ILC program
activities and assists faculty in designing evaluation of Scholarship of Teaching
and Learning and course improvement projects. David received his PhD in Instructional
Design and Development here at USA with research focusing on program evaluation theory.
He received a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham
and his Bachelor of Arts in social science from the University of Mobile. He has nearly
ten years experience in teaching, course design, and coordination of K-12 and higher
Dave Walker - Multimedia Learning Designer
Dave develops instructional video content for blended and online courses at USA. He
holds a B.A. in Communications from Baylor University, and is currently working on
a Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Development. Before coming to USA, he served
as Director of Video Production at Habitat for Humanity International, and Communications
Director for Habitat’s affiliate in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. He has more than
25 year’s experience producing award-winning video programs for corporate, commercial,
and non-profit clients.
Rochelle Darragh - Distance Learning Specialist II
Rochelle oversees USA Online certification, support, and training as well as the ILC's
Social Media platform. Prior to USA she was an E-Learning Specialist with Mississippi
Gulf Coast Community College. She hold a B.S. in Organizational Communication from
Ben Tyler - Online Learning Specialist / Project Manager
Ben provides learning management system and third-party tools technical support for
faculty/staff as well as manages the ILC website and active departmental projects.
Prior to working at USA he was a Information Technology instructor for Mobile Co.
Public Schools for nine years and an ACCESS science teacher for six years. He holds
a B.S. in Secondary Education / Biology and an M. Ed in Educational Leadership / Supervision
Julie French - Secretary V
Julie comes to the ILC from the English Department and has worked for USA for over
17 years. Julie is responsible for ILC general inquires, workshop registration, interdepartmental
calendar, and facilities scheduling.
2018-2019 ILC Graduate Assistants
Hameed Mirza, Lipika Arif, Manju George, Michelle Loo, Phillip Ward, Randy Bumpers,
Ryan Keller, Sarah Canatsey, Yolany Lagos
Click here to learn more about the Graduate Lab.