<strong>Erica Vail: Going the Distance</strong>

Erica Vail: Going the Distance

If you are a student who has taken an online class or a faculty member teaching one, Erica Vail has made your life at BBC&S easier in untold ways. Erica Vail

As the Distance Education Facilitator, Erica plays a valuable role in the implementation of online learning.

With a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State University, and a keen interest in the philosophy and design of online learning strategies, Erica is focused on helping students and faculty at BBC&S. She is also committed to doing her part in advancing excellence in biblical higher education.

I am the Moodle girl. Moodle is the learning management system we use. I train the faculty on how to use it and I facilitate an orientation course for students so they know how to use the system before they begin their courses. This way the technology is not a distraction to their learning.

I want people to use technology, but not just for the sake of using it. It is not just about using the technology; it is about enhancing our students' learning experience and connecting with the 21st century learner. They don't just use pen and pencil anymore; they need to be engaged by technology. My goal for the school is to be able to keep up with learners and for the online program to grow.

The Distance Education Department offers training on the technology, and also in the philosophy of online learning we adhere to. It is really important you have interactive activities that go along with online assignments. And because we are also Education Technology, we try to implement new technology in the classroom as well.

I have always been fascinated by human behavior. I took a psychology course in high school and fell in love with it. Now I am going in an education direction, but there is a strong link between psychology and education. Understanding how students learn and how they think is important in instructional design. I am very pleased these two areas are coming together.

When I came to BBC&S, I was overwhelmed by everyone's kindness and by the environment on campus. I started to grow spiritually, and it wasn't like a job anymore. I still didn't expect my job to go very far, but I was given the opportunity to step into this position. I have never felt more like God put me into a position to do something more than I do here. It was a door that opened, I went through it, and I never looked back.

I love everything about BBC&S. I have built many great relationships with the faculty and staff. I have experienced authentic Christianity here and seen it played out in the lives of the people I interact with everyday. I like academia, and enjoy supporting the faculty, being able to encourage them, and be encouraged by them.

I maintain a blog to keep faculty members up to date with online learning news and helpful tips. It started as a newsletter I sent out every Monday, but a blog made it easier to search for key words and tips. It is designed for BBC&S faculty, but I want to contribute to the Moodle community. Anyone who needs help can find it there. I do free training for schools or churches using Moodle for the first time because when I started using it I received a lot of help from other people in the "Moodle Community." I want to do the same for other newcomers.

I am busy a lot of the time, but I like doing simple things like hanging out in cafes. A lot of interesting conversations come up there, and I love one-on-one communication. I like interacting with people and building relationships. I also like to follow current events; you could say I am a news-junkie. I also love board games and education games.

I would be happy being a Distance Education Facilitator for the long term. I am pursuing a Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University online. Once I receive my degree, I would like to possibly be an adjunct professor in the Counseling program, or maybe get involved in the counseling center here on campus, alongside my role in Distance Education.

Learn more about Distance Education here.

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Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to learn and serve with excellence as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

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Posted on: 10/31/2011 3:51:02 PM

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