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Laura Andrews joined the Office of Online Learning and Services in 2014. She is responsible for the day-to-day administrative and support duties needed for the overall operation of the Online Learning and Services office. Andrews also ensures University compliance with state regulations. An alumna of St. John’s, she holds a bachelor of science in legal studies, and is currently pursuing a master’s in library and information science at St. John’s University.
Paul Desmarais joined St. John’s as senior instructional designer and project manager in 2014, and works with departments to develop holistic approaches to the design of new online courses and programs. He oversees development initiatives for faculty who teach hybrid and online courses, including the expansion of the online teaching mentor program, revising faculty training to focus on course design and teaching, researching faculty development needs, and managing St. John’s asynchronous online faculty courses. Desmarais also investigates new technologies and works with other University departments to apply them to online teaching at the University.
Desmarais sits on the program committee for the annual EdMedia conference sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Zoology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Master of Educational Technology from Boise State University.
An instructional designer at St. John’s since 2014, Tara King collaborates with faculty to design and implement engaging online courses that promote best practices for teaching in the field. Additional projects include the co-design of a new faculty development course introducing online teaching methods and the design of an advanced online teaching strategies course. She also creates and delivers workshops on many educational and instructional design topics for St. John’s faculty.
King earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts – Photography from the School of Visual Arts (NY) and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from LIU-Post, focusing on information literacy, pedagogy, and using technology to enhance teaching and learning. King is an active member of the Association of College and Research Libraries/Greater New York Metropolitan Area Chapter. She serves as the co-chair of the Distance Learning Discussion Group for ACRL/NY.
Gina Robinson joined the Online Learning and Services team in 2016 as a New Media and Communications Specialist. In this role, she works with faculty to design and integrate media into their online and hybrid courses, and assists them with finding technologies that can enhance their teaching. Additionally, Robinson is responsible for designing all departmental media including tutorials, the departmental website, and all departmental social media.
Prior to accepting this position, Robinson worked at St. John’s University for seven years as an Educational Technology Specialist in the SJU Library. She holds a B.S. in Childhood Education from Molloy College and M.S. in Instructional Technology from New York Institute of Technology. She is an active member of the Metropolitan New York Library Council, where she runs a special interest group focusing on free and open resources. Her research interests include fostering students’ information communication technology skills and designing technology training programs that meet the needs of learners at every techno-comfort level. Robinson has presented at various professional conferences about these topics.
Yi Zhang joined St. John’s University as an instructional designer in May, 2016. She brings fourteen years of professional experience to her current role, having served as an instructional designer and instructor at Vaughn College of Aeronautics (2002-2010); instructor at FasTracKids (2010-2013) and KG CompuTech, Inc. (2013), and instructional designer and instructor at Broward College (2013-2016). Zhang has extensive experience in designing and developing hybrid, online and competency-based courses, and in academic technology training. She is also an experienced web designer, having previously worked as a training specialist and web designer at St. John’s from 1998-2002.
Zhang earned her B.S. in Economics (1993) from Zhejiang University and her M.B.A. in Computer Information Science (1999) from St. John’s University. She also holds a Multimedia Specialist Certificate (2003) from New York University and an M.S. in Instructional Technology from Touro College (2015). As an alumna and previous employee, she is delighted to return to St. John’s as a member of the instructional design team in Online Learning & Services.
Ian August joined St. Johns University as an instructional designer in June 2017 and works with faculty designing interactive and student centered online learning experiences. He brings 12 years of higher education experience to his current role, having served as an instructional technologist at SUNY Old Westbury College (2005 – 2013), and an instructional designer and educational technologist at SUNY Maritime College (2013 – 2017). August has extensive experience collaborating with faculty in the design and development of online and hybrid courses, facilitating workshops and integrating technology into online learning environments.
August earned his B.S. in Political Science from SUNY Old Westbury College and his M.S. in Education from the University at Albany. His research interests include the role of student motivation in achievement, how interaction and engagement impact learning, exploring creative pedagogies, and change management.