2019 Canadian National Survey Team Bios

The Canadian National Survey is made possible through the dedication and commitment of the members of the National Survey Team. The collective experience, understanding of the Canadian post-secondary system, and of research in online and digital learning are unparalleled.

Dr. Tricia Donovan is currently the Principal, eCampus at NSCC. She has over twenty years experience with online, distance and digital education with colleges, universities and consortia. She was the Executive Director, eCampusAlberta for 15 years and works closely with the eCampus organizations across Canada and in partnership with WCET in the United States. She has experience in working with online and digital learning strategic planning, quality assurance in online learning and consultation. Tricia also serves as Project Lead for the National Survey and is a Director of the Board.

Nicole Johnson currently serves as Research Director, Canadian Digital Learning Research Association. She was the primary author for the 2019 National Report and works closely with Dr. Tony Bates, Dr. Jeff Seaman and Dr. Tricia Donovan. She is currently an online PhD student, at the Open University of Catalonia, Spain while residing in Abbotsford, B.C.  Nicole also works as a Research Assistant at Royal Roads University and completed her Masters in Education Technology and B.Ed at UBC.

Dr. Tony Bates is currently a Senior Advisor at the Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University. He is also a Research Associate at Contact North|Contact Nord. He has 50 years experience in using technology for teaching, including teaching online, managing online programs, conducting research into educational technologies, and consulting on digital learning strategies and management. Tony has pioneered the Canadian National Survey and is a Director of the Board, CDLRA/ACRFL.

Dr. Jeff Seaman is co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group, which conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses, and reporting.  Seaman works in partnership from design, data collection to report writing for the annual National Survey of Online and Digital Learning in Canada.  Jeff has worked in education information technology for over 20 years and has taught, served as a consultant and on numerous advisory boards including Apple, IBM, and Microsoft. Jeff also serves on the board of directors of CDLRA/ACRFL

Dr. Denis Mayer, is currently serving as interim Board Chair for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and is a board member of the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association. Formerly at Laurentian University he lead Continuing Education and Student Affairs and was involved in distance and online learning regionally, provincially and nationally. He chaired the board of the Canadian Virtual University, the board of the Canadian Association for Distance Education and was a board member for the Ontario Council for University Lifelong Learning and Contact North. He now does consulting in distance education and online learning.

Dr. Brian Desbiens currently is coaching CEO and Senior Executive teams at six institutions (University, College, Health Care and educational support agencies) in Ontario. He is a Research Associate at Contact North|Contact Nord. He is a past President of Sir Sandford Fleming College and worked in the college system for 36 years. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Higher Education Department of the Ontario Institute of Education at the University of Toronto and teaches Leadership in the doctoral program.

Eric Martel is currently Director of distance learning at Université Laval. He also is Lecturer in the Department of Management at Université Laval and has been teaching teaches undergraduate and graduate online courses since 2002. He has over ten years experience in managing online programs, recruiting student in online programs and developing online courses.

Now living in Vancouver, Dr. Ross Paul spent more than 35 years in senior academic administrative positions in Canadian colleges and universities including presidencies at Laurentian University and the University of Windsor. He has written extensively on leadership and management issues and is best known for his books Open Learning and Open Management: Leadership and Integrity in Distance Education (1990) and Leadership Under Fire: The Challenging Role of the Canadian University President (2nd edition, 2015).

Vivian Forssman has expertise in online learning strategy, program development, learning design, and technology operations. She is currently part of a team focused on climate change with the BC Professionals Adaptation Network Project. From 2013 – 2017 she served as the Director, Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies at Royal Roads University, providing pedagogical and technical support for faculty; implementing learning technologies; and improving curricular alignment through program mapping services. She holds an MBA from University of Cape Town, and undertook doctoral research focused on technology policy in higher education, through Simon Fraser University, in the period 2004-2008.

Russ Poulin is the Executive Director, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), Vice President for Technology-Enhanced Education, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Russ has more than 30 years experience focused on the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology -enhanced learning in higher education. Russ, and WCET have partnered with CDLRA/ACRFL and have worked in concert with eLearning consortia in both the United States and Canada. He has received recognition from the Presidents’ Forum, Excelsior College, and the National University Technology Network for his contributions to policies for technology-enhanced postsecondary education. Poulin received a bachelors from the University of Colorado Denver and a masters from the University of Northern Colorado.

Our Research Team for 2018