Bryan Blakeley, former director of operations and learning design at the Boston College Center for Teaching Excellence, has been named executive director of the University’s new Center for Digital Innovation in Learning.
The CDIL will be a centralized service center for all facets of online education support at BC and an innovation space for new digital teaching and learning initiatives. Its online education support responsibilities will include planning, course development, budgeting, technology support, and student and faculty support.
As CDIL executive director, Blakeley will be responsible for ensuring the quality of BC’s online education efforts, and providing leadership in best practices and innovative course design and delivery.
Blakeley’s technology-related experience at BC—which included a stint in the University’s Instructional Design and eTeaching Services prior to its incorporation into the Center for Teaching Excellence—is complemented by his academic background: He holds a master’s degree in history from BC and is completing a doctorate in higher education administration at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development.
“Bryan Blakeley has helped lead Boston College’s efforts to utilize technology in creative ways across our classes, first in Instructional Design and eTeaching Services, then in the Center for Teaching Excellence, and now as founding executive director of the Center for Digital Innovation in Learning,” said Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley. “In this new role, he will continue to collaborate with faculty and deans in the development of new programs and in the renewal of existing offerings.
“Bryan has been responsible for an impressive expansion of our online and hybrid offerings, and I’m looking forward to working together with him to drive innovation while assuring academic quality.”
Discussing the CDIL’s mission, Blakeley said the establishment of the new center reflects the University’s commitment to a greater presence in digital learning, and to support faculty in their use of technology, especially for online learning.
“This is a direction in which BC has been moving for several years,” said Blakeley, who joined the CTE when it opened in 2014. “The University has so many amazing faculty members who are innovative teachers, and the CDIL provides a new capacity for supporting them and their plans for digital pedagogy.”
The CDIL will be a project-based, “big-picture” support organization for academic programs seeking to develop online programs, Blakeley said. Center staff will assist with all aspects of course development, including instructional design and media production, and building the course in the learning management system, as well as with evaluation and assessing outcomes.
Aiding faculty initiatives will be critical to boosting BC’s activity in online education, an area Blakeley believes holds great promise for the University.
“Online education today is providing students with academic credentials, which is a noble mission,” he explained, “but it is often lacking in the kind of formative emphasis that Boston College seeks to provide. Our goal is to help faculty members create a Boston College educational experience that happens to occur online, including distinctive and valuable aspects rooted in our collective mission and history.”
Blakeley noted that he is familiar with the transformational character of the BC experience, as someone whose focus on the liberal arts widened into the field of academic technology.
The CDIL will benefit from existing collaborations between, among others, the CTE, University Libraries, Information Technology Services, the Office of Student Services, and the Academic Technology Advisory Board, Blakeley added.
“Having been involved in academic technology at BC, first as a graduate student and then as an administrator, I have been fortunate to work with colleagues from across the University to broaden BC’s activity in digital learning and online education, and I look forward to continuing to partner with them.”
Sean Smith | University Communications