Asynchronous approaches to teaching and learning 2021NAP webinars

October 13, 2021 17.00 CEST

EDEN NAP Webinar



Asynchronous approaches to teaching and learning have been part of the DNA of distance and online education for over forty years. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic pivot online, synchronous video conferencing quickly became the norm and asynchronous approaches were largely ignored. However, the literature indicates that active communication between students and instructors using asynchronous discussion forums promotes interaction and social presence in online courses (Farrell & Brunton, 2020; Buck, 2016; Gauvreau, Hurst, Cleveland-Innes, & Hawranik, 2016).

The session will begin with Dr. Sarah Lohnes Watulak and Dr. Jeni Henrickson sharing their experiences of creating The Asynchronous Cookbook, a collaborative and open textbook. Then, Rima Al Tawil will present her research on non-verbal communication in asynchronous discussion forums. Finally, Dr Caitriona Ni She, will share research and practice on asynchronous engagement drawn from the #Openteach project.

Type of session: presentations with discussion


Orna Farrell
Dr Orna Farrell
is Assistant Professor specialising in online and blended education in Dublin City University (DCU). Orna holds a PhD in Education from Trinity College Dublin. Orna is EDEN NAP SC Deputy Chair.

Currently, Orna is Head of the Open Education Unit at Dublin City University, which provides online programmes to off campus students through the DCU Connected platform. From 2020-21, Orna led the Digital Learning Design Unit, created to support DCU’s pivot to hybrid learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. From 2017-20, she was Chair of the DCU Connected Online Humanities programmes.
Working within DCU’s National Institute for Digital Learning. Orna’s research interests include online pedagogy, online student success and engagement, eportfolio and open educational practice. She has a growing publication record in her fields of interest, including a range of book chapters, journal articles, invited presentations and conference papers. She has published in high ranking journals such as Distance Education, the Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Research in Learning Technology, and the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. Dr Farrell is an editor of the open access online journal The Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning.

Vlad Mihaescu

Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Politehnica University of Timisoara.

Vlad Mihaescu has a PhD in educational and technological models of MOOCs and has more than 10 years’ experience as a trainer and teacher in areas like multimedia technologies, social media, e-tourism, e-learning, usability, entrepreneurship, programming, soft skills and leadership. Author of over 25 scientific papers and book chapters published in international conferences and journals, Vlad is involved in several European research projects in the field of eLearning. He is also a lecturer for UPT.


Sarah Lohnes Watulak

Dr. Sarah Lohnes Watulak is the Director for Digital Pedagogy and Media in the Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ) at Middlebury College in Vermont (USA), where she gets to work with awesome colleagues to create digital learning opportunities and environments that support learner agency and equity. More at Sarah’s website:

Jeni Henrickson

Dr. Jeni Henrickson is an Instructional Designer in the Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ) at Middlebury College in Vermont (USA), where she helps facilitate thoughtful tech integration and meaningful learning experiences in digital spaces across the institution. She enjoys engaging diverse groups in transformational learning experiences, building learner confidence and community, and designing learning that is playful and visually engaging.

Rima Al Tawil

Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Rima is a Lebanese-Canadian educator with a passion for using educational technology to create interactive and engaging experiences that lead to deeper learning. She started her career in the field of education as k-12 teacher in Lebanon and the U.A.E., then transitioned to adult education and employee professional development. Throughout her profession as an instructor, senior learning consultant, and instructional designer in the academic and corporate worlds, she has designed, developed, and implemented curricula using multiple modalities, with a special focus on asynchronous, text-based communication. For her EdD studies at Athabasca University, she is researching the influence that nonverbal cues may have on the students’ interaction and engagement in the online course asynchronous discussions. She conducted an initial research on the same topic while completing her Master’s in Adult Education at Yorkville University.

Caitríona Ní Shé

Dr. Caitríona Ní Shé is currently working in Trinity College Dublin as an Academic Developer. In her previous role she worked on the National Forum’s Professional Development of All Those Who Teach priority. Caitríona has worked on a number of online teaching and technology enhanced learning projects including the #Openteach (online teaching) and the Assessment for Learning (Mathematics resources) projects.  In addition, she has worked in a variety of roles across the higher education sector both in supporting academics enhance their teaching skills and students achieve their learning goals. Caitríona worked previously on the first iteration of the PACT short course and is now, along with the National Forum team, supporting the roll out of the Open Courses platform across the sector.