TxDLA thinks its members are pretty amazing, and is proud of the innovative programs that they manage. One of these members is Renda Garner, Director of Distance Learning at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC), who has been in higher education for over 20 years beginning as a Disability Services and TRIO at Eastfield College in Mesquite and later as Director of the Texas A&M-Commerce Transfer Center at Eastfield College. She has coached women’s volleyball, and taught courses in physical education, developmental reading, human development and psychology. Garner has also taught online for over 10 years as an adjunct professor.
“I feel the combination of my administrative experience and my experience with building, designing and delivering quality online courses made me a good fit for the Director of Distance Learning position at TVCC. Higher education is in my blood … both of my parents were community college professors and I grew up on their college campuses,” states Garner.
As the Director of Distance Learning, Garner is responsible for: the administration of Blackboard; training for all new and current online faculty; providing technical assistance to all online students and faculty; coordination of interactive television courses for prison units and partnering ISD’s; development of online course schedule; supervision of the Distance Learning budget; and coordination of the Virtual College of Texas.
One of the innovative projects Garner implemented was the development and creation of the Faculty Mentor Training Program at TVCC. New faculty are first trained in the use of Blackboard and then assigned an experienced online faculty member to serve as their mentor for building, designing and teaching their online course. Since the implementation of this new training program, student satisfaction survey results have improved and overall HelpDesk contacts have been minimized. This approach has solved budgetary and staff issues which would not allow for appropriate faculty training and preparedness.
Garner is also a Master Reviewer and Trainer for Quality Matters (QM), where she is responsible for leading the review teams and training faculty members to become reviewers.
Garner is married and has 4 children - twin daughters who will be 18 in November; another daughter who turned 6 in February; and a son who turned 5 in early May. Her family is a big soccer family and Garner even plays soccer several times per week (she received a soccer scholarship at East Texas State University).
Garner just recently attended her first TxDLA Fall Leadership Workshop in New Braunfels and explains, “Through my participation in this workshop I was able to work with other distance learning leaders, gain a better understanding of the TxDLA organization, and brush up my skills regarding the strategic planning process. It has only been a few weeks since that workshop but participation has motivated me to become more involved in TxDLA and begin work on the strategic planning for my campus.”
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