Penny Ralston-Berg

Research and Development

Penny is currently an instructional designer for the Penn State World Campus and telecommutes from her home in Menomonie, WI. She works with faculty to design and develop online programs for the general undergraduate portfolio (GUP) and Labor and Employment Relations (LER). She also works on special projects related to quality standards, process improvements and faculty development. Her research interests include student perspectives of quality and how this impacts the design of online courses; and the use of games, simulations, and virtual worlds in online instruction.

Penny has designed online courses since 1997. Previously a senior instructional designer for University of Wisconsin-Extension, she promoted best practices in instructional design within the organization as well as with faculty from UW Extensions’ partner institutions. She also worked to create and refine models for effective and efficient development of online courses. She also worked as a designer and producer at Western Illinois University in many areas of instructional technology including television graphics, compressed digital video course delivery, instructional video, live satellite teleconferencing, CD-ROM production, website production, and production of web-based courses. She has also worked as a technology trainer and design consultant for K-12, higher education, nonprofit, and private groups.

She has presented at various regional, national, and international conferences including the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Annual Convention; the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning; the Quality Matters Annual Conference; the Adult Student Recruitment and Retention Conference; the Hendrick Best Practices for Adult Learners Conference; the Wisconsin Future Technologies Conference; and the Wisconsin Collaborative Online Network. Penny has also served on conference planning committees, the UCEA Research Committee and is currently a member of the Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council.

She recently co-authored the book MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration between eLearning Designers and Instructor Experts with Jon D. Aleckson (Atwood Publishing).

As a student, Penny received instruction at a distance through videotape, compressed digital video, satellite teleconference, and the Internet. She feels that these experiences have greatly influenced her philosophy of course design. She received a B.A. with a double major in Television Broadcasting and Studio Art with a Marketing minor and an M.S. in Instructional Technology at Western Illinois University.

When not working with technology, Penny enjoys spending time with her husband, Rich; viewing films (especially those in her DVD collection of silent and 1950s horror/sci-fi, or modern zombie films); exploring art museums; nature photography; and travel to Norway and Costa Rica (see Penny's photos).

See Penny's profile.

More Staff