Meet Our Staff

Ray Schroder speaking at the Madison Distance Teaching and Learning ConferenceRay Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning

Ray is also Professor Emeritus of Communication with three dozen years of teaching experience on the Urbana and Springfield campuses. He has taught more than 30 online class offerings. As founder of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service, Ray is dedicated to faculty development and pedagogical support of the online initiative. He has published the popular Online Learning Update blog daily for the past half dozen years. Ray is the director of the national UPCEA Center for Online Leadership. He is a Sloan Consortium Distinguished Scholar in Online Learning 2002-2003, Visiting Scholar in Online Learning at the University of Southern Maine 2006-2008, and the recipient of the 2002 Sloan-C award for the “Most Outstanding Achievement in ALN by an Individual.” Most recently, Ray received the Sloan Consortium’s highest individual award the inaugural 2010 Frank Mayadas Leadership in Online Learning award.  He is a charter Sloan Consortium Fellow.

Phone: 217-206-7531
Ray’s Homepage


Vickie CookVickie S. Cook, Director of COLRS

Dr. Vickie Cook is the Director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) and Associate Research Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Dr. Cook has been actively engaged providing consulting and faculty development with educational leaders across the U.S. and in Mexico. Her work has been published in a variety of  national educational publications.  She worked as part of a team that authored the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence.

Her current research agenda focuses on two areas.  First, exploring mobile learning through a heutagogical lens and also the impact of a systems approach for online leadership. She  teaches online in the Teaching English as a Second Language concentration of the Masters of Arts in Education program at University of Illinois Springfield.

Dr. Cook has served on several regional and national committees, as well as having been a long time member of Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education (ICCHE) serving in multiple roles on the Executive Board and currently serves as President of the organization; a member of the University Professionals & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA); serves as a mentor for the Association for Continuing and Higher Education (ACHE); is a member of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and serves on program steering committees for the OLC Annual Conference and Midwest Collaborate conference.

Phone: 217-206-8303
Vickie’s Homepage



Carrie Levin, Assistant Director

Carrie joined COLRS in July 2005.  She earned her B.F.A. degree in Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and her Masters in Dance-Movement Therapy/Counseling at Columbia College Chicago.  She spent several years as a professional actress in Chicago and as a movement therapist/counselor in Madison, Wisconsin working with institutionalized older adults, developmentally disabled adults, teens and children.  At COLRS, Carrie works with online faculty development, MOOC development and support for COLRS research activities.  She has authored and co-authored proceedings papers and book chapters on a variety of topics related to online learning and has presented at numerous national and regional conferences.  In addition to her work with COLRS, Carrie is an adjunct instructor at UIS in the Computer Science department.  Carrie holds the Professional Certificate in Online Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Phone: 217-206-8499



Photograph of Emily BolesEmily Boles, Online Learning & Faculty Development Specialist

Emily joined COLRS in September 2006. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Illinois College and is completing her Master of Arts degree in English at UIS. She completed the highly selective Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning from Penn State/Online Learning Consortium in 2011 and holds the Master Online Teacher certification from the Illinois Online Network. Before coming to COLRS, Emily led faculty development courses in online learning and instructional design at Illinois Central College, taught technology training workshops at the Center for Teaching and Learning at UIS, and worked as a technical writer and web developer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Phone: 217-206-8311


Michele Gribbins, Online Learning & Faculty Development Specialist

Michele GribbinsMichele joined COLRS in 2012 after teaching for seven years as a faculty member for the Department of Management Information Systems at UIS, where she continues to teach online classes. Michele works with faculty members in designing and assessing effective online classes and designs and delivers faculty development. She is a Certified Online Learning Administrator and has been on the project team for two Massive-Open Online Courses offered by UIS.

Her research interests are centered on the fit and effectiveness of educational technologies in the classroom. She has published several journal articles and conference proceedings, and has presented at several national and international conferences. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Illinois State University, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Eastern Illinois University and completed doctoral coursework in Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was employed previously as a computer trainer and an adjunct business instructor at Lake Land College.

Phone: 217-206-8251
Michele’s Homepage


Photograph of Bill BloemerBill Bloemer, Research Associate & Dean Emeritus of Arts & Sciences

Bill served for more than 16 years as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Springfield. During that time, the college implemented several successful online baccalaureate degrees and grant programs. He is now emeritus dean and emeritus professor of chemistry and clinical laboratory science and a research associate with the Center.

Recent presentations about online learning include the session ‘Teaching Chemistry Lab Courses Online’ sponsored by the Illinois Community Colleges Online (ILCCO). He discussed how these chemistry courses were developed, how they handled the labs, issues and challenges that weredealt with and lessons learned.

Phone: 217-206-6170


Ann Cole, Administrative Clerk

As Staff Clerk of COLRS, Ann is responsible for monitoring the operating budget of the unit, making travel arrangements, and purchasing items for the unit.  Ann has worked at the university since February 1992.  She has worked at various departments during her years at the university.  She worked for COLRS (formerly called OTEL) in 2000 and just couldn’t stay away, so she returned in April 2011.  Ann’s hobbies include skydiving, motorcycle riding, and reading

Phone: 217-206-8233


RE CameraJohn Freml, Information Technology Technical Associate

John has held several different positions at UIS since late 2012, but only recently joined COLRS in 2014. In addition to his position at COLRS, John is an adjunct faculty member in the Arts and Humanities department at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, where he teaches courses in both German and Women’s and Gender Studies. He attended graduate school at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned his M.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and previously spent one year studying and researching in Tübingen, Germany. His professional academic interests include feminist pedagogy, feminist and queer theology, and pop culture studies.

Phone: 217-206-7360



Karen Swan, COLRS Research Associate & UIS James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership

Photograph of Karen Swan Her research is in the area of media/technology and learning on which she has published and presented extensively. She has authored over 100 publications as well as several hypermedia programs, and co-edited two books on educational technology topics. Her current interests include ubiquitous computing, data literacy, and online learning. Dr. Swan has been involved with online teaching and learning for over a decade, both as an instructor and as a researcher. She helped develop one of the first fully online masters degrees while she was at the University of Albany, is active in the online learning community, and is well known for her research on learning effectiveness in online environments. In 2006, Dr. Swan received the Sloan-C award for Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual for her work in this area, and she was a part of the 2010 inaugural class of Sloan-C Fellows.

Phone: 217-206-7424