ION is administered by Continuing and Professional Education and the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield.


The Illinois Online Network (ION) is partially funded by the University of Illinois Springfield to provide professional development in the area of online teaching and learning to faculty at partner community colleges in Illinois, the three campuses of the University of Illinois, and around the world.

Reporting Line

Faculty and staff of the Illinois Online Network (ION) report to the ION Director. ION is housed within Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE).

Vickie S. Cook, Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor, Educational Leadership
Executive Director, Center for Online Learning, Research and Service
University of Illinois Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 425
Springfield, IL 62703-5407

Phone: 217-206-7317


Ms. Deb Antoine

Deb Antoine earned her BS in Journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and her MA in Communication at University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). She has worked in video production for over 25 years at various studios including Carbondale Cablevision, University of Illinois Springfield Television Office,  Memorial Medical Center Education Department, and her business, MediaWorks. She was also instrumental in implementing the multimedia program at Capital Area Career Center where she started using Moodle to facilitate her face-to-face classes. Later in her career, she worked for the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) at UIS as an online learning specialist and earned her Master of Online Teaching (MOT) through the Illinois Online Network (ION). She served as lead faculty for Communication Arts at Benedictine University at Springfield before it closed its traditional program, then transitioned to work as an instructional designer for their Adult, Graduate and Professional Education program. In addition, she has taught as an online adjunct for UIS and Benedictine University.  She now happily teaches technology courses for ION and continues to work on producing digital media for her business, MediaWorks.

Dr. Terry Fencl

Since 1980, Dr. Terry Fencl has been a full-time instructor of speech and theater at Triton College. She teaches in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department which offers interdisciplinary packages of general education courses in communications, fine arts, social and behavioral sciences and humanities. Department members collaborate in curriculum and lesson planning, assignments and exams, the assessment of learners, team teaching, etc. In 1998, Triton moved its learning community to an online format preserving the interdisciplinary mandate and connecting the virtual community of online learners to the classroom community of on-campus learners. Terry teaches online theater courses in this Community Of One model. Additionally, she teaches what was for a long time somewhat of a rarity –online public speaking courses.

Teaching online has been a rejuvenating, fun, and incredibly rewarding experience. Terry has seen her online speech students better prepared for their presentations than my on-campus learners. She also experiences significantly more insightful and substantive discussions in my online theater courses. She’s convinced that key factors are the high level of interactivity, collaboration and sense of community that can be achieved in the virtual classroom. A common theme among students in her course surveys is that they have never experienced in traditional classes as much communication with other learners and the instructor as they have in their online experience.

Terry has a Ph.D. in communications, an MA in speech & performing arts, an MS in organizational behavior, and a BA in English. Currently, she’s working with her department colleagues and with faculty from other colleges to develop an innovative, inter-institutional, team taught series of online humanities courses (under an ILLCO grant).

Dr. Norman Garrett

Dr. Garrett is currently Professor Emeritus of Management Information Systems in the School of Business at Eastern Illinois University, where he has taught courses in programming, networking and management information systems. He has been an educator since starting his first teaching assignment at Tolleson Union High School in Tolleson, Arizona, in 1973. Since that time he has worked as a teacher and administrator at the high school, community college, and university levels. Among other duties, he has served as a high school athletic director, a community college dean, a university academic computing specialist, and as associate director of a university computer institute. He has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, a masters and a doctorate from Arizona State University, and a certificate from the University of Illinois as a Master Online Teacher. He loves to teach using a technologically hybrid approach.

In industry he has worked as a systems analyst, assembly language programmer, network administrator, and corporate CEO. He has extensive consulting experience and has expertise in networking and telecommunications as well as several programming languages, software development, and educational technology. He has won numerous awards, has written 5 books and a variety of scholarly articles, and is listed in several editions of Who’s Who, including Who’s Who in Education and Who’s Who in the Computer Industry.

Dr. Rhonda Gregory

Dr. Rhonda Gregory is currently the Director of Distributed Education at Volunteer State Community College. In this role, she helps lead the online and blended learning initiatives of the College. She manages a team of professionals that promote and support 21st Century learning on and off campus. Prior to coming to Volunteer State Community College, Gregory worked at Greenville College, a four-year school in Greenville, IL. She held several positions there over nine years, including director of instructional technology, adjunct instructor, academic adviser, instructional technologist and online learning program coordinator. She holds a master of arts from Greenville College and is completing her Ph.D. at the University of Memphis.

Dr. Leaunda Hemphill

Hi! My name is Leaunda Hemphill and I teach at Western Illinois University in the Instructional Design and Technology Department. At National-Louis University, I taught educators to use technology effectively in their instructional planning and with their students in the classroom. Learn more about Leaunda Hemphill.

Mr. Michael McNett

Mike McNett has been part of the ION faculty since 2000, and has facilitated the Overview, Instructional Design, and Practicum courses, the latter two of which he developed. He is also on the English faculty of Oakton Community College, where he has developed, and still delivers, online versions of the Freshman Composition sequence, Business and Technical Writing, and Writing for the Web . He has been active in training online faculty at Oakton, and was a member of the college’s LMS selection teams in 2011 and 2020.

Mike is an ABD in American Literature from Northwestern, as well as an MA in American Literature from Northwestern and a BA in English from UIUC. He also holds the MOT certificate from ION.

Dr. Kathy Olesen-Tracey

With over 25 years of diverse professional experience, I am currently the Illinois State Director for Adult Education and Literacy at the Illinois Community College Board, a nationally recognized expert in adult education, corrections education, technology integration, and distance learning. My educational leadership background includes developing standards aligned curriculum, providing professional development to educators across the country, facilitating national discussions for LINCS, a United States Department of Education initiative, teaching in adult and developmental education, guiding students with academic, career, and personal advising, and planning and implementing student-focused programs.

Dr. W. Andrew Robinson

W. Andrew Robinson, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in Professional Studies in Education and two graduate certificates in Online Instructional Design and Teaching Online from Capella University and a Master’s in Speech Communication from Eastern Illinois University. He is an adjunct faculty in the Department of Education and Leadership and with the Center for Professional Development and Education (CAPE) at the University of Illinois Springfield. Andrew teaches fulltime for Eastern Illinois University’s School of Communication and Journalism. He has been teaching and designing online courses since 2005. Andrew developed the 6P Instructional Design Model in 2015, which has been adopted by the Illinois Online Network as its primary model for their instructional design course. He received the Roger Whitlow Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Alpha Image Award for Leadership and Service. His two main research interests are online education and religious coping. Robinson’s teaching philosophy can be summarized by William Arthur Ward, “"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." 

Ms. Christine Scherer

Christine Scherer (she/her) is the Senior Content Specialist at Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies Distance Learning Department. Over the last four years, she has spearheaded the department’s accessibility standards, taking the department from zero web accessibility considerations to a WCAG 2.0-compliant process that builds in accessibility from day one. She has developed and facilitated training for faculty and staff, consults on accessibility topics and issues during course development, and reviews all course sites for compliance with accessibility standards before launch. She partners with the university Disability Support Services office, AccessibleNU, to provide as-needed web accessibility consultations and serves on multiple university-wide accessibility councils and committees.

She has an MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse and a BA in Political Science from DePaul University, proving that the path to web accessibility isn’t always a direct one. Outside of work, she enjoys board games, sewing, and volunteering with her local farmers market.

You can connect with Christine on LinkedIn and see her work on the SPS DL website blog and accessibility guidelines.

Ms. Sally Bolen

Ms. Bolen’s undergraduate education began at Lincoln Christian College, now Lincoln Christian University, and finished with a BA at Greenville College, now Greenville University.  Her MS was completed in 1983 at SIU-E.  Bolen has been in education for over 35 years.  She worked in two public school districts in Illinois as a primary grades teacher, a Title I math teacher, and substituted for various grade levels.  For nine years, Bolen taught in the online graduate program at Greenville University before teaching at UIS.

Dr. Terri Winfree

Dr. Terri L. Winfree is the Executive Director of the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce. Previous to that, she served seven years as the President of Prairie State College (PSC) in Chicago Heights, Ill. She began her presidency in 2013 when she is the first woman and first PSC graduate to be named president of the college. Dr. Winfree served in leadership positions for 25 years with PSC. She has served on several boards and committees throughout Illinois. Dr. Winfree also has been an adjunct faculty member at Governors State University and University of St. Francis and University of Illinois, Springfield. She also is a John Maxwell Certified Speaker, Coach, and Trainer. Dr. Winfree holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Communication Studies/Human Performance and Training from Governors State University, and a Ph.D. in Education and Human Resources from Colorado State University.

Ms. Maude Yacapsin

Maude Yacapsin specializes in Online teaching and Leadership for inclusive practices in Higher Education.  She has a Masters, Supervision and other certificates in Special Education. As an active member of IT and leadership organizations, Maude presents at conferences each year.  Her degree is from the University of Nebraska in Higher Educational Leadership.  She is an ed-tech enthusiast, ed-tech curator, dog-rescuer, collaborator/multiplier, course developer for the Illinois Online Network’s Quality Matters/Quality Assurance Initiative, and a sometimes-runner.  She has taught courses with ION for three years.