The evolution of online course development at McMaster Continuing Education


  • Dr. Michael Clemens McMaster Continuing Education
  • Danielle D'Amato McMaster Continuing Education
  • Mubeen Moir McMaster Continuing Education
  • Lavinia Oltean McMaster Continuing Education
  • Daniel Piedra McMaster Continuing Education
  • Dr. Liam Stockdale McMaster Continuing Education
  • Anastassiya Yudintseva McMaster Continuing Education



This reflective piece charts the evolution of McMaster’s Continuing Education online course development team, with the aim of drawing out a series of broader lessons about the changing nature of teaching and learning in the digital domain. The first lesson is the importance of a professed commitment to teaching and learning innovation and attendant instructor development and support with a dedicated staff of digital learning experts. Second is the necessity of remaining nimbly responsive in the face of a rapidly evolving higher education (and wider societal) landscape, to ensure that the full potential of both instructors and learners can be continually realized in an environment where change is the only constant. The third lesson addresses the value of leveraging this institutional capacity to tap into and establish an active presence of collaboration around innovation in post-secondary teaching and learning. In short, the following account of McMaster Continuing Education’s ongoing journey through the challenging terrain of online learning yields productive insights for committed educators across all branches of post-secondary teaching and learning.

Author Biographies

Dr. Michael Clemens, McMaster Continuing Education

Dr. Michael Clemens is an instructional designer with MCE. His research interest is in digital pedagogy, course design, and student engagement. Michael has a Ph.D. in History from McMaster University. Before joining the development team at Continuing Education, Michael was an adjunct professor at McMaster, where he taught a variety of online and in-person courses in the humanities including the history of science and technology and Canadian history.

Danielle D'Amato, McMaster Continuing Education

Danielle is a Web Content and Course Developer with MCE’s Development Team, focusing on the integration of course content into McMaster’s LMS, Avenue to Learn. Previously, Danielle worked as a course developer for the DeGroote School of Business (2020), and as a secondary school teacher with the Hamilton and Halton school boards (2017-2020). She completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in History at McMaster University, and Bachelor of Education at Brock University.

Mubeen Moir, McMaster Continuing Education

Mrs. Moir is an instructional designer with MCE, focusing on the design and development of certificate and diploma programs. Previously, she was a professor (2012-2016), online course developer (2013-2016), and student success coach (2015-2016) at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. She completed her Honours Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto and Master of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (now called Ontario Tech University).

Lavinia Oltean, McMaster Continuing Education

Lavinia Oltean has provided online development and learning management system (LMS) expertise in a number of divisions within McMaster University. She has also provided training and support in common web-conferencing tools being used by faculty at McMaster. She has also provided expert assessment of a variety of instructional applications and coordinated the piloting of these as well as the implementation of these to the institution’s LMS. Lavinia has a

Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Computer Science from McMaster University.

Daniel Piedra, McMaster Continuing Education

Mr. Piedra oversees online course design and development including all certificate and diploma programs in Continuing Education. Previously, he has served in similar positions at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario (2011-14) and as Director of Conestoga College’s Continuing Education department in Kitchener, Ontario (2002-11). He completed his Bachelor of Education and Master of Science at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Education from Brock University. His research interests lie in exploring quality of online learning in areas of instructional design, humanization of online courses, the use of non-traditional assessments, and alternate digital credentials.

Dr. Liam Stockdale, McMaster Continuing Education

Liam is an instructional designer with MCE specializing in online learning development, and an adjunct professor at McMaster's Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition (IGHC) where he teaches an introductory course on global citizenship. He has an M.A. from the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs and a Ph.D. from McMaster's Department of Political Science. Prior to transitioning to a career in instructional design and continuing education, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the MacPherson Institute (2015 -2017) and the IGHC (2014-2015). He has also previously developed and taught online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses in his areas of academic specialization at McMaster, the Canadian Forces College, and Humber College.

Anastassiya Yudintseva, McMaster Continuing Education

Anastassiya supports MCE faculty in the design and development of online courses. Prior, she worked as a Digital Pedagogy Specialist at MacPherson Institute (2017-2019), an Instructional Designer at the University of Manitoba (2016-2017), a Senior Instructor and Department Head at Karaganda State Technical University, Kazakhstan (2004-2013). Anastassiya is working towards a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Pedagogy from OISE, the University of Toronto. Her education also includes a Master of Education from the University of Manitoba, several post-graduate certificates in Learning Design and Technology (Harvard Extension School) and E-Learning Instructional Design (University of California – Irvine). She serves as the President of the Canadian Association of Instructional Designers.