Where to Find Me In 2018!



I am so blessed to say that 2017 has been the best year of my career.  Here is where I can be found in 2018!

January-April 2018

  • Applied Instructional Design, online graduate course at The Ohio State University.  This is the 2nd level of instructional design courses offered in OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology.  I am serving as a practitioner mentor, meaning that I provide students feedback and help guide them in the instructional design process.  Students also have the option to work with real clients on real instructional design projects.  I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be a part of this.  The course’s professor is Dr Ana-Paula Correia
  • I’m also enrolled in two courses: Scholarly Perspectives in Learning Technologies & Learning Technologies Diffusion, Innovation, and Change.  These are my first two brick and mortar classes since 2014.  It will take some getting used to physically going to class and let’s face it, Jan-March in Columbus can be a brutal time to be outside.





  • Learning Dev Camp  Salt Lake City, Utah June 11-14, 2018.  I’ll be presenting and tweeting up a storm 🙂
  • EdMedia Amsterdam, Netherlands June 25-29, 2018.  Hoping to present and of course being a typical tourist.



  • ATD Chapter Leader Conference October 11-13, 2018.  Arlington, VA
  • AECT 2018 Association for Education Communications and Technology.  Kansas City, MO. October 23-27, 2018



2017 Year in Review


Professionally 2017 has been an awesome year.  Earlier in the year, I battled some health issues but I’m happy to report that I have my eye issue managed.  I’d like to take the time to write this out to express my gratitude to those who have made the year so great for me.

I did not make any formal goals

I know what you are going to say, failing to plan is planning to fail.  Yes, there are many times I agree with this but this year my free spirit led me to many opportunities.  I pride myself on being a gritty person but in late 2016 I had a “mentor” flip on me.  This helped me focus selfishly on myself and how to continue to grow in learning and development.  It led me to continue to look outside of my organization for leadership and guidance.  Also, I learned what NOT to do to someone (personal pet peeve, I am not “your staff” and quit using the pronoun “I” when a TEAM worked on something).  Looking back, I now see how insecure my former mentor is in their own abilities and knowledge.

TLDC changed my life

I met Sam Rogers & Debbie Richards when they came and headlined Central Ohio ATD’s Learning Technology Day April 18, 2017.  Sam shared on Twitter a link to TLDC, a daily Livestream talking anything and everything learning and development.  TLDC is the brainchild of Brent Schlenker and Luis Malbas.  I popped in one day and tried to ask a question using the Q&A feature in Crowdcast.  My question did not get addressed so I tweeted Brent and Luis, asking if I did something wrong.  Long story short, Luis then called me, explained TLDC and the vision and I wanted to get involved.  Not knowing anything about me, Luis and Brent took a chance on me (someone who has hidden under a rock for most of their career).  By being a part of the TLDC team, I have met too many great people to list (but I look forward to giving each of them a high five in Phoenix next month), was part of several of the top 10 TLDcasts of the year, and have grown exponentially by learning something new every single broadcast.

 I met some of L&D’s Finest IRL

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These are just a few of the photos I took.  I commit 2018 to even more photos and adventures.  I’d also like to say that all of these folks are so kind and lovely in person.

  • I loved watching Dr. Clark Quinn make his mindmaps during a keynote at AECT.
  • Katie Stroud introduced me to her beautiful family and visited me briefly in Columbus through a whirlwind tour she took this year.
  • Dr. Ray Jimenez called me right before I started writing this to talk about opportunities in 2018.
  • I had the opportunity to virtually and face-to-face express my gratitude to Mike Taylor who inspired me to get a Twitter that has helped propel me to new heights.
  • In October, I went to the College of DuPage to do some task analysis work and met Trish Uhl!  I sent her a Twitter message and she picked me up and we had an awesome dinner.  During dinner, she asked me to do something with her for ATD Employee Learning Week.  Inspired by our conversation, I was able to get a proclamation from Ohio Governor John Kasich for the campaign.

ELW Proclamation

Trish was even kind enough to send me goodies from her travels in Dubai, knowing that I am a camel lover.


 I focused on academics


with Dr Ana-Paula Correia

The main reason I work at The Ohio State University is for the employee tuition benefit.  So far I’ve earned one additional degree and feverishly working towards a second.  I am honored and blessed to have the most amazing advisor and mentor Dr Ana-Paula Correia.  By focusing more on academics in 2017, I have focused on collaboration with others and using school as a technology sandbox.  Along with my team members Tim Nunn, Anna Leach, and Natalie Gintert, we even created a learning technology evaluation framework: CPR (Context, Pilot, and Report).  This led us to present at the Association for Education Communication and Technology (AECT) and to get published in an AECT journal 🙂


L-R Cara, Anna, Dr. Anna, Natalie, and Tim via video 🙂

Also this year I became part of an all-female learning technologies research group.  We did a project with Hack OH/IO, a student-led annual hackathon.


Learning Experience Design (LED) Research group led by Dr Ana-Paula Correia.  Members include Vicki Simmerman, Karen Bruce Wallace, and Ceren Korkmaz

We hope in 2018 to lead a similar event (thanks for your help Scott!)

Volunteering helped me grow professionally

This year, in particular, I wanted more responsibility.  I found leadership experience outside of work through volunteering.  Some of the amazing organizations I have been a part of this year include The Ohio Instructional Designers Association, Exploring Learning Technologies (ELT group at The Ohio State University), Toastmasters International, Central Ohio Association for Talent and Development (COATD), and Training Learning and Development Community (TLDC).  I try to not just be a warm body but an active participant in each organization.  In 2017, I founded my own Toastmasters club at The Ohio State University and serve as president.  I was also elected President-Elect of Central Ohio ATD.  Volunteering has allowed me to build skills I want to develop more outside of the workplace.  These stretch assignments have been invaluable to me and I look forward to continuing to volunteer in 2018.  Mike Lenz and Doug Bushee interviewed me on the Learning Innovations Podcast about the importance of volunteering.

I started my own consulting company, The Learning Camel

Launched in June of 2017, The Learning Camel specializes in social media queries and implementation.  I’ve worked with giant clients like Facebook and Babelfish and I work with individuals and businesses.  I’ve secured my first conference client and I hope to continue to grow the business.

2017 By The Numbers


2 Publications

(Refereed Proposal)

North, C. A., Leach, A., Gintert, N., Nunn, T., Correia, A.-P. (in press). Evaluation of the Duolingo English Test: Implications for K-12 English Language Learners. In M. Simonson (Ed.), 40th Annual Proceedings of Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Bloomington, IN: Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT).

Editor Reviewed

North, C.A. (2017). Is Your Digital Brand Human? Training Journal Nov 2017.


3 Credentials Earned

  • Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) Credentialing Specialist
  • Toastmasters International Competent Communicator Award
  • Toastmasters International Competent Leader Award

7 podcast episodes


9 Presentations

This one has a video recording 🙂

  • Nunn, T., North, C.A., Leach, A., Gintert, N. (2017). Evaluating Learning Tools. Presented at The Ohio State University Innovate Conference. Presented at Innovate Impact 2017, The Ohio State University, Ohio Union, Columbus, OH, May 16, 2017. Recording

I want 2018 to be even bigger and better!

Some of the things I want to do in 2018 is to write a book about educational technology, travel abroad (it looks like Amsterdam & Scotland are calling my name in June), and focus more on paying it forward.  I’m also going to be at several conferences throughout the year.   I’m humbled that I could provide anyone advice but I know had I not listened to the advice of others, I would not be in the position I am today.  I look forward to learning with you in 2018 and if you ever want to work on something together, let me know.  I love meeting new people (even if I’m socially awkward f2f, I’m a social butterfly online).

Finally, I hope that those with mean-spirited intentions grow up in 2018.  I have found that with accomplishments that there is a rush of hateraid.  If someone is jealous of you and tries to bring you down, don’t let them.   The world is a HUGE place and I celebrate everyone’s successes and accomplishments, no matter where they are in their career.

Review of Write and Organize for Deeper Learning by Patti Shank, PhD

Patti Shank book signed for Cara North

This book review is extremely overdue.  I’ve had the luxury of taking the rest of the year off from work and since I hate to clean, the weather is perfect to curl up and read.  I took advantage of that today and finally got around to reading Patti Shank’s Write and Organize for Deeper Learning book.  I met Patti virtually earlier this year through my work with the TLDC and she’s a lovely person.  She sent me a copy of her book and I was not paid or required to review it.

I can remember the first learning and development book I was required to read.  My manager at Amazon purchased each of us a copy of “Telling Ain’t Training”.  I love “Telling Ain’t Training” because of the practical applications throughout.  Reading Patti’s book, I was reminded of this and enjoyed the practical tactics peppered throughout.  My co-worker calls these “pro tips” and they are presented in a way that can be applied regardless of your learning and development setting and background.

In Chapter 1, Shank asks the reader to summarize each section and provides points throughout the book to take notes.  I did not want to write in my book so I used my new Rocketbook to outline the science Shank says many do not use in building instructional materials.



My version of the exercise on page 24.

Shank argues that in order to develop instructional materials that lead to deeper learning, a learning and development professional should use four strategies:

  1. Understand your audience’s needs.
  2. Write for clarity.
  3. Make text readable and legible.
  4. Organize for memory and use.

I do not want to spoil the fruits of the book but if you are familiar with Quality Matters, many of Shank’s tips will be familiar.  Particularly the importance of knowing your audience and writing learning objectives from the audience’s point of view is imperative so there is an understanding of what is expected of the materials/training.  The material provided on avoiding wordiness was a good reminder for me.  I am spoiled by having access to an editor at work but I know it won’t always be that way.

I also enjoyed Shank’s perspectives on readability.  She even shares the readability score of the book at the end.  This was something that I first learned about at my tenure at Amazon.  Much of the Kindle training for the Tier II associates was technical and it was challenging to write materials at a level that is easy to read.  Additionally, Amazon has Kindle associates all across the globe, many of them were ELL.

The book was an easy read with tons of information that was presented in a way that made it easy to digest.  This book is great for someone transitioning into learning and development and also serves as a good reminder for those who have experience.




I love Twitter and use it frequently to seek out information. Here are a few examples of Storifys I have done for trending topics in learning and development.

The Value of Mentorship

One of the MANY reasons I love Toastmasters is that it is like chicken soup for my soul.  I’ve met so many people in the Columbus area that I likely wouldn’t have otherwise, and I’m working on my public speaking and leadership skills.  Tonight after our meeting, I spoke to one of our longtime members, David Hill who achieved one of the highest achievements in Toastmasters, the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).  Less than .5% of all of the Toastmasters (and this is an organization with 345,000 members+ worldwide) are recognized at this level.  David shared with me that he liked a lot of my ideas and would like to work with me to get to the next level of my Toastmasters journey.

Mentorship is a big part of Toastmasters and something our new club president, the lovely Ann Ruege (my birthday twin) wants to bring to the forefront in the upcoming year.  This isn’t just a pat on the back or a handshake.  This is a relationship with someone who supports you and wants you to succeed.  Someone who values your input and can help talk you through professional or personal issues.

Why am I sharing all of this?  On the way home, I got stuck in some traffic and had time to reflect on the notion of mentorship and what it means to me.  Here I am, in the middle of my career and I’m very lucky to know some incredible people.  These aren’t just people that follow me on Twitter, these are people that in some way has made an impact on me as a person and has helped me be where I’m at right now.  I looked up some definitions of mentorship and was sad to see most of them was something like this:

“The guidance provided by a mentor, especially an experienced person in a company or educational institution.” -Dictionary.com

An interesting aside to this is this graphic with the definition:


So no one cared about mentorship until recently?  Is this just a buzzword?

I believe that mentorship does not have to have a senior, more seasoned person.  Mentorship can be peer to peer and it’s about cultivating a relationship with someone in order help better them and you.  Going back to my original point about speaking with David this evening:

Is he senior to me in Toastmasters? You betcha!

Can he help me with navigating the educational channels to achieve my next level in Toastmasters?  I have no doubts

Can I be a mentor to him? Absolutely!

Say what?!  Yes, in addition to talking about Toastmasters, David is also interested in building a brand and getting his name out there.  This is something I’m going to be talking about in the District 40 Toastmasters Fall Conference.

That’s right, mentorship should be two ways.  Before I dive in, I want to say this list is certainly not all inclusive.  I am blessed with a lot of great people in my life and I recognize that more and more every day.  Also, I’m not doing this to promote someone. No one knows I’m writing this right now (besides my cat).  Frankly, with all the lists out there about Top 20 Professionals or Top Bloggers, I hope that sharing this is a different way to recognize people that might not necessarily know what they mean to me.  Here is a list of some of my mentors and why they have an impact on me:




L-R: Anna Leach, yours truly, Natalie Gintert, Tim Nunn

I hate group work in school.  Hate it.  So when I had to be a part of a team for some of my graduate work at OSU and it was VIRTUAL, I was so angry.  I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.  Despite my reluctance, I became a part of this team, called TANC:

Tim Nunn

Anna Leach

Natalie Gintert

Cara North 🙂

We have worked together for almost a year now and our skills complement one another. Tim is creative and has a unique perspective being a high school computer science teacher.  I know I can go to Tim to get the scoop on new technologies and for a perspective with an education lens. Anna is a data wiz and I’ve learned so much from her about the importance of data.  She also is driven to learn about instructional design and I want to say when she’s rich and famous that I knew her.  Natalie has this great aptitude to work through any issue and make it work.  She’s one of the best problem solvers I’ve ever met.  Our powers combined we’ve been able to do some pretty special things.  The pic above was taken when we finally all met face to face.  We presented at an OSU conference together based on some research and a project we had completed.  We are also presenting at our first big academic conference together this November.  We also worked on a cool project for OSU’s College of Nursing and we hope to take that inspiration to South by SouthWest EDU.  Of the group members, I was the only one with formal work experience in instructional design but by working with them, I’ve become a much better instructional designer!

Ana-Paula Correia



Team TANC with Dr. Ana-Paula Correia

Have you ever met someone who you absolutely hit it off with from the start?  That’s how I felt when I met Dr. Ana-Paul Correia during my first advising appointment.  She doesn’t take no for an answer.  She has continually pushed me to do more and reach higher levels since I’ve known her.  It’s an interesting relationship because even though she’s my professor and advisor, I’m also her work colleague in the College of Education and Human Ecology at OSU.  When she encouraged our team to apply for the AECT conference, I didn’t think we had a chance of being chosen to present.  I’m glad I am wrong.  APC, as I like to call her, is getting ready to start her 2nd year at OSU after previously teaching in Iowa.  As she has helped me with becoming better academically, I’ve helped her on the practitioner side of things by getting her more involved in the Central Ohio ATD and sharing my local network so she can help become acclimated to Columbus.  I’ve also helped her navigate the OSU system which in itself is a job.


Of course, this isn’t every day, but I can say most days I have no problem getting up and going to work in the morning.  I’m lucky to work with a cadre of people who not only allow me to be my weird self but also encourage me to come up with new ideas.  Especially in a university, it’s hard to be innovative.  I have had some great leadership including Brooke Parker, Dr. James T. Austin, Dr. Dawn Snyder and Traci Lepicki who have continually helped me grow as a young professional.  They also let me be heard and express my ideas, which I appreciate.

Debbie Richards

I first met Debbie Richards a few months ago when she came to Columbus to present at Central Ohio ATD’s Learning Technologies Day.   I was immediately drawn to her presentation style, her humbleness, and warmness.  We were even on a podcast together. It was when I traveled to Salt Lake for Learning Dev Camp that took our relationship to the next level.  It was the last day of the conference, I was a few hours away from flying back to Columbus when she asked me a question:

“What are you doing?”  

Immediately I wondered if I had something stuck in my teeth or if I was wearing my breakfast on my shirt.

“What do you mean?”

She then went on to ask me what I was doing with my career and she told me I had a talent with social media that I should capitalize on.   By her saying this it watered the seed that had been planted deep in my head about running my own business.  Not only did she encourage me more than she’ll EVER know, BUT she also introduced me to Ahn who has taken me under her wing, gave me a chance to work for her, and is showing me the business side of digital marketing.  I am so grateful to Debbie and Ahn for their support of me and The Learning Camel.

Granted, my husband doesn’t like how I come home after work and work my 2nd shift at The Learning Camel and I usually work the majority of the weekend, but it doesn’t feel like a job. I love working in social media and digital marketing 🙂



I’ve been pretty lucky to be able to help manage the social media of several organizations including my Toastmasters club, Central Ohio ATD, & Ohio Instructional Designers Association.  These volunteer experiences have been great for me and I will always include volunteering as part of my professional life.

Then there is the TLDC.  If you don’t know the TLDC, it is The Training Learning and Development Community.  It was founded by two former Elearning Guild employees Brent and Luis who wanted to develop a positive community for learning and development professionals.  Every week day there is a live show via Crowdcast.io and topics are discussed about various pain points people may have or there are guests that share their perspectives.  I’ve never watched an episode where I didn’t learn something (yes, Anthony and Ajay you’re episodes have value too :p).  If I can’t watch the episode live, I hit up the replay.  I volunteer for TLDC, helping manage their social media and writing up the daily show notes.  How did I get this gig?  I asked Brent and Luis a question about the format of the show, specifically, why my question didn’t get answered after they asked for participants to add questions in the Q&A box for the speakers.  This led to another conversation about me (let’s face it, why on Earth would they know who I am?) and it led to me becoming a volunteer.  From this community alone, I have been able to meet some of the community members face to face including Katie Stroud, Sam Rogers, Lisa Robbins, Joe Ganci, & Brent Schlenker.  On top of that, I’ve started talking more to people who are not necessarily IDs, but provide a lot of value to challenging my perspectives and processes.  This list includes Mike Simmons, Mike Lenz, and Jason Noxon to name a few.  Then, one more level here, I’ve met this AMAZING ID in Scotland Bethany Taylor and we have set up periodic Skype calls to talk about our work and talking through how to approach things.  I’m proud to be one of the volunteers, working alongside Craig to support this amazing community.  If this isn’t the best example of mentorship being a 2-way conversation, I’ve got nothing else for you.  Plus, TLDC has stickers! IMG_4090

You don’t need a turkey and fake leaves decorating your home to be grateful.  It took a traffic jam for me to think this through but I wanted to take some time to write this out and just say thank you.  I am humbled by the fact that I know so many kind and giving people that provide so much value to my professional career.

Have you thought about who you have mentorship relationships with?  Have you told them how much you value them?














Credentialing 101

I’ve been inspired by a new colleague Jason to write more so I’ve dusted off the cat hair on my home computer keyboard, and I’m ready to go.

My precious little Palpatine Azrael

One thing I love in particular about instructional design is the variety of the job.  The unit I work in at OSU CETE is Assessment Services.  Before working with this unit, I didn’t know much about assessment besides knowledge checks and evaluation.  An organization that my employer is a professional member of has an online training program to become a Credentialing Specialist.  I am enrolled in the program, and I started going through the content today.  It is an asynchronous program that you must complete in 6 months.  In order to complete the program, there are 8 eLearning modules with quizzes at the end.  If you complete the program, you receive a digital credential from the organization and your name on a Powerpoint slide at their upcoming conference. If that doesn’t sweeten the pot nothing will 🙂  Besides the knowledge gained, a side prize to me is seeing another organizations eLearning and tearing it apart 🙂

The content today was introductory but important because it went through the definitions of words around credentialing. There are distinct differences between each of these so let’s explore them.


If you see or hear that something is accredited, that simply means that it is approved according to a set of defined standards. Often you hear about higher education institutions being accredited.  Through the lens of the U.S. Department of Education, this means that the institution is held to and maintains standards for learners to gain admission to other accredited institutions or to achieve credentials for professional practice.  Going down another level, the U.S. Department of Education recognized two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized.  Institutional is exactly what it sounds like, governing the whole institution whereas the specialized accreditation focuses on specific programs, departments, or schools.  To achieve accreditation, there has to be a governing body that verifies the predetermined and standardized criteria.

Certificate Program

Have you ever been a part of a certificate program?  A few years ago I completed ATD’s eLearning Certificate program.  I received a certificate from ATD at the end without receiving feedback on the final product, but I digress.  A certificate program is a training program on a topic for which participants receive a certificate of attendance and/or completion of the coursework.  Going back to my point about ATD, some programs also require successful demonstration of attainment of the course objectives but not necessarily. An important distinction is that a credential is NOT granted at the completion of a certificate program.  Since the types of certificate programs can vary, they can be classified into 3 types:

  • Knowledge-based- Usually a narrow scope of specialized knowledge used in duties and tasks required for a particular profession.
  • Curriculum-based- Individuals complete a course or series of courses and pass an assessment instrument.  The assessment must be based on the curriculum and may not represent a career field or professional practice.  Therefore, this type of certificate is not as defensible compared to a professional certification
  • Certificate of attendance or participation (aka, you can fog a mirror)

Certification Program

This can be defined as the standards, policies, procedures, assessments, and related activities through which individuals are publicly identified as qualified in a profession, role, or skill. Examples of this include Certified Public Accounts (CPAs) and Certified Life Underwriters (CLUs).

So what is credentialing?

Drum roll please……credentialing is an umbrella term that includes accreditation, licensure, and professional certification.

Is this clear as mud?  It can be a little confusing and as I continue to go through the program, I’ll share some examples to help solidify the terms.

Often times in learning and development, we don’t think about our programs through these lenses.  Lots of the content of this program will likely intersect some of the work I do.  As I continue to learn, I’ll share what I find is interesting.


National Commission for Certifying Agencies Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs

Where to Find Me The Rest Of The Year!




The last part of my year is filling up quickly so here are some places to find me if you want to hear me speak or see me in the flesh 🙂


  • July 25, 2017. Ohio Association of Career Technical Educators (Ohio ACTE).  Columbus, Ohio.  WebXam Updates: End-of-Course Testing.  Co-presenting with Brooke Parker and Richard Huggins.  Connections to Education Conference
  • July 31, 2017. Ohio Association Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences (OATFACS).  Columbus, Ohio.  WebXam Preparing Students Through Classroom Assessment. Co-presenting with Brooke Parker.  Impact 2017: New Courses, New Opportunities


  •  August 22, 2017. Ohio Podcasters Monthly Meetup. Columbus, Ohio.  So We Started A Podcast: Lessons Learned and Live Show. Co-presenting with Joseph Suarez.  Columbus Ohio Podcasters Meetup



  • October 5-7, 2017.  Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) and Ohio Association for Adult and Continuing Education (OAACE) Regional Conference. Cleveland, Ohio. Speaking proposal pending Building Your Brand Using Social Media. Regardless, I will be attending this conference.
  • October 23-26, 2017. Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). New Orleans, Louisana. Tentatively attending (I am working towards my Credentialing Specialist Certificate and if I earn it, there is a recognition ceremony at this conference). ICE


  • November 3-5, 2017. District 40 Toastmasters International.  Lawrenceburg, Indiana.  Social MEdia: Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network and Extending the Virtual Handshake (Educational Session). D40 Website
  • November 6-11, 2017. The Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT). Jacksonville, Florida.  Evaluation of the Duolingo English Test: Implications for K-12 English Language Learners (ELL). Pending conference journal publication and first authorship.  Co-presenting with Anna Leach, Natalie Gintert, Tim Nunn, and Dr. Ana-Paula Correia.  Roundtable discussion


Nothing planned yet.


On The Horizon:

  • Instructional Redesign Podcast.  Co-hosting with Joseph Suarez. Launching soon I promise!!
  • January 29-30, 2018. The Training Learning and Development Conference.  Phoenix, Arizona.  Registration confirmed.  http://tldc18.com
  • June 11-14, 2018.  Learning Dev Camp. Salt Lake City, Utah.  I plan on submitting a speaking proposal once the conference website is up.  Conference Website