Donna Petherbridge, associate vice provost for academic technology innovation in Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA), is a teacher at heart. She’s been involved with teaching for more than 25 years, starting her career as both a middle and high school teacher before coming to NC State in 1997 as a part-time instructional technologist.
“I love working with people and helping people achieve their goals. Ultimately, teaching is about facilitating an individual’s journey to where he or she wishes to go next,” said Petherbridge.
Petherbridge earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Elon University and a master’s degree in information science from North Carolina Central University. In 2007, she earned a doctorate in adult and community college education from NC State.
After earning her doctorate, Petherbridge began teaching online courses at NC State in Fall 2008.
She currently teaches with the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development with NC State’s College of Education. Her course, Designing Instructional Systems in Training and Development, is a required course for individuals pursuing the online Master of Education in Training and Development as well as the certificate programs.
“I enjoy my specific content area, instructional design, because I am passionate about following proven methods and techniques to design good learning experiences for others,” Petherbridge said.
Petherbridge’s course provides an overview of the traditional instructional systems design process and primarily focusing on the ADDIE Model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.)
“Students complete activities that help them gain experience with the various stages of the instructional design process, and complete two case studies in groups that ask students to consider the application of instructional design to a real-life situation,” Petherbridge explained. She adds that it’s within this activity, where students interview practicing instructional designers, where they are able to fully understand the instructional design process.
“Understanding what an instructional designer does and how that instructional designer applies theory to practice is key in helping students understand what skills they will need in practice,” Petherbridge said.
For prospective students of Petherbridge’s course, expect it to be as rigorous as face-to-face courses. While there may be more flexibility, there is still structure. Students will have assignments and quizzes as well as team and individual projects.
“Be prepared to stay engaged with the course regularly,” Petherbridge said. “Be willing to participate and ask for help as needed, especially if you are struggling with the technology and are new to online learning. Instructors are willing to help you.”
And Petherbridge has proven that to her students on numerous occasions. She’s been recognized by her students for the positive impact she’s made on on their lives through NC State’s Thank a Teacher Program. The program allows students to nominate teachers who go above and beyond to help their students. Professors then receive a formal letter of recognition from the provost.
“Knowing that I make a real difference to students is, in my opinion, an important and significant accomplishment,” Petherbridge said.
In addition to teaching and her duties within DELTA, Petherbridge is a clogger. While growing up in western North Carolina, Petherbridge spent a lot of her childhood clogging to her grandfather’s banjo music. She currently clogs with an adult group at a dance studio in Garner and she’s performed at the N.C. State Fair. Who knows, maybe you’ll see her there next year.