Office of Digital and Online Learning Team

Morris Thomas, Ph.D., PMP

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Assistant Provost for Digital and Online Learning and Director of CETLA

Dr. Morris Thomas is responsible for providing visionary, strategic, and operational leadership for the Office of Digital and Online Learning and the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Assessment (CETLA). As Assistant Provost for Digital and Online Learning, Dr. Thomas provides oversight for the selection and implementation of digital learning tools as well as the coordination for matters pertaining to online course and degree program development. He leads this office in facilitating the development and implementation of the university’s digital learning infrastructure which supports the university’s strategic plan.  Dr. Thomas has an extensive background in facilitating learning across modalities (face-to-face, hybrid-blended, and online). Dr. Thomas teaches in Howard University’s School of Business and School of Education. Dr. Thomas employs Quality Matters, a global recognized, peer-review process used to ensure the quality of online and blended course design. He holds several Quality Matters certifications, including Master Reviewer, Peer-Reviewer and Quality Matters Coordinator. He is also certified to facilitate the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop face-to-face and online.  Dr. Thomas serves as Chair of the Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council (QMAAC). He also serves on the Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE) Advisory Panel (CAP), Echo360 Advisory Board, and McMillan Learning Micro-Credential Advisory Board. Dr. Thomas is an established scholar, his research focuses on instructional dynamics which encompass instructional domains, design, and delivery. He has developed a conceptual framework called the E.N.H.A.N.C.E. Learning Model. This conceptual framework provides seven strategies to inform intentional course design and delivery. Dr. Thomas is also the creator of the framework, “The W.H.O.L.E. Experience,” a model to address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in learning environments. Dr. Thomas serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of African American Males in Education, the Journal of Innovative Higher Education, the American Research Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, and as reviewer for the International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and for webinars.  

Dr. Thomas received his Ph.D. in higher education administration from Morgan State University, a M.A. in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University, a M.S. in instructional technology management from LaSalle University, a M.M. in classical vocal performance from New Jersey City University and a B.A. in music from Fisk University. He has completed post graduate studies at Cornell University and Georgetown University in project management and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification with the Project Management Institute, Inc. (PMI). He has also completed the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace and the Inclusive and Ethical Leadership Certificates from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business.


Tamasa Nelson, M.Ed.

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Director of Learning Design and Quality Assurance

Ms. Tamasa Nelson serves as the Director of Learning Design and Quality Assurance for the Office of Digital and Online Learning. Ms. Nelson will assist the Assistant Provost of Digital and Online Learning in partnering with staff and departments to support their growth and development of high-quality online courses.

Ms. Nelson culmination of learning design experience includes partnering with faculty, subject matter experts, and programs to meet key initiatives in online course design, development, implementation, project management, and quality assurance. Ms. Nelson is adept in managing learning design projects for fully online and multimodal courses.

Ms. Nelson leverages instructional design, adult learning theory, digital accessibility and instructional technology to create effective and engaging student learning experiences. Ms. Nelson background is in learning design and development, she holds a Master of Education in Instructional Design and Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management.  Additionally, Ms. Nelson has Quality Matters certifications and frequently attends workshops with a focus on online learning, emerging learning technologies, and student engagement.

Ms. Nelson enjoys designing for the “student learning experience,” and looks forward to serving the Howard University community.

Tori Blackwell, M.A.

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Assistant Director of Programming and Administrative Services

Ms. Tori Blackwell serves as the Assistant Director for Programming and Administrative Services in Office Digital and Online Learning. Her responsibility is to assist with developing and facilitating a digital learning infrastructure that provides exceptional digital learning experiences, ultimately producing distinguished and compassionate leaders who impact the world.

She was the Program Manager, providing program operations and delivery planning and scheduling of the residency MBA, online MBA, and EMBA programming at the School of Business at Howard University. She was awarded a Bachelor of Art in Communication (Public Relations) from the University of Toledo, a Master of Art in Communications, Media and Theatre Arts, Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Training at a Distance from the University of Maryland Global College and will be starting her Doctor of Philosophy in Education Leadership at Eastern Michigan University.

She is experienced in developing, implementing, and administering academic counseling programs and educational courses focused on empowering students to grow and succeed. Particularly effective, leveraging key relationships to maximize student learning and performance in higher education.

Melvin Bogard, M.A.

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Marketing Manager

Mr. Melvin Bogard is the Office of Digital and Online Learning Marketing Manager. He works with colleges and schools within the University to create communication content and branding materials related to the Office of Digital and Online Learning. Mr. Bogard's primary responsibilities include developing brand awareness campaigns, supporting recruitment initiatives, and establishing partnerships to promote the Office of Digital and Online Learning's vision and goals. 

A seasoned marketing and digital media strategist, Mr. Bogard has a data-driven approach and extensive knowledge in strategically leveraging social media, search engine platforms, and traditional communication channels to maximize brand recognition and reach. He earned a B.A. in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in journalism from the University of the District of Columbia and an M.A. in Emerging Media from Loyola University Maryland.


Gavin Frome, M.A.

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Learning Experience Designer

Gavin Frome serves as an Learning Experience Designer for the Office of Digital and Online Learning at Howard University. At the DOL, Mx. Frome partners with staff and instructors to support the growth and development of engaging, student-centered online courses. Before joining the DOL, they worked for the Center for Teaching, Research & Learning at American University where they supported faculty and graduate students in developing and honing their teaching through consultations, workshops, learning communities, and ongoing programs. They have collaborated with instructors in Scholarship of Teaching & Learning research and have published in numerous educational journals including the International Journal of Students as Partners, the Journal of College Science Teaching, and the Journal of Chemical Education, among others.

Mx. Frome’s professional work is guided by the principles of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Justice, with a particular emphasis on mutual respect. They are interested in cultivating student and instructor/staff collaborations around the notion of students as partners, as well as supporting peer education among instructors to improve teaching and learning.

Johnese Johnson, M.S.

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Compliance Specialist

Ms. Johnese Johnson serves as the Compliance Specialist in the Office of Digital and Online Learning. She works closely with a variety of officials, departments, and individuals across the University community, as well as, various federal, state, and local agencies and entities, to provide support for matters pertaining to internal and external regulatory affairs.

Ms. Johnson’s responsibilities include monitoring activities, identifying trends and potential issues, implementing quality controls, and identifying and implementing technical improvements to internal systems to ensure compliance with established laws and regulations to improve the functions and operations of the Office of Digital and Online Learning to meet the needs of the students and the institution. Ms. Johnson earned a B.S. & M.S. in Systems and Computer Science at Howard University.

Chasteney Pope, M.S.

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Learning Experience Designer

Chasteney Pope serves as the Learning Experience Designer in the Office of Digital and Online Learning. Her responsibility is to work with faculty, staff, and administration to build, design, and assess online courses. 

Ms. Pope is an experienced instructional designer who specializes in developing engaging and impactful learning experiences. She holds a M.S. degree in Instructional Design and Development from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a B.S. degree in Psychology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Ms. Pope specializes in leveraging technology, e-learning authoring tools, multimedia, and other educational technologies to deliver effective, learner-centric content that meets the needs of diverse audiences. 

Ms. Pope brings a strategic and creative approach to every project, consistently delivering high-quality instructional solutions that resonate with learners. She has a deep understanding of instructional design practices and principles, and a passion for developing interactive modules, simulations, and assessments. 

Ms. Pope has a keen eye for detail and is adept at ensuring that learning materials are accessible, engaging, and aligned with organizational objectives.

Brion Long, M.A.

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Multimedia Production Specialist

Mr. Brion Long serves as the Multimedia Production Specialist in the Office of Digital and Online Learning. In this role, his responsibilities include the development and facilitation of digital learning materials that provides exceptional digital learning experiences. Mr. Long works in collaboration with faculty and members of the learning design team to design and develop engaging and interactive, culturally sensitive, and inclusive multimedia content using instructional design and multimedia theories and methodologies.

Mr. Long earned a B.S. & M.A. in Computer Science at Wayne State University. In addition to his role in the Office of Digital and Online Learning, Mr. Long serves CETLA as its Program Analyst/Webmaster.