The Maryland Distance Learning Association (MDLA) is an association of learning professionals who advocate and promote the coordination and use of distance education in Maryland and throughout the region. MDLA members represent more than two dozen organizations, including higher education institutions and corporate partners. Our focus is to provide professional development, networking, and collaborative opportunities for educators in K-12, higher education, and business settings.
Welcome! eLearning and digital education have certainly experienced transformational changes in the past few years, extending their reach into formal K-12 and higher education, corporate and non-profit settings, and government. The Maryland Distance Learning Association stands as a leader in this changing landscape, providing enrichment and professional development opportunities throughout Maryland. It is composed of educators, administrators, and leaders in the field of digital education, whose goal is the promotion of quality, innovative eLearning.
Please consider joining our organization and contributing to our efforts. Take advantage of our monthly Wired Webinar series, our popular “Tools of the Trade” Fall Event, and our annual Spring Conference! Suggest webinar topics or propose a potential presentation at our conference—MDLA’s events are wonderful opportunities to connect and build personal learning networks with colleagues who share a passion for eLearning and digital education.
Thank you for visiting our site, and we hope to see you at one of our events.
-- Barbara Zirkin, 2016-2017 MDLA President
The Maryland Distance Learning Association (MDLA) is an association of learning professionals who advocate and promote the coordination and use of distance education in Maryland and throughout the region.
- To promote equity and access to life long learning through distance learning.
- To communicate current information and provide professional development opportunities on distance learning.
- To provide regional leadership in the field of distance learning.
- To influence government policy and regulatory bodies regarding distance learning issues.
- To serve and support the state, consortia, and individual organizations that belong to MDLA.
- To promote and facilitate the formation of partnerships among education, business, healthcare, government and others.
- Recognize and award outstanding achievements in distance learning.
- To promote diversity in our organization and its programs.
$10 per webinar
MDLA Fall Event Registration
- Free membership with registration for the MDLA spring conference; otherwise membership fee is $30 (membership is covered from July 1 - June 30 the following year)
- Members receive free access to MDLA webinars
- Members can attend the MDLA fall event and other non-conference events at no charge
- Provides one free individual membership
- All faculty, staff, and administrators from the Institution (using a valid email address from that institution) may attend all webinars and non-conference events for free. (Those who are not associated with an Institutional Membership or who are not individual members of MDLA will need to pay to attend these events, or sign up for an MDLA individual membership.)
- Non-members pay $10 per webinar, with the option of becoming an Individual Member and receiving webinars at no charge
- Non-members pay $15 to attend the MDLA fall event
There are two levels of organizational membership.
- Table at annual conference; includes two (2) individual MDLA memberships;
- Announcement of sponsorship during annual conference luncheon (NOTE: can be associated with a specific event such as Lunch, Breakfast, Happy Hour);
- ½ page ad in the conference program;
- Free attendance for everyone in the organization to MDLA webinars and other non-conference MDLA events;
- 10% discount for everyone in the organization for annual conference registration; and
- One webinar presentation.
- Table at annual conference; includes one (1) Individual MDLA membership;
- Announcement of awards sponsorship during annual conference luncheon;
- ¼ page ad in the conference program; and
- 5% discount for everybody in the organization for annual conference registration.
Cengage Learning delivers highly customized learning solutions for colleges, universities, professors, students, libraries, government agencies, corporations and professionals around the world. These solutions are delivered through specialized content, applications and services that foster academic excellence, professional development, and measurable learning outcomes. Cengage Learning’s existing company and imprint brands include Heinle, Gale, Wadsworth, Delmar, Brooks/Cole and South-Western, among others. For more information on Cengage Learning please visit http://www.cengage.com
Annenberg Learner produces and distributes online distance learning courses in a variety of disciplines. Most courses have coordinated web sites. Access to the materials is available in a variety of formats. In addition many of the courses have free textbooks available again at
The oldest distance learning organization in the State of Maryland, COADEC is a regional consortium of higher educational institutions in the mid-Atlantic. The role of COADEC is to provide member institutions with a method for promoting courses with audio and video content. “Telecourses”, “Tele-Web” courses, and the distribution of digital content are all part of the mission of COADEC. The primary Member/partner of COADEC is Maryland Public Television (MPT), which brokers content availability and pricing with COADEC member institutions.
eScience Labs Inc. is the leading provider of complete and comprehensive hands-on science kits. ESL supports online education and traditional courses that are looking for a laboratory solution. Our products and services include lab kits, custom kits, lab manuals, full Learning Management System integration, and professional development for science teachers. Each kit includes all materials, lab manual with pre and post lab exercises, questions, and online content. Whether you are experiencing online growth, shortage of lab space in traditional settings, or feeling the pains of budget cuts, we are the answer! eScience Labs Inc. offers solutions for Biology, Physics, Anatomy &Physiology, Chemistry, Environmental Science*, Forensics*, Microbiology*, Allied Health*, and custom kitting options.
Learning Objects, Inc. is the leader in enterprise-scale social software for learning. Learning Objects’ Campus Pack makes Web 2.0 technologies available to everyone at your institution through course components, personal learning spaces, and community areas, and it integrates seamlessly into any learning management system. With the wikis, blogs, podcasts, and other Web 2.0 tools found in Campus Pack, users can collaborate and share information both within the institution and beyond. Learning Objects software is developed in conjunction with our user community and is implemented by over 450 educational institutions worldwide.
MarylandOnline is a statewide, inter-segmental consortium dedicated to championing distance learning in Maryland. Through collaboration among Maryland community colleges, colleges, and universities, MarylandOnline facilitates students’ access to articulated courses, certificates, and degree programs offered via distance and promotes excellence in Web-based learning in the physical as well as the virtual classroom. MarylandOnline is the parent organization of Quality Matters, a nationally recognized peer-review process that ensures high quality in online courses. The process includes trainings and tools for use by institutions to both assess existing courses and to develop new online courses.
As the world’s leading publisher of academic and reference textbooks, Pearson Education (Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, Allyn & Bacon/Longman) is committed to providing the most innovative, flexible, and powerful educational materials available today. Whether you are a student, an instructor, a prospective author, or a bookseller, these sites are the place to find a host of solutions to today’s classroom challenges—ranging from traditional textbooks and supplements to CD-ROMs, Companion Websites, and extensive distance learning offerings.
http://www.pearsonhighered.com and http://www.pearsoncustom.com
Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. QM is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach and continuous improvement in online education and student learning. QM subscribers include community and technical colleges, colleges and universities, K-12 schools and systems, and other academic institutions.
SMARTHINKING, based in Washington, DC, is the leading provider of online tutoring. SMARTHINKING provides people, technology and training to help institutions offer their students outstanding academic support. Schools, colleges, universities, libraries, government agencies, textbook publishers and other education providers work with SMARTHINKING to increase student achievement, enhance learning and increase retention in online and tradition contexts. SMARTHINKING connects students to E-structor® Certified tutors anytime, from any Internet connection. From supplementing current learning support programs with SMARTHINKING’s qualified, professional and trained online tutors, to licensing SMARTHINKING’s technology platform to create a private-labeled virtual learning assistance center, SMARTHINKING develops custom solutions to enable institutions to better support their faculty and students. SMARTHINKING currently works with over 500 school clients and businesses, including the following organizations in Maryland: Anne Arundel Community College, Baltimore City Community College, College of Southern Maryland, Bowie State University, Stevenson University, and Carroll County Public Library.
SoftChalk software provides the ultimate solution for creating interactive, engaging and professional looking online lesson content for the e-learning and smart classroom. With our intuitive software educators can create lesson content that will engage learners and reinforce learning with interactive media, web-based widgets, comprehension questions, formatting features and flash-based activities. The lesson content can be packaged for delivery in a learning management system, content management system, on a web-server, or on a CD-ROM. For more information and to find out why we say “If it’s not easy, it’s not SoftChalk” please visit
Tegrity is a McGraw-Hill Higher Education company. Tegrity Campus is a cloud-based Lecture Capture solution proven to increase student achievement, satisfaction, retention and recruitment across an institution. It makes class time available all the time by automatically recording, storing and indexing every class on campus – without the need to install any special hardware or software in classrooms. The company’s patent-pending Search Anything™ and Smart Bookmarks™ features let students instantly review key class moments online using a PC, Mac, iPod, iPad or other mobile device. For more information, visit
Waypoint Outcomes helps educators create rich, timely feedback for students while generating authentic outcomes data. Featuring customizable, interactive rubrics aligned with the institution’s learning outcomes, Waypoint is tightly integrated with Blackboard, eCollege, and Moodle. Featuring a flexible licensing model that encourages early adopters, Waypoint is utilized by colleges of education, engineering, business, the health sciences, and liberal arts. These academic disciplines use Waypoint in a variety of ways, from traditional to course-embedded assessment. The resulting outcomes data can be easily aggregated and reported at multiple levels, helping institutions close the loop on assessment while improving student engagement and retention.
The Maryland Distance Learning Association is a non-profit association formed to promote the development and application of distance learning to education, training, research, business, and communications in Maryland.
A Chapter of the United States Distance Learning Association
Adopted: April 18, 2001
Revised: April 4, 2001
Ratified: May 31, 2001
Revised: November 14, 2002
Ratified November 22 , 2002
ARTICLE I Affiliation
The Maryland Distance Learning Association (MDLA) [the Chapter] shall be an affiliated Chapter of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) [the Association].
ARTICLE II Membership
Section 1. Qualifications and Dues
Membership in the MDLA may be obtained upon payment of annual dues for the designated membership year in the amounts voted upon by a majority of the membership either at a general membership meeting or through a mailed ballot. Annual dues shall be $30.00 for individuals, $150.00 for non-profit organizations, and $300.00 for for-profit organizations. The membership year shall be July 1 through June 30.
Under Article III, Section I of the Constitution applicants shall submit a completed membership application form for consideration by the Finance and Membership Committees.
Section 2. Prerequisite to Participation
Participation as an officer, committee member, or voting member in the Maryland Distance Learning Association shall be contingent upon valid membership.
Section 3. Membership meeting
There shall be regular membership meetings each quarter. Notification of the date and place of such meeting shall be given both verbally and communicated by mail to the members at least thirty (30) days prior to such meetings.
Section 4. Special meetings
Special meetings of the membership may be held on call by the President, initiated by a majority vote of the Executive Committee, or upon a petition filed with the Secretary by at least ten percent of the membership. The date and place of any such special membership meeting shall be communicated by mail by the Secretary to the members at least two weeks prior to the holding of such special meeting.
Section 5. Annual meeting/conference
An annual meeting and/or conference of one or more days shall be held each year during the spring.
Section 6. Parliamentary Procedure
Membership meetings shall be conducted according to the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
Section 7. Quorum
A quorum shall consist of five percent (5%) of the membership.
ARTICLE III Affiliates
Section 1. Affiliate Membership.
The Maryland Distance Learning Association will encourage affiliation with other organizations that share and reinforce the mission and goals of MDLA.
Section 2. Application for Affiliation
Organizations seeking affiliation with MDLA should submit a request, in writing, to the Board of Directors. The request should be signed by the President and Treasurer of the organization applying for affiliation.
Section 3. Annual Reports.
Affiliates will report annually to the MDLA Executive Committee the names and addresses of their officers and members and will submit a written report of the nature and extent of their activities and programs.
Section 4. Financial Assistance
Affiliates may apply for financial assistance from the Chapter by submitting a formal written proposal.
Section 5. Probation
Affiliates that do not meet the requirements of Sections 1 and 2 above shall automatically be placed on probation, and as such will no longer be eligible to apply for financial assistance.
Section 6. Termination
A. Affiliates that remain on probation for one full year will automatically be terminated from Affiliate status with the Chapter.
B. Affiliates may be terminated from their status with the Chapter at any time upon request, or for good and sufficient reason, by majority vote of the MDLA Executive Committee.
ARTICLE IV Board of Directors
Section 1. Number, Tenure, and Qualifications
The Board of Directors shall consist of six (6) members, elected for different terms, and at different times by the Membership of the MDLA, by the close of the annual meeting/conference of the Chapter. The Executive Committee will determine specific office assignments.
Tenure for the Board of Directors is as follows: One year for each position. The President Elect makes a three-year commitment, one as President Elect, one as President, and one as Past President.
- Every year – election of a President-elect
- Even numbered year – election of a Treasurer, Vice President
- Odd numbered year – election of a Secretary
The members of the Board of Directors also serve as the Executive Committee of the Chapter. The role of each Board Member on the Executive Committee is, as follows:
President of the Board – Chair of the Executive Committee; Chair of the Conference Committee
- Vice President – Chair of the Program Committee
- Treasurer – Chair of the Finance Committee
- Secretary – Chair of the Membership Committee
- Past President – Chair of the Publications Committee; Chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee; Chair of the Advocacy Committee.
- President Elect – Chair of the Awards Committee; Chair of the Publicity Committee
Section 2. Regular Meetings
At least four regular meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held each calendar year at such times and such places as the Board of Directors may determine. Written notification of the time and place and proposed agenda shall be mailed to the members of the Board of Directors one-month prior to each meeting.
Section 3. Special Meetings
Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by or at the request of the President, or a majority of the members of the Board. Notice of the time and place of any special meeting shall be given to each director in writing, by mail, at least three (3) days prior to the date of such special meeting.
Section 4. Parliamentary Procedure
Meetings of the Board of Directors shall be conducted according to the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
Section 5. Quorum
A majority of the members of the Directors of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the Board of Directors. However, if less than a majority is present at a meeting, a majority of the Directors present will adjourn the meeting and it will be rescheduled. Board members may send their proxy to the President of the Board prior to Board meetings.
Section 6. Vacancies
Any vacancy occurring in a Board of Directors shall be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors. A director elected to fill a vacancy shall be elected for the un-expired term of his/her predecessor in office.
Section 7. Conflict of Interest
Officers and members of the Board of Directors:
- May not be employed by the MDLA on a contractual or full-time basis during their term in office.
- May not receive compensation for performing the duties and responsibilities of their office,
- May be reimbursed for justifiable expenses related to meetings and other duties of their office (mileage, postage, etc.).
- Should remove him/herself from the voting process when determining compensation, benefits etc., for spouses, relatives or in other circumstances where there is a potential conflict of interest.
- Ensure that all compensation/salaries paid to any employee of the organization will be reasonable for the services rendered and comparable with other like organizations.
ARTICLE V Officers
Section 1. Officers
The officers of this Chapter shall be the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, President Elect, and the Past President of the Board of Directors, each of whom shall be nominated and elected as hereinafter provided. Together these officers shall constitute the Executive Committee.
Section 2. Nomination
The Chair of the Nomination Committee shall begin the nomination procedure by January 20th every year. Nomination forms shall be posted on the MDLA Web site AND sent via email to all members. The nomination form shall list clearly the positions that are open, including all roles. A short description of the roles shall be found on the MDLA Web site and reference to that site should be included in the nomination form.
Section 3. Election and Term of Office
The Chair of the Elections Committee shall cause ballots to be prepared listing each candidate nominated by the Nomination and Election Committee, and also providing a space or spaces for a write-in candidate or candidates for each office as well. The ballots thus prepared shall be distributed to each member in good standing of the Chapter via email by February 20th of each year. Each member shall be entitled to one vote for each officer to be elected and the candidate receiving a plurality of the votes cast for that office shall be deemed elected. Ballots shall be cast before or at the spring conference, and any ballots received subsequent to this deadline shall be invalid. The ballots shall be counted by the members of the Election Committee and certified to the President, who shall announce the results to the membership in May of each year. All terms of office for officers of this Chapter shall begin on July 1 and end on June 30, unless such term begins on another date so as to fill a vacated officer position.
Section 4. Vacancies of office
Should the offices of Secretary or Treasurer become vacant, the Board of Directors shall appoint a member to complete such term of office. Should a vacancy occur in the Office of President, the President Elect shall assume the duties of the President and serve the un-expired term of his/her predecessor. Should the President Elect or the elected Vice President resign, the Board of Directors shall call for a special election by ballot of the membership to fill the vacancy. For this purpose the Board of Directors shall nominate two (2) candidates on the ballot. The election shall be completed within forty-five (45) days of the resignation.
Section 5. Duties of Officers
A. The duties of the President shall be to function as the Executive Officer of the Chapter, to preside at all business meetings and meetings of the Board of Directors, and to carry out the instructions of the Directors. The President shall represent the Chapter at any State or National meetings designated by the Board or to which he/she is invited for Chapter business. Expenses such as attendance/registration fee, lodging, meals, and travel up to a maximum as stated by the budget shall be paid by the Chapter.
B. The duties of the Vice President shall be to serve as Executive Officer (President) in the President’s absence. The Vice President shall serve on the committees and perform such other duties as delegated by the President and/or Board of Directors. The Vice President serves as Chair of the Program Committee.
C. The duties of the Secretary shall be to keep records of all membership and Board of Directors meetings, and to perform such other duties as are delegated by the President and/or Board of Directors. The Secretary serves as the Chair of the Membership Committee.
D. The duties of the Treasurer shall be to collect all dues and other accounts due the Chapter, and deposit such funds in the name of the Maryland Distance Learning Association in a financial institution approved by the Board of Directors. The Treasurer will keep accounts of the sources of all income and the purposes of all expenditures, and provide a complete financial report for the Chapter membership at the annual meeting/conference with a revised and final report for the year being submitted to the Board of Directors no later than June 30 each year. The Treasurer is Chair of the Finance Committee.
E. The duties of the President-Elect are at the discretion of the President, but generally involve an internship for President. The President-Elect serves as the Chair of the Awards Committee, and as Chair of the Publicity Committee.
F. The duties of the Past President are as consultant to the President and to assist where help is needed, as agreed upon by the President and Past President. The Past President serves as Chair of the Publications Committee, Chair of the Advocacy Committee and as Chair of the Nominations and Election Committee.
ARTICLE VI Committees
Section 1. Standing Committees
When determined as necessary by the Executive Committee, Standing Committees may be established on Publications, Legislation/Advocacy, Membership, Nomination and Election, Conferences, Program/Professional Growth, Awards, Finance, and Publicity. Each Committee shall consist of at least two (2) members recommended by the President and approved by the Board of Directors. The Chair of a Standing Committee shall be designated by the President and approved by the Board of Directors. The Chair of each Standing Committee shall provide reports of Committee activities at each meeting of the Board of Directors, and shall submit a written report of Committee activities to the Board of Directors prior to September 30 of each year. The term for each committee chair is the length of their service in office. All other committee members serve for one year.
If a vacancy occurs, it shall be filled by appointment of the President or his/her designee.
Section 2. Publications
This Committee shall publish the official publications of the Maryland Distance Learning Association and also be responsible for the MDLA Website on the Internet.
Section 3. Legislation/Advocacy
This Committee shall keep the membership apprised of pending legislative developments and proposals that may affect the stated purposes of the Chapter, shall recommend action for Board approval, and shall carry out other directives of the Board. If/when the President drafts a letter of advocacy; it will be the role of this committee to distribute it through the proper channels.
Section 4. Membership
This Committee shall maintain accurate records of the membership, and shall in all appropriate ways, urge those who are eligible to become members of the Chapter.
Section 5. Nomination and Election
This Committee shall conduct the Election of Officers and Directors as set forth in the Constitution and Bylaws.
Section 6. Conferences
This Committee shall plan, organize and conduct the annual conference of the Chapter. The Committee shall recommend to the Board for approval a date and site for the conference at least eight (8) months in advance. The Committee members shall be appointed for one year and are eligible for reappointment. The Chair of this committee is the President of the Board of Directors.
Section 7. Programs/Professional Growth
This Committee shall promote the professional development of the membership. At least three (3) programs will be offered each year, with a goal of providing more than three.
Section 8. Awards
This Committee shall designate those persons who shall be honored by the Chapter as directed by policies set by the Board. Awards are given at the spring conference. The Distance Educator of the Year Award is jointly presented by MDLA and the College of the Air Distance Education Consortium (COADEC).
Section 9. Finance
This Committee shall advise the Board on fiscal matters and prepare the annual budget of the Chapter. The Treasurer shall serve as Chair.
Section 10. Publications
This Committee shall utilize all appropriate means to acquaint the educational community and the lay public with the role and importance of distance learning and its associated technology in educational and training programs. This committee may be broken into two sub-committees – one for print media and one for electronic media.
Section 11. Other Standing Committees
When the Board of Directors creates a Standing Committee, it shall state the purpose and the responsibilities of the Committee for inclusion in the Minutes of the Chapter. The Board shall initiate an Amendment to revise the Bylaws, to be voted upon at the subsequent membership meeting, to include such a Committee. The Chair, term, and initial members of the Committee shall be recommended by the President and approved by the Board.
Section 12. Special or Ad-Hoc Committee
When a special or Ad-Hoc Committee is created by the Board, the President shall appoint a Chair and member of the Committee to carry out the purpose for which it was created.
ARTICLE VII Amendments
Section 1. Initiation of Amendment
Amendments to these Bylaws may be initiated by the Executive Committee; or by a Committee authorized by the Executive Committee for the purpose of recommending Amendments to the Bylaws; or by a petition signed by five percent (5%) of the membership directed to the Executive Committee setting forth the proposed Amendment.
Section 2. Adoption
An amendment initiated as herein provided may be adopted by a majority vote of all the members present and voting at any regular or special meeting of the membership.
ARTICLE VIII Miscellaneous
Section 1. Mailing.
In all instances within these Bylaws where the words mail or mailing are used, it is intended that this refer to either electronic mail (e-mail) or U.S. postal mail.
MARYLAND INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN AFFINITY GROUP (IDAG)
We are a group who are primarily interested in any and all aspects of instructional design. We focus primarily on instructional design/tools for online education, but are interested in just about any topic related to using technology in education.
Our group consists of approximately 60 instructional designers and educators in higher education. We meet virtually once a month. Each meeting consists of a brief presentation or formal discussion of a topic of interest to the group and an open format networking period.
New members are always welcome! We invite you to join us!
- Join our list serve, which we use to communicate with and help each other (recommended)
- Join our Ning social networking site, which we use to store files and minutes of our monthly meetings (supplementary)
The Instructional Design Affinity Group (IDAG) promotes the use of instructional design for learning activities that are mediated by technology.
1975 College of the Air Consortium formed
1981 Nuclear industry asks UMUC to develop Nuclear Science Degree at a distance (NSEP).
1983 UMUC begins delivery of NSEP degree at nuclear sites around U.S. using PLATO & mainframe-based learning modules
1989 Montgomery college awarded FIPSE grant for computer conferencing system.
1990 Win Tycho course management software created by UMUC
1997 Web Tycho course management software created by UMUC-Maryland Community College Teleconsortium formed.
1999 Masters degree in Distance Education created at UMUC-Maryland Online (MOL) formed
Maryland Distance Learning Association formed
2000 MHEC FOTTC grant awarded (faculty training)Maryland Digital Library created
2001 MHEC Synergy grant awarded (faculty training)
2003 FIPSE grant for “Quality Matters” awarded to Maryland Online
2004-2005 “Quality Matters” production timeframe
The United States Distance Learning Association (http://www.usdla.org) is a non-profit association formed in 1987. The Association’s purpose is to promote the development and application of Distance/e-Learning for training and education. The constituents served include corporate, military, government, telemedicine, Pre-K through Grade 12 education, higher education, home school education, and continuing education. The association is now made up of over 2000 members from chapters throughout the United States and has become the leading source of information and recommendations for government agencies, Congress, industry, and those entering into the development of distance/e-learning programs.