Kay McLennan is the Director of Online Learning & Educational Technologies at SoPA, where she oversees the production and quality of the online courses offered. Dr. McLennan also holds the title of Sr. Professor of Practice in the Business and Leadership Studies program, creating and delivering online versions of Business Ethics, Economics for Non Majors, and Introductory Finance courses. She is the creator of the Tulane SoPA Metaverse 3D virtual world platform used to create different types of learning simulations.
Dr. McLennan previously developed and taught the first online Macroeconomics and Microeconomics courses to be offered by Southeastern Louisiana University. Her previous work experience includes a ten-year career as an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
She has written about online course quality enhancement and the role of online course work in an institution’s emergency management plan – those writings may be seen here and here. Kay’s Prisoners’ Dilemma and Data Detectives Game virtual world simulations won awards in the Federal Virtual World Challenge international contests in 2012-2013. She continues to present and publish her applied research findings on the most effective use of virtual learning simulations in online education.
Dr. McLennan’s educational background includes a Ph.D. in Education Administration, Curriculum, and Instruction from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), an M.A. in Economics from the American University (Washington, D.C.), and a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from the University of Maryland (College Park). Her dissertation is entitled, Technology Selection and Marketing Activities in Higher Education Patenting and Technology Transfer.
Dr. McLennan is an enthusiastic advocate for the wider use of learning technologies, including the wider use of 3D virtual world educational simulations.
What advice would you give to someone who's considering finishing their degree, or starting for the first time as an adult?
My advice for anyone considering finishing or starting a degree program is to focus on the ways they can overcome any impediments to finishing or starting a degree program. For example, a “busy work/family schedule” impediment can be mitigated through online course work and the “cost of tuition” impediment typically can be mitigated by the financial aid advice provided by your advisor. Next, after you enroll in courses at SoPA, be sure to use all of the available SoPA student services (and in particular, focus on the available resources for how to effectively manage your time).
What is the best advice you've ever received?
The best advice I ever received was to do what it takes to complete an undergraduate degree (including continuing to live with parents, commuting to college, and working part-time while pursuing my undergraduate degree). Next, the ink was barely dry on my undergraduate degree when my parents started suggesting the next logical step was for me to complete my master’s degree (and they were right!).
What is your favorite thing about SoPA?
My favorite part of teaching and working at SoPA is our mission – to make a high quality college education readily available to adult students.