Found this great link from the State University of NY on how much can be saved by taking DL classes,


Try the calculator as it works great!





I have been selected to present an academic paper on VARK  and UDL principles in online learning at the conference for Society for Business Research .in Knoxville, Tennessee  http://www.sbrconferences.com/Home.html

I hope to see you there! For a summary of my presentation please toggle down this page.



Our seminar will be a one hour, hands on, fun presentation that will introduce you on how to make your online classes truly come alive! We will share together some of the fantastic, free easy to use Web 2.0 tools that will comply with all the UDL and VARK principles of quality course development. 

 Join us as we share together in a relaxed format what will what will make your online classes stand out from the crowd!



Dr. Russ Meade is an online Instructor. He has developed 22 different courses for colleges and universities across the US and teaches at Limestone College. He is a frequent Presenter at Distance Learning for all the major platforms. He has received grants from Mc-Graw Hill, edits text books in Business Law and was recently featured in the magazine Military Advanced Education for his work with our military students . His most recent paper was at the Blackboard World Conference and has been certified by Quality Matters as a course reviewer and designer.  He teaches full time from his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC.He loves to hike and travel the world with his wife, Joan, and has been to over 52 nations all the while lecturing from the world over.


As we know, distance learning courses are designed to reach out to students from anywhere at any time. Often, however, little thought is given to the design and accessibility of these courses

By using universal design principles (UDL) and VARK in creating these classes, they can be accessible to any students who enroll in them and any instructors who are hired to teach them. 

Designed correctly, distance learning options create learning opportunities for students with a broad range of abilities and disabilities. Designed poorly, they erect new barriers to equal participation in academics and careers. A poorly designed course also may be violating federal and state laws on accessibility (See below)

Very simply, UDL and VARK is an approach to teaching that consists of the “proactive design and use of inclusive instructional strategies that benefit a broad range of learners including students with disabilities.“

 These principles describe a learning environment in which:

1) ideas and information are represented in multiple ways,

2) students express their comprehension and mastery of subject matter in multiple ways,


 3) students receive multiple opportunities for engagement.

As they relate to instructional technologies, UDL principles guide the creation of course materials that are accessible and usable by a wide range of students, including those with disabilities and diverse learning needs.

Our federal government and most credentialing agencies are now mandating that colleges and universities comply with these principles.  

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires that people with disabilities have equal access to public programs and services. According to this law, no otherwise qualified individuals shall, solely by reason of their disabilities, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in these programs. The ADA does not specifically mention distance learning courses. However, the United States Department of Justice clarified that the ADA applies to Internet-based programs and services by stating, “Covered entities that use the Internet for communications regarding their programs, goods, or services must be prepared to offer those communications through accessible means as well” (ADA Accessibility, 1996).” Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.University of Washington

The following are some examples of UDL and VARK principles:

  • The instructor offers various ways to engage students in the learning process throughout the semester (e.g., lecture, small group work, online assignments, and class discussion).
  • The instructor provides alternatives for students with regard to how they can participate or complete course assignments and activities.
  • The instructor allows students to demonstrate what they have learned in more than one way or through a variety of means (e.g., oral presentation, written report, multiple choice exams).
  • The instructor ensures accessibility for all course content and materials (e.g., accessible websites, handouts, captioned videos, e-workbooks, etc.).

Two very simple examples of UDL and VARK principles are the written interaction and the Verbal/ Video interaction below.

Toggle through the presentation that is featured on Voice Thread to see how my students can post and interact through the use of Voice Thread.


And then see:


Both are easy to do, free for both the instructor and the student and are examples of UDL and VARK principles

In conclusion, it is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. Indeed, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes access to information and communications technologies, including the Web, as a basic human right.

Accessibility supports social inclusion for people with disabilities as well as others, such as older people, people in rural areas, and people in developing countries.

“The goal of education in the 21st century is not simply the mastery of content knowledge or use of new technologies. It is the mastery of the learning process. Education should help turn novice learners into expert learners—individuals who want to learn, who know how to learn strategically, and who, in their own highly individual and flexible ways, are well prepared for a lifetime of learning. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) helps educators meet this goal by providing a framework for understanding how to create curricula that meets the needs of all learners from the start.” From Nation Center on Universal Design of Learning


The following resources are useful to those who wish to research this topic further.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

ADA accessibility requirements apply to Internet Web pages. (1996). The Law Reporter, 10(6), 1053-1084.


Captioned Media Program

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)

The Center for Universal Design

Closing the Gap 2001 Resource Directory


EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information)

International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet

National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM)

Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic

Section 508 Standards of the Access Board

Trace Research and Development Center

Vanderheiden, G.C. (1990). Thirty-something million: Should they be exceptions? Human Factors, 32(4), 383-396.

WAVE (Web Accessibility Versatile Evaluator)

Web Accessibility Initiative, World Wide Web Consortium


Congratulations to Russ Meade for being selected as the 2nd Quarter VIP Faculty Award recipient!!

“Russ has been with Grantham for quite some time and is a super star in the Business School. His innovative techniques in the classroom keep students engaged and successfully persisting, while making Business Law exciting! I cannot count the number of positive emails I receive about Russ’ courses, students truly enjoy learning from Professor Meade! Russ is a wonderful example of what VIP2 is all about and I feel lucky to have him as a Faculty member.” ~Niccole Buckley, Dean, Mark Skousen School of Business

Russ will be showcased in the Faculty Spotlight segment on the GU website, as well as receive a voucher to attend one of the Sloan-C’s online professional development sessions.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Sloan Consortium the Sloan Consortium is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, http://sloanconsortium.org/

Congratulations Russ!

Jennifer Shreckengost,Faculty Specialist Grantham University

For Immediate Release CONTACT:Johanna Altland 

 Dr. Russ Meade, Grantham University, to Present at Society of Business Research Conference 

Kansas City, Mo. – 2012 Grantham University, an online university serving working adult students around the world for 61 years, will be represented at this year’s Society of Business Research Conference in Nashville, Tn., by faculty member Dr. Russ Meade who will present “UDL and VARK Principles in Developing Quality Courses.” 

Dr. Meade, a seven year veteran instructor in Grantham University’s Mark Skousen School of Business, has always been at the forefront of the technological advances in online learning. As such, his presentation will feature audio and video usage for creating a dynamic online learning environment. He will also share the ways he uses Web2.0 tools to create learning opportunities for students with a broad range of abilities, allowing his students to interact in real-time to make the online learning environment robust and engaging. 

“I am constantly seeking new ways to improve the learning experience for my students through innovative technologies,” Dr. Meade said. “Online students in particular require professors and their classes to be truly cutting edge. Because of this, I am very excited to share my knowledge and experiences with the attendees in Nashville.” 

When Dr. Meade isn’t teaching, he has helped develop 22 different business courses for colleges and universities across the U.S. He has also received grants from McGraw-Hill, edited books in business law, and has been featured in Military Advanced Education for his work with online military students.   

Established in 1951, Grantham University is one of the oldest accredited, private, degree-granting distance education universities in the United States. The University’s accredited online degree programs are flexible and portable, allowing students to fit education into their life instead of arranging life around their education. The University offers a variety of associate, bachelor’s and master’s online degrees. For more information about Grantham University and its degree programs, visit www.grantham.edu or call 800-955-2527.

 About Grantham University:

Established in 1951, Grantham University specializes in online education for the working adult student. Grantham’s online undergraduate and graduate degree programs include: Accounting, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Computer Science, Engineering Technology, Allied Health, Information Technology, Medical Coding and Billing, Nursing, Human Resource Management and Business Intelligence. Accredited since 1961 by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, Grantham University has compiled a distinguished record as a respected and accredited distance learning university spanning six decades of service to education.



Some recent articles featured on the net:




 VOICE THREAD WEB 2.0 WEB SITE  “HOW TO MAXIMIZE INTERACTION- BY DR. RUSS MEADE”  http://voicethread.com/community/library/Using_VoiceThread_in_an_online_course_from_Professor_Russ_Meade/
SPOTLIGHT  “ SPOTLIGHT ON PROFESSOR RUSS MEADE”  http://www.grantham.edu/g-life/faculty-spotlight-russ-meade/
 MC-GRAW HILL PUBLICATION  “PROFESSOR RUSS MEADE RECEIVES NATIONAL GRANT FROM MC-GRAW HILL!”  http://www.grantham.edu/in-the-news/professor-russ-meade-receives-national-grant-from-mcgraw-hill/
 LIMESTONE COLLEGE WEB SITE  “LIMESTONE PROFESSOR RECEIVES NATIONAL GRANT “  http://www.limestone.edu/news-general/1014-limestone-professor-receives-technology-grant-from-mcgraw-hill
 TCC FACULTY PAGE  COURSE SYLLABUS  http://faculty.tcc.edu/RMeade/
 Who’s Who in Community Colleges Academia  Who’s Who in Community Colleges Academia  http://communitycolleges.academickeys.com/whoswho.php?dothis=display&folk%5BIDX%5D=572328

Dr. Russ Meade
Department of Business


See: Articles› Education- By Dr. Russ Meade

Using VoiceThread in an online course from Professor Russ Meade


VoiceThread “humanizes” the on-line classroom experience. As a college Professor, I teach all over the US exclusively asynchronously. One of the drawbacks of online learning has always been that the student feels isolated and unconnected with either his or her classmates and the Professor. Online classes often unknowingly ” dehumanize” individuals simply because they are reduced to an e-mail address without the ” personal” closeness that often occurs in a synchronous class setting, Truly exemplary online classes require that the student interact between:

  • The Student and the Course Content
  • The Student and his or her Classmates
  • The Student and the Professor

An online Professors, we can naturally accomplish all of the above with the many Web 2.0 tools that are now available. I tested 10 different Web 2.0 tools. However none except VoiceThread accomplished my goals of a Web 2.0 tool that was:

  • Easy to operate for both the student and the Professor
  • Free to all to use
  • Allows the creativity that one needs in this new age when facts are not as important as creativity.

The below example and, more specifically, VoiceThread accomplished all of the above. The truly fascinating part of this initial experiment was that I made the Assignment optional! Though they received no credit, no extra points they all did it. In the example that follows I gave them a topic to debate and discuss and I was fascinated by not only the number of responses in 2 classes but their creativity in sending me back VoiceThreads.


I will be using VoiceThreads in all my classes. I will also be introducing the system to the colleges where I teach. Finally, I will be presenting an academic paper using VoiceThreads with the titled “Making Your Online Classes, Sing, Dance, Talk, and Talk Back.”


My goal in this beta test of the system was to see if my students would learn how to use the system , willingly post, and be able to use their creativity in not only their posts but also in their return VoiceThreads…

Challenges or setbacks

The entire prociess was simple and accomplished my goals and met expectations for a Web 2.0 tool.


Simply sit back, relax, and create!


Since the initial debate VoiceThread, I have created 20 others. I use VoiceThreads links to:

  • Have my students Introduce themselves to all in the class
  • Provide them with a Course Tour once they are in the class
  • Have students do a oral presentation on the subjects in my class
  • Debate and discuss all the issues in my class using their microphone or webcam

The VoiceThread




Dr. Russ Meade, Business Law Preceptor at Limestone College, has received a Tegrity Grant from McGraw-Hill, publisher of college textbooks worldwide.

The Tegrity grant program is designed to help educators experience a new technology and to reveal its value for student learning through usage.

Meade will utilize the grant to produce video, audio and interactive web tools for use in his courses. Via state-of-the-art technology, he will broadcast his courses through streaming video to his students who can access them from any corner of the world. Students, in turn, will be able to broadcast their questions through video and audio, and receive immediate feedback.

According to McGraw-Hill, students appreciate the technology due to its simplification of course access. Students can review any segment of a class at their convenience, by selecting a thumbnail using a web browser, an iPod, MP3 player or cell phone. Because Tegrity automatically divides each class into chapters with easily recognizable thumbnail views, the student can skim thumbnails and chapter titles to find a specific learning moment.

“I am constantly seeking ways to improve the learning experience for my students through innovative technologies,” Meade said. “Students of this age require their professors and their classes to be truly cutting edge.”

Meade is not new to combining education with cutting edge technology. He has taught and developed over 22 different courses on all major distance learning platforms including Blackboard, ANGEL and Desire to Learn; presented numerous papers on “Quality and Distance Learning” at Web Ct (Course Tools) and Blackboard conferences. His courses contain
multi-media, numerous external links and are also voice enabled so that active discussions occur in real time.

Limestone remains at the forefront of the technology revolution in the classroom. The college’s Virtual Campus Program was initiated in 1997, and provides students throughout the world the opportunity to complete their degrees online.