Pitt Online Team

Lorna Kearns

Lorna Kearns

Director, Next Generation Learning Initiatives

Lorna Kearns is Director of Next Generation Learning at the University Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. In that role, she oversees the Pitt Online portfolio of online graduate programs, directs the University’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) initiative, and leads the University’s Course Incubator project on academic transformation. She holds a Master’s Degree in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and PhD in Adult Education from the Pennsylvania State University.

412-624-6786

Jonathan Gunnell

Jonathan Gunnell

Manager, Pitt Online

Jonathan received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Duquesne University in Music Technology and Digital Music Pedagogy, respectively. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Instructional Technology and Leadership program at Duquesne and his research focus is on the impact of music on cognitive performance. Jonathan joined Pitt Online in 2014 after working as the Computer Lab Manager and faculty member in the Mary Pappert School of Music where he has taught courses in audio, web design, and music technology since 2008. He is also an accomplished musician and performs frequently in the Pittsburgh area.

412-624-7423

Robin Florentin Photo

Robin Albright

Instructional Designer

Robin Albright joined Pitt Online as an Instructional Designer in 2015. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in Adult Education and Training from Argosy University. She collaborates with faculty, instructional technologists, and videographers to develop courses for over a dozen online programs.

412-624-6154

Laurie Cochenour

Laurie Cochenour

Senior Instructional Designer

Laurie Cochenour joined Pitt Online in 2014 as a Senior Instructional Designer, and works closely with faculty and staff to design and deliver online courses at the University. Laurie came to Pitt from the University of North Carolina where she worked in the Center for Faculty Excellence as the Distance Education Coordinator. She earned her MEd in Special Education at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. 

412-624-7356

Barbara Frey

Barbara Frey

Senior Instructional Designer

Barbara A. Frey earned her D.Ed. from Pennsylvania State University and her M.Ed. from the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, she is a Senior Instructional Designer for Pitt Online where she provides support and training to faculty teaching online courses. In addition, she is a Master Reviewer and Trainer for Quality Matters, a non-profit organization that promotes high quality online learning in higher education. Her research interests include online learning, program evaluation, instructional design and technology, and faculty development.

412-624-1330

Rae Mancilla

Rae Mancilla

Instructional Designer

Rae Mancilla joined Pitt Online as an Instructional Designer in 2015 after working as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Instruction and Leadership in Education at Duquesne University. She comes to Pitt with a rich background in pedagogy and curriculum development, holding a Master’s of Science in Education and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) and Doctoral Degree in Instructional Technology and Leadership, as well as over a decade of professional teaching experience in K-12 and postsecondary settings. In her current role she collaborates with faculty and staff across the University to design and implement high quality online courses. Her research interests include online learning, mobile devices, and language learning and technology.

412-624-6154

John Shaw

John Shaw

Instructional Technology Support Specialist

John is an Instructional Technologist who works closely with faculty, staff, and Instructional Designers to develop, revise, and maintain Pitt Online courses. John brings with him nearly 24 years of distance education experience. He joined the University in 1989, when he accepted a position with the University External Studies Program (UESP), an initiative of the University created in the 1970s to provide non-traditional students with an alternative way to earn a degree.  John has been working in the field of distance education ever since.

412-624-7214

portrait of sera thornton

Sera Thornton

Instructional Designer

Sera Thornton joined the Pitt Online team in 2017 as an instructional designer, collaborating with faculty and colleagues to design, evaluate, and implement high-quality online courses. Prior to that, she was an MITx Digital Learning Lab Fellow, creating both rigorous Massive Open Online Courses and digital learning materials for on-campus courses in the Office of Digital Learning and Department of Biology at MIT. She is especially interested in how visuals can contribute to learning, and has developed skills in creating educational graphics, animations, and videos. Sera has a B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and International Studies from Penn State, and a Ph.D. in Biology from MIT. Her research interests include data visualization, educational video efficacy, STEM/STEAM education, and iterative instructional design.

412-624-6427