2021 TOPkit Workshop

The 5th Annual TOPkit Workshop empowers those who manage faculty development or prepare faculty to teach online with practical tools and strategies to enhance their vocation. This year participants will enjoy the Workshop as a live virtual experience, rather than as an in-person event.

TOPkit Workshop is FREE for higher education professionals in the State University System of Florida and Florida College System but open to all other professionals “at cost,” $30 for early-bird!

The TOPkit Workshop provides two days full of professional development resources and networking opportunities. Share and discover:

  • Innovative approaches to faculty development in higher education
  • Methods for assessing the effectiveness of faculty development and e-learning
  • Lessons learned in adopting new instructional technologies
  • New ways to foster a culture of quality for online learning
  • Trending instructional design practices
  • Collaborative, cross-institutional presentations.

Virtual Check-in the TOPkit Workshop 

Please fill out the form in the link below. This form will ensure that we send your completion certificate to the right email address. Once you fill out the form you will receive a link to the sessions page that will show you a detailed schedule and a link to the presentation rooms. We’re happy you’re here and hope you enjoy the conference!

Click here to sign-in for the 2021 TOPkit Workshop.

Timeline of Important Dates

Proposal submissionsCLOSED
Proposal submission notification of acceptance CLOSED
Early Bird Registration OpenCLOSED
Early Bird Registration EndsCLOSED
Workshop registration closesCLOSED

State University System of Florida & Florida College System

  • TOPkit Workshop Only – Free
  • Florida Online Innovation Summit Only – $50 (Early Bird $30)
  • Both TOPkit Workshop and Florida Online Innovation Summit – $50 (Early Bird $30)

Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida & Other Institutions

  • TOPkit Workshop Only – $50 (Early Bird $30)
  • Florida Online Innovation Summit Only – $50 (Early Bird $30)
  • Both TOPkit Workshop and Florida Innovation Summit – $100
    (Early Bird $60)

TOPkit Workshop – Virtual Zoom Backgrounds

TOPkit Workshop Virtual Zoom Backgrounds are available. There are backgrounds for general participants, Featured Presenters, Five-Year Participants, Keynote Speakers so be sure to download the one that represents you the best for use during the conference.

Download TOPkit Workshop – Virtual Zoom Backgrounds

2021 TOPkit Workshop Schedule

Thursday, March 25, 2021
8:15AMBreakfast Club Chat (Meet and Greet)
8:45AMWelcome and Opening Session Keynote Address (Ellen Wagner)
10:00AMInvited Speakers (Aaron Kessler and Jim Goodell)
11:00AMConcurrent Session 1 (3 rooms)
12:15PMBeam Me Up Talk with Invited Speakers (Ellen Wagner, Aaron Kessler, and Jim Goodell)
1:00PMConcurrent Session 2 (3 rooms)
2:00PMConcurrent Session 3 (3 rooms)
3:00PMInvited Speaker (Chuck Dziuban)
4:00PMTOPkit Trivia Event
Friday, March 26, 2021
8:30AMBreakfast Club Chat
9:00AMConcurrent Session 4 (3 rooms)
10:00AMConcurrent Session 5 (3 rooms)
11:00AMInvited Speaker (Wendy Howard)
11:45PMLive Long and Prosper Wrap Up & Closing Networking (Jennifer K. Smith and Amanda Major)

Keynote Speaker

Ellen D. Wagner, Ph.D.

Ellen Wagner collaborates with clients from higher education, commercial enterprises and government agencies who want to make better strategic use of people, resources and platforms that enable transformative learning and professional development experiences. Ellen has navigated market forces for improving student success through several waves of technology transformation from a variety of perspectives: as a doctoral research faculty member and university administrator; a designer of commercial learning products; as a technology market analyst; as a public policy researcher; as a leader of non-for-profit membership organizations; as an ed tech entrepreneur, and as an executive working in publicly traded technology companies. While executive director of WCET she co-founded the Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework, a predictive analytics research effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that was first operated as an independent 501.c.3 organization. PAR was successfully acquired by Hobsons in 2016 ad is now part of the student success software product called Starfish Retention Solutions. 

Ellen is currently Managing Partner of North Coast EduVisory Services, LLC. She is also an Affiliate Research Scientist with the Mixed Emerging Technologies Integration Lab, Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida. She is a member of the IEEE-Industry Connections Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering (ICICLE) Steering Committee, and established the Learning Engineering Among the Professions (LEAP) SIG. She serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Computing in Higher Education, eLearn Magazine, and the Journal of Applied Instructional Design, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the AECT Foundation. She currently serves on the Board of Advisors for a private start-up company.

Featured Speakers

Aaron Kessler, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Aaron Kessler is a Senior Learning Scientist for Open Learning at MIT. In his role within the residential education team he is responsible for working with faculty and course teams in the development and research of online and residential courses that use educational technologies. As part of the development process, he utilizes research from the Learning Sciences, Educational Psychology, and Implementation research to help inform design decisions situated within complex settings.

Prior to his arrival at MIT Aaron taught high school chemistry, co-developed and supported the implementation of online learning environments and a cognitive tutoring system, and taught preservice and inservice educators as an assistant professor of educational technology. At the core of all his work is the goal of supporting the development of instructional opportunities that provide learners the chance to engage in building deep conceptual understanding of content.

Jim Goodell, Quality Information Partners

Jim Goodell is co-author of “Student-Centered Learning: Functional Requirements for Integrated Systems to Optimize Learning” and a thought leader in the world of learning engineering and data standards. He is Senior Analyst at Quality Information Partners and Vice Chair of the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee. He chairs the IEEE Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering Competencies, Curriculum, and Credentials SIG, the IEEE Competency Data Standards Workgroup, Adaptive Instructional Systems Interoperability Workgroup, and serves on the ICICLE Steering Committee. He leads development of CEDS.ed.gov data standards with QIP and AEM. With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation he co-led development of the T3 Innovation Network’s Learning and Employment Record (LER) Wrapper Specification.

Prior to QIP he was Executive VP at the Center for Educational Leadership and Technology where he led the development of interactive learning technologies and provided information-driven process improvement solutions to state education agencies and school districts throughout the United States.

Workshop Chair

Jennifer K. Smith, University of Florida

Welcome to the 2021 TOPkit Workshop,

I am pleased to invite you to join friends and colleagues at the 5th annual TOPkit Workshop. This year’s event, hosted by the University of Central Florida, will be held virtually on March 25 – 26, 2021.

I know that we all keenly feel the weight of responsibility for preparing faculty to teach online. Our students are counting on us to help create the best learning experiences possible. The Teaching Online Preparation Toolkit’s openly licensed resources and community are here to support our work with creative ideas and fresh approaches. The workshop will give us an opportunity to share what we have learned since March and to hear new ideas from our colleagues across the state and beyond.

As this year’s TOPkit Workshop chair, I am excited to work with the team at UCF to create a great virtual conference experience. We promise you an event full of engaging sessions, useful takeaways and inspiration. I hope to see you there!

Jennifer Smith
2021 TOPkit Workshop Chair
Director, Center for Teaching Excellence
University of Florida


Jennifer K. Smith has served the University of Florida in a variety of roles including: Associate Professor, Associate Director for UF Online Course Production, Manager of the Center for Instructional Technology and Training, and most recently as the Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). To support faculty during the pandemic, she and her team created UF’s #NoWallsTeaching initiative, which is designed to help instructors think creatively about their remote teaching. Under her leadership, UF’s Center for Teaching Excellence has significantly expanded faculty development opportunities through the Passport to Great Teaching program.   

As part of State University System of Florida initiatives, she leads the CourseShare Advisory Committee and co-chairs the OER/eText Coordinating Committee. Jennifer also co-chairs UF’s Teaching Innovations Committee and is chair-elect of the Unizin Teaching & Learning Group. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Production from UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Get Updates for Upcoming Workshops

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View Schedules of Past Workshops

TOPkit Workshop 2021

TOPkit Workshop 2020

TOPkit Workshop 2019 

TOPkit Workshop 2018

Florida Virtual Campus State University System of Florida: Board Council of Academic Vice Presidents