Our Goals

  • Share best practices in pedagogy, instructional design, system and program management in electronic environments.
  • Collaborate on use of learning technologies.
  • Provide feedback and ideas for improved functionality to product developers.
  • Gather participants for face-to-face collaboration, learning, and support in an annual conference.

How We Started

In 2005, a group associated with the Washington Community and Technical College eLearning Council (eLC) formed the Washington Blackboard Users Group. WABUG aimed to create a community of users involved in online teaching and learning. With the rapid growth of online, hybrid, and web-enhanced instruction in our institutions, we responded by creating a conference/community to share best practices, tips, and new technologies to enhance our colleges and universities.

At the inaugural meeting in December 2006, attendees elected a committee representing WABUG and a sister organization, the Pacific Northwest Blackboard Users Group, with the charge of determining how the organization could best serve the similar goals of the two groups.

The committee announced a new name for the conference, NWeLearn, in 2007 and they developed the mission statement and governance protocol. Attendees voted to accept the recommendations.

Since then, the Northwest eLearning Community has hosted yearly conferences, rotating to various locations around the three states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. NWeLearn also promotes regional and topical microconferences and has provided webinars to support eLearning.

Meet The Board

Amy Spielmaker

Chair (2022), Website Lead


Amy Spielmaker is a freelance website designer, frontend developer, and instructional designer. She works with universities, community colleges, small businesses, and non-profit groups throughout Oregon to develop and maintain websites, create marketing materials, and assist with developing curriculum and engaging online classes.

Amy has an MSEd in Information Technology from Western Oregon University with a certificate in Instructional Design. She received her undergraduate degree from Utah State University in Nutrition, Dietetics, & Food Science and worked for several years as a clinical dietitian before switching gears. Amy’s hobbies (besides work) include running, crosswords, and anything outdoors.

Cass Hall

Chair-Elect (2023), Webinar Lead

Cass Hall is the Manager of Collaboration & Classroom Technology Services (CCTS) in the Office of Information Technology at the University of Idaho. Previously, she served as the Director for the Doceo Center of Innovation + Learning and was an Associate Clinical Professor of Learning Technologies in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. Her research background focused on instructional technology in K-12 and higher education settings.

CCass dedicated fifteen years to working in K-12 public education in Pennsylvania as a teacher, library media specialist, instructional coach, and technology coach, prior to relocating to Idaho to pursue a career in higher education. Cass’s educational background includes an Ed.S. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Idaho, a Masters of Education in School Library and Information Technologies from Mansfield University, and a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from West Virginia University.

Ana Thompson

Former Chair (2021)


Ana Thompson has worked in higher education for the last 16 years in IT, digital learning, and instructional design. As a Learning & Access Designer at the UW Bothell Office of Digital Learning & Innovation, Ana enjoys working with faculty and staff to streamline the use of technology tools, increase inclusive teaching, and promote digital fluency.

Ana has extensive experience with Learning Management Systems, adult learning, WCAG 2.0, document accessibility, Copyright and Fair Use, Universal Design for Learning, and finding innovative ways to use old and new tools. Currently, she is the lead of the Universal Design for Learning campus initiative, co-chairs the Accessibility Planning Project committees, and is a member of the Campus Access Guide workgroup and the UW IT Accessibility Task Force.

Jerry Lewis


Jerry Lewis has been working at Columbia Basin College for about 24 years, starting out creating audio/visual materials for instructors, and later becoming the WebCT and distance learning admin. This evolved into his current position, Director for eLearning & Virtual Campus, where he provides support and guidance for online and other technologies.

Jerry has a BA in Communications/Broadcast Journalism from UW and an MBA from WGU. He is interested in French, speaking it passably, and Japanese, not so much. Until recently, he’s been a fairly regular bicyclist.

Adrienne Allardt-Wong

Board Member

Adrienne is an LMS Support Specialist with Western Oregon University, where she is working with faculty to transition from Moodle to Canvas, as well as assisting students and faculty with any issues or questions they might have that relate to the two LMS’s. During her undergrad, Adrienne also worked for Oregon State University’s Ecampus as a student worker.

Adrienne is a recent graduate of WOU, with an MSEd in Information Technology and a certificate in Instructional Design. Adrienne enjoys cooking, reading, growing vegetables, and taking pictures of (and with) her cat.

Dr. Velda Arnaud

CFP Lead

Dr. Velda Arnaud has a long history as a dedicated undergraduate instructor within 2-year, 4-year, and career/technical programs. Her foci are leadership, education, and service. She is committed to helping others identify their passions.

Velda is currently the Business Administration Department Chair at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon.

Tim Chase

Board Member

Tim Chase began teaching in 1997 at a university in central China and then moved to beautiful central Oregon where he lives with his wife, Janet, and their three teens. Tim is certified for high school language arts and technology in several states and is currently director of program development with Impact Virtual Learning, an online course-provider for high school students.

Passionate about infusing technology into his own teaching and providing opportunity for his students to learn with technology, Tim is an enthusiastic promoter of classroom edTech, institutional change, and eLearning. Tim Chase is an eLearning Designer, EdTech Professional Development provider, and Event Coordinator. His favorite current projects involve virtualizing/digitizing classrooms with LMS and Google power!

Dr. Debby Espinor

Board Member

A lifelong educator, Debby has been teaching in higher education for over 20 years, currently at George Fox University as an Associate Professor of Education and Business. Debby has chaired the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program as well as founded the Digital Fluency Institute with colleagues 7 years ago. She is always learning how to improve her pedagogy and has been innovative in remote, hybrid, virtual, HyFlex and online learning.

Debby loves to spend time with her family and friends, plays keyboard in the band Sister Mercy and is in training to become a first-responder Chaplain. Stained glass and mosaic work as well as knitting, cooking and baking and walking occupy hours that are left to spare.

Nina Fox

Communications Lead

Nina Fox has been in higher education for over 15 years. She is a passionate promoter of active learning and the use of educational technology within the physical and virtual classroom environments.

Based currently within Information Services at the University of Oregon, Nina is in constant pursuit of excellence and strives to increase student success through the use of educational technology in its many forms. When not pursuing excellence at work, Nina can be found either gardening, fishing or planning her next garden or fishing adventure.

Dr. Doug Habib

Board Member

Doug received his Ph.D. in History in 2003 at Washington State University. He has worked and taught in higher education for 20 years in both face-to-face and online modalities. Doug currently works in the University of Idaho’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) where he has a hand in course design, faculty development, graduate student development, service learning, and open education resources.

When not traveling for international intrigue, Doug lives in Pullman, Washington with his wife and two daughters.

Dr. Weiwei Zhang

Journal Lead

Dr. Weiwei Zhang has worked in higher education for over 10 years. She is currently the Learning Systems Product Manager at Oregon State University. Prior to working at OSU, Weiwei worked at Western Oregon University and Reed College.

Weiwei is actively researching and exploring new ways to implement and leverage eLearning in higher education. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, painting, doing activities with her husband and two young children, and hanging out with her cat who believes he holds the wisdom and secret of the universe.