CDL Leadership Team

The CDL Leadership Team provides oversight to the work of the Center for Distributed Learning under the authority of UCF's Division of Digital Learning.

Kelvin Thompson, Ed.D.

KelvinExecutive Director, Center for Distributed Learning
(407) 823-0462

A popular speaker and facilitator, Dr. Kelvin Thompson regularly addresses groups throughout the US on topics related to online/blended learning and educational technology while he serves as the Executive Director of the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Center for Distributed Learning ( with a faculty appointment as a graduate faculty scholar in UCF’s College of Education & Human Performance. Dr. Thompson has collaborated on the design of hundreds of online and blended courses over the past 23 years and is active in the online education community. Kelvin developed the BlendKit Course open courseware ( as part of UCF’s Blended Learning Toolkit, and he also co-hosts TOPcast: The Teaching Online Podcast available on iTunes and at Thompson is active in the higher education professional development community and has held leadership roles within the work of EDUCAUSE and the Online Learning Consortium. His personal research interests center around how interaction affects learner engagement, and information on his Online Course Criticism qualitative evaluation model for facilitating the scholarship of teaching and learning in online and blended environments is available online ( Thompson is a graduate of the “Breakthrough Models Academy” (2014), and in 2020 he was selected as a Fellow of the Online Learning Consortium. Kelvin Thompson holds an EdD in curriculum and instruction and an MA in instructional systems technology from UCF and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Florida State University. Curriculum vitae is available online at

Xiaolin “Charlene” Hu, Ph.D

Linda FutchDirector, Instructional Design

Dr. Xiaolin “Charlene” Hu is Director, Instructional Design for CDL at UCF. Her duties include oversight of all aspects of the instructional design process and the Instructional Design Team.

Charlene has been involved in instructional design and pedagogy for the past sixteen years and was instrumental in guiding faculty development for online program development and quality assurance at the California State University Bakersfield as well as at the University of Kansas.

Her research interests include studies of faculty and students’ preferences in online course design and pedagogy features, learning analytics, as well as active learning strategies and application. She has many years of teaching experience in both online and face-to-face environments in secondary and higher education.

Francisca Yonekura, Ph.D.

Francisca YonekuraAssociate Department Head
(407) 882-0025

As Associate Department Head at CDL, Francisca’s responsibilities encompass the areas of course and application development, instructional systems integrations, and R&D of emerging technologies to support online learning. She brings eighteen years of experience in instructional technology in higher education, military, and hospitality industry. Her research interests are immersive learning environments, game based learning, and emerging technologies for learning and innovation. Francisca holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction and an M.A. in instructional systems and technology. She has facilitated the procurement of patents, trademarks, and service marks for instructional web applications. Francisca is an awardee of the Innovator award for the Inaugural Excellence in Research & Innovation Cohort by UCF Office of Research and Commercialization. Francisca and her talented team of software and web developers have received many recognitions including the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies Outstanding Work award 2013, Davis Productivity Awards (2011, 2006, 2005) for their learning and business operations applications, and the Virtual Campus Tour Award October 2001.

Wendy Howard, Ed.D.

WendyProgram Director, Pegasus Innovation Lab
(407) 823-0460

Wendy joined the Center for Distributed Learning in July 2011 with a diverse background in both corporate training and higher education. In addition to her Doctor of Education degree in Instructional Design & Technology from UCF, Wendy has also earned a BA in Mathematics and Secondary Education and an MA in Corporate Communication & Technology from Rollins College. Her current research is focused on faculty development, digital learning in STEM disciplines, collaborative online learning and internationalizing the curriculum through technology. She also provides a practitioner’s perspective based on over twenty years of experience in both design and instruction.
As the program director of UCF’s iLab, Dr. Howard’s primary focus is to strategically align, promote, and provide project management support for initiatives that contribute to the lab’s mission to serve as an incubator for the next generation of digital learning by supporting faculty and staff in piloting, refining, and evaluating innovations that positively impact student success at scale.

Kerlene King

Kerlene KingManager, LMS Services
LMS Administrator Team Lead
(407) 823-4910
Kerlene King has a B.S. in Computer Information Systems, an M.S. in Management Information Systems and is a certified Project Management Professional. She has worked with the Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) for over 10 years as the team lead for the Learning Management System Administrators. Her duties include providing direction and support for the LMS team and Webcourses@UCF Support team, providing tier 2/3 support for the institution, working on projects to help extend the features of the LMS, and utilizing LMS data to assist in improving student success. With her wealth of knowledge and experience, Kerlene represents the university at various consortiums and co-facilitates meetings with peers at other institutions to share and learn best practices

Beth Nettles, Ph.D.

BethNettles-webManager, Learning Content Development
(407) 882-0479

As Manager for Learning Content Development, Dr. Beth Nettles has functional oversite of the Instructional Development (iDev), CDL Graphics, and Video@CDL teams at the Center for Distributed Learning (CDL). Beth has created a number of professional development resources designed specifically for faculty teaching online courses and managed the Teaching with Lecture Capture (TLC) courses. She routinely presents the work of CDL to colleagues at other institutions and at professional conferences. Dr. Nettles has also provided project management services for several university-wide initiatives such as UCF’s most recent learning management system migration (from Blackboard to Canvas), the Knights Online orientation to online learning, and the tactical implementation of UCF Online.

Beth has over twenty years of experience teaching programming, software applications, and web technologies in post-secondary education. Dr. Nettles holds a Ph.D. in Information Technology in Education from the University of Nevada, Reno; an MA in Instructional Technology and a BS in Business Administration from UCF.

Arianna Davis

Arianna DavisFaculty Multimedia Center Manager

Arianna holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications-Electronic Media from the University of North Florida and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Digital Forensics at the University of Central Florida. Arianna has always enjoyed all things involving media and technology from videography to video games. In 2013, she began working at the Florida Institute of Technology as the Media Production Manager I for the Continuing Education department where she managed a studio responsible for all video creation for their online courses. In 2015, she was promoted to Media Production Manager II for the Information Technology department where she managed instructional video operations on campus as well as live events and digital signage. In 2017, she headed inland to work for UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning as a Web Project Manager Assistant. She now manages the Faculty Multimedia Center at UCF, a space designed to empower and train faculty on how to use innovative technology and media in their courses.