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USGS Distance Learning (DL) Program

Online and Blended-Learning Courses

The DL Program, formerly known as the “Technology Enabled Learning (TEL) Program,” was developed in early 2004 to assist USGS subject-matter experts (SMEs), course developers, and course coordinators to redevelop existing science and technical classroom courses, or create new courses, for blended-learning or Internet self-paced delivery.

The OED gratefully acknowledges Michael Nolan (retired Hydrologist) and the Water Mission Area’s “Science and Technical Employee Development (STED) Committee” for their vision and assistance in the implementation of the USGS DL Program.

Key Objectives of the DL Program

  • Deploy highly effective, accessible, and interactive training in all scientific and technical areas through distance-learning or blended-learning delivery methods.
  • Get relevant training to more students.
  • Lower travel and training costs.
  • Ensure highly effective transfer of information.
  • Increase learning of critical skills across the bureau.
  • Execute a yearly (if funding is available) request for online-course development proposals, where OED will fund the subject-matter expert half of their time to develop the content for the course.

Essential Duties of the DL Program Team (DLPT)

The DLPT can assist USGS instructors with:

  • The instructional integrity of their course.
  • Managing and scheduling of DL and blended-learning courses.
  • Recommending effective and creative uses of technology to create new learning environments, enhance current instruction and increase student retention of materials.
  • Coaching and training for using the online-course development software.
  • Coaching and training to effectively facilitate distance-learning or blended-learning courses using collaborative tools (WebEx®, Google® Hangouts, etc.).
  • Ensuring all DL courses are Section 508 compliant and accessible for all employees.
  • Importing short (1 hr or less) courses into the USGS learning management system (LMS) for delivery, or publishing longer (>1 hr) courses to OED’s server, as an external course, and then adding a post-course assessment in the LMS to ensure the learner gets credit for taking the course in their LMS transcript.

The DLPT can also design and develop the SME’s course from their electronic files, such as PowerPoint and Word files, etc., if they don’t have the time to do it themselves.

Where to go From Here

  • If you are a student visit the online courses currently available page.
  • If you are a subject-matter expert and want to develop a DL course, view the Getting Started section.
  • If you are a USGS subject-matter expert and you have PowerPoint files or MS Word files that you would like to have developed as an on-line course, please e-mail Tj Lane at
  • If you'd like to see some examples of online courses that have been done through DL Program, visit the DL Course Examples page.
  • If you are a course designer (Online or Classroom) and would like to see additional resources to help you develop your course, select the Online Course Developer's Tool Box Web page.
  • If you would like to suggest a USGS course for DL development, send an e-mail to Tj Lane at

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Distance Learning:
Tj Lane

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Patty Gonwa
Ralph Roland

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 25-Jun-2015 10:24:17 EDT