Lina Heaster-Ekholm

My research interest lies at the intersection of online learning, pedagogy, and culture, with the goal of developing effective instructional design practices to meet the needs of global learners. I am a seasoned educator with twenty years’ experience in instructional design, teaching, training, and evaluation for universities as well as national and international non-profit organizations.


In 2015, I completed an M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology at California State University Fullerton that allowed me to become conversant with a large repertoire of educational technologies, provided insight into the benefits and challenges of online learning, and broadened my ability to think strategically about the interface between learning and technology. I decided to pursue a mid-career PhD to better understand the role culture plays in the online learning processes.


I was initially attracted to the Center for International Education at UMass because of its strong integration of research and praxis. I am impressed by the extent to which faculty members and fellow students are actively engaged in international development work, and excited about what we can learn from each other. I am also drawn to the diversity of nationalities and perspectives represented within the program. Having spent the first 19 years of my life in Germany, England, and Austria, as well as six months during college living in northwestern Uganda, cultural exchange and understanding is something I deeply value.


In addition to my MSIDT, I hold an M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from Biola University and a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Wheaton College, as well as an undergraduate certificate from Wheaton College in Human Needs and Global Resources and a graduate certificate in Wilderness Leadership. [12-20]




Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
On-Campus Student