Who’s New in eLearning?!

There is a lot of excitement in the eLearning Department at Ferris State University! We are enhancing the quality of educational technologies and online courses. Ergo, we hired Jonathon Eaton to help with technology trouble-shooting and grow esports, and Matthew Smith to make online courses epic! We would like you to meet the newest members of the eLearning Department!


Matthew Smith

Instructional Designer

Matt Smith is always searching for ways to make learning fun and engaging for his students. I, Jackie Hughes (Instructional Technologist), had the first opportunity to meet Matt in 2015.

Andrew Peterson (Instructional Technologist) and Matt were working together on a Reacting to the Past (RTTP) assignment for his literature class at Big Rapids High School and I wanted to record a video about the project. Matt attends the annual Trade Day event at GenCon, where he gives presentations about game-based learning techniques.


Matt started teaching Digital Animation and Game Design courses at Ferris. We were impressed with his course design! We believe Matt’s proven methods for student engagement coupled with his creative design tactics would add yet another layer of quality to the area of expertise by Kelley Senkowski and Tracy Russo (Instructional Designers). Matt started working for eLearning in December and has already taken course design in Canvas to another level! Please welcome Matt Smith to our team!

Matthew Smith received his BS degree from Ferris State University as well as his masters degree in Curriculum Development and Instruction.  He has been an educator in k-12 for twenty years in Big Rapids. His focus on game-based learning has led him to many different speaking venues around the midwest. His capstone project focused on implementing professional development to educators in a  game-based learning environment. He would like to further this research in his future doctoral studies.

Jonathon Eaton

Course Pro & Esports Coordinator

Jono initially started working in eLearning as a student. We hired him to help respond to educational technology support calls from faculty and students.

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He has an uncanny ability to answer questions and research/resolve problems without anyone’s assistance. Jono did much more than answer support calls.  He set up this blog page, maintained the Double Robots, trained other students, and set up our Trello system. Jono gets things done. While many people were talking about esports at Ferris, Jono was busy creating and growing the Ferris Esports club as we know it today. He set up the broadcasting system, recruited students, designed graphics, created jerseys, managed the Twitch site and arranged tournaments. You can imagine why we did not want to lose him! When asked why he wanted to work in eLearning at Ferris State University, Jonathon said:

I want to work in eLearning because of the positive force they are on campus. I see an opportunity to help advance Ferris Forward and I felt my skills are valuable to the team. Esports has driven my life for years and making Ferris a leader is esports is my goal. I plan on doing everything I can to make eLearning and esports at Ferris the best that they can be.

As the eLearning Course Pro, Jono will continue to help faculty and students have quality technological experiences in their courses. In his Esports Coordinator role, Jono will continue to manage and market the program, but he is also advocating for an esports arena at Ferris State University.  For more information, watch this video.


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