Catherine Cavanaugh 

Research Scientist and Chief Technology Officer

Catherine Cavanaugh





PO Box 117052
Gainesville, FL 32611


The core of my research is understanding contexts and conditions for effective online, blended, and digital learning environments. My specific interests include virtual schooling, collaborative learning environments, and professional and leadership development in K-12 online programs.


  • Lastinger Center for Learning

Research Interests

Action Research, Educational / Instructional Design, Middle School / Jr. High, Online and Distance Education, Professional Development, Teacher Education


  • Ph.D. - University of South Florida. 1998. Curriculum and Instruction
  • M.Ed. - University of Central Florida. 1988. Science Education
  • B.A. - University of the Virgin Islands. 1984. Elementary Education

Professional Appointments

  • Research Scientist and Chief Technology Officer, University of Florida, 2020-Present
  • Principal Program Manager for Education Analytics and Professional Development, Microsoft, 2018-2020
  • Head of Digital Transformation, Catholic Education Western Australia, 2016-2018
  • Director of Teaching and Learning, Microsoft, 2013-2018
  • Associate Director, Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates, 2011-2013
  • Associate Professor, University of Florida, 2007-2011

Activities and Honors

  • International Society for Technology and Learning Making IT Happen award, 2016
  • Outstanding Customer Focus award, Microsoft Corporation, 2015
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar, 2010-2011
  • Reviewer for Journal of Online Learning Research
  • Reviewer for International Review of Research in Online and Distance Learning
  • Reviewer for International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education
  • Reviewer for Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia
  • Reviewer for Journal of Distance Education

Selected Grants

The Florida Digital Educator Program: Research and Evaluation of the Title II-D Competitive Enhancing Education through Technology Funds

  • Co-PI
Project Period
  • 2010
Award Amount
  • $1.4M

Online Medical Education Degree (OnMED): Andragogic Skills for 21st Century Clinical Medical Educators

  • Co-PI
Funding Agency
  • Florida Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)
Project Period
  • 2010
Award Amount
  • $299,342

Exploring science content: Digital strategies for science teaching and learning

  • Co-PI
Funding Agency
  • Florida Department of Education, Math/ Science Partnership Grants
Project Period
  • July 2007- August 2008
Award Amount
  • $127,487

Selected Publications

  • Rogers-Estable, M., Cavanaugh, C., Simonson, M., Finucane, T., & McIntosh, A. (2018). Virtual learning design and delivery. Lumen Learning.
  • Cavanaugh, C. (2019). A quality digitally enhanced learning environment. In T. McDonald (Ed.), Classroom management. Oxford University Press.
  • Cavanaugh, C., & Hargis, J. (2018). Mobile learning transformation in a national higher education system. In H. Crompton & J. Traxler (Eds.), Mobile learning and higher education: Case studies in practice. Routledge.
  • Cavanaugh, C., Maor, D., & McCarthy, A. (2018). Mobile learning. In K. Kennedy & R. E. Ferdig (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (2nd ed., pp. 574-591). ETC Press.
  • Ferdig, R., Cavanaugh, C., & Freidhoff, J. (2015). Research into K-12 online learning. In T. Clark & M. Barbour (Eds.), Online and distance education in schools: Global perspectives on policy and practice. Stylus.
  • Cavanaugh, C., & DeWeese, A. (2020). Understanding the professional learning and support needs of educators during the initial weeks of pandemic school closures through search terms and content use. Journal of Technology in Teacher Education 28(2).
  • Cavanaugh, C., & Roe, M. (2019). Developing pedagogy and course design skills in novice virtual school teachers. Journal of Online Learning Research 5(1) 5-22.
  • Cavanaugh, C., Mayberry, J., & Hargis, J. (2016). Participation in the virtual environment of blended college courses: An activity study of student performance. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 17(3).
  • Cavanaugh, C., Sessums, C., & Drexler, W. (2015). A call to action for research in digital learning: Learning without limits of time, place, path, pace…or evidence. Journal of Online Learning Research 1(1) 9-15.
  • Cavanaugh, C., Gajer, E., O'Connor, B., & Hargis, J. (2015). Kilimanjaro: A case of meaningful adventure and service learning abroad. Journal of International Students, 5(4), 420-433.