Ph.D. in Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT), Penn State
M.Ed. in Instructional Systems (INSYS), Penn State
B.S. in Education, Penn State

Dr. Garbrick has over 25 years in Education and Technology fields. She is the Director of the Office of Learning Design, College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), Penn State at the University Park campus, and also an Adjunct Professor for the College of IST at Penn State.

In her role as a director since 2010, Dr. Garbrick has managed the design and development of over 100 courses for a number of award-winning online programs. She works on improving teaching and learning in distance, blended, resident, graduate, and undergraduate courses within the College of IST. As the director of Learning Design, she manages a team of six full-time employees and up to 12 part-time employees including student employees. Previously, she was a Senior Instructional Designer and eLearning Coordinator with the Office of Learning Initiatives. She was also worked in the role of an Instructional Designer and eLearning Coordinator with the IST Solutions Institute where she designed and developed courses for corporate partners including Lockheed Martin as well as for the IST undergraduate program. She started in IST in 2002. Prior to her work at IST, she was an Instructional Designer with the Penn State Smeal College of Business R.I.I.T. (Research, Instruction, and Information Technology) Group. She was also a Microcomputer Systems Consultant with the R.I.I.T. Group within Smeal College and worked on solving hardware, OS, software, web, database, and network issues, wearing many "hats" to troubleshoot and solve technical issues.

As an Adjunct Professor, Dr. Garbrick has taught since 2005: IST 110S, IST 110, and IST 111 both online via World Campus and also in Resident Instruction (RI) at University Park. She also taught IST 302 which is IT Project Management.  IST 110S is a small seminar class for incoming first-year students while IST 110 is a larger general education course for non-IST majors. She often pilots Instructional Technology tools to research processes and create best practices.

Dr. Garbrick earned a B.S. in Education from Penn State, an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems from Penn State, and a Ph.D. in Learning, Design, and Technology from Penn State. Her dissertation and research focused on improving student engagement in online asynchronous discussion forums measured by quantity, quality, survey, and Social Network Analysis (SNA). Her research interests include online teaching and learning tools specifically LMS tools, mobile learning, concept maps, and Canvas UX. She has published research studies and presented at national and international conferences about her work. She also serves on various University-wide teaching, learning, technology, and online education committees including steering committees.

Research Interests

Dr. Garbrick's current research focus is on the use of online discussion forums as well as online collaborative concept mapping tools to enhance learning. She is interested in the use of "Push" notifications, or Nudges, within a Learning Environment to increase engagement in online discussion forums, as well as the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) to analyze online networks of learners. As an aspect of her research on LMS tools, she was the only instructor at Penn State who taught the same course in all of the Learning Management System (LMS) Pilots at Penn State including Blackboard (twice), Canvas (twice), MoodleRooms, Desire2Learn, and Pearson, as well as the former PSU LMS in use called ANGEL.  She is very interested in the use of LMS tools to enhance teaching and learning. She contributed to a think-aloud research study examining Canvas UX at