Educator Profile    Educators

Dennis O'Connor (NV '95)

Chief Learning Officer

Precision Healthcare Ecosystem
San Diego, CA

Subject(s) taught: Health Education, health information literacy, patient empowerment, data based tracking

At the time of the Award, Dennis O'Connor was:

Kingsbury Middle School
Zephyr Cove, NV

Subject(s) taught: Reading, English/Language Arts
Grade(s): 7, 8

Biographical Information

After 26 years in public education, Dennis O'Connor returned to graduate school earning an advanced degree in online teaching and learning and a second degree in instructional design and curriculum integration. For 20 years he designed and taught online professional development courses based on his extensive classroom experience in technology and language arts. He was Program Advisor for the E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Wisconsin Stout. He was an e-learning architect for the Ilinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA), specializing in Information Fluency. Additionally, he was social media manager for and The Mountain Fund (Nepal Relief). Mr. O'Connor was also a founding member of the ISTE NETS Standards review program. As a co-creator of 21st Century Information Fluency Partners (, he developed self-paced learning modules still online to this day. Areas of particular interest include health information fluency, patient empowerment, ethical research, e-learning, and online teaching, 21st-century information skills, Six Traits writing assessment, online technology tools, and multicultural education. Previously he taught reading and writing to combined classes of seventh- and eighth-graders at Kingsbury Middle School in Zephyr Cove Nevada. An early believer in computer technologies as superior tools for teaching "writing as a process," Mr. O'Connor was the first in his district to develop word processing training and computer use programs for students and teachers. In the early 1980s, Mr. O'Connor created a BBS-based online literary magazine and advised high school classes on electronic database research. As part of an interdisciplinary unit on Japan developed by Mr. O'Connor and several colleagues, students explored Japanese culture, history, and language, and developed an Internet pen pal program with English-speaking Japanese high school students. Mr. O'Connor is currently the Chief Learning Officer for Precision Healthcare Ecosystem (PHE).

Personal Message

I became a Milken National Educator in 1995. I was introduced to online learning by Dr. John Schacter and the Milken Educator Virtual Workspace in 1996. The experience of learning online in a collaborative setting changed my teaching life. Living in the rural area of Lake Tahoe, I turned to distance education and discovered a passion for E-Learning and Online Education. I graduated with an M.Ed. from the Online Teaching and Learning Program at California State University, East Bay in 2001. At that time I was awarded a Milken Family Foundation Scholarship to Western Governors University. I earned a competency-based second Master of Science degree in Technology Integration and Instructional Design in 2005. I spent 20 years designing courses and training teachers to teach online using the evolving technology of eLearning. In 2017 I helped found Precision Healthcare Ecosystem, a non-profit group dedicated to patient empowerment. I retired from university teaching in 2019 to work full-time for PHE as the Chief Learning Officer. Today I manage an instructional design system, creating self-paced learning experiences to help educate and empower Patient Pioneers™. Every step of the way, my association with the MFF has opened doors and broadened my horizons. Thank you all for helping me become the life-long learner and teacher I was meant to be!

Additional Information


1972 University of California - Berkeley, B.A. (1972)

Graduate Certificate: Online Teaching and Learning, California-State University East Bay (2000)

M.Ed Technology Integration and Instructional Design, Western Governors University (2005)

MS Education, Specialization in Online Teaching and Learning, California State University, East Bay (2001)


Teaching Information Fluency

Teaching Information Fluency: How to Teach Students to Be Efficient, Ethical, and Critical Information Consumers, Scarecrow Press, December 2014. Co-Author (with Dr. Carl Heine)

Teaching Information Fluency: How to Teach Students to Be Efficient, Ethical, and Critical Information Consumers

Health Information Literacy, ethical reserach, Self-paced online instruction, Online Teaching and Learning, Information Fluency, Social Media Management, Audio/Visual, Computers, English/Language Arts, Interdisciplinary Instruction, Internet, Language Arts, Libraries, Multi-age Classrooms