Charlotte Nirmalani “Lani” Gunawardena is Distinguished Professor of distance education and instructional technology in the Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences Program at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, U.S.A.
She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Sri Lanka (Kelaniya), her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Kansas, and served as a Kellogg Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oklahoma. She has published and presented on distance and online education for 30 years, and received the Charles A. Wedemeyer Award for Excellence in Book-length Manuscripts in the field of Distance Education.
She currently researches the sociocultural context of online learning communities, social presence theory, e-mentoring, and interaction analysis. She co-edited the book, Culture and Online Learning: Global Perspectives and Research and continues to enjoy researching culture and context from an international perspective. She has directed evaluations for the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Institutes of Health funded Native American Research Center for Health, conducted research as a Fulbright Regional Scholar in Morocco and her native country Sri Lanka, and consulted for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, U.S. corporations, and international higher education institutions in Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, Spain, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.