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Karen Milheim

Karen Milheim

Learning Design and Technology
Department of Curriculum & Instruction 


Karen L. Milheim received her Ed.D. in Adult Education from Penn State Harrisburg in 2008 and M.Ed. in Instructional Systems from Penn State Great Valley in 2003. She has extensive experience working in corporate, non-profit, and higher education environments. Dr. Milheim's research focuses on online learning, with an emphasis on the intersection of cultural differences, teaching, learning, and the virtual classroom. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and other works focused on the field. She is currently collaborating on research initiatives focused on how patient education can be further informed by adult education teaching and learning theory. Dr. Milheim has presented at national conferences, and been an invited speaker for the professional development of faculty, university-wide presentations, and other forums.


Ed.D. Adult Education, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA
M.Ed. Instructional Systems, Penn State Great Valley, Malvern, PA
B.A. Communications (Broadcasting), Penn State University, University Park, PA

Select Publications

Milheim, K. L. (2014). Facilitation across cultures in the online classroom. International Journal of Learning, Teaching, and Educational Research, 5(1), 1-11.
Milheim, K. L. & Fraenza, C. (2014). Identifying and understanding cultural differences in the online classroom. Proceedings of the 55th Annual Adult Education Research Conference, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 6 pages.
Milheim, K. L. (2012). Towards a better experience: Examining student needs in the online classroom through Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs model. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8(2), 159-171.
Milheim, K. L. (2011). The role of adult education philosophy in facilitating the online classroom. Adult Learning, 22(2), 24-31.
Milheim, K. L. (2010). The role of collaborative reflection in the career development of adult literacy and basic education program directors. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 9(2), 13-21.


After building her career in human resources, training, and development, Dr. Milheim transitioned into community education. At that time, Dr. Milheim worked as a lead instructor and program developer for the Delaware County Literacy Council in Chester, Pennsylvania and as an instructor for the New Choices / New Options career development program. She has taught undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education courses at Lincoln University, James Madison University, Penn State Great Valley, and other institutions focused on a variety of topics related to adult education, higher education, and fundamental skills for academic success, including graduate writing and critical thinking.

Professional Memberships

American Association for Adult and Continuing Education