Virginia College Online Faculty Develops Unique Teaching Methods to Involve Students
Posted: Monday, August 14, 2006
As more and more students turn to the Internet to advance their education, instructors at Virginia College Online have developed some different ways to help students gain knowledge as they pursue their online degrees. And some of them really put the "distance" in distance learning!
For example, Dr. Ann Peterson, a faculty member in the online business programs, feels that it is important to communicate with students who may be anywhere in the world, and who may be completing assignments at any hour of the day or night.
"I use a .PDF file so students can check to see if they are completing their word processing assignments correctly," she says. "I've also built a grading rubric to tell students how assignments will be graded, why points came off, and how they could have made a higher score."
Dr. Peterson adds, "These are good ways to keep the communication open with students I don't usually get to see face-to-face."
That's the case as well with faculty member Claudine de Nava, who teaches online classes for Virginia College Online from her home in Mexico. Ms. De Nava is a fulltime English instructor there now after completing her master's of education degree in Atlanta. She was also a research assistant for NASA and one of her projects flew on a space shuttle mission in 1996. She enjoys writing and plans to do a book about living and working in Mexico.
Online MBA class instructor Susan Sasaidek has developed an innovative idea to keep her far-flung classes engaged and involved.
"For the group project in Management 441, I have created a scenario of a business located here in Tucson, Arizona," she says. "The mock business is facing some serious competition from a giant company moving in. The students are asked to provide ideas and suggestions on ways to turn things around for this small ‘mom and pop' shop to make it successful again. It's amazing to see them taking what they are learning in a small business class and applying it to this scenario."
In another of Ms. Sasaidek's classes, students learn how to put together a business plan. Each week the plan is built upon. By the end of the quarter the students not only have a complete business plan, they have a solid foundation to start the process to entrepreneurship should they choose to do so.
Ms. Sasaidek recently had her dissertation submitted for publication with Proquest.
Faculty members at Virginia College Online all emphasize the importance of one-on-one interaction with their students—whether they are in the same city or halfway around the world. They strive to assure that the online learning experience is as good as—or, using today's technology, even better than—traditional on-ground classes.