Written by Dr. Alex Herron, Associate Vice President of Digital Operations
“Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” ― W.B. Yeats
The professors at Concordia University Texas understand that there are pros and cons to online learning. It has amazing benefits, but it can also require online students to put in a little more effort to remain engaged in class, stay organized, and create lasting relationships.
In celebration of National Online Learning Day, we are highlighting some of the ways Concordia's professors enhance the learning experience for students with online tools. They have found creative ways to build community and help students connect with one another, whether using digital tools in person or in a fully online setting.
More than 100 of Concordia's professors and support staff came together in the two weeks before classes began to share ideas, collaborate, and create ways to enhance the online learning experience — especially during the first week of classes.
Concordia's faculty participated in “One Week to Wow." During this development event, professors discussed and designed ways to wow students with their love for their subjects, passion for teaching, and commitment to creating an environment for student success.
Dr. Gregory Coleman, an assistant professor of English, leverages online learning tools to help students navigate his classes and the comprehensive support resources Concordia offers students.
An example of Coleman's creativity is the introduction to his class: His students navigate a virtual escape room. Virtual activities like this help students interact with online content and digital learning tools in ways that promote engagement, grace, and accountability while creating space for social-emotional learning opportunities.
Exploring Vocation Virtually
Dr. Hannah Meineke, an assistant professor of Education, also demonstrated a creative way to engage online students.
She showed CTX faculty how group collaboration and speaking opportunities can be adapted to the online classroom to explore the idea of vocation. As faculty participated in her lesson, the concept of personal growth consistent with the principles of Christian leadership and the Lutheran Learning Model became evident.
Individualized Attention for Online Students
Dr. Gerard Bolling, an assistant professor of Leadership & Theology and the teaching and learning equity officer, hosted a virtual faculty session that demonstrated ways to engage and interact with online students.
As a fully online professor and remote employee, he stressed how important being one’s authentic self is to students. Being true to yourself, posting announcements relevant to students, and demonstrating care for their success is critical to online learning. He also reiterated the need to consider diversity, equity, and inclusion in lesson planning and course design to ensure the CTX community is meeting the needs of all our students.
Concordia's faculty left the One Week to Wow event reinvigorated to design and offer memorable and engaging courses using online learning tools to enhance their instruction. As one faculty member put it, “I can’t wait to up my game for my students!”
Wow! What a week, and what a year it will be!
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