Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2016 – Binghamton: Chesla Ann Bohinski
Chesla Ann Bohinski, PhD, (BA, Marywood University, MA, Millersville University, PhD, Temple University), Assistant Professor of Spanish at Binghamton University, started her teaching career as a Spanish high school teacher in Pennsylvania public school system. At Binghamton, she is the introductory and intermediate language program coordinator of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and the program coordinator of the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in French and Spanish Adolescence Education. Dr. Bohinski dedicates herself not only to teaching Spanish, but also to helping present and future educators identify the most effective ways to facilitate the teaching and learning of a second language. Her areas of specialty include second language vocabulary acquisition and technology integration in the second language (L2) classroom.
Dr. Bohinski’s foray into technology integration began when she started teaching hybrid Spanish courses at Binghamton. She also offers fully online Spanish courses that provide a vehicle for students to participate in language courses from anywhere in the world. Dr. Bohinski has found that hybrid and online coursework allows students the flexibility to complete courses with more ease while balancing a variety of activities that might include a full-time job.
Through her SUNY COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) fellowship, during the Spring 2015 semester, Dr. Bohinski’s L2 Spanish students in a hybrid Spanish course completed a 6-week telecollaborative exchange with L2 English students from a Mexican university in order to explore culture and the university life in one’s own country and in the country of the partnering institution. From this exchange, student work showed that meaningful interactions can take place online and that an online international collaboration is an effective way in developing speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in a participant’s L2 as well as intercultural communicative competence.
Presently, Dr. Bohinski is analyzing data collected from approximately 450 students from a variety of language courses to investigate the ways in which online virtual meetings and online educational and social writing platforms can be value adds to any L2 classroom. Data suggests that, even when an online collaboration is not possible with native speakers of the language begin learned, improvement in L2 language learning can be made, technology can be student motivator in the language learning process, and strong language connections can be made in online contexts that can rival those in traditional face-to-face meetings.
From her success in using technology, Dr. Bohinski also promotes the use of technology in the courses that she coordinates for the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and with the future educators that she mentors in the MAT and MSEd programs. Dr. Bohinski hopes that her enthusiasm for and success with technology makes others passionate about utilizing technology in their classrooms.