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Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2018 – Nassau: Marilyn Curry

Marilyn Curry

Marilyn Curry is a professor in the Administrative Business Technology/Health Information Technology Department at Nassau Community College. She teaches courses in integrated software applications, webpage formatting, desktop publishing, business writing, and legal procedures. She is also the internship coordinator for students enrolled in administrative business technology courses.

Five years ago, I was approached to develop an online internship course to accommodate our students who were unable to attend our face-to-face internship course due to work schedules. This class requires students to complete coursework and to intern in an office setting. I will admit that I was apprehensive at first. I wasn’t sure if I would develop the type of relationship with my students that I experience when teaching a face-to-face class. I always knew that working personally with students is the reason why I enjoy coming to work and teaching my classes. I was also concerned about how my students would be able to interact with me and with each other.

I found that to be successful in writing this online course, I had to put myself in the position of a student who is taking the class and be able to immerse myself in all of the technology that was available to me. Offering this course online has shown me that my fear that students would not be able to successfully navigate through this course and share their experiences with each other was unfounded. I was pleasantly surprised that the opposite was true. My expectations were surpassed. I learned that I was able to get to know these students just as if they were sitting in my classroom every week. Through features such as the discussions thread and additional interactive technology, students are able to collaborate with each other, and I realized that they share more freely than they may have if they were in a traditional classroom format. I found that the level of student interaction had increased and that students were beginning relevant conversations with each other well above and beyond their required amount of participation.

I have now expanded the number of courses that I teach online, and this year I offered my first hybrid course. Through attending workshops and meeting with my mentors in the Office of Distance Education, I have added additional interactive features to my courses. I am looking forward to continuing to grow within this educational platform. I am no longer resistant to the thought of online education—I embrace and welcome the challenge.

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