Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2018 – Empire State: Tina Wagle
Tina Wagle is a Professor and M.Ed. Coordinator in the School for Graduate Studies at SUNY Empire State College. Her areas of interest include teacher education, issues of social justice, languages other than English, and bilingual education. She is a SUNY Chancellor’s Award winner for Excellence in Faculty Service.
My first exposure to any online teaching was using the Digital Dropbox as the language laboratory component to a face to face Spanish course I was teaching in the early 2000s. I found it a fascinating way for me to be able to be a part of that component and review my students’ work, even though there was a different instructor. Since then, I have taught blended and completely online courses through my work at Empire State College. Having been a high school teacher and then a traditional college teacher before my online experience, I was nervous that I would not be able to know my students well enough in this platform. I also worried that I would not be able to create an exciting atmosphere when all of my students would be interfacing with a machine instead of in a setting with eye contact and body image.
I have learned, however, that people are able to express themselves openly, honestly and deeply in online courses, and there are amazing resources out there that stimulate high quality engagement and learning. Online teaching is hard work yet rewarding, especially when people come together to share ideas and create knowledge.