Diane Wright is an assistant professor of adult and career education at Valdosta State University and teaches eMajor online courses. Often sought out by her colleagues for her expertise in online teaching, Dr. Wright contends that studying and teaching online takes more time than learning or teaching in the classroom.
In spite of the challenges, Dr. Wright says, "the main reason I teach online is for my students. The majority of my students are taking online courses to meet their work or life schedules. I have some students who are holding several part-time jobs so the only way they can take courses is online."
One of the most challenging aspects of teaching through eMajor is videoconferencing. "We use Wimba for our video conversation, but it still can’t replace the experience of face-to-face interaction," she says. "Students who like a quick exchange of ideas typically like a classroom environment. On the other hand, students who experience anxiety when they are called on to speak during class typically enjoy the time to reflect on their responses offered by online courses."
Dr Wright gains inspiration for her virtual teaching through non-virtual experiences. For example, she and her grandsons have recently taken on a project of learning to do magic tricks. Presently, she's coming up with ways to incorporate some magic tricks into her lesson plans. She explains that when she teaches adult and career education majors, she shares with them the great importance of creating an exciting and memorable learning environment.
This summer, Dr. Wright will teach Contemporary Skills for the Workplace though the eMajor program