By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Andrew Wong in his CSU East Bay office.
Andrew Wong had no formal training in online teaching, but that didn’t stop him from teaching online anthropology courses at CSU East Bay and creating his own curriculum from scratch. Wong embraced the new form of teaching and now prefers it to traditional classroom instruction.
“Online teaching encouraged me to become more creative,” says Wong, a California Faculty Association member. “Creativity means developing activities that encourage learning with different technological tools. You can encourage students to interact with each other with discussion boards and have them respond to each other’s posts; you can blog and engage students with material; you can have students create websites and podcasts depending upon how comfortable they are with technology.”
A good online class, says Wong, is more than just “converting” materials from face-to-face courses into an online format.
“You have to think about different ways and activities that help develop higher-order thinking skills, so that you are not just imparting information, you are allowing students to creatively use the information you give them.”
Wong took a few online teaching workshops and talked to other online teachers before trying it himself. Now, after years of online teaching, he is receiving formal training. Wong is enrolled in the Online Teaching and Learning Certificate program at UC San Diego taught by CFA member Anne Guptill, who also teaches at CSU East Bay — but Wong found it cheaper to enroll through the San Diego campus.
Online learning certificate programs are offered at about a dozen colleges in California. CSU East Bay is the only public university with a master’s program, says Guptill. After taking four virtual classes to receive an online certificate, students can take six additional classes to earn a master’s degree.
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