In February we sat down with a few professors for a feature we were calling “Faculty We Love.” Unfortunately, the pace of things swept us up, and most of those blog postings didn’t get written. But now that we have gotten to our Spring Cleaning week, it’s time to do a little catching up. So without further ado, here is one of the Faculty We Love: Dr. John Perry.
John Perry has been teaching online for only a semester and a half, but already he has a course that IDT identified as being suitable for consideration for the Blackboard Exemplary Course program. Not only are his courses extremely well organized, he maintains an outstanding level of interaction in his online class.
When I asked him what he likes about teaching online, his answer surprised me a little because I don’t think many professors have the same experience. To him, professors can get to know their online students more easily than face-to-face students. Why? In an online class, professors get to know students through their writing, and that makes the interactions all about learning and not simply the “feel good” interactions that are more common in a face-to-face class. In John’s view, online classes have an great opportunity to set and maintain higher standards for students and faculty alike.
All the same, John misses meeting with his students in person and wishes more online students would come in for office hours. We suggested he consider using Blackboard Collaborate for office hours, and while he doesn’t see that kind of interaction to be “quite the same,” it is something he would consider. (Update: He did add Blackboard Collaborate to his class and will be piloting its use in the summer).
So, why do we love John Perry? Not only are his classes clean and well organized, as a professor he is open-mined and willing to try new challenges. Thank you for working with IDT, John!