Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2017 – Buffalo State: Drew Hemler
Drew Hemler is a Registered and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist located in Buffalo, NY. Originally from the Syracuse area, Drew worked in the marketing and merchandising fields, managing Eastman Kodak and Walt Disney retailer accounts throughout the Northeast for over 5 years. His passion for teaching, and love for food and nutrition, led him to SUNY Buffalo State where he studied dietetics. Now a Lecturer at SUNY Buffalo State, Drew teaches Nutrition and Dietetics courses that are offered 100% online. Drew’s MS Adult Education graduate work also comes from SUNY Buffalo State, a 100% online program, where he focused on instructional design in formal online and informal community settings. Drew teaches and facilitates using Fink’s Integrated Course Design method, providing Significant Learning Experience opportunities through student-centered approaches. Additionally, Drew owns and manages a small nutritional and consulting services business, working with individuals and families to facilitate in meeting their dietary and lifestyle goals, and also working with small food product companies to meet their food product formulation, package labeling, and marketing needs in both the Western New York and Greater Toronto areas. Drew has received numerous recognitions for his dedication to the field of nutrition and dietetics, and his dedication to volunteer work and community service on both local statewide levels.
I’m honored and humbled to be part of the SUNY educator community, and to have the opportunity to be involved in and support the rapidly growing demand for online education. Providing these online learning opportunities for SUNY students, without sacrificing quality, effective instruction and learning, has been a dream, to say the least. The ever-increasing trend of technology is something to be taken advantage of when it comes to educational opportunities. Students want online learning opportunities to alleviate schedule conflicts and expand upon their technology proficiency. Building educational programs to support their personal wants and academic needs has been nothing short of an exciting, creative, and rewarding experience.
What I have found most challenging, yet rewarding, while teaching online courses is that LESS IS MORE. It can be fairly easy for a student to become overwhelmed and anxious, inevitably leading to a decline in motivation and feelings of hopelessness, especially with online instruction. Not all students are entirely self-directed, and that’s where we educators make the magic happen! Instructional strategies and methods, communication, instructional and human resource support through interaction and community building, and motivational learning strategies are all part of an intricate process that takes careful planning and consideration in order to provide an effective and beneficial learning experience for our students. It’s what I now live for!