Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2017 – Nassau: William Moeck
William Moeck is a Professor of English at Nassau Community College. With a doctorate in early modern British Literature from the City University of New York, he taught face-to-face classes for twenty-five years before learning how to manage his first Blackboard course.
I did it really as a kind of joke, fully expecting to hate it so I could dismiss online teaching once and for all as pedagogical gimmick without real benefit. Imagine my surprise when my first online class—a British Literature survey covering the texts I knew and loved best—allowed for an unexpected level of dialogue between classmates that never happened in face-to-face sections. Instead of me lecturing on Chaucer, Milton, and Shakespeare while my students took notes or dozed, I was able to witness lively and spontaneous interchanges on open-ended issues, such as love and lust, honor and vanity, justice, and revenge. If this kind of intellectual debate seldom happens in the classroom, I reasoned, perhaps online pedagogy has set a new generation of learners free.