Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2017 – Sullivan: Shirley Sinacore
Shirley Sinacore works at SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake, NY, as the Coordinator of Instructional Design and Online Learning / Instructional Assistant – Learning Commons. She splits her time between tutoring math in the Learning Commons and half of her time working with instructional design and online learning. She has had the opportunity to create and teach four online math classes: Intermediate Algebra, College Math and Trig, PreCalculus, and Elementary Statistics during the Summer and Winter Sessions at SUNY Sullivan.
First, I love online learning! If I have the opportunity to learn something new online, I’ll take it.
I started working in the corporate world and enjoyed the experience, but felt the need to do more. After completing my first degree, I knew what the need was – I wanted to teach. After completing my second degree, the need did not go away. That need to teach eventually led to the completion of five degrees:
- Associate in Applied Science – Reading Area Community College, Reading, PA
- Bachelor of Science – Mathematics, Alvernia University, Reading, PA
- Master of Education – E-Education, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
- Master of Science, Education – Teaching Secondary Mathematics, Kaplan University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Doctorate in Education – Educational Leadership, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
Three of my degrees were earned through online degree programs. I taught online classes for ten years at University of Phoenix and two years at Kaplan University. Online programs are great for traditional students, working people, and even for people with learning disabilities. I fall into the last category because I have a learning disability: Attention Deficit Disorder.
Taking classes online allowed me to work on my course work at times when my concentration was at its optimal level – usually early morning or late evening. As long as I got my work done on time, the schedule to do the work was up to me. I wasn’t distracted by students coming in late or leaving early from class. I wasn’t distracted by talking, coughing, or sneezing by other students. The distractions were not there.
I am a strong advocate for online learning because it provides options for learning. Online classes allow students to be themselves. Students can be more open in responding to discussions. I know I was very quiet in a traditional class because I didn’t want to embarrass myself by saying something stupid or wrong. In an online environment, students have the ability to take their time and think through any questions that are being asked. Online learning gives a student the opportunity to “think” before responding.