Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2018 – Purchase: Elizabeth Edelson
Elizabeth Hires (Edelson) is an arts professional who has served as an adjunct professor at SUNY Purchase College since 2007. Her courses in arts management serve undergraduate students as well as others pursuing the Certificate in Arts Management offered by Liberal Studies. Elizabeth holds an a M.A. in Arts Administration from Columbia University, a B.A. from Vassar College, and has also taught in the Arts Management program at Marymount Manhattan College. Her career in the arts includes positions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, Artists Space, and Wave Hill.
Elizabeth was part of the first faculty cohorts to receive training in online course design through Purchase’s Teaching, Learning and Technology Center in 2010, and she has since regularly offered fully-online courses in both semester and accelerated formats. As a certified Quality Matters Peer Reviewer, Elizabeth also reviewed many new and re-designed hybrid and online courses for delivery by her fellow Purchase faculty.
The process of re-designing my traditional, face-to-face classes for online was transformative: I believe it improved my teaching by forcing better alignment of learning outcomes with a variety of class activities, and encouraged me to create a more media-rich class environment. Creating effective online classes means putting the student perspective first and foremost: I’m constantly asking myself, “Have I communicated this clearly? Does this project have meaningful, clear connections to our upcoming work?”
While I had some initial concerns that teaching online would diminish the dynamic student-student interaction that happened in my traditional classes, I’ve found that online class interaction is comfortable for most students, especially those who benefit from having more time to formulate their ideas before sharing them. The online format is also well-suited to my teaching style, which incorporates a lot of case studies and asks students to engage with ‘real-world’ arts and cultural groups. And needless to say, the flexibility of online learning has been valuable to many students who are juggling complex schedules filled with other school work, employment commitments, family demands, and rehearsal and performance schedules.