Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2019: Purchase – Ryan Andrews
Mr. Andrews completed his education and training at the University of Northern Colorado, Kent State University, and Johns Hopkins Medicine. He is currently in an executive education program at Columbia University. Mr. Andrews has written hundreds of articles on nutrition, exercise, and health, and authored or co-authored a few books. You might have seen him in Time, U.S. News and World Report, Muscle & Fitness, Men’s Health, Rodale Organic Life, Greatist, Precision Nutrition, Buzzfeed, Relevant, Furthermore from Equinox, Alan Aragon’s Research Review, or VegNews. He also has experience on farms, in food waste recovery, in nutritional counseling, and in school lunch programs. Currently, Mr. Andrews teaches sustainable cooking to middle schoolers in the Bronx. He explains that he “speaks, writes, and teaches about sustainable eating wherever and whenever I can.” In fact, he teaches yoga to those recovering from addiction and psychiatric illness at Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut.
“I first thought about how to actually teach and communicate with people online back in 2008 while working with a company called Precision Nutrition. At the time, we were developing various types of online content, including a coaching program, certification, and blogs. This led to many hours (probably too many) spent thinking about how online communication compares to the in-person experience.”
“We’ve come to a time when the online teaching format offers unique benefits. First, it allows instructors to post lecture content that can be viewed at the students preferred time (and in the students preferred space). Second, it allows instructors to coordinate other types of content that support a lesson topic. So, instead of just hours and hours of me lecturing, it’s me lecturing, then it’s a documentary film, then it’s a podcast with a world renowned expert in the field, then it’s a peer-reviewed journal article, then it’s an online calculator to assess global footprint, then it’s a water conflict map, and so forth. This kind of variety is so helpful with retention and learning. And third, with certain kinds of topics, the anonymity that comes with posting in online discussion forums may allow students to be more vulnerable with their thoughts and ideas. In my courses we talk about food insecurity, food justice, and relationship to food. These can be scary for students to talk about in a traditional classroom format.”
“With all of that being said, there are aspects of in-person teaching that cannot be duplicated online (which makes hybrid style courses even more appealing). Before I sign off, I need to thank my wife. My positive online teaching experience at SUNY Purchase wouldn’t have been possible without her expertise and guidance. She helps me refine all of my online lectures, and is just a wise person in general.”