Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2019: Plattsburgh – Charles DeShaies

Charles DeShaies

Charles DeShaies

Mr. Deshaies is an adjunct lecturer at SUNY Plattburgh. He teaches courses in Canadian Studies. He explained his journey with online teaching,

“Two years ago I was informed of the need for me to teach online courses. My first thought was, “OK……how do you do that?” I attended Moodle training to understand how the nuts and bolts of the course would work. I also asked faculty who had been teaching online what their experiences were and what strategies did they utilize. After some thought, I realized that I would not be comfortable doing what others had done.”

“I felt the model in place failed in two vital areas. First, it lacked a certain human touch. While there may be advantages to “anonymous” learning and teaching through online education; it left me cold. I wanted my students to know there was an actual human being who was in some sort of contact with them. I wanted my students to be able to make a personal connection with me. The second issue I had was the belief that reading assignments followed by keyboard discussion and written assignments was not real education in my book. Pedagogically speaking, it simply was insufficient in terms of providing a sound educational experience.”

“Fortunately, John Locke was in that Moodle training I attended. He spoke of the one-button studio available at SUNY Plattsburgh. Immediately, I latched on to that as a possible solution to the challenges presented by online learning. In short, by use of this technology, I could provide my students with a well-rounded college class experience. I was able to provide students with valuable background information on the topics under discussion and offer a face and voice that humanized the course. Indeed, I have been stopped by many online students in the hallways with, “I know you! You’re my Canadian Studies teacher! It is great to meet you!” More importantly, these students also explained how useful they found the video productions.”

Mr. Deshaies says, “I am no technical wizard. If it was not for John’s patience and guidance, I would never have been able to bring this crucial element into play. It does take some time to produce these videos; but it is time well-spent. By taking advantage of these tools, I now feel good about the style and substance of my online courses – and my students are better served as a result.”     

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