Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2019: Dutchess – Shinelle Espaillat
Though this in her second year at Dutchess Community College, Ms. Espaillat has taught various classes in writing and literature, including Composition I and II, Creative Writing; Fiction, African-American Fiction, Modern American Short Stories, for over thirteen years. She began teaching online in 2009, and has included online components in traditional, face-to-face courses. At DCC, Ms. Espaillat has collaborated with other faculty and staff to provide centralized, foundational information for both students and faculty who are interested in online education, and continues to search for ways of increasing student retention and success in online courses.
In describing her pedagogical philosophy, Ms. Espaillat explains, “Just as literary criticism experienced shifts from Romanticism to Realism to Naturalism to Modernism, with Modernism incorporating elements of past movements with experimental techniques and new philosophies, our pedagogical practices in teaching writing must shift to include effective online instruction. As students embrace this medium for its flexibility and convenience, we search for ways to combine content, atmosphere and a sense of cohort despite the isolationist nature of online courses. It is especially challenging to achieve this combination in introductory online courses, when students have not necessarily grasped the full concept of student-hood—or adulthood, even as many of them maneuver to fit education between full-time jobs and family obligations. However, when we adapt our instructional methods to fit new paradigms, we create the potential for increased success, both for our students and for ourselves.”