Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2020: Buffalo – Sabrina Casucci
Sabrina Casucci, PhD, MBA is an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University at Buffalo. She received her PhD in Industrial Engineering in 2015 and has 10 years of professional experience as an engineer and manager.
As Director of the Master’s degree program in Engineering Management, Dr. Casucci has been instrumental in the development of a sustainable and scalable infrastructure for online education in the School of Engineering. This program offers customizable, flexible, and innovative instruction that prepares students to take leadership roles within their organizations and industries.
She has created several popular on-line courses that blend theory, experiential learning, and mentoring elements. Additionally, she has assisted in development of numerous courses, including the transformation of existing courses from a classroom delivery mode to online delivery.
Dr. Casucci teaches in both traditional classroom and online settings with undergraduate and graduate engineering students. She continues to explore and develop opportunities for improving the online student experience, with particular interest in building immersive experiential learning opportunities and expanding technically based online education.
When I was first getting started with teaching online I was excited to explore this space, though I was a bit skeptical about how effective this format might be for technically intensive material. I found that with careful planning, and the help of experienced and patient mentors, we could develop effective solutions for overcoming these hurdles. Teaching online opens so many new opportunities for students to collaborate and learn from each other, which is particularly important in the engineering management program. With well-designed experiential and project components, I am now able to focus more on mentoring students in mastery of the material and the finer points of its application.
Creating a new program that accommodates both on-campus and online students is a challenging endeavor that requires commitment and resources from every level of the university. Creating high-quality and effective course content is certainly important. But, the potentially more complex challenge is building, or adapting, university, school, and departmental level systems designed for the traditional on-campus student. Building a core development team that includes these functions is an excellent way to ensure that the student experience is welcoming and effective.