Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2020: Monroe – Jonathon Little
Jonathon Little is an Associate Professor of Geography at Monroe Community College. He teaches a number of Physical Geography and Geospatial Technology courses, many of which are labs taught completely online. He coordinates the Geospatial Information Science & Technology (GIST) Certificate and is the Principal Investigator (PI) of a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant that has developed remote workforce opportunities and a virtual geospatial desktop for online students. Remote workforce opportunities range from organizations across New York (e.g., River Area Council of Governments, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Genesee Land Trust) to four international virtual internships: Fundación Universitaria Tecnológico Comfenalco (Cartagena, Colombia), Monteverde Institute (Costa Rica), Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí (Mexico) and at S.Seifullin Kazakh Agro Technical University (Kazakhstan). The IITG grant has provided GIST students with peer online support from MCC and SUNY Cortland students. Jonathon participated in the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Turkish Initiative with Bilkent University (Ankara, Turkey). He was PI for a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grant to develop a GIST Certificate program and create a workforce pipeline between high schools and the college. He is also a Board Member of a local GIS organization and the New York Geographic Alliance, and serves on the NY state GIS Education committee. He traveled to Kazakhstan as a Fulbright Specialist June of 2019 where he trained faculty on remote sensing and strategies to teach online.
It is common for online students to feel isolated. Thanks to the SUNY IITG grant, online fall 2019 students received enhanced online support from peers and faculty to reduce isolation and increase prospects for academic success. We hope to continue the online peer support in the near future by including GIST alumni. Due to technology changes in software and communication, it is now possible for students to work completely remotely through the use of a virtual internship that mirrors the workplace. I’m excited about the remote workforce opportunities we are providing our Capstone students. Remote workforce opportunities better prepares students for the necessary technical and online personal skills to meet the workforce needs of the future.