Mr. Paul Rosa
Paul Rosa has taught at Mount Saint Mary College for 8 years, teaching and developing online courses including: Introduction to World Religions, Business Ethics, and Religion & Personal Growth.
Paul’s experience with hybrid learning includes his Business Ethics and Introduction to Philosophy courses. He describes his approach to hybrid learning as “80% online and 20% face-to-face interaction. It is an accelerated schedule where people can work on their own schedule and meet in class at least once a week.”
Paul perceives many benefits from teaching on the learning management system (LMS). For population groups such as adult learners, the LMS provides flexibility so that they don’t have to make huge adjustments in their career and lifestyle. With online learning, “it lays it all out there for them and they do what they need to do to accomplish their courses.” Online learning also provides more opportunities in discussion for reflection on people’s thoughts and opinions, which he utilizes in his class. He feels that for courses in areas such as philosophy, this can be very helpful. Paul also feels that online discussions can benefit those who are “shy” because it provides a safe environment for open exchanges.
One obstacle that Paul has had to overcome in online teaching is a lack of immediacy, which is typically found in face-to-face instruction. Now receiving many emails from students, he finds it easier when students can ask him questions face-to-face. There can also be technical difficulties at times, but there are always resources available if help is needed. He admits that it was a lot of work to initially build an online class and recalls some early feelings of frustration, but Paul was able to turn to the staff at the Office of Online Learning for support. He also has his family for assistance, such as his sons if he has any computer-related questions while at home.
He recommends that future faculty put forth the effort in designing online courses. It takes some work to completely build an online course, but once you have it built on eClass, you only need to make minor adjustments in future semesters. He also suggests that instructors be mindful of the populations they teach. Everyone is different, including the instructor, which is easy to forget in an online class. Paul believes online learning and teaching to be a collaborative process. As long as you can be fair and accommodating to your students, the outcomes can be positive.