Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2017 – Potsdam: Kelly Bonnar
Kelly Bonnar earned her PhD in Health and Kinesiology from Purdue University. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health at SUNY Potsdam where she also serves the Chair of the IRB, Director of Presidential Scholars, Coordinator of Student Fellowships and Coordinator of the Community Health Honors Program. Dr. Bonnar has been teaching undergraduate students since for over 20 years. Undergraduate student research is her passion. Dr. Bonnar is published in the American Journal of Public Health, Health Communication, and the Journal of Community Health. Since 2011, she has mentored over 25 undergraduate students through the completion of extracurricular and independent research projects, most focusing on health equity, rurality and the prevention of domestic/sexual violence.
Dr. Bonnar has developed and taught a variety of online learning courses, the first in 2008. Topics include nutrition, domestic violence, global health, health communication and drug studies. These online courses offer students access to elective and upper division credit hours. But Dr. Bonnar’s philosophy of online learning goes beyond its convenience.
Online learning is challenging for many students. I approach the design and implementation of my online courses from the perspective that it teaches valuable time management, focus, and independent thinking skills beyond what can happen in a regular classroom. I approach that challenge by requiring collaboration and communication between all students in all aspects of the online course. This experience, where students have to critically analyze ideas and opinions of peers in relation to course content is a unique and an amazing learning experience for students that they could only get in an online learning environment.