Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2018 – Empire State: Betty Hurley
Betty Hurley is a faculty member at SUNY Empire State College. She works at the Center for Distance Learning as an area coordinator and has served as a faculty associate at the College’s Center for Mentoring and Learning.
As a faculty member in the area of Science, Math and Technology, I was an early advocate for the value of online approaches to learning. Most of my development of online courses has been in the area of mathematics. Early on, we struggled to find good ways for students to submit their work. Maplesoft’s creation, Maple, made it possible to provide high quality, interactive online opportunities for all levels of mathematics.
Much of my work has been in developing general education opportunities for our online learners at Empire State College. Many adult learners come to their general education math course with some trepidation and are wary of an online approach. I have found the use of online journals to be an effective strategy to support anxious learners through their journey. In addition, embedded videos help learners see more clearly what quantitative skills they already possess and make math “real.” Learners add to an online glossary to share resources they have discovered, again increasing confidence in their own abilities. And, they have an opportunity to share discoveries and questions in discussion boards that contain engaging questions to ponder. Courses have intriguing titles as well: “Math for the Inquiring Mind,” “Visualizing Math” and “History of Math” draw students in by helping them see from the start that they are coming in with some previous skills to help them further develop their quantitative skills.
I’ve also experimented with MOOCs and free courses. With a colleague, Carol Yeager, I developed and facilitated a MOOC entitled, “VizMath.” I also developed and facilitated a free Canvas course in 2015 entitled, “Essential Quantitative Skills for Business.” And, I developed a course for Wikieducator entitled “A Mathematical Journey.” Currently, I am revising our online Precalculus course to use the OER Lumen Waymaker. My primary interest is to promote increased quantitative skills in all learners wherever they are.