Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2018 – Stony Brook: Katherine Mitra
Katherine Mitra currently teaches and works as an E-Learning Faculty Support Specialist in the School of Professional Development at Stony Brook University. She works with faculty on the development of instructional content used to support online and blended courses. She earned a M.A. in Anthropology from Indiana University and a M.S. in Educational Computing from Stony Brook University, and has been teaching online for the past 17 years. She has developed and taught courses on topics related to Cultural Anthropology for the Liberal Studies program in the School of Professional Development at Stony Brook University, as well as Suffolk County Community College. She is also an adjunct in the Social Science department at Southern New Hampshire University.
I started my career working as a curator and educator in the museum field. I worked for 7 years as the Curator of World Cultures at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and see parallels between the development of a museum program and/or exhibit, and an online course. Both offer the opportunity to present artifacts, and the challenge of enlivening the presentation with engaging elements, as well as encouraging active involvement from the learner. With the right tools and a creative approach you can shape a learning environment that is not linear, but multi-dimensional.
I enjoy teaching both undergraduate and graduate students, and through my various adjunct positions meet students from all walks of life, many of whom would not be able to complete degrees without the option of online courses. A well-designed course sets the stage for a community of learners to come together and interact, and learn not only from the assigned material and the instructor, but from each other. This lends itself well to studying cultural anthropology, since the idea is to understand that viewpoints are shaped by culture. In an online course, even those students who would never raise their hands in class will participate in a learning environment in which all well-supported ideas are considered.