Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2019: Albany – Dawit Demissie
Dr. Dawit Demissie received his Ph.D. in Informatics from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). He earned an M.S. in Telecommunications & Network Management from Syracuse University and holds a B.A. degree in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Oswego.
Currently, Dr. Demissie teaches at both, College of Engineering & Applied Sciences and the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, University at Albany, SUNY. He also served as Lecturer/Instructor/Course Developer at several colleges like the State University of New York at Oswego, Hudson Valley Community College, Excelsior College, The Sage Colleges, Syracuse University, The University of Oklahoma, Siena College and Fordham University.
Over the last 10 years, Dr. Demissie has been spreading his wealth of knowledge through wide range of courses (both online and face-to-face) in database applications, web technologies, data structures, computer security, programming, systems analysis, business application and development, cybersecurity etc. As an attestation for his exceptional teaching and a great track record of accomplishment, he was bestowed with two coveted awards – 1) President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching – University at Albany; and 2) Faculty of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching and Academic Advising – The Sage Colleges.
His expertise lies in teaching core and elective courses in various computer information systems programs with pointed focus on computer science and technology courses. Following the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006), for online courses, he incorporates proven best practices to integrate appropriate technology, content, and context, thereby creating richer interactions among the students and the course material.
Robert Gagne’s work in The Conditions of Learning provide the foundations for Dr. Demissie’s teaching methods. His course preparation attempts to answer Bob’s four critical questions – (1) The learning question: What is important for students to learn in the 15 weeks of the semester? (2) The instruction question: How best to deliver instructions that result in enhanced learning? (3) The assessment question: How to ensure students are learning? What form of assessment / assignment design? and (4) The alignment question: How to make sure that learning objectives, instruction, assessment, and other learning assets, including technology, are consistent with one another and contribute to the current day learning objectives?
Dr. Demissie’s passion and commitment towards students is evident through his unique teaching strategies. Timely feedback, assessment, one-on-ones mentoring, customized class handouts, and examples that cover both theory and real-world applications of the course are some of the cornerstones of his teaching methodology. In his words, “Teaching is the most important aspect of our profession, and the most fulfilling one”. In his quest to constantly improve and adapt his offerings, he regularly solicits feedback from students including former students, in the form of postcards, surveys, emails and online meetings. Likewise, his accessibility and pledge for bringing the best in his pupils making him one of the favorite teachers.