Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2019: Buffalo – Janice Jones
Janice Jones, Ph.D., has been a faculty member at the University at Buffalo since 1990. Dr. Jones has seen numerous changes in the delivery of the courses. She has taught online since 2011, most notably a healthcare informatics course in the School of Nursing and a graduate course for our Doctorate in Nursing Practice students. She has also been instrumental in the first development of an e-portfolio for nursing students and was instrumental in the development and implementation of the e-portfolio now required of all undergraduate students at the university. Dr. Jones still serves as an advisory to this group. With two other faculty members, they were major contributors to the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform Initiative (TIGER) Initiative along with presenting at many venues and publishing in major peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Jones notes, “Teaching online is much more than just posting a voice-over PowerPoint. Changing students’ attitudes about the work involved, time management, and self-directed learning can be a challenge as you work against the myths of an online course. I periodically remind students throughout the semester that time spent in the online environment can equal or surpass the time spent in a face-to-face course. Overall, students generally love the online courses that I teach. Personally, I still think some courses need to be held as a hybrid course or synchronous classes held. It depends on your audience and the course content. Group projects tend to be the most troublesome in the online world as reported by my students.”
Dr. Jones believes in mentoring faculty in the use of technology and teaching in the online environment. She explains, “Online teaching brings more students closer to me via their emails and discussion board posts. Students feel more comfortable reaching out virtually than they might face-to-face. But I’m always cognizant as to how I respond to emails. How will the email be perceived? I found that by addressing the student by name and asking them to contact me if they have any questions or concerns, greatly enhances the community of learning. Humor is also an important part of my “teaching.” Last semester I included a link to the Subaru Barkley Dog videos. Every week was a different video. Surprisingly, I received an overwhelming positive response to something so simple in reducing students’ stress. Being creative has its benefits!”