Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2020: Purchase – Nicholas Roberts
Nicholas Roberts graduated Magna Cum Laude from SUNY Purchase in 2017 where he majored in Mathematics/Computer Science and minored in Economics and Trumpet Performance. Nicholas then went on to pursue a master’s degree in pure mathematics at Stony Brook University which he completed in May of 2019. Nicholas is currently in the process of becoming a certified New York State mathematics teacher for grades 7-12. He also tutors math privately on Long Island. Some of Nicholas’ favorite topics in mathematics include measure theory, ring theory, and Galois theory. He is also currently self-studying algebraic geometry and Banach algebras. In his free time, Nicholas likes to exercise, play drums, listen to music, and watch basketball.
Teaching a mathematics course in an online setting poses both challenges and opportunities. Online courses provide students with the unique opportunity to work on their own schedule and at their own pace. This is ideal for students who perhaps have jobs and other commitments that could conflict with on-site lectures. One challenge that I face as an online instructor and facilitator is that I have less of a presence as compared to an on-site lecturer. To mitigate this, I ensure that my students are aware that I am readily available to them via e-mail and video chat for any questions or concerns. I believe it is of utmost importance, whether teaching online or on-site, that the students have ready access to their instructor. When teaching mathematics, it is important for the instructor to scaffold the content so students can obtain a deeper understanding of the material and solve problems independently. I have given much thought to scaffolding effectively in an online setting, organizing the material systematically in such a way so that students can be guided through the learning process gradually. This is something on which I will continue to work and reflect upon as I continue teaching online courses.