Online Teaching

SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2021: Alfred State – Karla Back

Karla Back

Karla Back

Dr. Karla Back is a SUNY Chancellor’s Award – winning Teaching Excellence Professor who has taught at Alfred State College over the 16 years. She previously taught full-time at the University of Houston (College of Technology) and Galveston College (Business Division). In addition to a strong teaching and education background, Dr. Back has also worked in the learning areas in business and industry in organizations such as Shell Oil Company, Exxon Mobil, American Express, and AMOCO over the past 30 years. 

She has extensive experience working with students, managers and leaders in a variety of learning environments, often focused on leadership development, management communication and team engagement. Karla earned her PhD in Adult and Organizational Learning from Texas A & M University. She has worked in the online and distance learning environment both in a college and university environment as well as in business and industry, working with a wide variety of adult learners. 

I developed, taught, and evaluated my first online class in 1992. I have seen the evolution and exponential growth of online learning and continue to explore and learn how to integrate new technologies into my online learning class environments. My advocacy for online learning continues to be strong for several reasons: online classes offer much more freedom for both the instructor as well as the student, there is a flexibility of time and place as well as the ease in offering alternative pacing for learners who find they learn best in a variety of different modalities – hands on, auditorily, visually, or some combination. I have also found over the years that students tend to participate and are much more active in an online learning environment when they can choose their own time and pace, are offered a wider variety of different resources, and tend to engage more readily because they are more in control of their learning. 

One of the many strengths of SUNY Online learning opportunities is the rich blend of best practices used in the design, development, and delivery of the courses. Students and faculty work in a learning environment that requires courses based on a robust set of learning activities, linked to stated course learning objectives, which are then tied to results and increased levels of competence for the student. Additionally, there is a consistent format and expected layout of course materials which also lend themselves to ease of use for the learner and faculty. 

Online learning also offers advantages for engaging learners by incorporating focused discussion boards, blogs, and team based applied learning activities. As a professor, I believe the online learning format provides the best of both worlds from a learning and teaching standpoint – flexible, student -focused, and results driven learning.


View Karla’s video testimonial.


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