Online Teaching

SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2021: Potsdam – Iggy Beerbower

Iggy Beerbower

Iggy Beerbower

Iggy Beerbower is an Associate Professor of Photography at State University of New York  (SUNY) Potsdam. She earned an MFA degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2002 and a BFA degree from the University of Hartford in 1993. Her teaching duties at SUNY  Potsdam include: Photography I, Digital Photography, Processes & Techniques, Photography IV and Basic Photography, which is a course for non-art majors. She has also taught introductory and foundation courses: Idea & Image (Art Appreciation), Color & Design, First-Year Success  Seminar. She works with BFA students on their artist’s and thesis statements, oversees interns in the photography darkrooms, and has led travel courses to Cuba (2018), Mexico (2020), and soon to Italy (2022). She is active with the LoKo Arts Festival and has brought many visiting artists to campus for the festival. In 2014 she was awarded a United University Professionals Individual Development grant. In 2015 and 2017 she was awarded Research and Creative Endeavors grants. These grants supported her artistic research. Her photographs have been exhibited at numerous galleries across the nation and her work has been published in many magazines (Shots, CreativePaper, Gravel Literary Journal, and Art Reveal). In 2015 her photographs were used by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to promote Operation Jairo in Utila, Honduras.  

I’ve always had an online component to supplement my in-person classes but the transition to remote teaching brought on by COVID-19 expanded it to include virtual classes, some completely synchronous and others asynchronous. This required a lot of work and learning in a short period of time to ensure that these classes were the best they could be. SUNY Online and the Center for Creative Instruction at SUNY Potsdam were incredible resources for training and one-on-one help. Through my work with SUNY, my Basic Photography class was  approved to be a fully online class. Teaching asynchronously challenged me to create a course that delivered the required information in an engaging manner as well as allowing for interaction between the students in order to build a sense of community. From the start the course was designed to fulfill all these aspects. But teaching online during these semesters of COVID required going beyond the course itself. Students have had to deal with incredible challenges themselves. Because of this, as a teacher I needed to be especially attentive to what was happening (or not happening) in the class. When a student was absent or missed turning in an assignment, I quickly reached out to contact them. Some of the time only a reminder was needed but other times the students were dealing with serious issues. When teaching online you don’t physically see your students, so I found that communication and interaction were incredibly important. For some students outreach made the difference in ensuring their success in the class.


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