Online Teaching

SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2021: Dutchess – Jean-Michel Campagne

Jean Campagne

Jean-Michel Campagne

Jean-Michel Campagne, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Dutchess Community College.  Dr. Campagne earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University, studying natural product discovery, structure elucidation, and synthesis in Dr. Albert T. Sneden’s group.  After graduate school, he worked at the United States Patent Office and then at the Food and Drug Administration.  After a number of years outside academia, he had his “a-ha moment” and realized he had ignored his passion: teaching.  He and his wife, also a teacher, moved to New England to teach and he has happily never looked back.

Online teaching is new to me – and I find it exciting.  It reminds me of my graduate school days where I was thrilled with the creative problem-solving required to succeed in the laboratory.  That said, what I learned then is what I feel is also applying now:  keeping it simple.  Whether it be guidance, notes, directions, deadlines, synchronous meetings, or online videos, keeping it simple is proving key.  This is not to be confused with lowering academic expectations or not being fully invested in students’ learning — that line is being held and my time invested has actually substantially increased.

In this pandemic-driven remote world I have been shoved into, I, as others, have found that students need and thrive with an instructor’s presence.  That presence lets them know someone knows and cares about them and is interested in them succeeding.  So that’s my challenge:  how to be present in an online experience that I am trying to keep simple while also maintaining college expectations?

To be clear, I don’t have all the answers and I will undoubtedly make mistakes to learn from.  And that is all exciting to me – just like graduate school research.  If I were to say I had something of a thesis, it is this:  There’s Something To YouTube Gaming Videos.  How come a student can’t watch a lecture video for more than 15 minutes but can watch a gaming video of someone else playing a video game for hours?  Obviously, learning college-level chemistry doesn’t fit neatly into the gaming video format.  But I believe there are elements of how gaming videos are produced that could help me connect with students, increase attention time, and give me a presence.  This includes transitions, visual and sound effects, use of cameras, gaming activities, and screen layout.  So that’s what I’m currently trying to fold in to my synchronous online teaching.


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