SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2022: Plattsburgh – Michelle Bonati
Michelle L. Bonati, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She is also an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, Australia. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. At SUNY Plattsburgh, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Childhood Education BSEd and Special Education MSEd programs. Her teaching philosophy embodies inclusive pedagogical approaches and alignment with the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
In 2017, Michelle co-led a multidisciplinary grant project to develop an Open Learning Environment online course at the University of Sydney, Disability Awareness and Inclusivity. Since the launch, thousands of undergraduate students across a vast range of disciplines have enrolled and completed the course. During the course development, she engaged disabled people and experts across a range of fields related to disability to create interactive video modules. In 2019, the course development team was nominated for the University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence: Outstanding Contribution to Disability Inclusion. Michelle received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney for her inclusive teaching pedagogy and for providing students with applied learning opportunities through service-learning projects.
At SUNY Plattsburgh, Michelle has updated several online courses to add engaging content through brief interactive videos using H5P, an HTML5-based interactive video content that enables students to answer questions within the course Learning Management System (LMS). She also incorporates a well-integrated LMS site to support in-person courses where students can review content, discuss core concepts, and receive feedback on assessments. She uses elements, such as a consistent and accessible format, icons with alt-text, and additional resources to support learners in her courses. She has been invited to speak at several SUNY Plattsburgh events offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence, including roundtable discussions and workshops.
Michelle’s research interests include examining approaches for developing inclusive K-12 schools, universities, and communities. Her co-edited book, People with Intellectual Disability Experiencing University Life is available from Brill. Her co-authored book, Inclusive Education in Schools and Early Childhood Settings is published by Springer. Her work on inclusive education also involves a focus in Southeast Asia, where she has conducted research projects and provided professional development sessions for educators. In 2019, Michelle was awarded a fellowship by The American Institute for Indonesian Studies. The project entitled, Amplifying children’s voices within arts-based service-learning: Emerging inclusive education practices in Indonesia involved field research in K-12 schools in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Students engaged in a photovoice project focused on their perceptions of inclusion, belonging, and community. Her professional networks include the Council for Exceptional Children, the New York Southeast Asia Network, the International Association of Special Education, and the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Educators.