Drexel University Faculty & Staff Honored for Their Contributions to Online Learning
“There is a tremendous future in online learning.”
Powerful, valued words from Interim Provost and Interim Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs James Herbert, PhD, who spoke at the eighth annual Drexel University Online National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) ceremony on November 11, 2014.
In an effort to create greater awareness of distance learning and to recognize exceptional leaders and best practices in the field, Drexel University Online founded NDLW, in conjunction with the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).
“Online education plays a very important role here at Drexel, where our stated mission is to provide every student with a valuable, rigorous, experiential and technology-infused education,” said Susan Aldridge, Ph.D., president of Drexel University Online. “In fact, overall, more than 13,000 Drexel students are taking at least one course online, which is certainly consistent with campus trends nationwide.”
Nominated by the deans of each college, this year’s ceremony celebrated 21 Drexel University faculty and staff members for their contributions to online learning. The College of Arts & Sciences faculty nominee,Meshagae Hunte-Brown, was honored for being a pioneer in developing courses online, having developed the wholly online Environmental Science and Society course nearly a decade ago. The LeBow College of Business staff nominee, Mike Gregory, was honored for his initiative to make online offerings more accessible to all students by transcribing and embedding video closed captions and using speech-to-text transformation to close caption lectures.
The theme for the night was best summarized by Shawn Brown, a 2008 graduate of the online Master’s in Higher Education program, who emphasized “there are thousands of online students at Drexel who develop a close connection.”
Echoing this sentiment, the Goodwin College of Professional Studies faculty nominee, William Martorano, was greeted by one of his former online students at the reception.
“The highlight of the evening was having one of my Drexel online students tell me that I made a difference in her life,” said Martorano, an adjunct faculty member for the Multidisciplinary & Emerging programs at Goodwin. “Citing previous bad experiences in online education and personal issues, she referred to my class as a breath of fresh air and that being in my class ‘saved her life.’ What can you say after a compliment like that? It's why I always wanted to teach and why I will continue to do so.”
At the NDLW ceremony, Herbert also highlighted “one of the greatest aspects about technology-enhanced learning is that it brings together talented individuals from across the country and globe.”
With distance learning exponentially growing throughout the years, Drexel University has been a premier leader of online education since 1996. At Drexel University Online, more than 7,500 unique students from all 50 states and 20 countries are pursuing a bachelor's, master's, or certificate.