Faculty Spotlight: Christine Tate, MA

ChristineTate-400Christine Tate has been teaching at Granite State College in the School of Education (SOE) for seven years. Outside GSC she teaches in Litchfield, N.H. as a Reading Specialist and Special Educator in grades K-8. In addition to having a Master’s degree in Learning Disabilities, Christine is certified in Learning Disabilities, Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, Reading Specialist, Specialist in the Assessment of Intellectual Functioning, General Special Education, and Elementary Education.

Christine began teaching online last year and has many good things to share about her experience. She thought she would miss the “face time” with students and was concerned that she would not be able to truly reach them.

“Teaching online is a completely different experience than I expected. I am amazed at how well I get to know students and how well students get to know each other. Forums are the key to making that happen!” She reminds us that in a face to face classroom there are often a few students who always participate in discussions, and others who never participate. In online forums she finds that  ALL students are participating. Furthermore, they are taking discussions to a much deeper level since there are no time constraints as there are in a “face to face” classroom.

Christine has helped her students be successful online by providing examples and rubrics to follow. This has alleviated many questions and helped students feel at ease since the expectations are clear right from the start.

Christine creates on online presence in her courses by being online EVERY night to check in. Christine finds that being involved in each discussion helps her to manage it. Online students stay on topic, and share valuable information. Forums allow students the opportunity to read someone’s ideas or opinions, reflect upon them, and then respond. “I find it is crucial to check the general discussion forum since this is where many students post questions. I also find it is very important to become involved in the forums and respond to students’ posts. I am very careful to respond to each student’s introductory post in a thoughtful way that shows I have read what they have posted.”

Teaching online has provided challenges to Christine too.  She needed to find interesting ways to get information to students  besides  standing in front of them and telling or showing them the information. She has presented  content in online videos, power points, and more. She has been able to get help from the GSC staff. Linda Kenney and Reta Chaffee have been invaluable! And, she has received help from many colleagues including Kaye Enwright and Barbara Cohen who helped when she started at GSC. Alan Pardy,  a former instructor, helped shape the way she teaches. And, Mary Ford, taught Christine’s first undergraduate special education class.

“My advice for those who are teaching online would be to make sure they are available to students every day. I think it is critical that students’ questions are answered in a timely manner. Students usually have questions when they have the time to begin an assignment. If they are not answered right away, they lose that time. I find that all students are just as busy as instructors and truly appreciate timeliness in response to questions.”

To contact Christine you may send an email to: ctate@litchfieldsd.org