Faculty Spotlight: Julie Moser, MA, CAGS

Julie-Moser

Julie Moser has been teaching at Granite State College for over a year, teaching online for four years and before that she was involved in education promotion and delivery for over ten years. She is pursuing a doctorate in education at Plymouth State University with a focus on adult online learning environments. Julie serves as the Director of Online Education at the University of New Hampshire’s Center for START Services at the Institute on Disability. This past spring 2014, she received her Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies in Adult Education and Online Learning Environments.

Decision to Teach Online

Julie began her career as a journalist covering education reporting for local towns in Maine. Over the years she morphed into a marketing director for nonprofit adult education programs within university settings and then again as an education manager.

In 1991, Julie attended one of New England’s very first Internet television remote college classes and she fell in love with learning. Ever since that class, she has been interested in how teachers can use technology to spark passion for learning that has real-world impact and can be applied in daily life.  

“I believe that all students can have transformative, significant learning experiences when they are prepared, have time, and have caring facilitators who help shepherd collaborative learning communities. Just as my own personal philosophy about adult education is an evolving process, so, too, is a learner’s relationship to educational experiences. The way you relate to and understand your learning experience will unfold over time, and the strategies teachers use today will affect that understanding in some way. Whether those strategies create negative, positive or neutral impressions is unwritten. But I believe the preparation, guidance, facilitation, and care shown to you as a student is written in our actions as educators today.”

Engagement, Strategies and Presence

Julie has found the best way to create presence in online classes is to infuse her actions with humanity and humor and to be humble.  She states, “Although the online class isn’t about me, research shows that students respond positively to teacher and social presence”. Additionally she remarked, “Students don’t want to feel like they’re taking a class with a robot or someone who isn’t “there” with them.”

Julie uses short videos, photos, drawings, and audio files to connect with students in the forums and in her group and personal feedback communications.  Technology – when it’s appropriate – helps her connect with her students and helps her students connect with one another. 

Her goal is to help students connect with learning objectives as much as possible today, while creating lasting resources for continued reflection and growth as a learner. Her focus and experience as an educator in online learning environments is to typically ask students to be part of a learning community through online forums where they all share and learn together.

“I always encourage students to develop final projects that are relevant and useful to either a real-world activity (e.g., something that can help you at work, home, the community, etc.) or an idea that sparks passion.”

Challenges ~ Ways in Which to Learn

Julie strives to make her assignments meaningful to students. She states that although she wants to see what they have learned and how they have applied that learning, she wants them to be able to see the value of what they have learned, too!  

“I use technology – when appropriate. One mistake I made early on was assuming that students who had taken many online courses in the past came to my class with ability to access video and audio or would tell me if they didn’t. Not true. As we embrace a global learning environment, this is a really important factor to consider, especially for students who are deployed or in environments that have limited access to high-speed Internet. Although I had always asked students about their experience level with online classes, now I also explicitly ask whether students can easily access video and audio files in the beginning of every class, which ties directly into the next question.”

Advice on Teaching Online

Julie’s advice regarding teaching online is, “Ask. That’s my primary piece of advice for any teacher, and especially in online environments. If you’re thinking about teaching online, ask others who do it what it’s like and what their experiences are (and ask a lot of people – because once you’ve heard one perspective, you’ve heard one perspective).”

 

“I use surveys throughout the semester to check in with students to see how they’re doing, what they need, and what they wish I had asked them.” Julie asks her students to introduce themselves at the beginning of each course she teaches. This first discussion forum helps to learn about who her students are, what experience they have with online classes, how they learn best, and what they want to get out of the class. “It’s a great way to get the pulse of the class and students and to address any questions or concerns that come up. I almost always learn something new to consider or help students with when I ask.”

Innovation

Julie is using Camtasia to create videos for one of her classes this fall to develop mini lessons on key topics. Julie states, “Although my end product might be a video, if I develop it thoughtfully I can be respectful to the diverse ways students learn. My long-term goal is to enrich all of my online classes with mini video lessons that can be segmented into diverse multimedia streams to allow students to choose how they engage the lesson based on their learning preferences and available resources. Some students may groove on and be able to access videos, others might prefer audio only, and some students without access to video and audio might need images and a transcript. In the end, it’s not about the product I create, but the process students engage in as they learn.”

A future innovation she is investigating and really “digging the features” of is Articulate Storyline. She would like to use this software tool to develop interactive e-learning modules. She remarks, “The skills I learn through the video development process this fall will transfer to an interactive e-learning platform – or to another. Hey, technology changes, right? Ride the wave!”

Julie’s passion is helping adults on their personal learning journey, wherever that might lead. Alongside her own long and winding learning adventure. On a personal note Julie shared that she, “loves to hike, jog, and dabbles as someone who likes to paint, makes jewelry from broken vintage pieces, and plays surf-inspired guitar riffs.” She stated her motto at the moment is that, “I can always learn more!”.

To contact Julie send an email to jamoser@go.granite.edu.

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