Faculty Spotlight: Mark F. Jewell, ND, PhD

Mark-Jewell300Mark Jewell teaches master’s degree courses in the Leadership program at Granite State College.  He has been teaching for fifteen years and online for the past two years.  In his online teaching, Mark has used more and more enriched media and reference resources to allow for more dynamic classes.

He has clear expectations for his students. “I outline the expectations in both the syllabus and on-line components.  I discuss this as part of the first class, as well as review in detail the importance of active participation, quality of posts/responses, the importance of providing accurate citations, plagiarism, and academic honesty as a whole.  I remind students that all content presented or discussed must be of a professional nature.  I also post rubrics that define the rating/grading system used. “

Mark says he has received mixed feedback from students regarding online learning.  Some of those who are in 100% online classes miss the benefits of face-to-face discussions with other classmates and their instructor. Consequently, he does many things to create a presence in an online environment.  “I endeavor to respond to all posts within 24-hours, and ensure that they meet the same standards I set for the students relative to quality, depth, and breadth.  I also pose additional questions to the class based on their responses, and/or may direct them to online references/links, media, etc. that further reinforces the information being covered.”

“This in no way precludes using an online teaching environment, but instead provides greater credence for utilization of applications such as Skype or Blackboard Collaborate.” Mark explains how classroom discussions differ from online discussions. “Classroom instruction allows the instructor to provide immediate feedback based on the content discussed.  Whereas classroom discussions provide for a more dynamic interaction, there is an argument that by delaying the ability to immediately respond may allow for greater reflection and an in-depth reply.” He says he personally does not subscribe to that line of reasoning.  He feels that students and instructors need face-to-face contact.

Mark plans to use these tools in future online classes since he feels that this will improve the student experience.

Mark recommends several things that have helped him in the development of his courses –

  • Select an appropriate text that provides for additional instructor and student materials; this can be very helpful and be a significant time saver and resource.
  • Learn as much about the online platform as possible in order to fully maximize its components.
  • Include reliable internet based links to course related information and media resources.

He says, if you are thinking about teaching online, “Don’t be afraid to dive into the deep end of the pool. 

There are numbers of resources available to help instructors manage online learning platforms.  I think the biggest challenge is in maintaining the human aspect, which is essential to the learning process.  Remember that it is simply a tool, one of many, which you have at your disposal to bring additional resources to the virtual classroom. “Do not rely on technology to take the place of teaching.”

By becoming adept in the use of those tools will ensure your meet the desired learning outcomes. “ One great resource that Mark would like to share is Online Learning Resources from the National Education Association.

To contact Mark you may send an email to: mfjewell@go.granite.edu.