A&S Fellows will develop the best in online learning for Arts & Science students

April 21, 2020 by A&S News

The A&S Online Learning Academy is set to advance online education for Faculty of Arts & Science students with the announcement of its team of expert fellows, a group of dedicated, award-winning instructors.

“These fellows represent the best in online teaching at the University of Toronto, and we’re thrilled to have them join the academy to help move our vision forward,” says Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty. “To effectively complement our in-person course delivery, this initiative calls for innovative and creative leaders who are engaged in new technologies and approaches in online learning. We’re confident these fellows have the skills, experience and passion needed to elevate the academy and help our students excel in their studies.”

The Academy was launched on April 6 to help drive the Faculty’s response to the current environment and to develop a seamless online experience for all Arts & Science students, regardless of the longer-term impact of the pandemic. Led by Don Boyes, an award-winning teaching stream professor in the Department of Geography & Planning, the academy welcomes nine fellows from across the Faculty: 

  • Jennifer Campbell, professor, teaching stream in the Department of Computer Science;
  • Jessica Hill, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics;
  • Kyoungrok Ko, associate professor, teaching stream in the Department of East Asian Studies;
  • Alex Koo, assistant professor, teaching stream in the Department of Philosophy; 
  • Jennifer Murdock, professor, teaching stream in the Department of Economics;
  • Melody Neumann, associate professor, teaching stream in the Department of Cell & Systems Biology;
  • Nick Provart, professor in the Department of Cell & Systems Biology;
  • Franco Taverna, associate professor, teaching stream in the Human Biology Program; and 
  • Bethany White, associate professor, teaching stream in the Department of Statistical Sciences.

These fellows bring with them extensive expertise in a wide range of teaching technology and successful app development across a number of leading platforms.  

“It's my absolute privilege to work with such an experienced and knowledgeable group of colleagues,” says Boyes. “They each bring unique and complementary skill sets of online teaching methods that they have used with their own students. There is a shared sense of purpose, passion and optimism that together we can support our fellow instructors and make a meaningful contribution to the lives of students in Arts & Science and beyond.”

Woodin says she is inspired by the enthusiasm of the fellows and is grateful for how motivated each was to sign up for the role and this new level of collaboration. “This academy offers a tremendous opportunity for our experts to improve their already exceptional skills in online teaching, by learning from the others as part of a collaborative enterprise that brings together faculty members from across disciplines.” 

Boyes and the fellows will meet virtually to discuss real-life scenarios on the use of leading tools and resources, and develop an effective online learning strategy that meets students’ needs for high-calibre education. A&S is already primed to offer more than 600 courses online for the summer session and more will continue to be added.

“There is no one-size-fits-all model for online courses and I look forward to collaborating with others to identify models of instruction, tools and techniques that aid with the transition to online learning for students and instructors alike,” says new academy member Jennifer Campbell. “I believe quality instructor-learner and learner-learner interactions significantly enhance the learning experience, and I look forward to bringing my experience with online learning and teaching to U of T.”  

You can learn more about the Online Learning Academy and its fellows on the A&S website.