Meet Your Future Instructor: Ana-Paula Correia, PhD
Part of what distinguishes our online programs at The Ohio State University is our focus on faculty. The exceptional instructors who teach our online courses are also teaching in classrooms across campus. These educators are passionate about students and invested in your educational experience.
Ana-Paula Correia is a professor of learning technologies in the Department of Educational Studies and also serves as the Master of Learning Technologies program's co-coordinator. She leads Ohio State's Center on Education and Training for Employment.
Talk about the courses you teach at The Ohio State University.
Here at Ohio State I teach mainly online classes to the Master of Learning Technologies that is offered by the Department of Educational Studies. In the spring, I teach an online graduate course on applied instructional design.
What’s your favorite thing about teaching online students?
I think it’s the presence and the connection you can make with your students. I get to know my students better, in a certain way, when teaching online than when I teach in a traditional setting. Even though it might sound weird, because you are in an online environment, a space that is not prone to 1:1 interaction or looking at people’s eyes, body language and expression, it definitely works – especially at a time where we are fighting a pandemic. You can really connect at a different level by participating in activities, by talking to them via CarmenZoom, email or even on the phone.
"You can really connect at a different level with students by participating in activities, by talking to them via CarmenZoom, email or even on the phone."
So, how do you implement elements into your courses to better prepare students for their future careers?
When we teach online, we assume that the application of knowledge and hands-on experiences is difficult to achieve because there is a medium between the students and the teacher. And, there’s no traditional face-to-face time and real-time feedback. However, I want to give my students opportunities for practice in my online classes, because more and more employers are not only looking for the credentials or the GPA, but also looking at what students can do with what they’ve learned in school.
So, when you create artifacts and projects in class, at the end of the program you have a portfolio that illustrates what you can do. It’s important to have projects in class where students can showcase their skills and knowledge. The portfolio is a culmination of such experiences, and it will be very useful when it’s time to find a job in learning technologies. Or, to just prove to the world what you can do with the knowledge and skills that the program gave you.
How do you encourage students to own the experience they are having in an online course?
In my case, when I teach online, I teach adult learners. So, they come to my classes with experience, knowledge, and most of them are already professionals, and they have everyday stories to share with the class. So, when we talk about online courses, we think about online discussions that are led by the instructor. In my classes, I use a strategy where the discussions are led by the students. It’s a student-led online discussion that usually lasts about a week.
The strategies the students use to initiate, facilitate and sustain the online discussion is all on them. They can bring out their creativity and also their experiences and connect at a different level with their peers. It is not an instructor-dominated discussion, but more a peer-to-peer conversation. I participate in the conversation by sharing my knowledge, my skills and my experiences, but I will also follow the lead of the student in charge.
If a student was hesitant about taking an online program, what would you tell them about learning online?
If a student is considering pursuing an online degree, I could talk about all these features that everyone does like flexibility, pace, convenience, etc. You can learn anytime, anywhere, whenever you have time to. But, I think on top of all of these benefits that seem clear and are repeated constantly, our Master of Learning Technologies degree allows you to create digital products that you can include in a portfolio that will make you very competitive in the job market. You will have Ohio State certification on top of artifacts and projects that you create in online classes. Currently, in my applied instructional design class, we are creating educational products that aim at practical application, as well as commercialization and licensing.
If you are interested in learning more about the Master of Learning Technologies program, visit their program page.