Interview with Anna Harrison, ASID, LEED AP

Why did you choose to teach courses online?

My inspiration to teach online came as a result of taking a business class online with Heidi Diamond.  It was a huge awakening for me.  To have access to vital, relevant education that worked with my busy schedule was such a treat.  It was a natural next step to want to offer that to my students.

What is the most difficult/challenging aspect of teaching online?

It takes self-discipline to take an online class and it takes self-discipline to teach an online class.  The most difficult aspect for me is simply staying on top of my own curriculum.  Responding to students in a timely fashion, being organized, and keeping track of the weeks!  Without the deadline of a face to face meeting, I have to put my own deadlines in place.

What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching online?

One of the most rewarding and frankly totally unexpected benefits of teaching online has been witnessing my students connecting with and supporting each other through the discussion forums.  We all get to know each other in a way that doesn’t always happen in the classroom.

What has teaching online taught you about teaching in general?

Teaching is about connecting.  The online format puts a spotlight on connecting because we can’t rely on that face to face passive connection.  Connection happens when we foster it specifically.

What else would you like to share?

Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility!  This is what our students want and it has been wonderful for me too.  Yes, creating online curriculum is time consuming initially.  There is a learning curve, technology to befriend, processes to create, AND it is so worth it!  Having this tool in my tool kit as an instructor has had a profound positive effect on every aspect of my teaching.

Anna Harrison is an Associate Faculty member in the Interior Design Department at WVC.

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