English professor named COM’s online instructor of the year
Beth Hammett’s enthusiasm for learning and teaching is infectious, leading her to be voted by students College of the Mainland’s Online Instructor of the year for the second year in a row.
The English professor has embraced online technology to teach digital-era students that most traditional of classes: English Composition.
“These are 21st-century students,” she said. “They expect [online learning] and they want it and they want it to be easy and simple and well-organized.”
“We’ve got to stay on top of technology,” she said. “A lot of times we are edutainers – we educate, but we’ve got to entertain.
“They are gaming kids and they grew up with this fast-paced ‘give me the news now,’ and ‘I want it now’ and ‘I only want the main points.’ So they have started to expect their education to be the same way.”
Even before teaching online classes, Hammett said, she used the internet as a teaching tool with a method called “flipped learning.” In that approach, the instructor puts lectures and visual presentations online and uses classroom time for students to write and do projects that would traditionally be considered homework.
“That way they’re able to have access to me when they need me,” she said.
With that experience, the transition to hybrid and online classes was smooth.
Grading is more difficult, she said. In traditional face-to-face classes, she said she likes to meet with each student individually to go over essays, something that isn’t possible online. “I’m still working on the best way to do that with the online student,” she said.