Strengthening Student Knowledge and Relationships Through Virtual Teaching Insights

Thursday, June 4, 2020

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Continuing in the Summer 2020 term are faculty success stories and unique learning techniques for online learning, all which support student success. We’re proud to continue sharing the great achievements of our very creative and innovative faculty members.

Faculty Developer and Instructional Designer Shelitha McKissick

Designer Shelitha McKissick has a demonstrated history of working in higher education and believes that building relationships among faculty, staff, students and administrators can create a community of learners. She consults with a variety of faculty to help create effective face-to-face, blended and online courses that are more learning-centered focused so that students better understand the content.

Professor of Paralegal Studies Wendy Toscano has seen firsthand how Shelitha works with faculty. She has been helping Wendy design two online paralegal specialty courses this summer that have never been taught online before. “Besides being very patient, Shelitha has provided me with great ideas regarding best practices for engaging students while teaching virtually,” said Wendy.

Using the tools Shelitha provided, Wendy introduced herself to her classes and shared a photo that has special meaning prior to the start of the course and asked her students to do the same. She was amazed at how eager her students were to share and engage, especially when sharing pet pictures. Shelitha also recommends using different Zoom backgrounds and dressing the part. For example, she picked a beach scene and dressed in a Hawaiian print shirt and sunglasses. In these days of quarantine and endless zooming, it makes a difference.

In addition, on Saturday, May 9, 2020, she graduated from the University of South Alabama, Mobile, where she received a doctorate in instructional design and development. Congratulations, Shelitha! 

Part-Time New Student Experience Faculty Renetta Williams

Renetta Williams has been teaching SLS1122 courses on the Winter Park Campus. Her students use the Big Blue Button (BBB) through Canvas to meet since transitioning to online classes. Renetta loves using this tool because she can still lecture while showing her screen. She has also created online shareable documents that students can use to collaborate on during these online class meetings. For the final story project portion of the course, Renetta required students to present live via BBB. During presentations, there is an option in BBB to mute all other students that are online in the class so that the presenter is the only one talking.

Teaching Lab Supervisor in Physical Education Jen Katz

Working remotely certainly has its benefits and challenges. Are you looking for exercises you can do at home while social distancing? Jen Katz has created short workout videos to help stay fit even while working from home. She will be adding additional videos to the playlists throughout the summer. Click here to view.

Emerging Technologies Specialist Francisco Quintero

Francisco Quintero wants students to know that if they need learning technology support assistance, they can log in using their Atlas credentials to book a session for any of the following services: Canvas, iPad, Mac, Microsoft Office and iMovie/YouTube video support, as well as laptop checkout. Additional services will be added in the future.

Professor of Sociology Adrienne Trier-Bieniek

For the past year, Adrienne Trier-Bieniek has recorded a podcast titled “Most Popular – The Podcast” where she interviews experts in various fields as a way for her online classes to include guest lectures. The podcast covers different topics discussed in the class, and at the end of the semester the students select a lecture topic and write a reflection. In addition, she created a website for other educators to access her podcasts. Detailed information regarding each podcast, including ideas for classroom discussions or activities, is available on her website.

Adrienne has interviewed several experts in their fields including:

  • Elizabeth Chuck – NBC News reporter discusses what fake news is and the process journalists go through when writing a story.
  • Michael Gillespie – A professor at Eastern Illinois University and an activist for poverty awareness who has created food pantries and studies food insecurity with college students.
  • Kate Powers – Runs a nonprofit organization in Michigan called Ele’s Place where they provide support to children and their families who are grieving.
  • Tia Tyree – A professor at Howard University who discusses the way social media enforces inequality with users.
  • Carson Byrd – A professor at the University of Michigan discusses the book “Hillbilly Elegy” and why it reinforces stereotypes about people living in Appalachia, despite it being a best-selling book.

Adrienne is seeking out Valencia faculty to add to her podcasts. Please contact her at if you are interested in participating in a podcast.

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