Faculty member standing in front of podium

Professional Development Opportunities

Structured faculty development opportunities include Online Teaching Essentials, a course designed to introduce online teaching; Advanced Online Teaching Strategies, which focuses on more complex course designs and pedagogies; and workshops for learning and improving specific skills. 

Click the accordions under the Workshops and Events Section below to view upcoming and past workshops presented by the Office of Distance Education Team. 

Workshops and Events

Online Faculty Panel DiscussionTuesday, November 14, 2023 12:15 - 1:30 - Hybrid (St. Augustine 404 Workshop Room and WebEx)


Ian August, Office of Online Learning and Services 


Dr. Kelly DelGaizo, Ed.D. | Professor of Communication | Communication Studies Dept. | St. John's College

Dr. Damien Duchamp, Ed.D |  Adjunct Professor | Division of Administration and Economics | St. John's College

Dr. Marina Sorochinski ,Ph.D. | Assistant Professor Division of Criminal Justice & Homeland Security | Collins College of Professional Studies

Dr. Orli Herscovici, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Mathematics | St. John’s College

Ian August, the Assistant Director of Digital Learning will be hosting a panel of online faculty experts from a variety of disciplines, who will share and discuss their online courses. In this session expert online faculty from St. John's University will discuss and share their online course design and teaching strategies. Those who attend can expect to:

  • See course tours to see what the panelist's courses look like
  • Discuss some ideas the panelists are thinking about related to online teaching and learning
  • Hear how online faculty engage their students
  • Learn different assessment strategies for teaching online. 


Spring 2023 Workshops

Online Teaching and Learning Challenges and Solutions 

Even now that we are three years post-pandemic, there are still some challenges in online teaching and learning. When tackling these challenges, it is important to find the solution that works best for you and your students. Throughout this workshop, Ginamarie Lyons, an Instructional Designer in the Office of Online Learning will address some of the known challenges and offer solutions.

Creating Authentic Assessments

Sarah Adams, Online Learning and Services, Instructional Designer
Nancy DiTunnariello, Collins College of Professional Studies, Mass Communication

This workshop outlines the value and process of creating authentic assessments for students. According to Grant Wiggins (1998) and others an assessment is considered authentic if it is " realistic" and "requires students to perform what they have learnt". Often lauded as pedagogical best practice by educational research, these assessments can be utilized in any course, for example Education, Physical Therapy or even Accounting. The Interactive Oral is one type of Authentic Assessment and in this session after outlining the benefits of using these evaluation techniques, we will outline the steps to designing an effective Interactive Oral Assessment. Finally, a St. John’s University faculty member who has successfully implemented this assessment method will share their insight on this technique.

Online Teaching Faculty Course Demonstrations


Facilitator: Ian August, Assistant Director, Online Learning and Services

In this workshop, online faculty will walk you through some aspects of their online courses, demonstrating the look and feel of their online course, the strategies used, and the reasons behind the strategies. Participants will leave this workshop with some fresh ideas for their online course, some strategies for organizing their course, new layout and engagement strategies,  along with the value and reasoning behind each choice.



Debora Semar | Online faculty | Theology | St. John's College

Debora (Debbie) Semar is a native New Yorker and proud double-alumni of St. John's University. As an undergraduate, she majored in Mathematics with a minor in Secondary Education. Debbie spent the first part of her career in IT as a programmer/analyst. Her passion for Biblical Studies brought her back to St. John's where she completed the first of two Masters Degrees. An opportunity to teach online at SJU brought her IT skills and love of Biblical Studies together and rekindled her love for teaching. She has been teaching asynchronous courses for the Department of Theology and Religious Studies since 2012.

Debbie's experience with online learning is not limited to the role of online instructor. She completed coursework for her second Masters degree in Instructional Design & Technology through an online program offered by Old Dominion University. She currently works in higher education as an instructional designer alongside subject matter experts to help them create effective online instruction.

Joe Trainer | Online Faculty | Accounting | Tobin 

Dr. Joseph Trainor is an Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Accountancy.   Dr. Trainor has extensive experience teaching via distance learning having first completed the University’s Distance Learning Pedagogy Course in 2012 and obtaining recertification by completing the University’s Online Teaching Essentials Course in 2021. During the 2012-13 Academic Year, Dr. Trainor participated in the CTL Technology Fellows program and in May 2015 he received the Tobin College of Business’s Teaching Award in recognition of the vast spectrum of his pedagogical methods and his emphasis on incorporating technologies in distance learning environments. Dr. Trainor has presented on numerous pedagogical topics at St. John’s as well as at top academic conferences. These presentations have focused primarily on incorporating technology into faculty members’ teaching and distance learning pedagogical methods. Dr. Trainor is a proponent of distance learning and advocates the modality within his department and his college. 

Nikki Chamblee | Online Faculty | Literacy | School of Education

Nikki Chamblee, Ph.D has been an educator for 18 years. She is licensed in New York and Texas in the areas of English Language Arts, Special Education and English as a Second Language.She is also a licensed Master social worker and Restorative practices trainer. She has worked in the St. John's Education Department since 2014 teaching courses in Literacy, Special education and Research methods.

Bernard Cassidy | Online Faculty | Classics: Languages & Literatures | St. John's College

A native of Brooklyn. Bernard Cassidy is Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies, having taught at St. John’s from 1963 to 2005. He spent 20 years of his time at St. John’s in administration, serving as Associate Dean of St. Johns’ College and Dean of the School of Education, among other positions. He was an early proponent of bringing computer technology into the classroom and made early use of the old FacPub at St. John’s. He now teaches a course each semester online and hopes to bring his concerns about some problems in online teaching to the panel discussion.

Presenter: Ian August, Office of Online Learning and Services, Instructional Designer

Working in groups is an important part of the human experience. We work together in life, in the office, with family and friends, and in the classroom. Unfortunately, it does not always go smoothly.


  • This workshop will discuss some of our students’ biggest complaints about group work
  • We will brainstorm and discuss some strategies to overcome these complaints about working in groups
  • You will learn some strategies to develop robust group work assignments and activities
  • And you will leave with a few practical steps on how and where to begin designing or redesigning a group activity/assignment for your students.

Online Teaching Essentials

St. John’s University’s Office of Distance Education offers faculty members interested in teaching hybrid or fully online courses the opportunity to enroll in Online Teaching Essentials. This four-week, facilitated online course focuses on online course design and pedagogy.

Advanced Online Teaching Strategies 

Advanced Online Teaching Strategies (AOTS) is an optional, three-week facilitated online course designed for faculty who want to expand their knowledge and skills in the virtual classroom. It builds upon the pedagogical foundation established in Online Teaching Essentials. 

Please visit Preparation to Teach Online to learn more and register for the above courses.




Check out the Office of Distance Educaton's Faculty Resource LibGuide!