Professor Provides Interactive Experience for Online Learners
“I always wanted to work at a private university with a reputable academic record, high ideals and a diverse student population – and I found it all at St. John’s,” says Edith Chasen-Cerreta, an Assistant Professor in the Online Learning program of St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Professor Chasen-Cerreta always wanted to teach. Her interest in university-level teaching developed during her years as a graduate student at Boston University. “In graduate school I had a teaching assistantship. I became attracted to university-level teaching as a result of my graduate work teaching physics and geology to students at the college level.”
Her first instance of web-based teaching began as a supplement to her geology lecture course on campus. With the creation of a Online Learning program, Professor Chasen-Cerreta says she was able to fully incorporate technology into the class itself.
“Learning online enables my students to more directly and interactively experience what they’re learning about. Experiencing an earthquake is unquestionably safer online, and understanding principles of physics can be infinitely more engaging while watching a break-neck speed simulation of a roller coaster. I always yearned to teach online and incorporate this kind of technology into the class itself.”
Professor Chasen-Cerreta currently teaches geology and physics in the classroom and online and says one of the greatest benefits of teaching online is having the ability to utilize technology not possible in a classroom setting.
“I address both visual and audio-types of learners by incorporating photos, slides, podcasts and other media, which accommodates different types of learning styles. Students are encouraged to track their own progress throughout the course so they don't get lost in the info or go off-track.”
Professor Chasen-Cerreta is a member of several national organizations including the American Institute of Physics/American Crystallographic Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
She has been the winner of numerous awards during her 29 years of teaching at the University including the Exceptional Service Award in 2005 and the Teaching and Scholarship Award for 2003. She is also a faculty member in the Scientific Inquiry section of the Institute for Core Studies and was invited by the Provost to be one of the first-year lead faculty participants in the University's Title III Grant – Transforming Teaching with Technology – a project on the cutting-edge in the use of technology in education.
One word of advice Professor Chasen-Cerreta always offers to students interested in pursuing a career in the sciences is to take introductory science courses to see which field of science interests them the most. “There is a huge difference between the various sciences - someone with a scientific leaning may enjoy learning about one more than the other. I actually discovered my passion for physics and geology while taking my last two introductory science courses during my junior year of college.”
Professor Chasen-Cerreta’s enthusiasm for online teaching is vital to the success of the Online Learning program, “I love teaching at St. John’s. There are so many different teaching approaches among the faculty that it is easy to learn new techniques from colleagues. The students who come here are wonderful to teach, eager to learn and friendly to each other and the faculty.”