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NIU today | Three professors honored with 2022 Online Teaching Excellence Awards


Created in 2021 by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the Excellence in Online Teaching Award recognizes faculty who excel in online teaching using best practices for online course delivery.

The winners of this year’s Excellence in Online Teaching Awards will be honored Thursday, April 21 at a reception in Altgeld Hall Auditorium from 3-5 p.m.

Linh Nguyen
Lecturer, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

For years, Linh Nguyen was the main instructor for CHEM110, the introductory course with the highest enrollment in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“Student success in this course is paramount to the department’s undergraduate mission, as the course serves as a prerequisite for a variety of NIU programs and is our primary producer of credit hours,” said Professor Victor Ryzhov. and director of graduate studies of the department. of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“Given the importance of CHEM 110 to our department and the success Dr. Nguyen brings by teaching it online, I can’t think of a more deserving candidate for this award,” Ryzhov continued.

Nguyen’s commitment to student success is evident. She has participated in several workshops organized by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning to improve her skills in delivering online courses.

“My teaching principles come down to my trust that students have a desire to learn and my job is to facilitate their learning to the best of their abilities in their current life situations,” says Nguyen.

For Nguyen, these principles are put into practice through the design of his course. Course content, learning activities, and assessments are strongly aligned with learning objectives while providing students with flexibility. Learners have the option of learning from text, animated videos, pre-recorded videos, or attending live synchronous sessions. To foster student interaction, she uses the group feature on Blackboard, randomly assigning students to study groups of five to six, giving them access to a variety of collaborative tools.

Additionally, Nguyen is also an approachable, compassionate, and caring educator who identifies additional resources and reaches out to help students in need. She provides prompt feedback, expecting her students to get a response from her within 24 hours if they contact her during a work day.

“Given the unprecedented pandemic, I have included a section on Blackboard on Anxiety with active links to Student Counseling Services, the NIU Protecting the Pack website, and the DeKalb County Food Distribution Schedule. Community Garden Mobile Food Pantry,” Nguyen said, understanding that the needs of students have been great and exacerbated. “Sometimes the reasons for a student’s poor academic performance are mind-boggling!”

For Michael Archambault, Nguyen’s care and compassion had an impact. As a non-traditional student, Archambault was nervous when he returned to the classroom after a twenty-year hiatus with little computer knowledge and never having taken any online courses.

“Dr. Nguyen was always available to work with me whenever I needed an extra helping hand, helping me regain my confidence,” Archambault recalls. “Dr. Nguyen really impressed me with her effort for her students and the compassion she always shows.

“Dr. Nguyen encouraged and inspired me to aim for the stars, believe in myself, and provided me with all the tools necessary for my continued success,” continued Archambault.

Dana Bardolph
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

Dana Bardolph is described as organized, cohesive, inclusive, supportive and collaborative – all qualities she incorporates into her synchronous and asynchronous online anthropology courses.

“Dana is committed to encouraging women and BIPOC students to engage in her courses, with articles on race, gender, and social justice in archaeology. Her guest speakers have included women, Latino scholars, black and Native American,” said Leila Porter, chair of the anthropology department and professor of presidential engagement. “As a result, students can see that archeology is a dynamic field that thrives from a variety of perspectives, including their.”

One of the courses Bardolph teaches is ANTH 210, Exploring Archaeology. This course is a required introductory class for Anthropology majors and is also part of the general training “Area of ​​Knowledge in Creativity and Critical Analysis”. As a result, the class usually contains a mix of students who are very interested in studying archeology and others who are simply taking the course to meet a requirement. ANTH 210 student ratings over the past 3 years are consistently excellent from this cross section of students.

Bardolph’s skills as an educator provide the foundation for students in her classes to succeed.

“I’ve never had a problem finding assignments, due dates, or resources, which took a lot of the stress out of me being not just a new student, but a new student in the space. online learning,” said Ashley Barry, an honors undergraduate student. “In terms of resources, Dr. Bardolph provided a variety of links and materials to encourage students to get involved on campus and to use the programs made available to us by the university.”

As an honors student, Barry was required to write an additional research paper on an anthropological topic of her choice and Professor Bardolph mentored her through the process.

“In the end, I received an A+ on the paper, and Dr. Bardolph’s words of affirmation inspired me to submit my essay to an academic journal for review,” Barry recalls. “And lo and behold, the journal accepted my essay, which led to me becoming a published researcher in my first year of undergraduate studies. There was no way I could have accomplished this without Dr. Bardolph’s continued support, encouragement and guidance throughout the process.

Trude Jacobsen
Professor, Department of History

Trude Jacobsen is known for using gaming platforms such as Minecraft and Roblox, virtual reality equipment and other multimedia tools to bring creative new approaches to learning that reach a wide group of students.

His colleague Eric Hall describes Trude Jacobsen’s online teaching methods as an “imaginative and inventive use of multimedia technology utilizing many of the best tools available to online instructors to create innovative and interactive learning activities”.

Hall continues, “In addition to bringing attention to the diverse needs of learners, Dr. Jacobsen’s online courses are smart, engaging, and innovative, while maintaining the necessary clarity for students in the expectations she sets for homework writing, synchronous online discussions, and mandatory use of multimedia by students in its courses.

To know that Jacobsen’s classes are engaging, just look at student ratings of his classes, which are consistently ranked among the top courses offered in the History Department.

“Drawing from scholarly articles, primary source documents, films, documentaries, and recorded lectures, Dr. Jacobsen’s carefully curated classes reflect his passion for engaging with students and making lessons meaningful. interactive and engaging stories,” said Chloe Green, a master’s student in Asia. Story.

“Beyond her role as a teacher, she emphasized the importance of community among students, which plays a huge role in the level of engagement in her classes,” Green continued. “Dr. Jacobsen’s synchronous weekly live sessions, innovative assessment methods, and welcoming nature represent his determination to provide students with meaningful online courses that expand their ability to engage in historical thought and practice.