Justin Post understands what it’s like to be a teacher and a student at NC State. He’s been a member of the Wolfpack since 2007, when he began his graduate work on model selection and model averaging in the Department of Statistics. In 2013, he started as a teaching assistant professor and has since become the statistic’s department director of online education. With all of his experience, Post knows what it means to teach with technology.
Post has been teaching with technology since 2014, the year he became an instructor for online courses in the Master of Statistics degree. Since then, he’s grown familiar with the unique challenges of online learning for students and instructors, like learning curves and distance.
“In a normal classroom, you see each other twice a week, and you build a relationship there. You really have to figure out a way to build relationships, not just with you and the students but between the students.”
With his experience in online learning and instruction, Post was an ideal candidate when he applied to become a Faculty Fellow for the 2018-2019 DELTA Grants cycle. As more educators become interested in teaching online, he can draw from his background to offer them solutions and guidance.
“I feel like a lot of people are interested in some form of distance education, and helping others learn about it sounded great.”
Since becoming a Faculty Fellow, Post has already accomplished a great deal. He’s helped host workshops and webinars like An Introduction to Blended Learning with Lead Instructional Designer Bethanne Tobey and Investing in Your Students: How to Build a Great TA Partnership on a panel with his class of Faculty Fellows. His favorite ways to teach with technology involve visual and interactive activities. He’s developed interactive applications to demonstrate topics that students struggle with, finding that it’s incredibly effective.
“It helps students see concepts rather than getting stuck in the details. If you can see the idea and have an intuition of how it’s supposed to work, then the formulas make more sense.”
Being a Faculty Fellow also allows Post to work with people at NC State outside of the statistics department. After working with Associate Professor Andrew Binder to enhance quantitative literacy in the Department of English in 2014, he wanted to continue to trade perspectives through interdisciplinary collaborations.
“Since then, I’ve been working with the Division of Academic and Student Affairs. I’m a Quantitative Literacy Champion there. The hope is that I can work with faculty across campus to bring quantitative literacy into their classroom in a different, better way.”
Post hopes to add to his accomplishments by helping people navigate online and hybrid learning spaces. He’s working with a team from the statistics department to complete a Critical Path Course Redesign grant with resources from DELTA. The project team will remodel Probability and Statistics for Engineers (ST 370) to become a flipped hybrid course that uses adaptive learning.
ST 370 presents unique challenges as a course with students from vastly different statistical backgrounds. Flipped learning allows students to work at their own pace, receive help when they need it and be successful no matter their previous training. The redesigned course will debut this fall after a year-and-a-half of work.
“We’re going to do an adaptive design. People who already know the material are going to get through quicker, and people that need more examples are going to be able to see them. Overall, I think it’s going to make the course better for students and instructors. The class time is going to be much more useful because we’re going to be doing more that’s hands-on, using statistics on data and on examples.”
It’s this ability to reach different audiences and help students of all learning styles that makes Post passionate about online teaching and his role as a DELTA Faculty Fellow.
“I’ve always loved education –– it’s what I always wanted to do. Anytime that I can do something that helps people get a better education, I’m very happy to do so. So if there are faculty members that want to learn more about flipping their class because it can help the students, I’m all for it.”
Post sees a bright future for teaching with technology, with more flipped and hybrid courses like ST 370 being made available. He predicts that students will have opportunities to take classes with content tailored to fit their personal learning style and progress. He also envisions that online tools will make in-person class time more fun and engaging.
“Nobody likes to teach definitions for the most part –– that’s something that you can read. I think a lot of people want to move parts of their class to a slightly different model where they can do more of the fun hands-on stuff during class. I feel like that’s where a lot of education is going. It’s much more hands-on when you’re around the expert.”
Post also looks forward to continuing to work with other Faculty Fellows in the future as they pioneer teaching with technology and new paths to student success.
“It’s really cool to meet people from different parts of campus that are interested in the same kinds of things and have the same passion for education. That’s really nice to see. It’s cool to see their viewpoint and how they do things and pick up tips for your class.”
Does Post’s story inspire you to do more with online learning? Apply to become a DELTA Faculty Fellow and share your experiences teaching with technology across NC State’s campus. We’ll work with you and provide resources to make sure others benefit from your expertise.
For more information, visit the Faculty Fellows RFP.
Submit your proposal by May 17 at 5 p.m. for consideration.To learn more about eligibility and the review process, head to the DELTA Grants FAQ page. Additional information can be found at go.ncsu.edu/deltagrants, and we’ll answer your specific questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post was originally published in DELTA News.