Postdoc Spotlight: Sophia Papageorgiou

Dr. Sophia Papageorgiou holds a postdoctoral position at the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance at UC Davis. Last February, she and Dr. Woutrina Miller received the Provost Hybrid Course Award, which they are using to develop an undergraduate-level hybrid course. Papageorgiou is also developing a fully online graduate course.

Papageorgiou says the experience of developing these courses (and of attending CETL’s Designing Hybrid Courses Workshop) has introduced her to three helpful tools:

  • Piazza. In addition to SmartSite forums, Papageorgiou uses Piazza because it has “a nice chat room/discussion forum function that can be monitored by the course leader and has powerful search capability.”
  • Adobe Connect. Papageorgiou uses Adobe Connect to bring outside speakers into the classroom, and to facilitate online discussion sections: “with this technology I can assign different topics to students that they will use to engage the speakers in small group discussions. After the small group discussion, the entire group comes together, all via Adobe Connect. This technology gives all students an opportunity to speak without feeling intimidated or shy and the entire group benefits.”
  • SmartSite. Papageorgiou views SmartSite as a “hub” to keep students on track. “This is their learning desk or binder that stores the information they need for the class,” Papageorgiou explains. That information includes reading materials, a video library of lectures, and platforms through which students can “engage, build a learning community, and push the envelope of their learning.”

Papageorgiou notes that these tools increase the opportunity for students to engage “across disciplines and space,” which Papageorgiou identifies as the primary benefit of online learning. “Bringing students, speakers, and people from across the globe together in one space at the same time to learn, converse, work on group projects, and engage on one platform (a learning concert, if you will) helps minimize time and maximize input and energy for learning,” says Papageorgiou.

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