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Teaching Philosophy
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  • Kelsey Lane

Online Teaching Philosophy

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

As an educator in an online classroom, I’ve been able to facilitate discussions around which country should be responsible for the impacts of climate change with students from India, Ecuador, Germany, and the United States all in one Zoom room. We would have never been able to have that conversation in a traditional face-to-face college classroom. Online education provides a unique opportunity to bring together a global community of diverse students at different life stages and accommodate their complex lives.

My teaching philosophy was shaped by many years spent in experiential settings working with K-12 and undergraduate students. Spending days or weeks on end with students in field settings taught me to focus on the whole student and person, not just the intellectual scholar. When I teach in an online setting, I retain those lessons: each of my students have unique and diverse life experiences that need to be respected and acknowledged as we all learn and grow together. My experience in leadership development, group management and risk management have helped me create online classes that facilitate collaborative work and opportunities for students to lead. I prioritize an active learning environment with opportunities for group discussion, group work and inquiry-based learning.

I’ve developed an online course called Climate Change and Social Action for sophomore and junior undergraduates. In the course, students will use project-based learning to develop a climate action plan for a region of their choice. The final product will be scaffolded with shorter assignments, utilizing discussion boards, Web 2.0 tools, and peer review, along the way. The goal is to empower students to take their knowledge of climate change and feel empowered to act in their own communities, instead of students feeling overwhelmed by a complex, global crisis.

`I have benefited myself from the accessibility and flexibility of online education to advance as an educator. During graduate school, I have sought out formal training in education and pedagogy. I have pursued training in undergraduate teaching through the Graduate Certificate in College and Undergraduate Teaching program at Oregon State University, with many of those courses being provided through eCampus. During an internship, I improved my teaching through peer review. I learned about better practices for an inclusive and innovative undergraduate classroom. I’m part of a community of graduate students and faculty at my college engaging on how to unlearn racism in geoscience, an NSF-funded national initiative. We are brainstorming the best practices in the earth sciences, especially around co-management and fieldwork. These practices can be carried out in fieldwork and field-based courses taught at OSU, and I will take these practices into my future roles.

I’m excited to pursue a career in undergraduate education. In my classroom, I aim to help students learn to think critically and pursue independent research in an inclusive space that welcomes all learners. I hope to teach in online settings, encouraging a global community as we engage on the challenging topics in climate and ocean science.


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