This week we profile one of A-State’s online faculty members, Dr. Monika Myers in criminology and sociology. While she now calls Arizona home, she’s a former resident of Jonesboro.
Place of birth:
Culver City, Calif.
Our family lives in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Why did you choose A-State?
I was fortunate to have offers at three colleges. I chose A-State because it had the best track record on racial diversity. I think commitment to diversity is a good indicator of campus culture.
What is your connection to Jonesboro?
I lived in Jonesboro and worked on campus for four years before moving to Arizona. I think it would be a lot harder to be an online instructor if I hadn't had the chance to work on campus for so long. I have a good sense of the students, the culture, and campus resources.
What is the one thing people should know about online courses?
A lot of times students think that online classes are easier than in-person classes. They really aren't. In fact, I think they are harder.
Why is online important for students?
Online education makes a college education possible for a much wider audience. Online education, by its nature, also gives students more opportunities to write. I feel pretty strongly about writing.
Why do you enjoy teaching online?
It is hard to teach well online. On average, faculty teacher ratings are about 10% lower in online classes. But I happen to like a challenge. I have spent a lot of time doing research on effective online teaching and I think it is fun to try to implement what I have learned.
What makes a good professor?
Compassion for students.
Your philosophy on education in seven words:
“What will students remember in ten years?” I try to teach material that students will remember a decade from now.
If you could teach another field, which one and why?
Organizational Behavior or Psychology.
What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your field?
Crime has been declining in the United States for about 30 years. We feel like we’re in a more dangerous time than our parents, but in fact we are safer.
Who was your favorite teacher (and why)?
Mr. Friedlander, 12th grade Biology. He started the unit on anatomy by asking us to draw a picture of an abdomen and label as many parts as we could. I was sure that I knew it all, but when I did my actual drawing, I forgot to include many essential organs, like the liver and, oh, the heart. It made me realize where the gaps were in my knowledge. Now I have realized that I have to start a class by letting students figure out for themselves what they don’t know about a topic. Otherwise, they think they know everything and they are not open to learning anything new.
What makes for a good student?
A good student is one who keeps showing up.
What’s the value of a university education?
A college degree is an asset that no one can ever take away from you. It gives you a better quality of life forever, financially and intellectually.
How do you build a community in your online classes?
I encourage students to talk to each other in discussion boards. The research shows that students who participate in discussion boards learn more and are more satisfied in the course.
What is your top challenge as an online professor?
In the classroom, I can see students faces and get a sense of how they are responding to the material. I can see if they are confused, bored, overwhelmed, angry, or something else and adjust accordingly. In an online class, I can't see students faces so it is harder to tell whether they grasp the material.
What music is playing in your car?
Pandora Toddler Radio
My favorite motion picture is...
The television series I must TiVo...
The last book I read for fun was...
The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform Why We Need It and What It Will Take.
My favorite trip was...
A family vacation with my cousins to Cancun.
If I could travel anywhere it would be...
The best advice I ever received was...
Your top priority in college should be learning how to write well.
What is the one thing I’ve learned I’d tell my college self...
Take calculus. You actually will use it.
My hobby is...
running. I started running five years ago through Jonesboro’s “Women Can Run” program and I’ve kept up with it since.
My pro sports team is...
My favorite meal is...
brown sugar Pop Tarts and Diet Coke.
A perfect day is...
What I like about Jonesboro is...
How nice everyone is.
Cats or dogs?
E-book or hardback?
Beach or mountains?
Dinner or supper?
I wish I could...
Only my friends know I...
am deathly afraid of bees
My favorite saying is...
You can’t do a lot of things. You can do some things. Do those things.