DELTA Faculty Fellow Julianne Treme is using her knowledge of learning technologies to make online learning a successful experience for both students and faculty at NC State. Treme has been a teaching associate professor in the Agricultural and Resource Economics department at NC State for two years now, but she has been a part of the Wolfpack for seven. In 2006, she earned her Ph.D. from NC State.
Now in her fifth year teaching online, Treme realizes she has come a long way since she first began teaching online courses.
“Before I taught online, I had never even taken a class online, so the first semester was pretty rough. I didn’t know what I was doing,” Treme recalls.
Treme considers her strength to be interacting with students, and teaching online requires leveraging new methods and approaches to do so. Her partnership with DELTA has allowed her to explore these new methods and grow comfortable with the online learning environment.
Treme began her journey with DELTA by applying and receiving a Rapid Design DELTA Grant for her course ARE 201 – Introduction to Agricultural and Resource Economics. She worked closely with Assistant Director of Course Quality Bethanne Tobey throughout her grant cycle, and Tobey encouraged her to participate in the Course Quality Program at NC State.
By participating in this program, Treme’s course, ARE 201, was Quality Matters (QM) certified, and she was able to meet other faculty along the way.
“Christine Cranford and I are really good friends now, really because of DELTA. I would have never known her otherwise, so I think that is another huge benefit to participating in DELTA. You get to meet so many neat people,” Treme says.
Treme and Cranford were faculty leads together for the 2019 Online Course Improvement Program (OCIP) cohort.
Her love of collaborating with faculty and desire to learn more from them led her to apply to be a DELTA Faculty Fellow for the 2020-2021 academic year.
“If I can spend more time with people in DELTA, I will always make that choice,” Treme says. “The biggest thing I have gotten [from the Faculty Fellows program] is learning how other people approach similar problems. I knew that whatever group of Faculty Fellows you come in with is another way to meet amazing people and learn their skill set and figure out ‘how can I incorporate their strengths into my course?’”
Treme believes her ability to work well with faculty has allowed her to learn a lot as a DELTA Faculty Fellow.
“I really love working with any of the DELTA Faculty Fellows. I learn so much from them, and I have come such a long way with my online and in-person courses using technology effectively and making sure I am really thinking about how to use it,” Treme says.
Now that she has developed her skills in online teaching, Treme teaches online courses every summer in addition to her in-person classes throughout the academic year. She knows that online learning provides flexibility and accessibility to her students, which is why she is so passionate about online teaching.
“It fills a really big void for people that are working. A lot of times their jobs are not in Raleigh, and it gives them a really great option to finish [their education] in a timely manner,” Treme says. “I think it makes education so much more accessible, and a well-designed online course can be as effective as an in-person course.”
Treme has been using her knowledge of online learning tools to continue to help students balance their education and work lives. She considers her area of expertise to be PlayPosit and Google Jamboard.
“PlayPosit is my No. 1 favorite. I have converted all of my videos into PlayPosit, which has embedded questions that pop up,” Treme says. “I have even changed the way that I record videos because I am thinking of future questions that I will ask them in PlayPosit to make sure they have connected with the concept that I have just presented.”
Treme’s students have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback on the ways she has incorporated PlayPosit in her courses. She believes that PlayPosit helps students stay engaged with the videos for longer periods of time and connect with the material.
“I have gotten incredible feedback from students about how much they love PlayPosit,” Treme says. “Even in my course evaluations, in which I did not ask them specifically about PlayPosit, I had PlayPosit mentioned 17 times in one of the sections.”
Google Jamboard has also been an important part of Treme’s synchronous courses because it allows her to be more involved with students’ work in an online setting.
“With Google Jamboard, if they are in Zoom breakout rooms, I can see what every single breakout room is actually drawing, and I can leave little sticky notes and say, ‘Hey, did you think about this?’”
Treme has seen the positive impact Google Jamboard has had on her students’ learning.
“They are finding it more engaging as opposed to me just sitting up there talking,” Treme says. “Some things you do in person are not as easy to translate online, but polling and allowing them to go in breakout rooms and actually draw their graphs and me being able to monitor that has gotten really positive feedback. Some people said they feel like they are almost in an in-person class again.”
Online teaching hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Treme has encountered errors and challenges with online learning technologies, but she has learned from those struggles.
“I think it’s important to just be cool under pressure and say, ‘Okay, the technology didn’t work today. Here’s what we’re going to do instead.’ You have to always have a backup plan,” she says. “I am always ready to use an alternative tool.”
Treme is using everything she has learned through DELTA and her experience teaching with online learning technologies to help other faculty provide rich experiences for their students.
“I feel like I am finally in a place where I have something to offer faculty, and if I can help in any way, I always want to do that,” Treme says.
Treme has written articles for the DELTA News website to provide faculty with tips for working with teaching assistants in online courses and tips to increase student engagement in Zoom breakout rooms.
She has also collaborated with Instructional Technologist Christopher Beeson to teach PlayPosit workshops for faculty and presented at a UNC Digital Learning Initiative (DLI) symposium last semester.
Treme’s work doesn’t stop there. She plans to organize a Jamboard workshop for faculty this spring. She has also been working on research papers to provide faculty with student perceptions of PlayPosit and the successes of PlayPosit in comparison to YouTube videos in online classes.
“I’m really looking to make a bigger impact with my research,” she says.
Treme predicts that the COVID-19 pandemic will further impact online learning, and she plans to use her partnership with DELTA to help faculty and students become comfortable with the online learning technologies they will be using in the months to come.