The Teaching Hub recently got the chance to interview everyone who teaches online courses for UA’s Department of Religious Studies. Thanks to help from the FRC, we gathered together across hundreds of miles with Blackboard Collaborate. In 25 minutes we discussed everything from the unique context of teaching online to what it takes to teach online successfully.

A few of the questions asked:

  • Given your experiences in a variety of teaching contexts, does the online course achieve something unique compared to other modes of teaching?
  • In your opinion, what opportunities and challenges does the online medium present?
  • You all teach courses built by someone else. How does this work?
  • Name the three most important considerations for successful online teaching? (Define “success” according to your own perspective.)

About the Speakers

Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi has been an instructor for REL 100 online course since 2013. She received her PhD in biocultural medical anthropology from The University of Alabama in December 2014, and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University. She works extensively with Mexican immigrants in rural Mississippi on projects related to devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and health-related disparities. Currently, she is involved in a USAID-funded research project aimed at empowering women smallholder farmers and improving household nutrition through soybean production in rural Ghana.

Dr. Gabriele Fassbeck received her PhD in New Testament studies from the University of Heidelberg and has taught classes in New Testament studies, biblical archaeology and early Jewish writings at German and American universities, among them the University of Giessen and Claremont School of Theology. She currently teaches online courses for the UA religious studies department. Her research interests include texts and the material culture of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. Her most recent publication, together with Ann E. Killebrew, is the edited volume Viewing Ancient Jewish Art and Archaeology: VeHinnei Rachel – Essays in Honor of Rachel Hachlili (Brill, 2015).

Dr. Mark McCormick is on the faculty at Stillman College, where he teaches courses on the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. He has been a grader for online courses in religious studies at UA since 2007. His book, Palace and Temple: A Study of Architectural and Verbal Icons, is an analysis of constructed space and its role in constructing and legitimating social status and power through spatial organization of material boundaries and access. His current research builds upon the theory of the verbal icon and the construction of authoritative readings of biblical literature as contested in the history of the academic study of the Bible and in confessionally interpretive readings in communities of faith.

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