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Meet Faculty Fellow Claire Gordy

Faculty Fellow Claire Gordy. Photo by Katie Harris.
Faculty Fellow Claire Gordy. Photo by Katie Harris.

Assistant Teaching Professor Claire Gordy is an advocate for teaching with technology with a drive to provide flexibility and accessibility for her students, and she’s no amateur when it comes to online teaching. She has been collaborating with DELTA and NC State faculty as a DELTA Faculty Fellow this year to share her passions and knowledge with others.

Gordy has been teaching in the Department of Biological Sciences at NC State for five years now, but her online teaching journey began in the summer of 2018 when she designed her first online course for the Graduate Certificate in Biology for Educators program. This course was intended for high school teachers searching for graduate-level courses in biology, but a wide variety of students enrolled in the course. So, Gordy began searching for ways to make her course more accessible to the wide array of students.

“When I started working on that class, I mostly looked to my colleagues that had been teaching online for many years and had a lot of training in how to teach online. I spent a lot of time studying their Moodle sites to learn what works and what doesn’t,” she says. “From there, I started branching out into taking some workshops with DELTA and getting more involved with Quality Matters (QM) programs.”

In addition to working to get her courses QM-certified, Gordy received a DELTA exploratory grant and was a Co-PI with former Faculty Fellow Melissa Ramirez on a project aimed at creating an online database for instructors to share and access tactile teaching tools with one another. From there, Gordy and Ramirez developed STEM BUILD, a National Science Foundation-funded project and website aimed at providing community for those in the STEM field in institutions beyond NC State.

“I have had a lot of interactions with DELTA that have all been highlights of my semester, ” she says.

Now as a Faculty Fellow, Gordy continues to make the most of her relationship with DELTA. She is currently working on a project aimed at making an immersive virtual tour of the university’s genome science lab and flow cytometer lab through a DELTA Grant.

Gordy hopes this project will allow students to feel more present and immersed in the online learning environment. She’s passionate about making online learning experiences accessible and suitable for all students.

“I have become more passionate about online education throughout the past two years, during the course of the pandemic, and what I’ve grown to really appreciate during this time is the level of flexibility that online learning offers and particularly the way that having online options for courses allows students that might not otherwise have been able to take classes at NC State to do so.”

Gordy aims to combat issues of accessibility in online learning by using learning technologies that provide more flexible options for students.

“When I’m thinking about using technology in my classes, I like to be very intentional. I ask myself, ‘What are the learning outcomes in this course that I could teach better using technology and what would that technology be?’”

For online learners, Gordy likes using the learning technology Seesaw, which uses digital manipulatives to allow students to experience hands-on learning in an online environment. She also incorporates Yellowdig, an online learning community for genetics labs, into her courses to allow students in online and in-person classes to collaborate.

Gordy considers herself a Panopto “superfan” because it provides a great level of accessibility. She appreciates that Panopto, the university’s enterprise-level video management system, provides the option for captions, scripts and access to course video content from anywhere at any time so students’ needs can be met.

“For me, teaching with technology is all about flexibility and choice and allowing students to access materials in a way that works for them,” she says.

As a Faculty Fellow, Gordy has planned and will continue to plan workshops to guide NC State faculty through and facilitate conversations about Panopto, digital manipulatives and student engagement in asynchronous courses.

Through her relationship with DELTA, Gordy hopes to continue striving for availability of resources for students and increased integration of learning tools in the future.

“I want us to keep advocating for best practices in online education and keep thinking about how we can structure courses that will include the most students,” she says.