Behind the Scenes with Dr. Farooq Khan (Chemistry faculty)


Hello, I am Dr. Farooq Khan and I am the Professor of Chemistry, and Interim Dean, College of Science and Mathematics at the University of West Georgia.


There are several major differences in face-to-face and online classes.  In a face-to-face class, there are students who rarely speak up.  In eCore classes, discussions are required, so that there is no “quiet” student.  Second, in a face-to-face class, I inject quite a bit of humor.  I would have to work hard at writing humorous lines for eCore courses while ensuring that I am not taken out of context.  As a result, I am a very solemn eCore instructor.  Finally, in eCore Chemistry, I find that ideas that can be expressed very simply in a face-to-face environment (simple figures, formulae, equations, etc.), take a lot more ingenuity. 


One of the things I do differently using eCore than my face-to-face class is that I am more serious. Secondly, I try to be very careful in defining expectations and deadlines explicitly, more so than a face-to-face class. 

The writing skills of eCore students pleasantly surprised me at first.The eCore students are older than the typical traditional students in face-to-face courses, and their life experiences are reflected in their writings.   

In addition to Chemistry, I also teach Environmental Science. Teaching online, I have learned how to moderate discussions on sensitive topics (immigration, health issues, taxation) while teaching ENVS 2202.  I have also adopted this format for face-to-face courses, where appropriate. 

An interesting thing happened on a recent trip. The Atlanta airport is one of the busiest in the world, and I am particular about reaching three hours ahead of time for international flights.  (My wife says I stress too much!)  The last time I showed up, and saw long lines, an agent asked me to try one of the computer-aided check-in counters.  I told the agent that it would not work for international flights.  She scanned my passport, and within a minute I got my boarding passes printed for the entire trip!  I had three hours to kill now!  I ate an expensive meal, and bought a John Grisham novel (that I had at home, half-read).  If my wife were present, that would be cause for chagrin!


Something my students might not know about me is that I am a New York Mets fan!  I spent 1985-1990 at Columbia University, and became a Mets fan during that span when they were a really good team.  A quarter century later, while living 30 miles away from Turner Field, I still root for the Mets, not a particularly competitive team any more during most years.

*Learn more about the University System of Georgia's eCore and see Dr. Khan's chemistry class.

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