Dr. Sanjeev Arora, eCore Instructor and Digital Textbook Pioneer


Dr. Sanjeev Arora
Dr. Sanjeev Arora is a physics instructor for USG eCore, and was recently recognized by Affordable Learning Georgia for Innovation and Early Success in Textbook Transformation for his work in transforming textbooks to no-cost Open Educational Resources. Dr. Arora's work in this area contributed to $14,000 in savings to college students in 2014. More information on the ALG awards is available at www.affordablelearninggeorgia.org. 

Let's take a minute to learn a little more about Dr. Arora!

What is your title and what is your current non-eCore job?
I am a professor of physics and have been teaching as a full-time faculty member at Fort Valley State University since 1993.

What are the two main reasons you teach through eCore?
When I first came aboard in fall 2011, I was pretty much sitting on the fence as far as comparing the benefits (and pitfalls) of “face-to-face” vs. “online” teaching were concerned. I needed to first learn, and hopefully master, the technique and the pedagogy behind online teaching before I could really form any categorical opinion on this issue.

Teaching for eCore has validated, in my mind, the effectiveness of online instruction. I have immensely enjoyed interacting with some of the non-traditional students in my courses. Teaching my face-to-face physics classes at FVSU seldom affords me the opportunity to meet adult learners and understand their issues in the manner offered to me by my eCore classes.

Another reason I love teaching for eCore is that I am able to instruct students from academic institutions across the state.


What do you do differently now than when you first started teaching through eCore?
I have truly recognized the need to be flexible while maintaining the highest possible standards and integrity in my courses. While this statement itself might seem contradictory in nature, I believe this one skill (mindset?) is critical for effective instruction in all possible formats. When students request for extensions as far as submitting their assignments is concerned, I am more empathetic (provided there is no obvious pattern of taking an undue advantage).

What would you do to your eCore course if you had a "magic wand"?
I would really like to add video-recordings of myself going over the physics content to enhance the course. We might be missing out of enrolling some students who really would like to watch their professor explain the concepts on the board.

Dr. Arora displaying the department poster at a local high school.
What's one of the coolest things you do in your eCore classes?
I have developed the habit of calling my students randomly during the semester. It obviously is a good idea to do so, when a student is lagging behind and you wish to motivate the student. But I call sometimes to say “bravo” to a student who has written an excellent report or has shown me a unique way to solve a problem. I believe as educators, we do not say “kudos” to our students as often as we point out their mistakes. I can almost sense that sometimes the students are actually surprised that I have called just to praise them. I can almost visualize their faces beaming with joy at the other end. What better way to boost their self-esteem than providing them with positive feedback in a truly non-patronizing manner?

Other than yourself, who do you think is a simply fabulous eCore instructor, and why?
I would name all my colleagues at FVSU who teach for eCore. They have provided me with the initial support and have shown me the “ropes”. While I have not perused through all the faculty patch interviews, I am pretty confident that most of esteemed colleagues would have mentioned Christy and Ashleigh as true beacons of wisdom when the online (offshore?) waters get patchy once in a while!

Tell us a secret - something about yourself that few people know.

I am an avid karaoke singer, who loves to belt out one melody after another, much to the chagrin of my bemused audience. I am passionately interested in reading books and articles on philosophy and psychology and currently seem to lap up any material I can lay my hands on concerning the debate between free will and determinism. Was I destined to teach for eCore and have a fabulous time doing it? Even if I “willed” it, it has been a tremendously satisfying choice so far!!
Dr. Arora singing away the "physics" blues.

0 comments: