What can students expect from an online class with Katherine Raines? Her pink hair – or white for that matter, take your choice – ought to be a clue to her spirited “kind-of-in-your-face” teaching style, she quips.
Katherine has taught writing courses at Sacramento State since 2012, but it wasn’t until 2017 that she crafted her first online course for the Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Studies (BSCTS) degree completion program. Her challenge was to wrap an entire semester’s worth of work – in this case, multicultural children’s literature – into a five-week online course.
Katherine picks up the story, in her own words:
“Engaging as an online instructor has changed the way I teach. Every lecture I create, every academic article I consider, every assignment I plan must resonate with this exceptional group of students.
“I knew my biggest challenge was how to truly connect with my students. How would my loud, immediate, kind-of-in-your-face teaching style translate to video and voice-over Power Points, and never knowing what my students looked like? How would I efficiently convey a whole 16-week semester into five weeks and ensure that my students were ‘getting’ it and getting me?
“Multicultural children’s literature is a class full of edgy topics – sexism, racism, injustice, misrepresentation – the list goes on. Tying in the current political climate easily added sparks to the mix. This class was totally up for it – they added so much from their own cultures and experiences, it was mind-blowing!
“As working adults who are also often raising a family, my students bring something different to the classroom. Their life experience and desire to ‘get the job done’ is folded into every assignment they complete. I must provide a singular experience to make it worth their time and effort.”
“I totally reworked the class to make sure the format resonated for my online students. This was such a big thing – it made me really rethink everything I thought I knew about best teaching practices. It was a transformative event. I’ve changed all of my classes as a result of getting ready for this online class. I am a better teacher, hands-on.”
Katherine can still be seen at Sacramento State since she occasionally teaches classes on campus, but the online model definitely works for her and her students. She now lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington having moved from Sacramento a few years ago to be closer to her family.
If you would like to learn more, please visit the Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Studies webpage.