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Longtime JCSU professor shares first experience teaching online

Dr. Nick Desai

Charlotte, N.C. / May 26, 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for higher education, especially for faculty members and students, who have been forced to teach and learn online. 

“Going forward I will use more technology in the classroom,” said Dr. Nick Desai, professor of Economics at Johnson C. Smith University.

In late March, courses at JCSU were moved online for the remainder of the semester in an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Desai, who moved from India in his 20’s, and started his career at JCSU in 1969, had never taught courses online.

“In the beginning it was difficult and my daughter had to assist me,” he emphasized. Desai, and other faculty members also received help with their transition from a team lead by Dr. John Bannister, JCSU instructional designer for Metropolitan College of Professional Studies, who provided training for online instruction.

Despite the challenges, the educator of more than 50 years adapted to his new normal and the response from his students was incredible. “At first they were reluctant, but as they progressed they loved being taught this way.” Desai added student’s grades, class participation and communication improved.

While previous studies have proven minority students face more difficulty with online instruction than white students do, Desai’s experience has been positive. In fact, the educator thinks this pandemic will have a long-lasting effect on the future of higher education

“Imagine how many students we could potentially reach teaching online,” he emphasized.

While explaining how wonderful JCSU faculty is, Desai added that he hopes more faculty members embrace the changes and challenges this pandemic has created.

“JCSU has been a great teacher for me through this process,” he said.

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