Teacher Spotlight: Rebecca Lowe
Please note, some information has changed since the publication of this blog post in 2020.
For the past 15 years, Rebecca Lowe has been teaching online in some form, whether it be a blended course or completely asynchronous. “I got involved in online teaching because I see myself as a lifelong learner and I want to model a growth mindset for my students,” Lowe said. “It is essential as a professional educator to keep up with the changes and developments in education.”
Lowe saw online teaching was a way to improve and develop into a highly effective teacher. She brings with her the experience of teaching online, but also the experience as an online student: she earned her masters degree through an online program.
“One of the most important things I have learned is that online teaching is highly effective if you are willing to transcend traditional models of teaching and learning,” Lowe said.
In addition to teaching online, Lowe serves as a mentor to prospective and new online teachers, and a facilitator of NEOTI courses on online teaching.
“One of the biggest challenges is debunking the myths about online teaching and learning,” Lowe said. “Many inexperienced online teachers and traditional teachers believe that online teaching is less effective, less engaging, and less rigorous.”
In Lowe’s view, however, online classes are as effective or even more effective than traditional face-to-face classes. “Ultimately we want our students to take responsibility for their own learning and this is a benefit of online classes taught by well-trained, open-minded, and creative teachers within their discipline,” Lowe said.
Ultimately we want our students to take responsibility for their own learning and this is a benefit of online classes taught by well-trained, open-minded, and creative teachers within their discipline
Lowe says that her content area, mathematics is well-suited for online teaching, because students have the flexibility to work at their own pace and at the times that suit them best. “Online math classes can be created so they are proficiency-based, highly-individualized, and adaptable to a student’s learning style,” Lowe said.
As part her online teaching practice, Lowe earned a Certificate in Online Teaching from the Northeast Online Teaching Institute, which led to her earning the Online Teaching Specialist endorsement. “Formal training in best practices in online teaching and learning is necessary for student achievement,” Lowe said.
In addition to learning math, Lowe says her students learn soft-skills that are important for becoming successful online learners. These skills, such as persistence, perseverance, self-direction, effective time management and communication skills, are also transferable and essential for success in life. “An online student-centered learning environment is one where the focus of instruction is shifted from the teacher to the student, with the end goal of developing students who are autonomous and independent,” Lowe said. “As a result, the teacher takes on the roles of facilitator, mentor, and coach, This was a wonderful change from the traditional teaching roles.”
Lowe thinks every student should try an online class. “I absolutely love teaching online. It has undoubtedly made me a more effective teacher,” Lowe said. “Even after 20+ years of teaching, I am still energized, enthusiastic, and cherish my career as an educator.”