PANEL & ROUNDTABLE: Survival Tips for Teaching Online (90 mins)


  • Darlene Smucny George Mason University
  • Steve Brown George Mason University
  • Stephanie Dodman
  • Joyce Johnston George Mason University
  • Jihye Moon George Mason University
  • Luanne Norden George Mason University



NOTE: This is session is repeated on Thursday morning, but with a different set of faculty panelists.  The framework for both sessions is the same, but there will be unique perspectives and ideas shared, so there is benefit to attending both sessions if you desire.

As Mason expands our fully-online programs and courses, we (faculty) need to learn about best practices for online teaching, and how to apply these best practices and strategies to our own online teaching in our courses and disciplines. Online teaching takes much time and effort, particularly when teaching online for the first-time or when teaching a new course online. What can we do to better support each other, and particularly support faculty who are new to online teaching? Communal learning, such as mentoring, coaching, and faculty learning communities, all can have positive effects on online teaching development (Wright, 2016), with new & experienced faculty sharing ideas, strategies, practices and experiences in a supportive environment. In this session, we will provide participants with an opportunity for communal learning, by featuring a Mason faculty panel who will share their “online teaching survival tips”, i.e., practical tips, strategies and solutions for a successful online course and online teaching experience. The multidisciplinary panel consists of Mason faculty with a range of online teaching experience, from very experienced to those who have just started teaching online. This session will consist of three components:

(1) Q & A Discussion with Mason Faculty Panel;
(2) Breakout sessions to discuss online teaching strategies & practices; and
(3) Participant Feedback on Stearns Center Online Teaching Resources.

Mason Faculty Panel (communal learning)
: Panel members will share & discuss their online teaching tips guided by the format of how an online course progresses through the semester, i.e., tips for the start of a course; tips during a course; and tips for wrapping up/ending a course. “Online teaching survival tips” will emphasize strategies for managing time and workload while teaching online. The panel also will address specific questions from the session participants about online teaching strategies. Breakout Groups will allow participants to discuss and share online teaching strategies and practices with panelists. Participant Feedback (conclusion & next steps): The session will conclude with panelists and participants discussing what resources are recommended to better support online teaching at Mason. What can Stearns Center-Digital Learning do to support faculty teaching online? And how can online faculty support each other? Participants will be provided with link to survey to share their recommendations for Stearns Center resources for online teaching.

CITED Wright, M. 2016. Evidence-Based Principles for Online Faculty Development. EDUCAUSE Review® (November 14, 2016). (accessed 2/26/2020).

Author Biographies

Darlene Smucny, George Mason University

Darlene oversees the online course peer review process at Mason and assists departments with customized course and program reviews. Her focus is quality in online courses and programs, with an emphasis on faculty development, services, and support. Offering an experienced instructor’s perspective of online teaching and learning, Darlene can share guidance, tips, and resources for getting started and actionable feedback for course improvement.

Darlene received her PhD in Anthropology from UCLA. Prior to Mason, she worked at University of Maryland University College, where she designed and taught fully online courses and managed online faculty in the social sciences undergraduate program.

Steve Brown, George Mason University

Mr. Brown is a financial and accounting executive with 35+ years experience with two premier diversified health care systems, each offering a full array of health services. He has served as an adjunct faculty member for over 20 years at George Mason University. He has an excellent reputation possessing strong people and technical skills. He has a full range of health care accounting and financial management experience including financial reporting, financial analysis, cost accounting, product line and profitability analysis, capital and operating budgets, financial/accounting policies and procedures, business valuation, auditing, cash and investment management, bond financing, community benefit valuation, accounts payable and payroll, revenue cycle, management development and training, and automated system selection and implementation.


Stephanie Dodman

****OTEA 2019 Winner****

Stephanie Dodman is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education, College of Education and Human Development. Dr. Dodman teaches master's level courses in curriculum and instruction. She joined the faculty in fall 2011 after earning her Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching, and Teacher Education at the University of Florida. Dr. Dodman joined the Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning program in 2013 after spending two years in the preservice Elementary Education PDS program. Her research surrounds issues in educational equity, particularly in regards to teacher learning and teacher professional development for high-needs schools and inclusive classrooms. Two of Dr. Dodman's current research projects include the design and study of online graduate environments for the development of critical reflection in teachers, and the study of the preparation and outcomes for educators related to data use for equity. As she attempts to ensure her research is accessible to both practitioners and academic researchers, her work has appeared in journals such as Action in Teacher Education, Reflective Practice, Educational Leadership, and Journal of Educational Research. Dr. Dodman was recogized for her commitment to and excellence in online teaching with the 2019 George Mason University Online Teaching Excellence Award. Previously she was also awarded the 2015 George Mason University Office of Distance Education Online Course Excellence Award, as well as the 2012 AERA School Effectiveness and School Improvement SIG Scholarly Award.


Joyce Johnston, George Mason University

Originally a specialist in Medieval Literature, Joyce Johnston transitioned to computer-based instruction early in her 32-year career at George Mason.  She is ucurently part of a 2-year grant to develop open educational resources for  teaching research in GMU's composition program. She has served the Composition program as a QEP First-Year Adopter and English 302M Pilot Instructor as well as a faculty mentor in Integrating Technology into Advanced Composition. In Fall 2014, she served on committees to create an evaluation rubric for online courses and to write a reflection tool on faculty portfolios for Students as Scholars/QEP. In university service, she presented at Mason's 2013 Teaching and Learning Conference and has been invited to return for 2018.  In addition, she gave workshops for the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. 

Jihye Moon, George Mason University

****ATEA 2017 Winner****

Jihye Moon is from Seoul, Korea and she grew up in China and Japan absorbing different East Asian cultures as a child. Her early exposure to different cultures and languages led her to pursue her study in second language acquisition and pedagogy. She received her B.A. in History from Seoul National University and her Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Maryland, College Park. The areas of her research include heritage language acquisition, maturational constraints in language acquisition, and bilingual language processing. She was involved in a government project, where she collaborated on developing a Korean test battery to reveal different linguistic profiles of heritage versus non-heritage speakers of Korean at each global proficiency level. She also worked as the Foreign Language Reviewer at the American Councils for International Education in Washington, D.C. for several years. She has taught all levels of Korean to both heritage and non-heritage speakers of Korean in the United States. She started teaching at George Mason University in 2014 and had an honor to be a recipient of the Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in 2017.

Luanne Norden, George Mason University

Luanne Norden, an instructor in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism.





MONDAY 1:00pm-2:30pm