In recognition of his commitment to excellence in online education, Associate Professor Shrideep Pallickara of Colorado State University’s Department of Computer Science was recently honored with a CSU Online Innovative Educator Award. Pallickara is a Monfort Professor and is also a recipient of the University’s Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Student Joshua O’Dell , who nominated Pallickara for the award, explained that Pallickara had a major impact on his educational experience as an online student. O’Dell noted that, in addition to providing text-based materials, Pallickara delivered lectures for all of the online course content, which helped create a much more engaging learning experience.
“One of the things Dr. Pallickara said that will stick with me was: I want you to feel like you can build anything,” said O’Dell. “That was so awesome to hear, and I immediately felt like that class was going to be one of the best I would take. I truly felt like the class empowered me, that I’d be using what I learned in other classes and in my professional day job. I cannot give enough thanks to Dr. Pallickara for what he has taught me.”
Creating Transformative Learning Experiences
In his acceptance speech during CSU Online’s Spring 2018 graduation brunch, Dr. Pallickara shared some insights into the online education experience from the perspective of a faculty member.
“Teaching online courses involves dedication, a lot of planning, and a lot of work behind the scenes,” he explained. “Online education is challenging, especially because you have to cross a lot of hurdles. Every year, what I’ve observed is that students get better and we have to find new ways to challenge them. A key organizing motive in the courses I teach is that they must be transformative. A person going into the course shouldn’t be the same coming out. That’s what I try to do.”
In addition to his teaching responsibilities and ongoing research, Pallickara has also organized an annual STEM summer camp for middle school students in Cortez, Colorado for the past five years. The camp, called Math in Action in Computer Science, helps students form connections between math and computer science, including sessions where students learn to code and write programs.
“The funding for this camp comes from the National Science Foundation,” Pallickara explained. “It’s a research award but it also has an educational component. It’s very gratifying when [the students] have that ‘ah-ha’ moment. That’s what teaching is all about.”
More about online programs
CSU offers more than 40 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs through CSU Online, the Division of Continuing Education. Dr. Pallickara is one of the many University faculty who develop and teach CSU’s online courses. Learn more about CSU’s online programs at online.colostate.edu.