#MavsSucceed Online: Associate Professor Dr. Daniel Kotzin on One Student’s Dramatic Transformation


#MavsSucceed - Dr. Daniel Kotzin Quote

Associate Professor of History Daniel P. Kotzin, Ph.D., describes how a student in his African-American History course, Taliah Lyda, has shown remarkable improvement over the course of the semester and especially since the transition to remote learning. Dr. Kotzin shares how her transformation has left a positive impression on him, and how she can now serve as a role model for how a student can best succeed in the online learning environment.

Taliah Lyda is enrolled in my HIS 200 African-American History course. I was a little concerned about Taliah prior to spring break. She was absent a few times and rarely spoke in class. When she did speak, her comments were extremely insightful, but her written work did not always reflect that.

However, since spring break in March and our move to the online environment, Taliah has emerged in the class as an exceptional student. On the Sunday before online classes began, I asked if any students would volunteer to go live on Blackboard with me to make sure all the elements of Blackboard Collaborate worked on their end. Taliah was one of only a few students who participated in that test session. After that, for almost every class on Blackboard Collaborate, Taliah has been one of the first students to arrive. She has participated much more in class than she did previously, and her written work in terms of the discussion board and blogs for the course have been of the highest quality. In addition, she has consistently emailed me questions she had about the course, along with drafts of some of her written work. The results of all her hard work have been outstanding, and very much made a deep impression on me personally. I believe Taliah could be a role model for how to succeed in the online environment. 

While I have taught at Medaille since 2006 and have encountered many students who have impressed me, what has been unique for me with Taliah is that I have never had a student make such a dramatic transformation in a positive direction in so short a time. This is all a credit to her, and she deserves recognition.

As the world faces unprecedented, challenging times, the Medaille College community has come together in shared commitment to help our students successfully complete their education. Our students, faculty and staff have been helping each other navigate this new territory of remote teaching, learning and working, and many have shared anecdotes of encouragement and support.

The #MavsSucceed series will share some of these accounts, and will shine a spotlight on Medaille’s dedicated students, faculty and staff. See more features by visiting medaille.edu/mavssucceed or by following the College on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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