Frank Malinowski effectively includes online students in extracurricular activities at Darton.

Frank Malinowski has worked at Darton State College for 5 years and during that time he has taught numerous computer science courses online, including Introduction to Programming and Programming for Engineers.

When Malinowski became dean of the School of Science and Mathematics, he had to reduce his course load to one a year. But, this has not stopped him from creating engaging courses.

“Teaching online pushes me to improve my lectures by anticipating questions that might be asked if I were presenting the material in person and try to answer that while I am recording the lecture,” he said. Malinowski is teaching many students who would not normally have the opportunity to go to college without online opportunities. Although he has taught many classes and different subjects he says the biggest challenge to overcome with teaching online is interaction.

“When I teach in person, I walk around the classroom and I encourage students to work together to solve problems. When teaching online, my students have vastly different schedules so finding times when we can all meet to discuss a topic or answer questions as a group can be difficult,” said Malinowski.

To help overcome these challenges, he has set up Skype sessions with students so they can share their desktop and he can answer questions about assignments. He says this method duplicates his in person classroom so he can answer questions as the student works on their computer.

In addition to being dean and teaching courses, Malinowski is the Darton advisor and Georgia Regional coordinator for Phi Theta Kappa where he has a lot of interaction with online students.

Students are invited to join Phi Theta Kappa after completing 12 credit hours and earning a GPA of 3.4 or higher. One of his online students, <>, is the vice president of the Darton Chapter and regional officer. Participation in Phi Theta Kappa is voluntary and students decide how involved they want to be.

“We have many activities that involve research and planning and our online students can excel at those and offer as much or more input than our on campus students can offer,” said Malinowski. “With Phi Theta Kappa I also offer the opportunity for our online students to participate as officers in the organization, fully immersing them in everything we do.”