CSU professor David Britt named Online Professor of the Year
Since 2007, Britt has held the position of assistant professor of management at Charleston Southern University. During this time, he has served as a faculty trainer for online programs and the assistant dean in charge of online program expansion. He has also overseen the development of more than 50 online courses, and developed and implemented a faculty training certification program for online instruction.
His many contributions to the CSU College of Adult and Professional Studies have allowed Britt’s name to be known among students and colleagues alike.
Since the day Kelly Cooper, online campus recruiter and adjunct instructor, came on board at Charleston Southern University, she began to hear Britt’s name in conversation, starting with fellow staff members and then faculty across campus. Once she began working with students, it never failed that his name would come up, especially during registration when they would always ask which courses he was teaching.
“Not only is David an excellent professor who knows his subject matter well, but he is also a great communicator and shows genuine concern for his students,” she said.
A frequent traveler, Britt even goes so far as to let his online students know if he’s in a city near them and makes every effort to meet with them in person, bringing the online classroom to a face-to-face environment whenever he can. Cooper also described Britt’s attentiveness in the online classroom, as he comments on every discussion post and contacts struggling students to see how he can help.
“David is an inspiration to me as an online professor,” she said. “He does his job incredibly well, and this is evident in the success of his students as well as our department as a whole.”
To bring the online classroom face-to-face, Britt likes to use instructional tools like Screenr Presentations, Skype, and Jing. He uses Skype as a virtual office to meet with students, Screenr Presentations to visually and orally guide students through their papers, and Jing for instructional occasions — for example, a virtual demonstration of how students can use and access peer-review research through the university’s online library’s database.
And his effort to reach students through multiple technologies is certainly effective. They praise him for his informational video lectures, frequent feedback on assignments, quick responses to emails, and willingness to go the extra mile to make sure course material is understood and mastered.
Jessica Boensch, a former student of Britt, described him as an outstanding professor who did whatever it took to personally reach out to his students and ensure they were successful e-learners.
“Even though he teaches in the online platform, he tries to make personal contact with the students,” she said. “I was having problems in one of my courses and he arranged a phone conference with me for two hours. He encouraged every student in the class to do this. He seemed to really care about his students in and out of the classroom.”
Former student Christy Jackson agreed that Britt is amazing at what he does, noting that while his class was one of the hardest she has ever taken, it was also the one that taught her the most and made the most impact on her education.
“He doesn’t just put assignments out there and leave you to figure them out on your own,” she said. “He gives you support and supplemental information to help you gain a true understanding of the topic. He goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure students are successful.”
A successful student himself, Britt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Southeast Missouri State University and a Master of Business Administration from Charleston Southern University. Currently, he is working on a Doctor of Business Administration at Walden University.
In addition to his teaching experience and academic accomplishments, Britt’s resume boasts 25 years of extensive business experience in the areas of small business ownership, business consulting, and sales and marketing. This includes 20 years of consumer products sales management experience and more than 10 years in which he combined successful business experiences and principles into actionable solutions for clients, the majority of which was targeted toward small businesses, associations, and nonprofits. It is this business experience in multiple industries that Britt tries to integrate into his teaching to help the material come alive for students.
It’s a method that appears to be working, as evidenced by current student John Strubel’s response as to why Britt deserved to be the 2013 Online College Professor of the Year. “Professor Britt is a skilled communicator and his experience in the field he teaches provides students with knowledge that goes far beyond what can be gleaned from a textbook,” he said. “When we want to learn something, we also approach a person who’s done it. Professor Britt has successfully worked for small and large corporations. His knowledge is relevant and educational.”
While his breadth of experience beyond instruction, including program and course development, gives him a well-rounded approach to online education, his passion remains with instruction. As an instructor in a virtual classroom, Britt connects with students through his online personality and encourages online faculty to do the same.
“Successful online faculty are those who can transcend the technology and not just use it,” he said. “My online ‘personality’ is one that provides quick responses, detailed comments, and a mentoring spirit.”
Britt plans on donating the $1,000 award he receives as the winner of the 2013 Online College Professor of the Year contest to CSU’s University Scholarship Fund, as the online program is targeted toward working adults.
“Many (most) of my students are making a tremendous commitment to return to college and complete their degree,” he said. “This commitment includes time, money, and much more. This commitment encourages me. I just wanted to recognize their commitment by giving the money back to the university’s scholarship fund.