Dr. Jason F. Schreer, a professor in SUNY Potsdam's Department of Biology, has been named the recipient of the 2013 Thomas L. and Jane D. Russell Distance Education Faculty Excellence Award. Dr. Schreer received the $1,000 award for his human biology course at the College's annual employee recognition program.
Offered for the first time online in summer 2012, the human biology class was Schreer's first experience teaching an online course. The faculty member said that the most enjoyable part of the course for him was the discussion forums.
To foster active participation and to have students apply their knowledge, he provided two discussion forum links for each chapter. Although the professor was initially wary about how effective the forums would be, he was pleasantly surprised at how much fun students had, how much interaction they had with him, and how much they all learned from these discussions.
The completion rate for the course was excellent: Out of 17 students, all completed the course and all passed, with only four students earning grades below 2.0. Student evaluations and unsolicited feedback were very positive. One student wrote, "SUNY Potsdam needs more professors like you!"
Schreer holds a Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Stony Brook, a Master of Science degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo.
In addition to human biology, Schreer teaches neurophysiology, human physiology, comparative animal physiology, comparative vertebrate anatomy, human anatomy and physiology, and a field course in marine mammals and seabirds.
His scholarly work, mostly involving diving behavior and physiology in marine mammals and seabirds, and the physiological effects of catch and release angling on fish, includes 54 publications, two technical reports and 98 presentations at academic conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada.
As an avid triathlete, he is currently training for the Lake Placid Ironman. Schreer is also conducting research on exercise physiology, and will begin a study this fall to determine if stride frequency training increases running economy.
The Russells, who live in Raleigh, N.C., endowed the award to encourage excellence in SUNY Potsdam's distance education program. They established the award to recognize faculty who are conducting their courses in an exemplary manner, provide faculty with a financial incentive to improve their distance education courses and reward those faculty who make their courses available to as many students as possible, by removing all unnecessary barriers.