Cutting-Edge Soldier in the Fight Against Ignorance
Instructor W. Jay Sims took on an almost overwhelming task shortly after he joined the UALR Department of Earth Sciences eight years ago. A call was issued in 2003 to increase online course offerings in the core curriculum, and Sims answered that call for his department.
In order to develop online courses, however, Sims had to have strong course materials in his traditional classroom that would translate well to other teaching media. He had to educate other faculty members on the proper materials and methods to conduct an online course and he had to persuade them of the importance of this new teaching method.
â€śWith all the stresses on our studentsâ€™ time, online courses are important for a metropolitan university like UALR,â€ť Sims said. â€śWe are trying to reach as many students as possible with the online courses. Theyâ€™re challenging for time management for both the students and me, but they allow the students to review materials twice or three times to catch everything in the lectures.â€ť
As the more than 200 students enrolled in Spring 2007 earth sciences online courses attest, Simsâ€™ work has been a success. A field-based geologist, Sims is well aware of the impact of humans on the planet and he works to impart that knowledge to his students each semester through traditional and online courses.
Sims completed his bachelorâ€™s degree at UALR and finished requirements for his masterâ€™s degree at the University of Kentucky. He is a member of the Geological Society of America, the National Association of Geology Teachers, and the Pulaski County Emergency Planning Committee.