MSU’s Lee receives CDE’s inaugural Online Teaching Award


STARKVILLE, Miss.—An assistant professor in Mississippi State’s Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development is the inaugural recipient of the Online Teaching Award given by the university’s Center for Distance Education.

Sang Joon Lee is receiving $500, plus registration and expenses to attend a distance education conference.

The award acknowledges and rewards an MSU online instructor who employs best practices to engage, inspire and support students in an online environment.

The nomination process includes multiple letters of support from colleagues, deans, department heads and current and former students; a teaching vita; access to an online course; and a description from the nominee describing his or her personal philosophy for effective online pedagogy.

Jenny Hartness, a former graduate student who was among Lee’s nominators, said his class was informative and enjoyable. She further described it as "a well-designed course with an abundance of practice assignments, appropriate reading materials and resources to ensure student success."

“Dr. Lee has shown his sincere interest in students as well as genuine concern for students’ progress, and he has constantly displayed a high degree of responsibility, integrity and compassion in his teaching,” said Chien Yu, an instructional systems and workforce development colleague who submitted a letter of support.

Lee joined MSU in 2013 and quickly developed a reputation for being highly effective among students, faculty and staff.

He assisted in the creation of the Master of Science in Instructional Technology online degree program, developing several new courses such as Multimedia Design I and II and Learning Technologies in Distance Education.

“Receiving this award is a wonderful experience,” Lee said. “I have a passion for online teaching and learning, and it is an honor to be recognized in this way,”  

Lee’s online teaching philosophy is informed by a constructivist perspective of teaching and learning. His interest falls in student-centered learning environments where students’ knowledge construction is the primary focus.

Hannah Street Owens, another former student and current MSU lecturer, cited his "thoughtful development of interactive exercises, engaging discussions and team-oriented, project-based learning" as evidence of his commitment to student-centered learning.

“We are thrilled to celebrate excellence in online teaching at Mississippi State by presenting our first Online Teaching Award,” said Susan Seal, Center for Distance Education executive director. “Dr. Lee embodies the attributes that enrich the online experience for our distance students. Not only are his courses designed for student success, but his instruction and level of engagement are exemplary. He is well deserving of this inaugural award.”

By Joni W. Seitz