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Staff Spotlight: Joy McDonald and Teaching with Technology

If you teach with technology at Rutgers-Newark (and who doesn’t?) you probably already know Joy! Joy McDonald is the Associate Director of Academic Technology Services and is an experienced academic technology leader with over 20 years’ experience blending technology and education to impact learning and increase productivity. Joy works at multiple scales and with multiple partners including RU administrators, IT units, faculty members, and Rutgers’ various technology vendors to advocate and educate around the use of appropriate technology.


"Well-designed and accessible content is integral to student success but it’s just as important to use technology when it makes sense and is appropriate."

How does your position intersect with and/or support student success?

I have the pleasure of working with faculty to provide support and resources for academic technology at RU-N. Most of my day-to-day work involves Canvas whether it's for a fully online or a face-to-face course that uses the platform to help manage communication and/or assessment. Well-designed and accessible content is integral to student success but it’s just as important to use technology when it makes sense and is appropriate. Bells and whistles can be fun and neat but it’s critical that they support student learning and your course objectives. When determining what technology will be integrated, it’s also important to take into account both your students’ and your own level of comfort with technology. Canvas has many associated tools that I support as well such as Echo for student engagement, Kaltura for video, and even more mundane yet effective tools like Qwickly for attendance and Akindi for testing. There is no one single perfect tool out there, but I can help you decide what may work for you. I also love helping with workarounds and brainstorming. Just like course design, technology integration is iterative and I’m here to help along the way.


What is one innovation or unique idea related to teaching or professional development that you’d like to share?

I always think about being innovative as putting yourself out there, and I urge you to do it as well! Whether it’s talking with colleagues or sharing ideas, be open to new ideas and take a “risk”.


How have you participated in, or engaged with, the P3 Collaboratory’s professional development initiatives?

I’ve been able to attend and participate in P3 initiatives as well as share my knowledge, resources, and ideas with others. I also work closely with their staff to help build more community around technology and tools that can help faculty and students. 

While “collaboratory” may be a mouthful to say, it really gets to the heart of collaboration with the freedom to try things out. It’s always hard to find time for one more thing, but setting aside time to focus with intent is well worth the effort.


Also from or about Joy McDonald:

  • I have an identical twin - and if she could, she would avoid technology.

  • I've donated blood/platelets more than 250 times.

  • I donate during the Rutgers Blood Drive (usually in September) and at the Red Cross.

  • On my very first day as a computer technician at a K12 school, I fried a motherboard but I didn't get fired!


Joy's Bonus Info About Teaching With Technology!

  • Rutgers is a Quality Matters member and their standards include Course Technology.

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