Remote and In Control: Online Teaching Award Recipient Stands Out for Ingenuity and Engaging Learning Environment



By Linsey Maughan

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Portrait of Melanie Standish

Illinois Institute of Technology industrial-organizational psychology Ph.D. candidate Melanie Standish has received the university’s student-nominated Online Teaching Award, the only university teaching award based on student nominations. Standish is recognized for her teaching of PSYC 301: Introduction to Industrial Psychology.

Student reviews praised Standish’s ingenuity within the online learning environment, as well as her considerateness, flexibility, and availability as an instructor.

“Professor Standish puts a lot of thought and effort into her slides, and creates engagement through Packback, polls with Mentimeter, and interactive quizzes,” one student wrote. “Her slides are organized, easy to follow, and colorful. The video clips she chooses are also funny and pertinent to the material. She is also open to commentary during her presentations, which creates even more collaboration and engagement in the class. I look forward to class because I know I’m going to have fun while also learning something very interesting!” 

Another student expressed appreciation for Standish’s “on the fly” incorporation of timely issues and events into the course content, as well as her use of materials from popular culture, such as memes and television clips, to help convey concepts covered in the course.

“Today in class she played a five-minute clip from the television show The Office, which was full of humor and was very enjoyable to watch, but it also was so perfectly picked for today’s lecture because she then broke down the ways that stress manifests in the workplace, and used examples from the clip we all just saw to make these somewhat abstract concepts much more easily understandable and relatable to us,” the student wrote. “I appreciate this method because it allows each member of the class to have a shared starting point for discussion and makes the class feel very equitable and inclusive.”

The award includes a plaque and $500. Standish was selected as the winner by the provost’s Online Teaching Award committee, which included Associate Professor of Psychology Alissa Haedt-Matt, Learning Management System Administrator and Support Specialist Fareed Qadir, Associate Professor of Information Technology and Management Karl Stolley, and Director of Digital Learning Lauren Woods.

“I love teaching and I love industrial-organizational psychology—the scientific study of human behavior in the workplace,” Standish says. “I recognize that most students take my course as an elective, so I do everything I can to try to make the material interesting and useful for students in their future careers. I feel honored to know that at least one student was positively impacted by my class and the passion I have for the field. I already feel grateful for the opportunity to teach, but to be recognized for my teaching by my own students is an indescribable feeling.”

Standish anticipates completing her Ph.D. in fall 2022 or spring 2023. She is now at work on her dissertation, which seeks to understand the gender gap in leadership, looking at how women, in comparison with men, experience the leader identity development process.

Photo: Illinois Tech industrial-organizational psychology Ph.D. candidate Melanie Standish