|Ellen Hilt completed her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education at Lock Haven University in Lock Haven, PA in 2000. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching and Instruction in 2005 at Grand Canyon University. She is a certified teacher in Pennsylvania.
At Grand Canyon University, Ellen is an online instructor for undergraduate and graduate level education courses. She has been teaching for Grand Canyon University since 2005. She has 12 years of experience in education. Her experience includes teaching at the elementary level. In addition, she has worked on several committees including an anti-bullying committee and a district-wide safety committee. Ellen has also taught summer school and tutored at-risk students. In addition to teaching online courses with Grand Canyon University, Ellen has worked with student teachers for the past 7 semesters.
|Ellen and her family reside in Dover, PA. She and her husband recently celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary. They have three children: two daughters and a son. The oldest daughter will be entering 5th grade this year. In her spare time, she is an Irish dancer. The middle daughter will be entering 2nd grade this year. In her spare time, she loves to ride horses and can't wait until she is old enough to start barrel racing. Her youngest son is 3 years old and enjoys playing with trains. He is patiently waiting for the time when he can play football. In Ellen's spare time she enjoys sewing quilts, crafts, traveling, and spending time with her family.
How has facilitating online courses at GCU helped you find your purpose?
In order to effectively respond to this question, I must provide some background information. In 2005, my middle child was diagnosed with kidney reflux. She was placed on preventative medicines for approximately one year but she continued to experience breakthrough infections until at 14 months the doctor decided it was time to perform a corrective, surgical procedure. At this time, I was very torn; I was attempting to continue my education and career. I was also working on my Master's degree through Grand Canyon University and discovered they needed online faculty. I applied but was skeptical about the online classroom setting meeting my needs as a teacher. I missed my 1st graders terribly. I entered with reservations but truly feel it was an answer to my prayers. I have been given the opportunity to influence education. I enjoy working with my students, helping them prepare for their future, and at the same time preparing them to meet the needs of their students. I feel like I am right where I belong, and I am grateful for the experience.
What is one effective teaching strategy you use in your online classes?
The online classroom is very different than the traditional classroom, but it offers many more opportunities. I work with students from all over the world and from all different walks of life. I have found the most effective strategy I can use is being understanding with my students as I aim to meet their needs. I am available 6 days a week, reserving Sundays for personal time. I encourage students to call me, email me, and/or text me when they need assistance. In attempts to eliminate confusion on weekly assignments, I post work samples, extra explanations, and grading rubrics. To eliminate confusion and/ or conflict in the CLC forums, I check in with the groups and participate in the group's discussions. Being available shows my students that I do care for them and I desire their continued success with Grand Canyon University.
What is a GCU online student success story you can share?
This is a tough question to answer; I feel as though I have experienced many success stories. There is one student that does stand out to me; she was an older non-traditional student who was struggling with her writing skills. She was extremely disappointed and ready to give up. She sought help through the writing center and her local library, but neither provided her with the support she needed. I worked countless hours with this student: proofreading her papers prior to submission, helping her master APA format, and building her self-confidence. By the end of the course, she was able to write an effective paper with little to no errors. She successfully passed the course, but more importantly, we developed a lasting friendship. From that semester on, I realized how essential my role was in student success.