BestCollegesOnline.com desires to recognize forward-thinking professors who are using new technologies to enhance the learning experience for distance students and prepare them for success in their courses and after graduation. The purpose of the 2012 Online College Professor of the Year contest is to honor outstanding educators who are doing just that. After receiving more than 2,000 votes for the top 10 final nominees on BestCollegesOnline.com, we are proud to announce the winner!
For more information about the contest and to see a list of final nominees, visit our information and nominations page.
Meet the 2012 Online College Professor of the Year!
MSN, MBA, MHA, RN
Full Time Online Faculty, Nursing
Grand Canyon University
As an online assistant professor at Grand Canyon University, LeAnne Prenovost has taught online classes in nursing, health care, and business for the past five years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, a Master in Business Administration, and a dual master’s degree: a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Arts in Healthcare Administration, all of which she earned through online degree programs. Her professional accomplishments are just as impressive. With more than 25 years of nursing experience, Prenovost has held titles such as charge nurse, nurse manager labor and delivery, and director of maternal/child service line.
But it was specifically her experience as an online learner that made her want to pursue a career as an online educator. “One very effective teaching strategy that I use in all of my online classes is that I never forget,” she said. “I personally realize how difficult returning to college as an adult is and also to attend college online and to learn the computer. I have lived this and it has not been that long ago — but I know it can be done and I am here to help. I treat each student as an individual. I do not have classes of students; I have wonderful individual people who make up my classes.”
To shorten the distance between online instructor and student, Prenovost incorporates various kinds of instruction and technologies. She has utilized Skype for classrooms, Jing screencasting, and audio lectures, engages in conversations with students via Facebook, Twitter, and has even created a Jib Jab video to introduce herself to new students. “My goal is to use technology to the advantage of my students, but to not overwhelm them,” she said. “I have many students in various levels of competency with technology and it is easy to overwhelm [them] with too much technology.”
And her students are appreciative, describing her as an excellent professor who truly cares about her students as individuals, one who goes beyond the minimum, and is passionate about nursing, her job, and student success. “LeAnne is a professor who has remained a significant influence in my career. Her course is interactive and she responds to questions with insight and care. You forget that you are participating in an online course,” one student said. “I think the test of a good online teacher is that they have the ability to connect with their students and cultivate a strong relationship within the online community.”
Along with her job as an online assistant professor, Prenovost has served on her school’s Student Technology Assessment Committee and Specific Course Improvement Committees. She is also a member of several professional organizations related to her subject matter, including the American Nurses Association, Arizona State Nursing Association, National League of Nursing, and the Nursing Honor Society Sigma Theta Tau. But perhaps most significant is Prenovost’s fundraising efforts and participation on a blog for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, which supports women with ovarian cancer. In fact, she intends on donating the $1,000 award she receives as the winner of the 2012 Online College Professor of the Year contest to ovarian cancer research in memory of her sister, Lisa Wilkinson.
When comparing her career in nursing to her career in higher education, Prenovost finds that she touches more lives and does more good for people and their families as an educator. “I strongly believe in the value of education and the generational impact of education in helping our children and their children’s children and our society as a whole,” she said. “We touch many students in the online world who would not otherwise have had this opportunity for higher education.”
Hear more from Professor Prenovost on the Edventure Calling Blog!
- The Price of an Education: Making the Decision to Go to an Online College
- The New Online Student: After the Honeymoon Phase
- Using Your Time Wisely: How to Manage Your Personal and Educational Priorities During the School Week
- Surviving the Season: Getting Through the Holidays Without Sacrificing Your Grades
- A New Year, A New You: Health Tips for the Online Student
- Searching for Academic Resources: The Importance of Learning Your University’s Online Library
- Written Communication: A Beginner’s Guide to College Writing Assignments
- Learning to Learn: Identifying My Learning Style
- The Road: The Journey to a College Education
What Students Are Saying
“Being a great student is not just about achieving a good grade rather than understanding the reason for achieving that grade. It is also imperative to know why we must work hard for a brighter future. Professor Prenovost has helped us to set standards and achievable goals for that bright future. During my time at Grand Canyon University, I have yet to be taught by a professor of her caliber. If any professor in the world deserves or has earned the right to be considered the Online College Professor of the year, that is Professor LeAnne Prenovost. She helps pave the future for students to ensure a brighter tomorrow.”
Travis Lyle, student
“Professor LeAnne is outstanding! I had the privilege of taking a hybrid class under her wing. She has such a big heart for her students, genuinely cares about each individual’s story, and treasures the piece of time she has to be involved in their lives. Whether it was online or in the classroom, she made every effort to give special individualized attention to each student. Truly, her love for her students and teaching in the midst of multiple teaching stages in class, hybrid and online, stands as a pillar of wisdom, knowledge, and experience that easily set her apart as a professor worthy of being graced as BCO’s Online Professor of the Year.”
Elizabeth Fair, student
“I have been enrolled in courses for the past two years. LeAnne is a professor who has remained a significant influence in my career. Her course is interactive and she responds to questions with insight and care. You forget that you are participating in an online course. I think the test of a good online teacher is that they have the ability to connect with their students and cultivate a strong relationship within the online community.”
Kara Cumming, student
“I had Professor LeAnne Prenovost as a substitute for one of my courses, and before she joined my class, I was feeling very discouraged. LeAnne made the information that we were learning that week relate to my life in a way that made me feel so much better about my attendance at college. I think that college students need as much encouragement as possible so that they can reach their goals, and LeAnne provided so much support. When I felt like a failure, she stepped up to the plate to inform me that I was doing great, helping me apply polarized thinking, a thinking error that we were learning about. She gave me great comfort in knowing that I can achieve my dreams. She stepped in at the right moment. Thank You LeAnne!”
Stephanie Shoro, student