Hello everyone and thanks for stopping in to learn more! My name is Derek Malenczak, and I am a faculty member at Rutgers University. I presently work in the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation & Counseling Professions as an undergraduate instructor, both in the classroom as well as online teaching. Prior to my academic career, I spent 13 years helping people with mental illness who were discharged from long-term psychiatric hospitalizations, teaching them skills so they might recover and become better integrated into their communities.
I eventually took a special interest in helping college students with mental health issues and goal-setting with more of a career focus, learning a specialized practice called Supported Education, where I tailored my skill-teaching to those needed for college; writing admissions essays, selecting courses, improving study skills, requesting an incomplete, etc.
I helped train the agency I was employed with in Supported Education, and that led to a job with school where I earned my Masters Degree with, doing research on this population. I taught cognitive remediation to college students with mental health issues in order to help them succeed with better grade and remain in school longer.
I now teach the majority of the time, but am still involved in research related to online learning. I also host a podcast called the College Student Success Podcast, which helps college students with mental health issues set and achieve goals for themselves.
I knew my blend of experience in skill teaching, goal setting, Supported Education, Cognitive Remediation, and online instruction was unique, but wasn't exactly sure how to apply it until I started teaching online more regularly. I saw students that I knew from traditional classes to be excellent students, now struggling with how to succeed in online classes. I talked to them. I considered the struggles they identified, and the idea for this course was born. I hope you find it helpful!