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Dr. Nancy Zeliff

Dr. Nancy Zeliff

Professor, School of Computer Science and Information Systems

"I use a variety of authentic projects in all my classes. This allows me to see what each graduate student teaches, what their hobbies might be, and where they live and teach."

Degrees Held:

  • B.S. Ed. in Business Education – Northwest Missouri State University, 1981
  • M.S. Ed. in Business Education – University of Missouri – Columbia, 1986
  • Ph.D. in Business Education – University of Missouri – Columbia, 1993

Career Highlights:

I taught high school business education for five years in Nebraska and Missouri and have been teaching at Northwest since 1987. My first day was when Northwest "turned on" the electronic campus, and I have been working with computer applications and instructional technology since! In the undergraduate curriculum, I advise and teach pre-service business and marketing education teachers, supervising them in their student teaching experiences. Our business education honor society, Pi Omega Pi, has been a top chapter in the nation in my 30 years of serving as sponsor. Northwest business education graduates are successful business and marketing teachers across the Midwest, with a few who are now colleagues teaching with me at Northwest! Business education and instructional technology has greatly changed in my nearly 40 years of teaching. I am a "student" first, learning right along with my students. You can't sit still with technology!

In which online program(s) do you teach?

Instructional Technology Graduate Certificate and Curriculum & Instruction: Teaching Technology.

Which classes do you teach online?

44-610 Integrating the Technology Curriculum; 44-626 Developing Multimedia Systems; 44-635 Designing Instructional Systems; 44-650 Building a Virtual Learning Experience.

In what ways do you connect with online students?

Creating a presence as an online instructor is critical—so that you can connect with your students and get to know them personally. I use a variety of authentic projects in all my classes. This allows me to see what each graduate student teaches, what their hobbies might be, and where they live and teach. In turn, I share my own project examples and add “Zeliff” humor and personal anecdotes in discussion thread replies and communication.

What do you want your students to take away from class?

Working with technology can be exhausting, frustrating and time-intensive but full of “ah-ha” moments. I would hope that one year after students complete the program, they are still surging ahead into new technologies, sharing what they know with peers, and seeking technology assistance from their peers and students!

Why did you start teaching?

I had teachers in high school I greatly admired as well as professors at Northwest in my undergraduate years. I am from a family of teachers – an aunt and uncle, and my mom taught in a one-room schoolhouse. My three older siblings are retired educators. My husband was in education for 31 years, and it's just "in my blood." I have always been an organizer, planner and one "to get things done" – which is a typical business education teacher.

What advice would you give to your online students?

(1) Balance – balance your "day job," family life, and any special interests and hobbies you have along with online classes. Taking online classes is not a 24/7 commitment, nor is it for your instructors! (2) Find a schedule that works best for you and stick to that schedule; it might mean getting up at 4 a.m. when the house is quiet and for me my home internet is always faster at that time. (3) Invest in the fastest home internet connection you can and invest in a current laptop - your own, if possible, rather than a school district one. Sometimes, the school district device prohibits one from using certain programs and online tools.

What qualities make someone particularly successful as an educator?

I think of the teachers I had I most admired and they were professional but entertaining, had high expectations of their students, and showed care and compassion. Put it all together—that's a successful educator!

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

I do like to read but rarely have time to read a book. My stack of "want to read" is very tall, though!

What do you do when you need a laugh?

I love to watch "That 70's Show" on Netflix. Those were my high school and college years to a "T."

Tell us something your students may not know about you:

I love to ride bicycles, especially on "Rails to Trails" and work outside on our farm in the garden and flower beds doing yard work. Put me on a lawn tractor or give me a weed eater, and I am a happy girl!

Links to multimedia:

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