Omar López, Ph.D.
Office: Round Rock Campus, Avery 464K
Ph.D. in Educational Policy & Strategy, The University of Texas at Austin, May 1995, Public School Executive Leadership Program, Dissertation: The Effect of the Relationship Between Classroom Student Diversity and Teacher Capacity on Student Performance
M.S.B.A. in Strategic Planning and Futures Research, University of Southern California, May 1987, Graduate School of Business. Thesis: IBM’s Strategic Planning Process
M.B.A., University of California at Irvine, June 1983, Concentration in (MIS) Management Information Systems
B.A. in Biophysics, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. Biomechanics Concentration
- Sloan Mobile Learning Mastery Series, Sloan Consortium Institute
- Online Teaching, Sloan Consortium Institute
- Operations Research, University of California at Irvine—University Extension, Concentration in large-scale modeling of complex business systems.
Dr. López grew up in south Texas along the border in the Rio Grande Valley, in one of the poorest counties in the U.S. His daily observations of the effects from poverty on children and families left a definitive mark on his career decisions. Dr. López’ academic training includes the physical sciences, management, and education. This prepared him to work in different sectors as engineer, business consultant, and education policy researcher. While these occupations provided a way to make a living, his south Texas experiences gave him the passion to seek a meaningful life where his work could focus on using transdisciplinary methodologies to solve some of the thorniest problems confronting society's most vulnerable populations. The result is that his publications are diverse, having published in the fields of educational technology, economics of education, teacher education accountability, higher education sustainability, and family studies.
Dr. López’ current research projects can be found in his Vita under "Works in Progress" (page 7).
Dr. Lopez's Philosophy of Teaching Online
My philosophy as a teacher describes the following vision for a learner‐centered online classroom. I believe a teacher should draw on a rich knowledge base of content, pedagogy, and technology to provide relevant and meaningful online learning experiences for all students. I have found that when students construct knowledge through experiences, they often learn about relationships among and within the central themes of various disciplines while also learning how to learn. Therefore, I take great care to select and organize topics so students make clear connections between what I teach in the online classroom and what they experience in their personal and professional lives. To develop multiple perspectives, I integrate other disciplines, students’ interests, and technological resources so that they consider the central themes of the subject matter from as many different cultural and intellectual viewpoints as possible.
I believe that a teacher should collaborate with students to create a learner‐centered online classroom. In this process, the teacher needs to be a critical thinker and problem solver who play a variety of roles when teaching. As a coach, for example, my purpose is to observe and evaluate students’ learning, and change directions and strategies whenever necessary. As a facilitator, I work to help students make the link of ideas in the content area to familiar ideas, to prior experiences, and to relevant problems. As a manager, I strive to effectively acquire, allocate, and conserve educational resources. By encouraging students toward self‐directed learning and by modeling respectful behavior, I feel that a teacher can effectively manage the online learning environment so that optimal student learning occurs. I also believe that a teacher should respond appropriately to diverse groups of online learners. Teachers should not only respect and be sensitive to all students but should also encourage the use of their diverse skills and talents. In my course design—I strive to model and encourage appreciation for students' cultural heritage, unique endowments, learning styles, interests, and learning needs.
I believe that a teacher should demonstrate effective professional and interpersonal communication skills while acting as an advocate for all students and the institution. For example, I take every opportunity to communicate the mission of my institution to students, professionals, families, and community members to establish strong, personal ties with the university. With colleagues, I try to create an environment that supports and encourages taking risks, sharing new ideas, and innovative problem solving.
I believe that a teacher—as a reflective practitioner dedicated to all students' success—should demonstrate a commitment to learn, to improve the profession, and to maintain professional ethics and personal integrity. As a learner myself, I strive to work within a framework of clearly defined professional goals to plan for and benefit from a wide variety of relevant learning opportunities. To strengthen the effectiveness and quality of teaching online, I take every opportunity to actively engage in exchanges of ideas with colleagues, review online course designs from peers, and encourage feedback from students to establish a successful online learning community. To support the needs of students, I try to use online resources and university services appropriately. Through these activities, my goal is to create an online classroom where learning is the central activity for all learners—students and teacher. To use poet Blake's words, a learning experience in cyberspace where we are able:
To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.