Returning to the very school where she first discovered her passion for teaching, Erin McCloskey ’90 looks to draw from her experiences as a teacher and an online course designer as she steps into her new role as the Associate Director of Academic Technology. McCloskey began her term on March 31, 2014. As Associate Director of Academic Technology, McCloskey will help Andover faculty incorporate technology into the existing school curriculum and maximize the potential of technology in enhancing the overall learning experience of students. She will also work with the Andover Institute and the Strategic Planning Committee in further developing ongoing technology-related initiatives on campus. “For example, there is the iPad initiative. Because the use of iPads and laptops are so prevalent among the students in classrooms, I will help departments and faculty continue to experiment, explore and develop effective ways of using iPads in classroom settings,” said McCloskey. “My job right now is to learn about the initiatives that are already happening on campus. It’s really exciting for me to join something that’s already in motion and to work with people that want to change things up and come up with different tools and techniques of technology that can enhance the learning experience,” she continued. While McCloskey is a huge advocate of online learning, she recognizes that online learning and face-to-face learning have their respective advantages and disadvantages. “I believe that a teacher is most valuable when he or she is interacting with students around complicated topics that require an explanation, but not necessarily when they are presenting simple concepts. Students can often go away and learn some basic concepts on their own, and then come back to the classroom with questions that require a deeper dive,” said McCloskey. “In my experience, you can sometimes have richer discussions in online formats than you can face-to-face. An example of that is when a topic is sensitive. People are in deeper comfort when they have some geographic distance. It might be easier for them to reveal their feelings. In a face-to-face format, you don’t necessarily have the time to reflect because you’re put on the spot,” she continued. After graduating from Andover, McCloskey attended Brown University. She obtained her master’s and doctoral degree in education at Harvard University, became a teaching fellow at Andover and taught for a total of nine years. Immediately prior to coming to Andover this spring, McCloskey worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she oversaw and created online programs that taught people how to run online courses.