FREDERICTON, NB - The winner of NALD's first Innovative Technology Award has taught over 8,500 undergraduate and graduate university students during the course of his 33-year teaching career at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He also works with adult learners in St. John's who need help preparing for the workforce. What is not at first apparent to those with whom he comes in contact is his own unique perspective on learning.
Dr. Marc Glassman has a learning disability.
"I have always had empathy for learners who experienced difficulties in school and with learning," he says. "As one who is learning disabled in spelling, I was able to overcome this difficulty and obtained four university degrees."
During his doctoral program at the University of Georgia, Marc realized he had a learning disability while taking an advanced course that helped to train students in the identification of literacy learning disabilities.
"I have often used this reality with my students at Memorial University and with the adult learners I assessed as a volunteer at Stella Burry Community Services," he said. "I see it as a motivational point that can help learners believe in their own ability to succeed. I urge each of them to consider that success is possible regardless of the obstacles that are placed in your way."
Marc won the NALD Innovative Technology Award for his contribution to the Stella Burry Community Services Workplace Literacy Project. He was instrumental in the development of computer-mediated, instructional modules for the carpentry and food-services sectors, which have the potential to open doors to employment for adults hoping to work in these fields.
The Workplace Literacy Project was a team effort, Marc emphasizes. "My specific pieces were the literacy elements such as the overall design of how the website should flow, the rewriting of the script for the online modules and the creation of the learner workbook. The technical aspects of putting my ideas into a formatted reality and the basic content that was the foundation for the two workplace-specific modules were undertaken by others."
Continuing to give credit where he believes credit is due, Marc says recognition should go to the adult learners who have utilized the two modules. "They have undertaken the far more difficult task of realizing their strengths and needs with regards to literacy and have attempted to undertake a proactive way of helping themselves."
Marc's work with Stella Burry Community Services was as a volunteer with their Adult Basic Education Level 1 class. He provided on-going professional development training to the new teacher in the first year of the program and conducted the initial assessment of the pool of adult learners who would comprise the 12 learners in each of the first three classes.
"I am a strong believer that individual, informal assessments of each learner's strengths and needs should guide one's instruction for this learner," Marc said. "Formative assessment of progress over time is far more valuable that mere scores on standardized tests."
In 2009, Marc received the Council of the Federation Literacy Award. Premier Danny Williams was not in attendance for the award presentation but said of the recipient: "For more than 30 years, Dr. Glassman has been a staunch supporter of literacy development in our province. Whether inspiring university students in the classroom or leading community-based initiatives, his dedication and belief in the importance of literacy have been an inspiration to those around him. His contribution to literacy skills is invaluable."
Marc teaches in the faculty of education at Memorial University. He holds a B.Sc., B.Ed. and M.Ed. from State University College of New York at Brockport and an Ed.D. from the University of Georgia. His research interests include diagnostic-prescriptive literacy instruction, telelearning and teleteaching via computer-mediated learning/instruction, and virtual professional development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NALD contact and story writer:
Research and Communications Officer
National Adult Literacy Database (NALD)
Tel: 506-462-5034 or 1-800-720-6253