Meet SNL Resident Faculty Ruth Gannon Cook

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Ruth Gannon Cook, Ed.D.

Tell us about your educational background and where you worked before SNL.

I received my Ed.D. from the University of Houston, College of Education, Curriculum & Instruction with a major in Instructional Technology, in 2003. I also received a Certificate for Advanced Studies from the Queens College, Cambridge, United Kingdom with an emphasis in Change Diffusion and Technology Integration. My M.S. Ed. is in Educational Administration and B.A. in Business are both from Loyola University, New Orleans. I currently serve on the Board of Trustees for the Cordell Hull Foundation for International Education, New York, and the JUNO Foundation, London, a nonprofit corporation that builds temporary medical treatment centers in Africa and Asia, and I have also served on the Board of Trustees for the Pediatric AIDS Program of Children’s Hospital New Orleans and the Amigos de los Americanos in Houston, Texas.

I have taught at the School for New Learning of DePaul University for the last seven years. Prior teaching included the University of Houston-Clear Lake, the University of Houston, and Colorado Mountain College in Vail, Colorado, where I both taught and served as Program Director. My earlier career included hosting a radio show and cable TV show for six years, and as a vice president for a manufacturing company.

What intrigued you most about DePaul and SNL?

I have always loved St. Vincent and what he represented. In New Orleans my father was always active in the St. Vincent Society and the Ozanam Bridge House for the Homeless which was affiliated with the Society. When I had the opportunity to interview with DePaul University School for New Learning, I felt St. Vincent was sending me a message that maybe it was my turn for service. I love the commitment to the mission of service, that we are truly committed to our students at DePaul and SNL.

Besides your work, what are your other interests?

I love my research which centers around semiotics, (the study of metaphors, symbols, narratives, mathematical signs, etc.) so technology and semiotics are what I spend my time on outside work. (I do try to go back to New Orleans when I can though, for the food, music, family and for whatever I can do to help the area).

What classes do you teach?

My teaching has included applications of technology courses, training, and organizational change courses, and core courses, such as Research Seminar and Foundations of Adult Learning in the undergraduate and graduate SNL programs.

What are some of your research interests?

I’ve done extensive research on e-learning and both student and teacher satisfaction, but my real love is my semiotics research which I also combine with my online learning research. I’ve been very fortunate in being asked to chair international conference panels in Europe and in having five book chapters and four peer-reviewed journal articles published this last year that have featured my research on pan- and cyber-semiotics and e-learning.

What advice would you give to current students taking online classes?

Hmmm, for students currently taking online courses, the hope would be that they had good time management skills so that they could juggle the demands of their online coursework with their work and lives. I would also recommend they always ask their teachers for help if they get confused because the first line of defense is their teacher. The teacher may encourage them to also post their questions to the online Q&A Discussion Conference so that others who may have the same questions (but are afraid to ask) can have a chance to get the same information. That way it’s a win-win for everyone, including the teacher, because she/he can answer questions and nip any potential student problems in the bud!

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