Now that StraighterLine also offers professor-led online college courses, we thought you might want to know a little more about our professors. We’ve asked each of them to answer a series of questions to help you decide whether you want to enroll in their courses or stick with our more traditional self-paced courses. As with everything else here at StraighterLine, like publishing student course ratings and average pass rates, our goal is to give you the information you need to make the right choices for you.
And with that, it’s time for you to get to know Professor John Thorburn, Ph.D.:
What excites you about StraighterLine’s Professor Direct?
I’m really excited to be part of this new venture. Straighterline may well be on the verge of revolutionizing the world of education.
What course/s do you teach at StraighterLine and why should students signup for them?
For your journey through World Civilization I, join Dr. John Thorburn, an award-winning teacher and professor of Latin and Greek with more than 25 years of experience in traditional and online classrooms. Known to his students as “Dr. T” or Dr. Theta, John has published books, articles, and given public lectures on four continents and in eight different countries. Dr. T has visited many of the countries you will study in World Civilization and has even led students on tours of various major sites around the Mediterranean. Let Dr. T be your guide as you travel through thousands of years of civilizations that have shaped the world that is our modern America.
What do you like about teaching online that you can’t do in a traditional classroom?
In an online environment, because my responses are usually written, I can provide students with more precise information than I would in a traditional classroom. The ancient Romans had a saying, “The spoken word vanishes, but the written word remains.” In the online educational setting, students have the possibility of keeping with them literally every word that their teacher says. Also, in an online setting, the teacher has the opportunity to deliver words that are very precise and polished.
Why did you become a professor? What motivated you to become a teacher?
On one hand, I became a professor because I like to perform. I was mascot for my high school and I was also mascot for the Texas Rangers baseball team for a year. Being a professor allows me to continue to perform. On the other hand, I love learning about cultures that are different from our own and sharing that knowledge with others. When I was a junior in college, I found myself in a bookstore standing in front of a massive shelf of dozens and dozens of books that were written in Latin and Greek. As strange as it may sound, I thought those books were beautiful. I also thought, “Wow, do I have a lot left to learn.” I figured that the only way I would be able to read all those books was if I went on to get my PhD.
What is your favorite way to learn? Do you recommend this to students?
My favorite way to learn is to get as many of the senses involved as possible. Whatever I’m trying to learn, I want to see it, hear it, touch it, and even taste or smell it if practical or possible. I heartily recommend this type of learning. I feel like the more senses one can involve in the learning process, the more likely a person is able to master a subject.
Tell us about your favorite hobby or your favorite way to spend time away from work.
When I’m not teaching, I usually try to keep up with my two daughters, who are 12 and 8 years old. If any time is left over, I’m usually playing my guitar and trying to write songs or else riding my bike through the central Texas countryside. My wife and I also like to go on quests to find amazing, hole-in-the-wall barbecue joints around the United States.