Dr. James Grunwald
If there’s anyone who understands the ins and outs of an online degree program, it’s MLC Professor Dr. James Grunwald. One of his major tasks is to teach online courses about how to teach online courses.
In MLC’s master’s program, Jim teaches Enhancing the Curriculum with Technology, Teaching Online, and Designing and Constructing Online Courses. He also lends assistance to the rest of the MLC faculty as they teach online, helping them get their courses up and running and then providing technical support along the way.
“I really enjoy teaching online and helping others to teach and learn online,” he says. “For many people, until they have taken an online course they have a hard time imagining how rich the discussion can be and how well you can get to know fellow students that you might not ever meet face to face. When teaching and learning online, you have more time to formulate your thoughts and provide constructive replies to what others have posted. You also have the freedom to work on your course when it fits into your schedule.
Educational technology has been his forte since day one. After teaching at St. John-Neillsville WI, Northwestern Prep-Watertown WI, and St. John-Libertyville IL, he began teaching computer science at Lakeside LHS in 1980—a time when, for most of us, spam was only meat in a can and viruses afflicted only human beings.
Grunwald went on to teach technology courses at Madison Area Technical College and mathematics and computer science at Michigan Lutheran Seminary. In 1998 he was called to Martin Luther College to teach computer courses and serve as the Director of Academic Computing. Since 2002, he’s been granted a half-time sabbatical to serve as the WELS Director of Distance Learning; in that capacity he coordinates distance learning initiatives and trains other instructors to teach online courses.
He has a B.S in Elementary Education from DMLC (1978), a master’s degree in Mathematics Education from UW-Oshkosh (1983), a master's degree in Computers in Education from Clarke College (1990), and a Ph.D. in Computing Technology in Education from Nova Southeastern University (1999). He belongs to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and serves on the WELS Technology Advisory Committee and the MLC Technology Advisory Committee. He is the WELS representative on the IT and Distance Learning Commission of the National Council for Private School Accreditation and the co-Director of the WELS Association of Lutheran High Schools Online (ALHSO) pilot project.
Jim is married to Karen, who teaches grades 4-5 at St. Paul-New Ulm, and they have four children. Melanie has a degree in interior design and marketing; she works in a large furniture store in Indianapolis, where she lives with her husband and two children. Nathan, with a degree in accounting, works for IBM in Rochester MN as a financial analyst. Aaron is graduating this May from North Dakota State University in Fargo with a master's degree in architecture. And Tim is currently finishing his junior year at Minnesota State University-Mankato, where he studies business management and technology.
Jim says his interests outside of educational technology include home remodeling, gardening, hiking, canoeing/fishing in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, traveling, and playing disc golf.