Assistant Professor Yunlong Shao


Vancouver’s Shao Named an Outstanding Educator in North America

July 20, 2022

Instructure, maker of the Canvas web-based learning management system, announced the winners of its 2022 Educator of the Year Awards, and New York Tech-Vancouver Assistant Professor of Computer Science Yunlong Shao, Ph.D., is among the six honored and the only one from Canada. 

The award program recognizes outstanding educators in North America working to embrace remote learning, prepare students for the workforce, and support student success and achievement in an evolving education landscape.

“We were overwhelmed by the number of impressive nominations this year but have selected six inspirational educators that demonstrate an uncommon level of dedication, love for their students, and passion for education,” said Melissa Loble, chief customer experience officer at Instructure.

“As the only Canadian winner of this award, I am beyond honored,” Shao said. “Without New York Tech, I wouldn’t be successful now. New York Tech made me.”

Brandi So, Ph.D., New York Tech’s manager of online and academic technologies, nominated Shao for the award, “so I could tell him that we appreciate his devotion to our students. It’s a huge accomplishment and we are so excited that he won!” she said.

Shao said he ignored the initial outreach notifying him that he was named an honoree. “Instructure contacted me twice by email, and I didn’t reply to them because I thought it was a scam. The lucky thing is I picked up their phone call,” he shared.

In her nomination, So recounted how Shao has partnered with Academic Technology Services (ATS), a department within the university’s Information Technology Services, to build two online courses, with a third planned. He’s an example of a great teacher whose partnership with ATS makes a difference with all of his students, and so I wrote about our experiences together as a team in creating content for his classes,” she said.

The Educator of the Year Awards are judged on criteria that emphasize adapting to hybrid and remote teaching and making learning more accessible for at-risk students.

According to Instructure’s award announcement, highlights of Shao’s teaching include:

  • He has built many courses with a blend of genuine collaboration among students, authentic assessments, tireless availability and presence, and a sincere and admirable devotion to their continued success.
  • He offers students assignments in written format and uses Canvas tools to record short explanatory videos, creates demonstrations of successful work, and strives to make his materials as accessible as possible. Showing vulnerability and a growth mindset is a key factor in engaging at-risk populations, and his students are more successful because of his willingness to do so. His indefatigable work ethic, poise, and consistency make him a teacher students can rely on well after the class has ended.

“This recognition reinforces the mission of New York Tech,” Shao said. “The hands-on courses offered give our students continued success.”