Award-winning online faculty Chrystal Trapani
Chrystal Trapani

There’s no lack of passion for education here at Old Dominion University. 

Chrystal Trapani, an instructional technologist in Digital Learning, an adjunct instructor in the Department of English and a doctoral graduate student, has won Instructure’s 2022 Educator of the Year Award in the Adjunct Instructor category. 

Though she loves teaching, Chrystal knows not everyone feels comfortable being part of a class. She says, “ODU has a strong, proud first-generation college student population. I was a first-generation college student myself, and I know what it's like to be the only student in the room in that position.”

Beyond helping her students build confidence in a college setting, Chrystal takes a unique approach to teaching by encouraging each person in her class to pursue what they’re interested in. 

One way Chrystal does this is by practicing project-based learning that relates to what the individual will be doing after graduation. She says, “Students learn best when they’re required to grapple with a topic they're passionate about. Asking students to play to their interests gets them emotionally and intellectually involved.”

According to their website, Instructure aims to recognize 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. Chrystal’s work at ODU speaks to each of these points, with an emphasis on guiding her students to success with a personal, empathetic approach to learning.

Andy Casiello, associate vice president for Digital Learning, says, “Our diverse student body is an integral part of what makes the university so successful, and our dedicated educators are at the forefront of helping those students succeed in both the classroom and where their degree takes them afterward.”

Chrystal is hard at work on her upcoming online courses, and we can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next!

Old Dominion University, located in the coastal city of Norfolk, is Virginia's entrepreneurial-minded doctoral research university and has been delivering education at a distance for 35 years. It offers more than 120 programs through ODUOnline in a variety of formats, allowing students to complete degree programs across the world. ODU serves more than 24,000 students annually by providing the same rigorous academics online and on-campus. Learn more about ODUOnline's programs by visiting