The Still, Stiff Silent Ones
Say Hi to Manny and Quinn:
Our Still, Stiff, Silent Campus Cheerleaders
Newer members of the COB team may not have met these two, so here they are, ready to help promote your program or project. Quinn, right, and Manny are available as ambassadors of just about anything important that’s happening on campus. As you can imagine, with their drop-dead good looks and stamina in hot weather, their social calendar fills up fast, so if you are interested in their help, get on their calendar.
“They do attract lots of attention, and students are real fans,” notes Patricia, who cheerfully introduced me to the pair before slipping into her spokesperson role as Manny and Quinn just stood there. Her partner Fernando shared their fashion secret: “They dress well because Student Life & Leadership representatives dress them. Sometimes sponsors of the program they're representing give us the clothes." And guess what, Manny & Quinn can help you, or your students, promote your event or cause. For more information, contact Shady Makur, or anyone else in Student Life & Leadership at 530-898-5396 to see if Manny and Quinn’s calendars are open for YOUR event. By the way, I think Manny and Quinn should have their very own Facebook Fan page.
First Class of the Day Eclipsed by, Guess What, An Eclipse
And not one of those fly-by-night affairs either. Students across campus turning their attention toward the enthralling mystery of the universe was a sight to behold and a day to remember. Those of us with 10 a.m classes were able to meet the other side of the students on Wednesday.
Looking for a Good (Class) Time? Call Carol
Whenever I walk past Carol Trivedi’s classes, I see students engaging one another, often laughing, and focused in their groups. I asked her for some ideas on how she gets the class to work in happy teams while challenging them at the same time. It turns out she has quite a few techniques in her bookbag of tricks. Here’s one: She helps students meet those outside their immediate preferred vicinity through passing out cards from a typical card deck. She orders the cards by suite, then walks around class, passing them randomly. Students group according the suites. After several classes and rounds, students can then choose a permanent group after having had the experience of meeting and working with many others. This is just one of several ideas she has to bring novelty and new opportuities to class. If you ever find yourself in need of a creative assist like this, I highly recommend Carol as a source.
College of Business Faculty Share Their Experiences Teaching Online Summer Courses
While there are no current plans to broaden online course offerings beyond the summer semester, this summary of instructors’ thoughts on their experience teaching online offers insight, as well as hints for continuously improving any class environment.
But first: Why Summer online classes?
Associate Dean Ken Chapman acknowledges that many students face constraints in meeting their learning goals over the summer. For example, they may juggle working increased hours at the job with family responsibilities. How to fill the void? Ken notes that in this instance, excellent online classes can go a long way to help these students. First, the good:
As David Rahn points out, these classes are attractive to students who must work all summer. To complicate matters, some students are managing variable work schedules and class work year-round, so the occasional online class helps them to realistically meet their responsibilities.
Arash Nagahban taught MINS 301 over the summer. “My class performance was in line with the regular semesters,” he says. Quality and student interest was high. He’d wanted the course load to be reasonable as it adhered to the original scope of the class, so Arash added a “recommended schedule for student completion” in addition to mandatory assignments, which helped students get their work done well and on time. He adds, “I enjoyed my summer session course….and I have to thank Bill Maligie, the initial builder of this course, for his ad-hoc assistance with the minor tech issues that occasionally occur with any project like this. “
Emily Huang taught FINA 307 online over the summer. Her aim was to make content “as rich as, if not richer than, an in-person class.” To accomplish this, she used Camtasia to create an entire set of instructional videos, which provided narration to all lecture slides. “I made 40 videos, with lengths ranging from 6 to 23 minutes.” The variance in time enabled Emily to explain more challenging concepts. Students could pause the video to work through problems on their own, and go back as many times as needed. She notes that setting expectations for online courses is important. “Online courses require self-discipline, motivation, and more time than face-to-face classes to achieve the same learning outcomes. Students who stayed in the course understood that well.”
Suzanne Zivnuska agrees that the up-front workload for an online course is much heavier than a standard course, involving pedagogical decision-making and structuring the class. Still, she found it enjoyable. Pluses for her include “really good, high-quality interactions with students, including lots of coaching and developmental conversations.” Her observations mirror others' in having lost some students at the start because of the course’s work-intensive nature in comparison with online courses elsewhere. But her students actively engaged with the work, though the online environment seemed not as conducive to high-quality team deliverables and written assignments in the traditional class environment. Despite such challenges, Suzanne was recently visited by a student who told her that she’d loved Suzanne’s online class, and had changed her option to HR as a result. “I LOVED that class!” the student said. “Thank you so much! It was my first class at Chico State and it made me so excited for my semester here!” Suzanne concluded that overall the online environment was “more effective than I thought it would be.”
Damon Aiken, like his students, appreciated the flexibility of the summer offering. “My class went well. Grades were slightly higher than other on-campus courses I’ve taught, (though) not completely out of line…I agree that summer (and winter-session) students seem to take it more seriously. “
Overall, what did those responding think about the challenges of online courses? Downsides include:
Life and online teaching become very blended; not always a problem, but it can be as students expect speedy return communications to questions they send day and night, despite efforts to corral them into a narrower time space.
Very high levels of student engagement could be difficult to achieve. Instructors generally had ideas, though, regarding how to address this, and suggested further experimentation as opportunities arose.
Online publishers could be more connected with our technologies. In a similar vein, there is always a need for good technical advice to be readily available to those who need it.
Proctorio is an online exam proctoring system. It worked well for some in the online course, and was less satisfactory to others. Here again, ideas about how to work with it more effectively surfaced among the online instructor group.
What was unanimous was the instructors’ overall satisfaction with the experience, despite the challenges they worked through to achieve excellent results. Within the College of Business, it seems, ideas abound. And where there’s a will, there is always a way.
Tell it, Eugene.
Curt DeBerg: Our Resident Worldly Man of Ideas
It is very hard to keep up with Curt, who travels the world, enriching it through his involvement with young entrepreneurs. In addition to his work at the helm of SAGE, Students for the Advancement of Global Leadership, he also spends time generating ideas by which we, too, can benefit. In his latest email to us, he shared information that worked for him as he “flipped” his class. This resulted in cost-savings for students, and a more enriching class experience. See his email in its entirety in the IDEAS AT WORK section.
His offer is accompanied within that section by a link to Colleen Robb’s outstanding site on teaching entrepreneurship – worthwhile reading for any of us at the COB.
If you have a blog, let us know and we'll post a link. It can be personal, if you'd like to share. If you want to start one and aren't sure how, clicking here will help, or ask one of your friendly colleagues for hands-on help. People blog for many reasons. Here's mine: I like connecting with people, and use the discipline of blogging to peruse ideas at length that might otherwise be lost.
That’s it for now. Keep on doing what you do, and keep in touch. As David Agoff says, “Every person is, in some way, my better, from whom I can learn something I didn’t know before.” Thanks David, for always keeping it real, and helping us stay in touch in your special way.
(This is not David, but Game of Throne fans have already figured that out).