Online teaching technologies helped many courses at the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis continue on schedule this week, despite a record-breaking ice storm that shut down the campus.
Kelley instructors used a range of technology that allows both instructors and students to communicate freely using interactive video presentations, spreadsheets, presentation software and other high tech tools.
The interactivity and convenience of these alternatives were well received by students, faculty members reported Thursday. Some instructors also use this online technology during their office hours, to interact with students remotely and provide them guidance outside of class time.
“I teach undergraduates, and I know many of them are parents, often single parents, whose children are at home due to weather as well,” said Elizabeth Malatestinic, senior lecturer in human resource management. “Using this method, the students can download (lectures) and work with them at their convenience.”
“As long as students can manage their time effectively and not fall behind in their studies, online delivery affords students a greater degree of flexibility in their studies,” said Glen Larsen, a Kelley professor of finance. “This can be particularly important if students are working and/or have a family.”
Peggy Daniels Lee, clinical associate professor of operations and supply chain management, said her students enjoyed the opportunity to deliver group presentations online this week. She also instructs some of her courses in the virtual world of Second Life, where avatars and virtual interaction are used.
“I normally do not allow them to talk since it can be chaotic, but since a group was presenting I allowed them to control the screen,” Daniels Lee said of her courses this week. “It worked very well. The students wanted to know if we could do this more often.”
Mark Ippolito, senior lecturer in operations management, had a déjà vu moment during the campus closure this week. Last summer, the business building closed for an afternoon due to a chemical spill. He recorded an online lecture slated for that afternoon—the same lecture he was scheduled to give this week.
Todd Roberson, a senior lecturer in finance, used software to allow students to input numbers in financial equations remotely. The entire presentations, including charts and graphs, adjusted in real-time, allowing students to receive immediate feedback on their calculations.
Curtis Wesley, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, coordinates his class to allow for student groups to collectively use online resources and software throughout his courses.
“This allows them to practice working in virtual teams, which is more prevalent in our business environment (today),” said Wesley. “This continues my course theme of coping with ambiguity in making decisions and shows them the relevance of their favorite forms of communication.”
The storm shut down all but emergency travel in the home county of Eric Johnson, associate professor of accounting. Despite being confined to his home, his classes have proceeded as scheduled because of his use of these systems. “This has worked very well. Student feedback was very positive about the online learning experience,” Johnson said.
Several Kelley faculty members have experience in using this technology because they teach in the school’s online MBA program, Kelley Direct.
“What really helped us deal with this is the experience in teaching Kelley Direct. Moving a single session online is pretty easy when you have experience teaching a whole course using the technology,” said Kyle Anderson, assistant professor of business economics. Philip Cochran, Associate Dean of Indianapolis operations for the Kelley School, praised the faculty for going beyond expectations in providing options for students and their families crippled by the storm.
“With virtually no warning, over twenty members of our faculty were able to use a variety of high-tech tools to deliver their classes to hundreds of students who were unable to travel to campus and many of whom had to stay home with their children,” Cochran said. “Kelley students were able to attend and participate in their classes in the safety and comfort of their homes.”
By preparing students to explore the most up-to-date software, students and instructors are given many more options during the semester, both in and out of the classroom.