Mary Dunn Shares Online Teaching Strategies for the Traditional Classroom

Mary B. Dunn, Assistant Professor of Management
Mary B. Dunn, Assistant Professor of Management

Mary B. Dunn, Assistant Professor of Management, is one of several panelists for the 2017 Teaching Symposium Session, “Online Teaching Strategies for the Traditional Classroom”.  Since Mary can’t make the session, she has offered her remarks in the following essay:

Four Tools I Adopted in My Traditional Classrooms After I Taught On-Line

Good afternoon! My name is Mary Dunn. I am an Assistant Professor in the Management Department in the Munday School of Business. I teach traditional undergraduate classes as well as non-traditional, blended courses for undergraduate and graduate students. I developed and taught an MBA course in the low-residency format at St. Edward’s.

The bulk of my teaching experience has been in the face-to-face format, but I have developed my on-line and blended teaching skills considerably over the past several years. In all of my classrooms (traditional and on-line), I take a relational approach (e.g. Parker, Hall, & Kram, 2008) to learning and building social capital (e.g. Burt, 2000; Coleman, 1990; Granovetter, 1973, 1974), so students are more likely to learn from one another and engage actively with the content. When I teach on-line, one of my primary goals is to create an on-line learning community that is just as interactive, collaborative, and cohesive as those in my traditional classrooms since interaction facilitates positive learning outcomes (Swan, 2002).

Initially, I didn’t expect that my traditional classrooms would gain much from experiences teaching on-line, but I was wrong. I have incorporated several new practices in my traditional classes that help me make my classes more collaborative and interactive. In particular, I find it easier to incorporate technology to flip the classroom, respond to unexpected changes, promote students’ learning from one another in shared reflection, and provide additional feedback.

Using Panopto to Create Materials to “Flip” the Classroom More Often

When there are opportunities to bring activities on-line (or relegate them to outside of our meeting time to save time for more value-added learning activities in the classroom), I do so. For example, I tend to “flip” the classroom more often by assigning videos (and even creating short videos with an explanation of key concepts and theories) for students to view before coming to class. This frees up more time for us to perform experiential activities or analyze complex cases in class that requires application of the concepts and theories assigned. In the business school, we’ve been “flipping” classes long before that term was coined, but I tend to find myself doing this more often after teaching on-line. Specifically, I use Panopto to record myself and my slides. I make these videos available to my students through Canvas (under “Panopto Recordings” folder). Hint: Also you can use Panopto to record and share student presentations in class and save yourself hours of time uploading and formatting videos.

Using Canvas Conferences to Hold Class Anywhere at Any Time

With Canvas Conferences, I am able to hold class anytime, anywhere. If weather cancels class at the university or there is an unavoidable emergency, I can get on to Canvas Conferences and hold a meeting. With my MBA classes, I have weekly “office hours” that I hold on Canvas Conferences and record using Big Blue Button. I turn on my web camera and microphone, but students mute theirs. Typically, I present a few slides that cover the key concepts for the day, I describe the related assignments, and then I open up the floor for questions. Students type their questions either publicly (so all can see) or privately (so only I can see). I respond to all public questions verbally. I answer the private questions off-line. This model for holding meetings would work well with undergraduates but may take additional explanation if they are unfamiliar with the technology or process. It is a great way to hold additional office hours with multiple students before an assignment is due as well.

Using Canvas Discussions in Traditional Classes So Students Can Share Learning

After teaching my hybrid MBA class for the first time, I decided to incorporate Canvas Discussions into some of my traditional undergraduate classes. Specifically, I use Canvas Discussions in my Negotiations course (a traditional, face-to-face course). Each week, I have students reflect on their key lessons learned after conducting an actual negotiation in class. After students negotiate, they receive feedback about how they performed and they see how they performed relative to others. Often they are able to see how processes (including mind-set) differed from their peers as well. This can be an opportunity for great learning through reflecting on the differences in their processes and outcomes. Then, I require students to reflect on their performance in a Canvas Discussion posting before the next class period.

There are several benefits to having this reflection on-line instead of on paper. First, students interact with each other in a meaningful way by reading others’ key learning points. This enhances all students’ learning. Second, having the reflections in Canvas provides a repository of knowledge for students to draw from at the end of the semester when they reflect on what they have learned in the class overall.

Using Canvas to Collect and Grade Assignments

Although there is nothing I like less than sitting in front of a computer and grading students’ papers, I have become more proficient at it after teaching on-line. In all of my traditional classes, I have students turn in the majority (if not all) of their written assignments on-line via Canvas. I save paper and ink. When teaching in Angers, France during the Fall of 2016, I graded 100% of my assignments on-line via Canvas. I did not print out a single assignment, and I was able to provide valuable feedback in documents. Students did not have to carry the papers back to Austin; they could store them electronically and have them when they returned home.

References

Burt, R. 2000. The network structure of social capital. In B. M. Staw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 22.

Coleman, J.S. 1990. Foundations of social theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Granovetter, M. 1973. The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78, 1360-1380.

Granovetter, M. 1974. Getting a Job. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

Parker, P., Hall, D.T., Kram, K.E. 2008. Peer coaching: A relational process for accelerating career learning. Academy of Management Learning and Education. 7, 4: 487-503.

Swan, K. 2002. Building learning communities in online courses: The importance of interaction. Education Communication and Information, 2, 1: 23-49.

About Rebecca Davis

Rebecca Frost Davis Director of Instructional and Emerging Technology Rebecca Frost Davis joined St. Edward’s in July 2013 as Director of Instructional and Emerging Technology, where she provides leadership in the development of institutional vision with respect to the use of technology in pursuit of the university’s educational mission and collaborates with offices across campus to create and execute strategies to realize that vision. Instructional Technology helps faculty transform and adapt new digital methods in teaching and research to advance the essential learning outcomes of liberal education. Previously, Dr. Davis served as program officer for the humanities at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), where she also served as associate director of programs. Prior to her tenure at NITLE, she was the assistant director for instructional technology at the Associated Colleges of the South Technology Center and an assistant professor of classical studies at Rhodes College, Denison University, and Sewanee: The University of the South. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. (summa cum laude) in classical studies and Russian from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Davis is also a fellow with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE). As a NITLE Fellow, Dr. Davis will develop a literature review relevant to intercampus teaching, which will cover contextual issues such as team-teaching, teaching through videoconferencing, and collaboration; a survey of intercampus teaching at NITLE member institutions; and several case studies of intercampus teaching at liberal arts colleges, including interviews with faculty, students, support staff, and administrators. This work will be summarized in a final report or white paper to be published by NITLE. At Rebecca Frost Davis: Liberal Education in a Networked World, (http://rebeccafrostdavis.wordpress.com/) Dr. Davis blogs about the changes wrought by new digital methods on scholarship, networking, and communication and how they are impacting the classroom. In her research, she explores the motivations and mechanisms for creating, integrating, and sustaining digital humanities within and across the undergraduate curriculum.
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