This year at SAMIBC2021 we are pleased to announce another of our presenters, Susan Eisner from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Professor Eisner will be presenting, Tales from the Trenches: I Was a Dinosaur … But Now I Can (Almost) Fly.
This presentation aligns with SAM’s 2021 Submission Track 3: Innovation Management, as its intended contribution is to share firsthand pedagogical innovations in Management Education designed and implemented by its author spurred by all-college transition to delivering learning virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The author is a tenured Professor of Management at an AACSB-accredited public 4-year School of Business, where s/he has taught for 26 years following years as a practicing manager. That teaching has earned the author the Thomases Award (President’s Award) for outstanding teaching, scholarship, and service among the College’s faculty, as well as selection as outstanding Business School teacher by its highest performing students. Until March 2020, that teaching was delivered wholly through traditional face-to-face pedagogy. The courses s/he delivers are upper-level undergraduate Management courses, each of whose class size is around 30 students. The College uses Canvas as its Learning Management System.
The author’s approach to course design evolved over the years to, about 10 years ago, crystallizing as creating an active, engaged learning environment in which students apply the knowledge provided by their required reading and viewing into a variety of immersive learning experiences ranging from hands on skill-building workshops, to shadowing and debriefing practitioner “doers” to themselves action planning and implementing as doers. Full period in-class midterm and endterm exams both motivated and assessed the absorption of knowledge provided by the required reading and viewing, while a semester-long intensive team project motivated and assessed course immersive learning components. The workload was rigorous, within a context intentionally developed and continually retooled to resonate with each student and also to attain and project relevance, legitimacy, usability, currency, and impact. Outcomes indicated those intentions were furthered, and also guided next iterations to conceive and pilot.
This formula took on, as it does for others, a rhythm that propelled that approach and enabled its ongoing retooling to progress creatively and receptively. Whenever overall curricular planning at the College contemplated transitions to distance learning, as it has been doing throughout higher education for some time, the author was consistently among those whose response was a certain and solid “not me … delivering learning this way is my contribution, it is innate to me and what I do best.”
But that was in the “before” time. How different our “before” conversations were, weren’t they?
In March 2020, the impact of the Covid-19 began to be known. Our College, like many, transitioned to delivering learning virtually. “Not me” was no longer an applicable response to those who sought to continue delivering learning for our students. That “not me” response was replaced with a single word: “How?”
The myriad of Workshops, articles, blogs, videos and forums that have subsequently, and thankfully, appeared evidence the widespread shared faculty experience which for many, including the most senior amongst us, was a first in a long time. We were suddenly in that place of newness … that place where we encounter the seismic unexpectedly … that place where the way forward is then to wonder “how?”
Many of the resources that have been provided to help formulate resulting pedagogy are appreciatively and knowingly supportive, share perspectives, and signal do’s and don’ts. They include proscriptions to reshape course delivery, motivate performance, reconfigure required materials, revision assessed assignments, increase structure, foster connections, attend to socioemotional facets, and post resources.
This presentation seeks to share some specific pedagogical mitigation the author has found conducive to retaining the active, engaged learning environment s/he is committed to continuing to provide despite the migration from traditional face-to-face physical classroom to virtual delivery. Interestingly, and perhaps importantly, s/he is finding that (just maybe) that active, engaged learning environment may be occurring even more robustly through this Covid-19 induced virtual paradigm.
The modalities s/he will share will come from among the following, determined by intent to share what most might find useful, and with sufficient specificity and substance, within the time allotted for presentations:
• Reconceived Connection/Engagement
• Reconstructed Midterm/Final “Exams”
• Reconstituted Final Project
• Retooled Workshops
• Recreated Extra Credit Opportunities
Reflecting the above, and as is continuing to be experienced by the author grounded like others in the eye-opening practice of loop closing, the presentation is entitled “Tales from the Trenches: I Was a Dinosaur … But Now I Can (Almost) Fly.”
Join us online to see this great paper and many more March 18 – 20, 2021. For registration information visit www.samnational.org/conference.