I teach three sections of Managerial Finance I, otherwise known as FIN 340. Two are face to face, one is an online only presentation. I started teaching the face to face class in 1998. I started teaching the online class in 2016. Even though I have been teaching the content for many years, trying to figure out how to deliver the course in an online only format was a challenge. Then realizing that while running the classes simultaneously, I would have to strive to keep parity: that is where the challenge really began.
No matter which delivery of the class a student participates in, I want students to be ready for their future classes and for applying the concepts in their own personal lives.
Taking the Quality Matters course helped me in thinking through not only what I needed for delivering the online version of the course, but it also helped me become more purposeful in how I delivered the face to face class. Defining course level objectives and then objectives for each Learning Module was my first step in rethinking my course content.
Exams: I didn’t want to lose my ability to do partial credit grading on exams. Thus, the online version has some ‘essay’ areas to show calculations.
Quizzes: I decided to implement quizzes entirely online for both my face to face courses and my online course. That way, parity was easily maintained. Plus, they didn’t use up class time in the face to face classes, and I designed the quizzes so they could be machine graded.
Discussions: I ended up implementing Discussion Boards entirely online for both presentations of the course, too, with the same advantages achieved for the Discussion Boards as were achieved for the quizzes.
Current events: I didn’t want to lose the classroom interaction with current events. Thus, I still have the face to face classes present them while the online course is submitting those, too, on Blackboard much like a Discussion Board. Next semester, I plan to have my online class interact with one another on the current event topics and/or discussions to add the element of parity to those assignments.
Delivery: FIN 340 is about concepts and calculations. The delivery is still evolving for me, and that is where I will continue to lean on the expertise of the Office of Online Learning and my publishers. I am still perfecting the delivery of lectures. I am striving to get more visuals. I paid a former student who is studying both business and course development to prepare PowerPoint slides from the notes he had taken in class. After meeting with my publisher representative this week, I found that the publishers are realizing there is a need for online resources, and they are delivering more online content with more textbook choices every year.
Rigor: I am also trying to find the balance for the students. Some are feeling like the course is not rigorous enough, yet I don’t want to overload them to where they feel the work load is not manageable.
Due dates: I have a little bit different approach. Instead of weekly assignments, I give assignments based on Learning Modules. The students can somewhat pace themselves around a little more flexible time frame. Yet, I tie the online time frame to the face to face class schedule. Every assignment has a defined beginning and ending time. It’s just not weekly task oriented.
If you are reading this and struggling with parity, I would challenge you to not be afraid to rethink and rework your face to face classroom style while you are creating your online style for content and delivery. By evolving the face to face class to include online assignments, it’s allowed me to offer more graded opportunities in class sizes that can range from 60 – 90 per section without a designated grader or graduate assistant.