Faculty and Staff Team Up to Develop LeBow’s Online Offerings
Zoom and Blackboard might be the past and present of online classes, but are they here to stay? A newly-convened group of faculty experts will seek to find out as they map the future of online instruction at LeBow.
During summer term, LeBow’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) named its inaugural cohort of Teaching Fellows: Chris Finnin, EdD, clinical professor of general business; Larry Duke, EdD, clinical professor of marketing; and Edward Arnheiter, PhD, clinical professor of decision sciences and MIS.
These three faculty members, in partnership with Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning Stacy Kline, CPA, Director of Instructional Technology Services Alan Hecht and other members of the Instructional Technology team, will collaborate on reimagining online education for both LeBow’s existing and future programs.
Kline sees the demand for online programs increasing and believes innovative solutions that are student-centered will better establish LeBow’s position in this growing market.
“We want to define what is the LeBow experience and create a roadmap for enhancing and improving the online experience,” she said. “We’re starting with brainstorming about strengths and weaknesses, best practices and opportunities and really thinking deeply about what a LeBow-branded online experience looks like.”
Finnin brings a strong perspective on the desires and demands of Gen Z to his role as a Teaching Fellow, due to his experience teaching BUSN 101 and 102 introductory courses to first-year students.
“While teaching online during the pandemic, I heard from a lot of students about what was working and what wasn’t,” he says. “For many of them, they had just spent their senior year of high school learning online, and I thought it was really important to take their feedback seriously.”
Finnin also has served on the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning advisory board and on the Program and Curricular Innovation Team for Drexel’s 2030 Strategic Plan Implementation, and those groups’ future-oriented focus has led him to look at what awaits current students: their future careers, and how their prospective employers are using technology for training and development.
Through focus groups and interviews with recent graduates from LeBow’s online undergraduate and graduate programs, Finnin wants to gather industry best-practices and apply them to classroom settings.
Duke, who teaches undergraduate and graduate students, has been teaching online for over a decade, and he learned early on that many typical features of in-person learning, particularly lecture-style delivery of course material, aren’t well-suited to online.
“I learned, under fire, that you have to have interaction, and that less is more,” he said.
In recent years, Duke has piloted the use of Yellowdig, an innovative online discussion tool, in his course, and he will serve as a Yellowdig “champion” during the 2022-23 academic year, encouraging other faculty members to try it out in their classes. He says he’s been encouraged by the level of interaction and engagement Yellowdig enables, especially as he works to incorporate simulations, cases and multimedia presentations and other key classroom components into the online experience.
The three fellows, along with Kline and LeBow’s Instructional Technology Services team, will spend the current academic year gathering data and feedback, as well as piloting and evaluating current and potential future platforms, as they work toward producing a demo or framework for a LeBow-branded online course.