Keep Teaching Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Amy McMillan

Name: Amy McMillan

Department: Management

College: Business

Course: Organizational Behavior MGMT 6802

Course Description: This course covers topics like motivation, job satisfaction, communication, culture/climate, diversity, etc. We assess both written communication and spoken communication in this class.

In my face-to-face class I: I used cases and had students answers questions that demonstrated they could identify the problem, the solution, integrate external scholarly research, and think critically. Instead of the usual cases I am having them write a paper on how the pandemic has impacted organizational behaviors. They must apply course topics to what businesses are doing now to deal and cope with this new reality. I am still asking them to use scholarly journal articles. They should still be able to identify problems and potential solutions in this paper.

I did this because: I did this because it is relevant to their current situation. Most of them are working full time and many of them are in healthcare related fields. I believe this is particularly relevant to them right now. I did not think they would be interested in a case on pay for performance or how to deal with problem employees right now. It also took a lot of the stress of the students. They much more capable and able to write a paper about what they are experiencing right now.

Now I plan to: I am doing everything asynchronously. I had a quick 30 minute recorded Webex on Monday, the first night back, and I will meet them for a conference if they need it, but making it all asynchronous has taken a lot of stress off of the students.

I chose this strategy because: They are working students, most of them, and working overtime right now, so this made the most sense to me. It has taken a lot of stress off of them to not have to be in an online session at a specific time.

Anything else you would like to share: There was one assignment that I just switched in the face to face this semester. I was so thankful I changed the assignment! I normally have the students in the face to face class do an in person debate in teams. They sit in front of  each other and debate a topic related to the class. They have 6 minutes for the main argument and 3 minutes for the rebuttal. They have about 10 minutes to prepare the rebuttal after both teams present the main argument. I switched this to an online recorded presentation this semester. Students were very stressed out about this assignment and while in person presentations are important I found that the online students did a much better job because they had to practice and record the presentations. Because I had already switched before the semester started I had much less to worry about when putting the face to face class online. They were already accustomed to doing these presentations and recording them. Since they are recorded we take up much less bandwidth holding them synchronously. Plus the students working crazy hours and more than usual can watch them at any time. This was a real relief for me and for them!

These spotlights are meant to spark ideas as we work together as a campus community to continue to facilitate student learning and engagement, possibly in new and creative ways. Some things we do during these unusual circumstances will be extraordinary, some will be good, and some will be just fine for now.

As we share ideas and keep our eyes on our mission, thank you Pirate Faculty, for your commitment to just keep teaching!