FIN 340: Finance

The course that I will be delivering in hybrid format in the Fall term is FIN 340: Finance. This course is required of all Finance major, and represents the first Finance course that these majors would take as part of the major.The course provides students with a set of tools and basic theory related to the primary areas of Finance; and focuses on having students understand that many decisions and analyses in Finance rely on the application of the same set of tools. For example, basic stock valuation is simply an application of the time value of money; as are any capital budgeting decisions that corporations make.

In order for students to be successful in the course, they must (1) understand, from a mathematical perspective, how to apply the various tools/equations; (2) understand theory that underlies each of the tools, for example, they should be able to justify the use of a particular value for a variable within an equation; (3) understand the results of the application of these tools; and (4) understand the limitations of the tools for a particular application.

I taught this class in the Fall of AY16-17 and also a number of other times a few years back. I typically spent approximately half the class time providing students with a theoretical understanding of a particular topic, followed by a description of the relevant tools and equations, followed by numerical examples. I used both power point and the board (to carry out examples) to accomplish this.

In the hybridized version of the course, I intend to develop short videos or screencasts capturing the theory, and going over the tools/equations. Students will be expected to review these in addition to readings prior each week. I will then have students complete numerical assignments related to the topic, followed by a short quiz to gauge their understanding of the topic. I also expect to use a feedback tool from 100X that the College of Business is considering to allow students to ‘guide’ the face-to-face sessions. This will represent the weekly online component of the course. I will use the results of the  quizzes and student feedback to adapt my face-to-face lecture, with the focus being on going over numerical examples, and providing students with in-class time to go over problems again as well.

In a nutshell, this describes my intent.

 

 

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MGMT 453/553: Human Resources Management

I am hybridizing my HR Management course, which is required of seniors who are 1) Management majors in Business, 2) Construction Engineering Management majors in Engineering, and 3) Health Management majors in CPHHS. In addition, as you can see, it is a slash course, so a few MBA students take it as well.

The purpose of this course is to give students an overview of the role of HR in organizations, which includes recruiting, selection, training, EEO regulations, safety, collective bargaining, and so forth. As such, it is a concept-heavy course, but application of these concepts is critical. Learn about interviews – then conduct interviews. Learn about performance appraisals – then conduct performance appraisals. You get the idea, and why a 50-50 hybrid should be a good vehicle for effective delivery of this content.

I currently lecture quite a bit, but I do not use powerpoint or textbook. I have created notes outlines, and the students take notes on these as I lecture. They read a few relevant articles from the business press before each class, and these are weaved into the lecture and used as discussion points.

In this first hybrid effort, I am going to follow Cub’s “keep it simple starting” advice. I plan to turn my lectures into shorter, bite sized podcasts (trimming some material as I do to avoid created a class and a half). The notes outlines will be edited to match the podcasts, and those will be delivered online. In class, there will be a weekly big quiz/small exam to test for comprehension of the online material, then a short recap/discussion of that material, and then a hands-on exercise. The quiz/exam piece is what I’ve had the most trouble adapting to this format.

In addition, one of the main components of this course always has been an online simulation that puts students teams in the role of HR manager for a medium-sized firm, and the teams compete with one another throughout the term. This portion of the course will not change.

I’ll stop there for now. Any feedback or questions are welcome!

~Anthony

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BA 354, Managing Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

I am creating a hybrid version of BA 354, Managing Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility.  This course is becoming a college-wide core requirement for all business majors starting Fall term 2017. As such, the course is going to fulfill the writing intensive course requirement for all business majors. This includes majors in accounting, business information systems, finance, general business, management, and marketing. In addition, there are degree options in entrepreneurship, international business, and hospitality management. As the only undergraduate ethics course offered in the College and because of its designation as the sole writing-intensive course in the College, BA 354 is an important part of the College curriculum.

I think that the hybrid format fits particularly well with the course content because ethics and sustainability are topics that are best understood through a combination individual study and self-reflection coupled with in-class discussions. In addition, many of the examples that I use in class have related videos and/or podcasts that do a nice job of explaining the complexity of the ethical or environmental dilemmas. These materials could be viewed online ahead of class and then discussed in depth during the next in-class meeting. This is precisely the model that I am intending to adopt for this hybrid course. Each week students will be assigned one chapter from the textbook to read prior to our face-to-face meeting. In addition, they will be viewing/listening to various videos/podcasts that present current ethical and/or environmental issues that are relevant to the content discussed in the text. Students will also be completing learning journals that have prompts that correspond to each of the online learning activities they will be participating in. The final step in their preparation for our weekly face-to-face meetings will be participating in an online discussion on one of the central themes for the week. Then our face-to-face meeting will be used to integrate all that they have been learning online and will use open-ended questions to engage students in discussions intended to broaden and deepen their thinking about the module’s content.

In terms of learning outcome evaluation, students will be completing a major writing assignment, the Personal Ethical Action Plan, that is turned in at three different points during the term and extensive feedback is provided via Canvas each time they turn it in. The purpose of the assignment is for students to engage in self-analysis and discovery that will allow them to face ethical dilemmas having considered ahead of time how they will respond. The assignment includes several values exploration exercises, analysis of some of the experiences they’ve had to date when their values conflict, establishment of a professional purpose statement, and an assessment of their ability to speak up when their values are challenged. There will also be an essay-based finale examination that hits on the primary learning objectives of the course. Central to this final examination is utilizing a nine-step decision making process to arrive at a course of action when faced with a challenging ethical dilemma.

I have been testing out some of my hybrid modules on my current students and have been using their feedback to make adjustments to the modules so that at least some of the wrinkles will have been ironed out by the time the course goes live in the fall. I look forward to hearing any feedback that you have for improving my course. Thanks.

Ted Paterson, Assistant Professor of Management

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PH 205: Solar System Astronomy Hybrid course in a nutshell

PH 205 is a course that describes the content, structure and formation of the Solar system. It is the first of a three term sequence, where the second and third courses are PH 206: Stars and Stellar Evolution and PH 207: Galaxies, Quasars and Cosmology. These classes do not depend on each other, and are taught as stand-alone courses. I taught this sequence of courses several times as a lecture class, and then as an online class, and am now developing the courses in the hybrid format.

I expect the enrollment to start out at 30 – 50 students. Since it is a science class with a lab component, most of my students come from programs that require such a class, and are mainly non-science majors. They come from all walks, from photography, business, forestry, human development, the arts, etc. About a fifth of the class who are physics majors who do not need the class as such, but have an avid interest in astronomy. Some folks who are not science majors have a long-standing interest in astronomy as well, and have learned much from educational tv and internet sources. This makes the class very bimodal in background.

The format of this four credit course is that we meet for three hours a week, either TR for 80 minutes or MWF for 50 minutes. The lab portion of the course is done online, supported by in-class introduction.

When I developed the Ecampus version of the course, I transformed my previous teaching material from PowerPoints to webpages. The course webpages are not meant to take the place of a textbook, but fulfill more than what my PowerPoint lectures did. I realized that when I looked online at PowerPoint slides for say, a research talk, they were hard to follow without all of the connecting tissue that is provided by a speaker. In producing my webpages, I basically rebuilt my PowerPoint lectures with newer images and graphics, and wrote in paragraph form the content of what I would have said. I included interactive simulations and short videos whenever possible, keeping a strong eye on quality.

When I lecture, I work from my webpages. I like to spend roughly a third of the time lecturing, and the rest of the time doing some kind of interactive activities. I have found that including an online lab component can be harder to manage than I had anticipated. It does not work well if it is simply “tacked on” to the rest of the course as a separate entity. Students tend to do poorly on the labs and fall behind in them. The physics department policy for courses with labs is typically that is a student does not receive a passing grade in at least seven of the eight labs, they receive an F for the whole course. It is important to introduce the methods and concepts used in the labs during the lecture time. I often work through short exercises in class that are similar to what students will be doing in lab, so that when they attempt the lab, it already looks somewhat familiar.

Other in-class activities include short group-work projects, often built on developing conceptual understanding of physical mechanisms underlying the systems. Very often, students entering my class think they will spend time doing things like learning to identify constellations in the sky. I do ask them to do this in a Night Sky Journal, but for the most part, I teach astronomy as an applied physics course. Many of the processes are complicated and multi-faceted, not easily learned through memorization. A good group exercise involves people talking through a complicated series of steps where one mechanism causes the next, which causes the next, etc. They are encouraged to use whatever forms they like, including drawings, bullet points, mapping or other graphic methods.

I have been working to build a series of tutorials to provide another avenue for students to learn the material online. The tutorials often take the form of voice-over PowerPoints with series of self-check questions along the way. I introduce the tutorials in class, and make them available via Canvas in my weekly modules and as links on my webpages. My students soon learn that several of the homework questions are very hard to answer if they have not worked through the tutorials, but easy if they do go through the process.

Integrating real-time discussion in class has been very fruitful in my hybrid course. Partly, I use a Just-In-Time approach where they students are asked a question prior to class, where they participate by posting in a discussion board and replying to each other. The discussion board loses a few minutes after the start of class. If there are points to discuss, I open a new discussion board and the students interact online for four minutes or so. I find that they have gotten to know each other very well in a short time by integrating their online presence with in-class discussions. In general, they are more open to verbally discussing material than previous classes I have taught. Even shy people seem to be open to speaking up in the group if they have been texting each other. This is an experiment that has turned out very well, and I am thinking of ways to incorporate real-time texting in more novel ways.

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H425: Foundations of Epidemiology, new and improved.

H425 is required for undergraduate public health majors and radiation health physics majors, among others.  Additionally, some students planning allied health careers (e.g., medical school, physical therapy school, etc.) take it as an elective.

EPIDEMIOLOGY (root:  epidemic) is the study of the distribution and determinants of health in human populations, and the application of that study to improve human health.  In other words, if we can figure out why these people get sick, but those people don’t, then that gives us a clue as to how future cases of the disease might be prevented.

H425 is currently set up as lecture/recitation.  All students (~150 per term) enroll in a 1-hour large lecture that happens on Mondays, and also for a 2-hour small group (n=25-30) recitation that occurs sometime later in the week. To no one’s surprise, students and instructors all quite like the small groups, and no one likes the big lecture. Room for improvement?  You bet.

To “hybridize” this class, we are moving lecture material online, and keeping the small groups essentially untouched.  Thus, beginning Winter 2018, students will be responsible for weekly online/self-taught material–the material that used to be covered in assigned readings and large lecture will now be delivered via variety of online methods (readings, videos, mini lectures, Canvas discussions, etc).  Students will be expected to complete each week’s online material by Monday night.

Then the small group in-person classes will continue as they have been–why fix something that isn’t broken?  In these small groups (taught by TAs; they meet T, W, or Th), students do a variety of activities to reinforce learning:

  1. practice problems (in small groups, and answers subsequently discussed as a whole class)
  2. article discussions (as a whole–with only 25-30 students, this has proven viable if TAs are willing to call on quieter students)
  3. other small group tasks followed by reporting back to the the larger group, with discussion (e.g., creating a questionnaire to measure X, during the week when we’re discussing measurement, or designing a study to determine the effect of Q on W, during the weeks when we discuss study design, etc)
  4. Q&A about that week’s lecture (going forward:  online material), if students are having trouble with a particular concept

Having taught this class now more than a dozen times, I believe that the hybrid environment will truly be the best of both worlds for H425.

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Rachael and Don’s ECE 441

Don and Rachael’s Hybrid Course: ECE 441

Our course is an electrical and computer engineering course that will be offered to all seniors hoping to graduate in the spring of 2018. We will likely have an enrollment of about 150 students and the course is first in a three-course series that will span fall, winter, and spring, and will cover the whole of the senior design project cycle, culminating in the presentation at the Engineering Expo in the spring. We are actually planning on keeping the same hybrid course design throughout the duration of the course series, for the sake of consistency. The class will meet face-to-face on Fridays from 10-11:50am.

Online learning:

Students will find all of the important documentation needed for the course in the Canvas CMS, and they will be guided through modules that are organized around “chunks” of information, activities, and major assignments that will help them to meet the course outcomes. We have actually organized the entire year into these modules, and the fall term will include 4 of them. The modules will begin by being sequential (e.g. “Start here”), but soon starting with the second module, students will find that there are recurring or larger (to-be-revised) types of assignments that won’t conclude when they move on the next module but will instead need attention until the end of the course. The modules will include pages that present outcomes for each module, videos, outside links, key information about content and assignments, and quizzes to check for understanding. There will also be discussion board assignments included, in would students will divide themselves up into groups and decide which discussion board to participate in for credit, reflective surveys, and peer review activities, all online.

Connection between online an face-to-face:

The home page of the course Canvas site will include the syllabus. The syllabus presents information about hybrid course organization, including a mix-map and reasoning behind course design and also course outcomes. In addition, the (embedded Google doc) syllabus also contains a schedule where three columns lay out the face-to-face meeting activities, online prep, and assignments due. Rather than being a redundant table, this schedule complements the Canvas modules by laying out what we will do in the face to face session each week and indicating the Canvas modules and assignments the pertain directly to the prep for the face-to-face meeting. The table also indicates what deliverables students will need to be prepared to present in class. Additionally, there will be a link to a continually updated Google presentation used to guide the face-to-face activities and discussion in Canvas that students can reference if they wish.

Face-to-Face Session:

We will work to ensure that everything done in the face-to-face session is indeed better delivered face-to-face than online. We will have interactive discussions where students can ask questions as they come up and the entire class will have the opportunity to benefit from the information provided in response, rather than having to scroll through a Q&A forum. We will also be presenting relevant technical problems/cases for students to work through with their teams and to present solutions to in real time, where they will benefit from seeing other possible solutions and getting integrated support on communicating their solutions to their peers, and we will ask students to prepare pieces of their project to present to the class based on the project timeline, and teams will be selected to present their work to each other, followed by a Q&A period. Finally, we’ll also have important guest speakers with Q&A during class time and face-to-face team-manager and team-instructor meetings throughout the term and the year.

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A Big Nutshell of Leadership Collaborative II

The purpose of Leadership Collaborative II (LCII) is to equip participants as collaborative leaders who advance OSU’s Vision, Mission & Values through the integration of OSU values with emergent, collaborative and transformative leadership skills.

Three primary learner outcomes facilitate the realization of this purpose:

  1. Cultivation of a deep understanding of OSU’s values, e.g., diversity, equity and inclusion.
  2. Development of collaborative and transformational Leadership skills.
  3. Creation & implementation of integrative strategies in service of OSU’s Vision, Mission & Values.

LCII is structured as a hybrid Professional Learning Community (PLC) in that the course integrates online and in-class learning activity with on-the-job practice.  Additionally, the course is a hybrid of a PLC and a traditional class.  Predetermined content is delivered & formal learning strategies are implemented.  Learners determine the depth and breadth of their involvement.  And, they direct their learning in collaboration with their supervisors.

Learner characteristics include:

  1. self-directed, active and engaged learners who manage their own learning process.
  2. LCI: Emergence graduates, and practitioners of LCI skills.
  3. demonstrated commitment to advancing the OSU Vision, Mission and Values with emergent leadership skills.

The class will meet every 3-4 weeks, starting winter term and perhaps continuing through summer term.  I anticipate starting a new class each academic year.  New LCI graduates will be invited to join continuing participants.

Three types of content are addressed in LCII.  First, leadership, with an emphasis on collaboration and transformation skills.  Second, OSU values, including, but not limited to, diversity, inclusion and social justice.  And third, learning, including integration, learning breakdowns, facilitating learning, and skills transfer.

As a hybrid class, learning activities will flow between three venues, i.e., Canvas, the classroom and the work site.  A similar structure for the integration of the three venues will be used for both primary course components, i.e., values integration and leadership skill development.  The structure is demonstrated herein utilizing the values integration course component.

Learners conduct online research and complete a self-assessment to learn about the assigned value and its integration at OSU, and to analyze & evaluate connections between the value and their leadership work.

A content expert joins the LC, starting with participation in the online discussion group, wherein questions or comments about the value are discussed.

The subsequent class session focuses on integration of the value into the learner’s leadership activities.  The content expert engages with learners in dialogue about the value, and brainstorms how to integrate it into the learner’s leadership work.  Learners then create Action Plans to integrate the value into specific leadership actions and to practice on-the-job.

Leaners implement the Action Plan on-the-job, in collaboration with their supervisors.  During implementation, they review efforts, reflect on lessons, and modify their practice accordingly.  They share experiences, troubleshoot and share insights on the discussion board.

After implementation, learners complete a formal Review, Reflect & Deepen (RRD) process to review efforts, reflect on lessons, deepen learning, and plan next steps.  They share the RRD privately with me online and share insights, best practices, lessons and plans on the discussion board.

At the next class, we open with a formal RRD process wherein learners share their process, consult with each other, deepen their understanding and determine next steps in their learning process.

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Integrating an Integrative Strategic Experience

The title is a play off the course that I am hybridizing this spring for delivery in the fall. The course is BA 466 – Integrative Strategic Experience. This is the capstone course for undergraduates in the College of Business here at Oregon State University.

First, a little background about this “experience”. When I started at OSU eight years ago, this course was both the writing intensive and capstone course for the college. That was a lot of weight to carry — it was case-based and was taught using a strategic management textbook with a series of progressively complex cases about businesses and problems or opportunities they encountered. At the same time the college decided the WIC should happen earlier in a business student’s education, the course coordinator determined strategy is better taught using a simulation… hence, the word “experience” in the title.

Micromatic

Micromatic Industry Central

Micromatic offers Solo Practice, Team Play, and Solo Exam modes.

The simulation (Micromatic) pits teams of three or four students against each other in an industry. Firms in the industry manufacture a fictitious product and sell it globally. Students make decisions related to marketing, operations, and finance using strategic management principles. Complications are introduced through the use of two currencies (dollars and euros) in three geographic regions. Companies must manage a workforce and a salesforce, position their product, manage inventory, decide where to locate plants.

The upside of this sophisticated simulation is its realism; markets can shrink or expand independently of each other, buyer loyalty is nonexistent, running out of cash is severely punished with expensive emergency loans. The downside is that it takes a lot of practice. I estimate 10-20 hours to learn the software (depending on the student) before they can apply strategic management theory to make and execute a business-level strategy. It is nearly impossible to fake a knowledge of strategy in this environment.

Going Online, Then Hybrid

In fall 2015, the college began offering a fully online course in Business Administration through Ecampus. BA 466 seemed a natural for online delivery given the computer simulation component. The course was QM certified in November 2016.

Still, after teaching this course in both domains (online and in-person) more times than I care to admit, something was still not right. Wishing I could offer the course both online and in-person, I was delighted when the college asked for volunteers to develop the course as a hybrid!

And, so far so good.

The Design Comes Together

A long time ago I stopped fighting students who didn’t believe it would take as much time as I thought to learn the software — of course, they are all quick learners. So, I am adding three progressively challenging practice sessions during class time. A fourth work session will allow students to study a previous class’s sample industry where they see the decisions made by a successful and an unsuccessful company. This helps them to understand what to do and avoid for their own company.

Fortunately, the textbook I use for the course contains eight chapters; it gets covered during this initial 4-week period. A fifth class period will act as an integration opportunity for students to apply what they have learned through the recorded lectures, textbook, and in-class exercises to create an action plan for the company competition.

The competition will run over three weeks and entirely in person. Students can use the week-long breaks between sessions to adjust their strategies and improve their position in the industry. The simulation creates a virtual pile of data in spreadsheet format. Student groups will be assigned a client company to evaluate during the final two-week case study portion of the course. Playing the role of an outside consultant, students apply strategic tools to understand their client’s performance. They identify two opportunities for improvement and create a set of actionable recommendations. They submit this client report in writing and record it as an oral presentation. Both assignments are uploaded into Canvas. Much of this case study activity takes place in the classroom, where consultants speak directly with clients. But, much takes place using collaborative technologies outside of the classroom as well.

Not Done Experimenting

Optionally, after completing the group effort, students have one more opportunity to complete the same client report process solo. A version of the simulation software in exam mode allows them to create a new data set. They write a client report with recommendations for the exam mode company where they are both client and consultant. (This addresses the issue of meeting your client!) Students can start during dead week if they choose this option. It is due in Canvas by the middle of finals week.

To make this optional exercise desirable for high achieving students, it is mandatory for any student wishing to receive an “A” or “A-” in the course. That is, even if they have an “A” after the group project, the best they can receive without finishing the optional final project is a “B+”. Students who want to finish early get what they have earned as of the end of the group project.

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CMS Driving your Course? Should it?

As an adopter of the Flipped/Hybrid course philosophy, I am very blessed in that I come for a background in computer science. Why is this such a  blessing for me is that I don’t fall into the trap of my teaching being limited by the tools at my disposal. While access to ready made tools allows for the rapid creation of online course materials including grading rubrics, distribution, and multi media these may not be enough.

For example, in one of my courses students are required to get approval from external customers for changes. This can not be done within a traditional CMS. It is important however so how should it be handled? Does the teaching faculty ask for emails from stakeholders that they enter approvals for? How are the approvals recorded? It is completely outside of the scope of ‘stock CMS’ programs. In my case I was able to write custom webpages and databases for doing the work.

That leads to another common problem however, don’t reinvent the wheel. Once we start creating ‘special’ ways of doing things, we can can run the risk of only doing our custom methods costing large amounts of energy.

However, the choice between custom and generic is hard to make. Experience is the ultimate tool in making the decisions. For me, I have done everything custom for the last 10 years but this year I have finally began to include Canvas (a CMS) as a piece of the puzzle. I have found it to save me a lot of time with only minor impacts to the quality of the course.

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Technology

We read a few different articles in Week 3.  In the ones that covered technology, it was interesting to see that at least one article said “don’t do too much technology too soon”, while others said to make use of it…

I am of the “don’t do too much too soon” camp, and believe that we need to keep it as simple as possible. Some tech companies look at how many clicks it takes to get something done; I know that my interest is lost and my mood deteriorating at the 4th click.

 

 

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