But I LOVE being the “sage on the stage”!

I must admit, I love being the sage on the stage. I love sharing “war stories” from my old managerial life as much as I love sharing evidence-based insights from the latest research articles. It not only boosts my ego, but it is probably one of the only parts of my job that actually fits the image of a professor that I had when I decided to go down the scholarly path. And it doesn’t threaten me at all that students are googling during class and sometimes challenge me with that fingertip-based knowledge. I am not all-knowing, and they are aware of that, and so if they find a truthier truth out there, let’s discuss it in this open forum. Bring it on, Google!

However, the article states that in an online (or hybrid) course, “your role is now more of a content curator—the one who prunes and trains the branches that extend from your expertise out into the world.” As you can probably guess after reading my first paragraph, this threatens my identity more than a little bit. As I’ve thought about how I will design my course, though, I’ve come to realize that I can still inject plenty of my sage-ness into the course, albeit in different forms. I’m already thinking about the tone I’ll use in podcasts or webcasts. And I’m thinking about how, with some of the dryer aspects of the course delivered online (in as exciting of a format as possible), I will be able to distill my sage-ness into almost 100% pure Klotz-based wisdom during the in-class portions of the course.

I’m sounding a bit more egotistical than I’d like (those in COB are probably saying, “nah, this sounds like typical Anthony”), but I am glad that the article called my attention to this potential pitfall. It’s about student engagement and knowledge transfer, not you, Anthony. I need to challenge myself not to simply attempt to transfer the self-proclaimed “magic” of my lectures to a digital world, but to seek out new, different, and *gulp* better ways to connect my students to HR Management. Challenge accepted!

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2 Responses to But I LOVE being the “sage on the stage”!

  1. John says:

    Anthony, your thoughts on the article sparked an idea that has haunted me for some time — using Flipboard as a textbook platform. I have my own open source textbook that I have been using for almost two years. I host the book in Google Docs so I can have students post comments and sometimes we have online discussions right inside the textbook, but I’m thinking that adding Flipboard style functionality might encourage students to “flip” their own content into the project. How would you react to this level of contribution from students? Consider what kind of conversations you might be able to host in the classroom. Talk about putting students in charge!

  2. bovbjerm says:

    I too get a lot of mileage out of “war stories” in class–it illustrates the points so much better when it’s an example I know a lot about, and there is some research about how engaging anecdotes increase retention. For instance, one of the topics we cover in introductory epidemiology classes is about matching, and how it’s a good technique for reducing or even eliminating confounding….but on the flip side one must have matching criteria that can be ascertained over the phone. And then I tell the story about how I worked on a childhood obesity study once, back in my grad student days, and the PI wanted to match kids based on Tanner stage (a classification scheme for pubertal development). Which was totally reasonable given the research question.

    However. (There’s always a ‘however’ in these kinds of stories, right? That’s why they’re effective teaching tools!) For girls, this was simple enough…there are a few key questions one can ask over the phone to determine Tanner stage in girls (e.g., “Has your daughter had her period yet? If yes, was her first one more than a year ago?”). But for boys…for boys it requires a physical exam. Well. Needless to say, we recruited hardly any boys, because no self-respecting middle or high school-aged boy wants to (1) come all the way to the clinic; and (2) let some strange female doctor look at/touch his….ahem…changing parts, only to potentially be told that he might not be the “correct” Tanner stage to be a match for someone else anyway!

    This story really drives home the point about the need to be v-e-r-y careful about matching criteria in a much more effective way than just as me mentioning the idea as an abstract concept.

    And now with another HOWEVER….I have taught online before and I do not share these sorts of stories, because I do not want a permanent, online record of them. That’s not fair to my former colleagues (who undoubtedly have equally embarrassing stories about me). Soooo….I guess I have a question for the Hybrid Mindhive—how do the rest of you balance this? Students like my in-person classes a lot better than my online ones, even when it’s the “same” class. And I think a lot of it has to do with stories. So, how can I reinforce learning AND connect with students online? Currently I suspect I rather fail at both. Ideas welcome.

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