SOM eLearning Newsletter
Srinivasan Raghunathan, Ph.D.
Darren Crone, Ed.D.
Online Program Specialist
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SOM eLearning Team
School of Management
University of Texas at Dallas
News From SOM eLearning
We are over halfway through the Spring 2010 semester and I wanted to share some things that are going on. Students can now complete three degrees at the School of Management completely online. We recently received approval for an online Master of Science in Information Technology and Management. The demand for this degree has grown considerably and we are excited to provide this flexible option to our students. Also, registration for online courses has become a bit easier. For those of you who are classified as online students (with the MBG designation), you will now be able to register for all online courses through Orion. Students not classified as MBG may register for elective courses through Orion, but you will still have to email firstname.lastname@example.org for core courses. Priority will be given to MBG students and you will be placed on a waiting list until the first day of regular registration.
Last semester we asked you to give us feedback on the course material delivery and we received 63 responses (not everyone responded to each question).
For the first question, "How would you rate the delivery of course materials (online lectures, downloadable mp3 & PowerPoint files, blogs, discussion postings, etc.)?" you said:
- 42% (25 responses) - Excellent
- 42% (25 Responses - Good
- 15% (9 Responses) - Average
- 2% (1 Response) - Fair
- 0% (0 Responses) - Poor
When asked, "What is your favorite feature of School of Management online courses (online lectures, downloadable mp3 & PowerPoint files, blogs, discussion postings, etc.) and why?" 23 of you said downloadable course materials (mp3, PowerPoint, etc.), 20 said online lectures, 8 said discussion board activities, and 2 said chat. We also had two write-in votes for online assessments. Here is a sampling of your comments:
- "Online lectures and downloadable materials are great. I usually watch the lecture online and then study the downloadable material off-line...very helpful."
- "Downloadable mp3 & PowerPoint files. I can run them over and over to understand the concepts better.
Also I have the flexibility to go through the slides at any point of time."
- "I especially enjoy the online lectures and downloadable mp3/PowerPoint because this allows for convenient viewing of lectures (including pausing/rewinding) according to the student's schedule."
- "Discussion board: They are very useful as it provides a very good medium of communication between students who have not really met each other in online courses."
- "More interaction with classmates through the discussion board then you usually get in class."
- "Online lecture is my favorite part, because I recognize the effort required to put that part together, and I value that effort highly. The discussion postings are also of great importance to me." - editorís note: It does take a lot of work, but our students are worth it!
We asked, "Describe how the course content could be delivered (using new technologies and/or methods) to better suit your needs and/or learning style." As this was a pretty wide open question I will do my best to distill the responses. 13 of you said you were happy with the course delivery as it is; 6 would like to see more synchronous communication (web conferences, more chat sessions with professors, live guest lecturers); 6 mentioned more video (professor, guest lecturer, whiteboard); and 6 suggested integrating more Web 2.0 features (RSS feeds, document sharing, look and feel). Here is a sampling of your responses:
- "Interactive discussions (Instant Messaging) during a set time-frame with the professor might prove to be useful." All professors conduct office hours and this is an option that is available to them (in addition to office visits, web conferences and phone calls). We will bring up this suggestion to professors in our course development meetings to insure they are aware of all available avenues.
- "I am a little behind in technology and I found that everything technology-wise from the online class was easy to manage and understand. I do not see how it could be better." Thank you for the compliment! While I am very happy that you are satisfied with the delivery of the course materials, it is my personal belief that there is always room for improvement. We are guided in our efforts by the feedback that our students provide. Again, your kind words are very much appreciated!
- "Increased built-in communications capabilities such as group conferencing (via chat/webcam)." There were more requests for synchronous communication than I would have expected. While there are definite advantages to this, the drawback is that requiring students to be "there" at a specific time hampers flexibility (which is the number one reason students state for taking online courses at the School of Management). We will definitely consider offering more ancillary (read: will not affect your grade) synchronous options.
- "The eLearning interface is not intuitive. While one eventually learns how to use it, it takes some getting used to. Being unable to use the browser back button is awkward." eLearning (which is actually just UTD's branding of Blackboard) is the most widely used course management system in higher education (roughly 60% market share). Unfortunately as with any technology, there will be challenges - such as the back button issue that you mentioned. We understand these challenges and have developed a relationship with the company, working on beta versions and providing feedback to their developers regularly. What does that mean to you? When you let us know that there is something that you don't like, we pass it directly on to them - so please keep the feedback coming.
- "Video lectures would be more helpful rather than just audio. Seeing facial expressions, gestures, and body language makes a lecture more complete." I have noticed that professors are starting to use video more in courses that are under development now. You should see more of their smiling faces down the road.
- 'I would like to see the discussions available via RSS. It would be nice if I could forward the course specific emails in eLearning to my main UTD email account." You can actually set up eLearning to forward emails by going to the course list page and clicking on "My Settings" in the upper right-hand corner. If you click on "My Tool Options", you will see the option to forward emails to an external account. RSS feeds for discussions is something that we have brought up to Blackboard several times. Unfortunately I don't have any news to report, but be assured that features such as this are a priority for us at UTD ... we will keep trying!
Thank you for the great responses. This semester's survey is on professional networking. Please take a minute to let us know how we can better serve your needs in this area.
Click here to take the Professional Networking Survey
Thank you and best of luck with your finals!
-Darren Crone, Ed.D., SOM eLearning Manager
News From Global MBA Online (GMBA)
Online Teaching Award Nomination
Each year the School of Management (SOM) presents several teaching awards, including an Excellence in Online Teaching Award to one faculty member. A link to the nomination is provided toward the end of a typical semester (it appears once you complete your end of course evaluation). A nomination may also be submitted at any time by clicking on the following link:
Online Teaching Award Nomination
The SOM teaching award committee will only consider nominations accompanied by your short and thoughtful nomination letter. Please consider taking a few minutes to reward a faculty member for providing you a great online course experience. Recent winners have been:
Charles Solcher (Accounting) 2008-2009
Tracey Rockett (Organizational Behavior) 2007-2008
Mark Anderson (Accounting) 2006-2007
Amy Troutman (Accounting) 2005-2006
Thank you in advance for taking a few minutes to show your appreciation.
Director, Global MBA Online
Meet Our Faculty
Surya Janakiraman, Ph.D.
AIM 6345 Business Valuation
Surya Janakiraman is an Associate Professor of Accounting and Information Management at The University of Texas at Dallas. He has a Ph.D. in accounting from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Janakiraman also holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, a post graduate degree in management from Indian Institute of Management and a master's degree from University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining The University of Texas at Dallas, he taught at the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Janakiraman's non-academic work experience includes production responsibilities in a major automobile-manufacturing firm, project management for a manufacturing company and management consulting with a leading accounting firm.
Dr. Janakiraman's research interests include design and analysis of executive compensation contracts, performance measurement and evaluation, accounting information and capital markets, analysis of audit fee, cost behavior and cost management analysis. Dr. Janakiraman has published numerous research articles in the Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting and Economics, European Journal of Operations Research, Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance, Journal of Productivity Analysis, and Managerial Finance. He has also authored a research monograph "Balanced scorecard: Linking strategy to performance" published by the research foundation of the Financial Executives International. He is in the editorial board of Journal of Management Accounting Research.
Meet Our Students
David Trueba, GMBA Student
The eLearning Team invites you to meet our students by viewing a different profile each newsletter. This semester's featured student is David Trueba.
- Name: David Trueba
- What degree are you seeking?
I am seeking a Master's of Business Administration degree.
- Where do you work?
I work at Celanese Corporation, a $6Bn global chemical company based in Dallas, TX.
- What is your position?
My current role is a Marketing Manager for our Emulsion Polymer business for the Americas. I have two product lines: the first goes into industrial adhesives ranging from Elmer's glue to high speed paper/packaging adhesives such as food packaging; and the second is