TEACHING ONLINE-LIVE-VIA WEBCAM; A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE FROM A SKEPTIC

C. Gibaldi

Harvard & St. John's University (UNITED STATES)
This presentation will be drawn directly from my personal experience teaching two graduate level courses this semester Online. Both Organizational Behavior classes are being taught online-live-via webcam. I had been hesitant to teach online in any way for the last number of years. I delivered papers addressing the problems with "typical online teaching/courses", and remained a skeptic for years. My experience thus far has been much different then I thought it was going to be, and in many ways I have been pleasantly surprised. I have always had the good fortune at Harvard to have classes of students representing many parts of the world, with varied experiences, therefore bringing many different perspectives and insights into the classroom. This semester, I am literally interacting with students that are at varied parts of the world and taking "my" class. Students are located throughout the US, and internationally from Ethiopia, England, Dubai, India, Frankfurt, Brazil, Singapore, and the Philippines. Given that this is a Management course it has been very interesting to hear from students in specific parts of the world address and discuss business issues in their country as they happen. The students appear to be learning a great deal from each other - even more so then usual. I had been reluctant to teach "online" for a number of reasons, but one major reason is the course work and material of this particular course - "Understanding People in the Workplace", it addresses people issues and people skills. To my amazement, this is all being accomplished - key though is that we are live, and conducting discussions and breaking out into groups, etc.

I will not only address the pluses, regarding my experience, but also how "it" is different for me, and the learning that had to occur on my part.