The following is a guest blog by Philip Cochran, associate dean of Indianapolis operations for the Kelley School of Business:
The recent ice storm tested the resolve of businesses all across the Midwest. Some fared better than others when battling the elements to deliver their goods or services without affecting the bottom line.
In higher education, however, the concept of losing nearly a week of class time presents a unique challenge: How do you keep students on track without diminishing the return on the investment for their education?
Thankfully, many students at the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis never had cause for concern. The ongoing commitment by faculty to online education and alternative teaching methods allowed for mostly business as usual, despite the closure of the IUPUI campus for three days.
Faculty members — both at the undergraduate and graduate levels — prepared for the storm by providing students access to software designed for video conferencing, online lectures and other hi-tech teaching tools. Some fought power outages and travel restrictions to keep their classes on schedule and student groups moving ahead as planned.
Kelley Indianapolis caters to many non-traditional students, many with families and child-care concerns during such a weather event. The safety of students became top priority, but fulfilling their professional commitment to these dedicated students rang loudly as well for instructors.
If the early response from students is any indication, they also greatly appreciated the opportunity to make progress using this technology. Many simply didn’t want to miss class.
One student told his instructor, “I actually prefer the online lecture format. I think it’s much more interactive, and I got a lot more out of it.”
Another student referred to the last-minute classroom conferencing as “a handy and workable alternative, and all things considered, a more lively and engaging forum than I expected.”
Faculty members are quick to point out the success of these methods requires a strong commitment to achievement among students — something in heavy supply among Kelley students.
This educational experience would not have been as successful without the talented and driven faculty and students who make up Kelley’s Indianapolis campus. Their diligence and commitment to excellence continue to impress each and every day.
In a time when more and more demands are placed on students and their families, this experience reflects positively on the Kelley school, those who help it earn its reputation and the impressive business minds of tomorrow.