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Guest Post: Teaching OM in Both Online and Blended Courses

April 1, 2012

Dr. Wende Huehn-Brown is Professor of Business at St. Petersburg College. She has 17 years of engineering and management experience and holds a Ph.D. from the U. of Missouri-Rolla. She can be reached at huehnbrown.wende@spcollege.edu.

Five years ago I began teaching Operations Management using the Heizer-Render text entirely online.  I quickly saw how online students struggled with learning the lessons compared to my blended students.  So I spent many hours creating screen capture tutorials that worked through similar homework problems, as well as a lecture series to help students integrate the concepts and evaluate how they are applied in organizations.  I have used this technology in my classes for the past four and a half years. 

Currently, there is quite a bit of discussion about the evolving focus in online courses, but I want to emphasize we cannot overlook the impact on student learning.  In the blended classes I am able to add to this online format with active learning activities, simulations, and games at physical class meetings.  In January, 2012 I started using the New Design MyOMLab (I began the prior version in Fall, 2010).  I have always seen how blended student grades were significantly better than the grades of entirely online students.   (In the New Design instructor tools you can now view student performance by AASCB standards).  At this point my sample size is small, but blended students showed a 14% improvement in analytical skills and reflective thinking skills over online students.  These are vital skills our organizations need to be more competitive in today’s global marketplace.

Considering that all other course resources were the same, except for the blended physical class meeting, it left me pondering that modality value to student learning.  I acknowledge the integration of active learning activities, simulations, and games in our OM discipline.  Obviously, I have more data to collect, but I wanted to share the major impact on vital learning standards and encourage colleagues in this field to share their results.  What are your results?

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