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Guest Post: Not Quite Ready For On-Line OM at San Francisco State U.

February 28, 2013

ozgur_ozlukOur Guest Post today comes from Dr. Ozgur Ozluk, who is Associate Professor of Decision Sciences at San Francisco State University.

Nowadays the media is filled with discussions on online education. Writers either passionately extol the virtues of MOOCs (massive open online courses), flipped classrooms and the like, or argue with similar fervor that it is a passing fad. At SFSU, where I have been teaching OM for 10 years, the student body is diverse, with unique needs. I keep asking myself: are my students ready for online education?

As a teacher, I am constantly in search of new ways to excite my students. One semester I introduce an online simulation, another I hold virtual office hours. I firmly believe that the Internet has been providing us with revolutionary models to reach our students. However, I know for a fact that my students are not prepared for a full blown online experience. In the last 4 semesters, I have repeatedly asked my OM class how many of them would prefer to have the class online (or at least as a flipped classroom). And each semester, in a class of 50-some young faces, only a couple of hands go up hesitantly.

There are several reasons for this lack of enthusiasm. First, most of my students work to support themselves through school. Many are responsible for the care of their family, making it difficult to find the uninterrupted time at home required to learn a brand new concept.  Second, most are first generation college students;  they have had few role models to look up to for acquiring metacognition skills and experience a hard time absorbing new subjects on their own. Third, most OM topics require a fair amount of quantitative literacy. As the products of a weak K-12 system, my students are frozen when confronted with concepts such as EOQ or LP.

So it will be a while before I can have an online OM class that will be beneficial to my student population. In the meantime, I will make sure to include as much online material to my curriculum as I can to push the envelope.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Theresa permalink
    March 2, 2013 11:24 pm

    I tend to agree with you. Perhaps MOOCs can serve as an interesting supplemental alternative for students that are struggling in our classrooms.

  2. Susan permalink
    March 5, 2013 12:40 am

    I agree with your thoughtful post, Ozgur. I have taught a hybrid class to MBA level students (half in person, half remote). Even though these students were more prepared than your OM students, they vastly preferred the face-to-face portion of the class. I think it’s possible to do part of a class online, perhaps background and review materials. But in the meantime, I’ll let other professors be on the bleeding edge of giving pure online courses.

  3. Jay Heizer permalink
    March 5, 2013 10:59 pm

    Like other users of myomlab, Ozgur tells me that his use of Myomlab to supplement his classroom teaching has been a very positive element in his classes…no doubt part of how he “pushes the envelope”. Consequently, I have ask Ozgur to do another Blog and share his Myomlab experience.

  4. March 7, 2013 8:27 pm

    You certainly raise some interesting issues regarding on-line education. Teaching at a small, private college like Rollins, on-line has not been an approach that blends with the intimate classroom style students are paying for and expect. Jay and I have, however, tried to provide a large numbers of tools that will help faculty teach OM on-line. These range from all of the MyOMLab functions, to 31 short videos (with mutiple choice questions), to 2,000+ powerpoints, to large test banks, to Virtual Company Tours, to Virtual Office Hours for students. We think all of these tools will be useful when the day approaches that we all have to teach either blended or on-line classes.

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  1. MOOC’s will need customization for some students | The Dauch College of Business & Economics

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