Carlson School of Management Building

The Team Behind the Scenes of Online Classes

Thursday, July 6, 2017

By Amie Norden

During the last five years, the Carlson School has experienced tremendous growth in both the demand for and delivery of online courses for our MBA students. We have grown from approximately five online course sections five years ago to nearly 90 online course sections by the end of this academic year. As a result, approximately 50 percent of Part-Time MBA courses are now being offered in an online or compressed schedule course. MBA students like the change as evidenced by overall student satisfaction rising from 72 percent to 92 percent in evaluations given four times a year. MBA students appreciate the flexibility of being able to choose from a variety of course formats towards completing their MBA degree around a busy work life.

One aspect of online courses that many people are unaware of is that it takes a team of people behind the scenes to bring an online course to launch. As the Academic Technologies and Instructional Design Manager, I lead a team of three academic technologists and one videographer. In the background, we are assisting with the design and development of online courses and flipped courses as well as supporting academic technologies around the school. With online courses we are managing multiple tasks and working closely with faculty members to bring these classes to launch.

There is much about our team’s work that remains invisible in the background. One of the visible elements, however, is online video lectures. To assist in video production, we have a green screen studio. Faculty work with our instructional designers to prepare presentation materials. Then the videographer shoots a video and inserts faculty into the resulting presentation as if they were standing “inside” their slides. Many faculty utilize the green screen studio for the creation of video in their online courses.

One of the things I like about this field of work is that the benefits frequently reach beyond the original online course. For example, many faculty wish to provide their online video lectures to their face-to-face students as well. This leads to discussion of the flipped classroom model, which results in more active learning in face-to-face sections of the same course. It’s not about making everything online, it’s about augmenting courses using digital tools. It’s about finding the right mix of technologies to support faculty and Carlson School students in achieving their academic goals.

Spring 2017  alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Spring 2017 alumni magazine

Learning doesn't just take place in the classroom anymore. In this issue, we explore how the Carlson School is thinking outside-the-box to meet the education needs of today's students.

Spring 2017 table of contents