Morgan Golliver, Staff Writer
Many Utica College students and staff have gone digital as the college has added more online courses and degree programs to its curriculum.
UC currently offers 24 online degrees, including the Master of Business Administration program. Students pursuing a MBA degree have the option of sitting in a physical classroom or staying at home to participate in the course through the internet, which is called a blended course.
Patricia Swann, professor of public relations and journalism, has recently moved to the Clark City Center and teaches one of the MBA blended courses.
“I am currently teaching a course in the MBA program called BUS 631: Data Driven Decision Making, which is a blended course,” Swann said. “The class has cameras and microphones to broadcast the lecture for some students who want a face-to-face experience in the classroom. But, the class is also recorded and available to those who couldn’t participate live.”
Swann also said that the students in the class are still able to interact with one another online like in a classroom setting.
“In the class, we are using a ‘flipped’ teaching method which means traditional lecturing is limited,” Swann said. “The students arrive to class ready to apply the week’s textbook learning to a learning activity. Students work in groups via Google Hangouts so that they can talk together and complete the activity as a group.”
Overall, Swann enjoys teaching blended online courses and thinks that they are beneficial for students.
“I am a big fan of the blended classroom,” Swann said. “It is convenient for students and it provides an opportunity to get to know their professor. The live class is helpful to students because the group activities prepare them for their assignments due later in the week.”
Kyle Dempster is a UC graduate student pursuing a degree in the blended MBA program, while also working full-time in the Office of Student Financial Services for the past 31/2 years and balancing a full-time job while also taking online courses can be tough to manage, but Dempster always finds time in his busy schedule.
“I work Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5:00 at student financial services which means that most late nights I work on my online course assignments,” Dempster said. “It’s not a heavy workload, so I’m able to manage, and it’s a lot easier when I have a little over a week to work on assignments.”
Dempster also said that online courses can be a lot easier than regular classes if students put in the work.
“Online courses are easier and convenient for students as they don’t have an obligation to be in class,” Dempster said. “If students stay on top of their work online, just like in a regular class, they will be able to keep up and do well.”
Izabela Carr is also pursuing a degree in the blended MBA program where she enjoys the online interaction.
“From my perspective, business is about people and interactions. The structure of the online MBA program provides a nice balance of flexibility coupled with the same interaction one would have if they were to physically attend class,” Carr said. “The online capability not only provides the same experience as sitting in class but simultaneously provides students real world experience in having to connect and build relationships using virtual technology, which is amazing.”
Carr also shared one of her most memorable courses where her professor was very helpful and supportive.
“My current experience in BUS 621 with Professor Donna Dolansky is the highlight of the program thus far,” Carr said. “Having professors care so much about your understanding of the material and success in an online program is encouraging. Just like in a physical classroom, professors have the same level of care for student success.”
As Carr is working toward completing her second master’s degree at UC, she appreciates how well UC has adjusted to societal changes by providing online courses and degree programs.
“As society evolves, it is important to evolve with it, and I am glad to see Utica College evolving and addressing the needs of future students and their careers,” Carr said. “The future of education depends on institutions being able to accommodate students while still providing quality education, and the MBA program does just that.”