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2015 Fall Linfield

Fall 2015 l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e - 9 learn additional skills that may help them advance professionally. OCE has expanded its certificate offerings ranging from coaching, creative writing and global health to cyber security, software engineering, and wine management and marketing. Tracy Thatcher, who completed a human resource management certificate, is a prime example of the value of the program. She said it was instrumental in her promotion to claims and customer service supervisor at Tuality Heath Alliance and has also been helpful in her leadership roles. “I am so thankful because it was so very useful and important for my job and career path,” she said. As a single working parent, Thatcher said Linfield’s program was a good fit because the flexibility allowed her to study and work on classes whenever time allowed. And the most surprising thing? “That I was able to complete so much and learn so much without actually ever meeting anyone in person,” she said. Online classroom Virlena Crosley ’89, assistant professor of business, understands what it is like to be an adult learner. She completed her bachelor’s degree through the face-to-face adult degree program at Linfield. However, she is aware of the challenges and benefits of learning – and teaching – online after completing her master’s and Doctor of Business Administration through hybrid programs offering both faceto face and online interactions with faculty. “I know what it’s like to be an online student,” she said. “Even when professors work hard to make something clear, there are often questions. Unlike students in an oncampus class, online students don't have the opportunity to ask their questions when their instructor is in the room. Having taken classes in this medium gives me insights that influence my teaching style and also helps me understand the importance of timely responses to student questions.” The critical aspect to online communication is providing feedback and responding to questions quickly, so Crosley is available to students on weekends and evenings when most adult students are studying. Crosley teaches on the McMinnville Campus as well as online courses that include a mix of working adults and 18 to 22-year-olds. One of the challenges of teaching online is missing nonverbal cues that you would see in the classroom. But one of the benefits is the interactions and learning that occurs among the mix of online students. Working adult students bring real life work experiences that complement and add depth to the coursework as they share their examples or challenges in the workplace through assignments or online group discussions or projects. Developing communication and student engagement strategies are important in online education, said Scott Vandehey ’00, visiting assistant professor of anthropology. Student engagement can present challenges, Vandehey said, but there’s also a lot of opportunity. He mixes things up in his courses, using different kinds of media, such as links to videos or websites, along with various readings. To encourage engagement, he maintains an active presence in discussion boards and activities. He introduces himself using photos or videos and asks the same of his students. Students are required to participate and respond to two or three discussion questions posted each week, drawing from both course material and personal experience. Vandehey’s online course work is just as rigorous as in a traditional classroom. “I don’t change the content, and even though the setting is different, what I expect students to deliver to me is the same,” he said. One of the benefits of teaching online is the diversity of students, he said. Students may include the adult learner with a job, career and family, or a traditional student on campus taking an online course or perhaps an international student. “That adds richness to the class, because that variety of students would rarely come together for an on-site course,” Vandehey said. “The adult student raises issues related to family or work experience, bringing up ideas a traditional age student might never have considered.” – Mardi Mileham OCE majors • Accounting • Business Information Systems • International Business • Management • Marketing • RN to BSN Minors • Creative Writing • Environmental Studies • Health Administration • Global Health Certificates • Post Baccalaureate Accounting • Coaching • Creative Writing • Cyber Security • Database Administration • Global Health • Health Administration • Human Resource Management • Marketing • Software Engineering • Web Application Development • Wine Management • Wine Marketing • Yoga Instructor


2015 Fall Linfield
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