Technology enhances final course review in Kwasnica's Smeal Executive MBA course

Before the final exam in his BA 512 Risk and Decisions course for the Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Program, associate professor of business economics Anthony Kwasnica enlisted the help of some cutting-edge technologies to help his students prepare.

Risk and Decisions is a core master of business administration course that provides students with the skills and tools for handling common analytical problems managers face when making decisions. Kwasnica teaches the heavily quantitative class at the MBA level for both residential and executive students, but because Smeal EMBA students only meet on alternating weekends, holding review sessions can be a challenge, he said.

“We feel strongly about teaching the same material to both our residential and our executive students, and this was a great way to provide EMBA students with a thorough, interactive review of the course material.”

-- Anthony Kwasnica, associate professor of business economics, Smeal College of Business

Though Kwasnica held online office hours through Adobe Connect software throughout the semester, he wanted the final review session to be more visual.

“When you’re solving complex math problems,” he explained, “you want to be able to show how you’re working through each step.”

Through Smeal’s Research Instruction and Information Technology (RIIT) Group, Kwasnica was able to set up an Adobe Connect meeting that also incorporated screen-capture software and a high-definition interactive display allowing him to write on the screen in real-time.

“We feel strongly about teaching the same material to both our residential and our executive students, and this was a great way to provide EMBA students with a thorough, interactive review of the course material,” said Kwasnica.

“One of our main missions in the RIIT Group is to provide the tools, expertise and support to help faculty improve all areas of their teaching, from engagement and interaction to administration.”

-- Ginger Breon, assistant dean for administration and chief information officer, Smeal College of Business

About half of the class logged on for the live review session, according to Kwasnica, and the review was also recorded so students could refer back to it again.

“Judging from the students’ performance on the last exam, I think the review session really had an impact,” he said.

Smeal’s RIIT Group offers a number of technological solutions to faculty looking to enhance their teaching, inside or outside of the classroom. Many of the technologies benefit faculty as well because recorded review sessions or lectures can be used in future sections of the course.

“One of our main missions in the RIIT Group is to provide the tools, expertise and support to help faculty improve all areas of their teaching, from engagement and interaction to administration,” said Ginger Breon, assistant dean for administration and chief information officer. “We work hard to offer technology solutions that are innovative but also easy to use.”

About the Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Program
The Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Program provides working professionals with the learning, connections, resources and experiences to accelerate their careers. The 21-month program features personalized executive coaching, intensive communication training, a weeklong international residency experience and coursework focused on the unique challenges of the students’ firms. Classes are held on alternating weekends at the ACE Conference Center in suburban Philadelphia. Learn more at www.smeal.psu.edu/execmba.

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Last Updated February 21, 2014