In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the St. Mary’s University community has adapted — faculty stepping up to deliver quality education to students from a distance.
Sung-Tae (Daniel) Kim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Finance and Quantitative Management, shared takeaways from his spring classes in a Q&A. Kim joined St. Mary’s in 2018. He specializes in management information systems, business intelligence, business analytics, enterprise resource planning and database management. In Spring 2020, he taught Management Information Systems, Business Intelligence and Database Management.
Q: What was your approach in switching to online learning in a short period of time?
A: Greehey School of Business faculty have been strongly encouraged to fully utilize Canvas (a learning management platform). Hence, I had already had all my courses go online. To go paperless, I uploaded about 90% of all study materials on Canvas. In addition, I created quizzes and exams on Canvas. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, my students came to the classroom to take them during class hours. Doing so was a convenient way to manage my classes. For instance, student-athletes or students on a business trip could take quizzes remotely via Canvas.
Q: What are some new teaching methods you’ve picked up along the way?
A: Learning how to use Kaltura (an online video platform). I had never videotaped my lectures before and had little idea how to do so. I was introduced to Kaltura and mainly used this application to record my lectures. It is very easy to use and was stable pretty much all the time.
Q: What has been your biggest area or opportunity for growth in teaching online thus far?
A: I got used to speaking to the monitor. It felt awkward in the beginning and I always told my students (when they make presentations), “Do not speak to the screen.” But now I feel very comfortable talking with no audience!
Additionally, I am planning on producing videos for other courses that I will teach in later semesters even after we go back to normal operations. I believe that the videos will be useful for my students to more easily catch up.
Q: What has been most surprising?
A: As a person who has studied the development of information and communication technologies (ICT), I was surprised and impressed that ICT can really help us cope with situations like the one we are now facing. Organizations in many sectors are making full use of these technologies to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some examples:
1. Schools were able to go online thanks to the digital technologies, such as Zoom (a cloud-based videoconferencing platform), Microsoft Teams (a communication and collaboration platform), etc.
2. Governments are utilizing the technologies as well. Using big data or artificial intelligence enables governments to identify, track and forecast outbreaks. Moreover, the technologies expect to enhance governments’ global epidemic response capability.
3. Businesses are developing apps to facilitate services like delivering food and groceries. In addition, drone delivery is being used to deliver medical supplies.
Q: What has been the most beneficial experience of teaching online?
A: Recent surveys show there is an increase in demand for the availability of online MBA programs. Transitioning online has been a great opportunity for me to better prepare for one day (fingers crossed) initiating online MBA programs.
Q: Students look to you for guidance, for wisdom, especially during times of crisis. How have you managed your own challenges and anxieties in quarantine?
A: Since the shelter-in-place order was issued, my family has read the Scripture together every night at 8 p.m., each one of us sharing our reflections. Doing so not only provides me a good opportunity to better understand other family members’ thoughts, but also becomes a positive way of coping with adversity and distress. I strongly recommend students to do something like this — even if they may be living alone — to reach out and connect deeply with those they love.