One of the aspects I like most about working for the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business at Florida Tech are the opportunities I receive to collaborate with colleagues and professors on research projects. I recently had the opportunity to attend the Frontiers of Distance Learning in Business Education conference at Fordham University in White Plains, New York.
The opportunity arose when Dr. Slotkin, Associate Professor for the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, asked myself and fellow colleague, Chris Durie, Manager of Online Business Programs, to assist in writing a journal article about the perceived benefits of using blended learning to facilitate a short-term study abroad program to Spain. What is unique about the model we presented was the inclusion of our non-traditional online student population and the structure of using technology such as Adobe Connect in addition to face-to-face contact hours to bring groups of students together from our online, on-campus, and extended studies degree programs; students who normally would not have any interaction with each other. Furthermore, our presentation highlighted the importance of providing cultural and academic resources to student populations historically disadvantaged and how the opportunities for such students to participate in a short-term study abroad program enhances their colligate experience and provides access to the experiences and knowledge needed to compete in a global workforce.
The conference was a great opportunity to meet with other distance educators and administrators and share the common obstacles we all face in providing online education and the different policies and practices we use to meet the needs of our respective student populations.
What I enjoyed most about being part of this research project was the opportunity to gain insight into a field of educational research that I had not yet been exposed to and the experience of writing a paper for a peer-reviewed journal which in return sharpened my writing skills and allowed me to gain knowledge of the review process. Any time you are given the chance to take part in a collaborative effort such as a research project or presentation, the opportunity for professional and personal growth arises. I am fortunate that my position at Florida Tech through the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business provides me many opportunities to do so.
To watch our presentation please visit: http://www.bnet.fordham.edu/distancelearning/DistanceLearningConference_2012.asp
Our article, The Benefits of Short-Term Study Abroad as a Blended Learning Experience, will be published in a special edition of the Journal of International Business Education: http://www.neilsonjournals.com/JIBE/