Professor Scott Buechler has taught Business Communications before, but for the first time this summer, Buechler taught the class online. For one assignment, students had to do a five minute oral presentation to the CEO of a company. Buechler needed to replicate this assignment in his virtual classroom.
“We had to create the same kind of situation, so students had to design and deliver an oral presentation with a specific objective,” Buechler said. “They had a specific audience and a specific purpose. Through technology, we recreated the same environment of the presenter, the audience, the feedback and the Q&A portion.”
For Buechler’s class, he recommended that his students use Screencast-o-matic, the screencasting software which allows you to record the activity on your computer screen with a voice over. After uploading the presentation to YouTube and linking the video on the class’ blog, students were required to respond to other students’ presentations as well as answer the feedback they received on their own presentation.
While there are aspects of the physical classroom environment that can never be reconstructed online, Buechler feels that there are benefits to learning screencasting software for remote presentations.
“It’s a trade off,” Buechler said. “You can’t replicate some things if it’s not face-to-face. You can’t teach eye contact. You can’t teach tone of voice. But it’s made up by learning technology to give a business presentation. It’s learning a new tool for presenting without meeting individuals at the same place and time.”
This semester, Buechler is teaching Business Communications again, but in a physical classroom. Buechler’s students will not be using screencasting for presentations, like the summer students did, but Buechler has thought of ways to incorporate screencasting into on-campus learning.
“[Sceencasts aren’t] a replacement for class,” Buechler said. “But it’s given me ideas for five-minute modules on specific skills or principles for business communications.”
Buechler has also said he will use time in his Business Communications class this fall to introduce screencasting to his students. While he said it will not be the hands-on experience the summer students received, he thinks the exposure will be beneficial for his students.
Buechler worked with the Teaching and Learning Technologies Department to develop the solutions for his online class, which has opened doors to the ways he can use technology. Buechler encourages other faculty members to have an open mind when it comes to technology.
“It helps to be fearless,” Buechler said. “It helps not to be intimidated by technology.”
If you are interested in exploring virtual presentations or screencasting, contact Teaching and Learning Technologies at 336.278.5006 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an individual consultation.