An article in the October issue of the PRSA Strategies & Tactics newspaper regarding Sharing Wisdom with Students, by author Rob Pasquinucci, APR, made me immediately think of my students, past and present, at American University’s School of Business. Last week the University announced that most classes in Spring of 2020 will be online, like many other universities around the U.S.
Since 2016, I have enjoyed teaching one or two classes a semester on a college campus with great facilities and stimulating conversation. I have always looked at campus life like Disney World. But, instead of only being there to have fun, everyone is there to also grow personally and professionally.
All of that changed in March of 2020 while students were on Spring Break. It was announced the University would be moving to virtual instruction, and we have been in this remote-learning environment ever since. Outside of the abruptness of the change from in-person to Zoom, I personally felt that the transition was not exceedingly tough. I knew the students’ personalities as well as the group project team dynamics. This fall, we did not have that luxury, and every class session I work to make the best of it. My students are always inspirational to me, and I am committed to take that same enthusiasm online in creating a special environment for them.
Some lessons that Rob Pasquinucci outlined in his article really resonate with me. And, while his article focuses on public relations education, the lessons to business translate. Sharing human connection is more important than ever during COVID-19, where many feel isolated. Linking how chapters, articles, assignments, and papers will benefit their future provides context on the WHY that Simon Sinek so eloquently outlines.
During this time, more than ever, it is important for us as business leaders to support students and young professionals to help shape the future as we head to the end of 2020 and into semesters beyond. Convening classes with students from all over the world is something we could not have pulled off technology-wise even ten years ago.
The feedback over my years of teaching has been the same, “Professor Apgood brought her real-world experience into the classroom and made Business 1.0 one of the best and most valuable classes I’ve taken at AU thus far. She is readily available for help and incorporates interactive exercises into almost every class so that students remain engaged.” My goal through this pandemic is to continue to earn that same feedback, whether in the classroom or in the zoomroom.