COLUMBUS, Miss.--While the methods used in face-to-face and online instruction might differ, Thomas Haffey believes students have to connect with their lessons. That’s why Haffey, an instructor of marketing and management at the Mississippi University for Women, includes the following -- “Online learning is largely self-directed learning” – on his online syllabi.


“I try to instill that it is the student’s responsibility to understand the course schedule and plan their time appropriately to complete the work on time,” said Haffey, who also is adviser for MUW Students for Life and Phi Beta Lambda.

That message will be a point of emphasis for Haffey and his colleagues as they continue to prepare for the changes COVID-19 has forced upon the upcoming fall semester.

The W’s Campus Renewal Plan extended the period of time for students to move into on-campus housing. The process will begin Wednesday, Aug. 12 and will end Sunday, Aug. 16. Classes will begin Monday, Aug. 17, so instruction and final examinations can end before the Thanksgiving holiday. As a result, there will be no Fall Break.

Classes will be offered in-person, online (mainly asynchronous, but some synchronous) and in hybrid formats to allow flexibility for remote learning when needed, including the possibility of fully online semester if it is necessary. Synchronous learning is online or distance education that happens in real time, while asynchronous learning occurs through online channels without real-time interaction.

As a result, Haffey will have two classes – Consumer Behavior and Personal Selling -- that normally would meet in person but are moving online. He said Consumer Behavior is more of a traditional lecture class, so he doesn’t plan to run it synchronously. He will develop it in a more “traditional” online format built around weekly modules including PowerPoint slides, notes, links to examples, video lecture examples and assignments. Although Haffey doesn’t have previously produced lecture videos for Consumer Behavior, he said he plans to record lecture content and to make it available for students to view as they complete the asynchronous content.

Haffey said Personal Selling will be experiential in nature because it has a more interactive style at its core. For example, multiple times throughout the semester students are normally presenting a product or service to “sell” to their classmates, with the class voting on the “winner” of each day's sales presentations. Haffey also usually brings in a couple of local professional salespeople to share their experiences with the class so they can show them possible career options.

“I am choosing to administer Personal Selling in synchronous format,” Haffey said. “This will be my first time running a class in synchronous format, but I believe Zoom and other video tech options will allow us to approximate the interactive sales presentations and discussions. Though I am still in the planning stages, I hope to be able to go to the offices of a couple professional salespeople to allow that personal conversation to still take place. I am excited about that change as it may allow a more ‘behind-the-scenes’ style of meeting to take place with a view of their office operations that normally would not take place.”


July 30, 2020
Contact: Adam Minichino
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