BONUS | Wendy Tietz - Leading Online Learning

March 28, 2020 | 14 Minutes

Wendy Tietz, Ph.D., CMA, CSCA, CPA, is a professor in the Department of Accounting in the College of Business Administration at Kent State University, where she teaches financial accounting and managerial accounting. She teaches in a variety of formats, including large face to face, hybrid synchronous web-based, and asynchronous web-based. She authors a blog, Accounting in the Headlines, which has real-world news stories and resources for use in the introductory accounting classroom. Wendy has been published in several accounting journals and is the co-author of two accounting textbooks (Managerial Accounting, Braun & Tietz, 2017, 5th ed, Pearson Education and Financial Accounting, Thomas, Tietz & Harrison, 2018, 12th ed, Pearson Education). She has won numerous teaching awards at the college, university, and national levels and remains involved in IMA at the local, state, and global level, as well as serving as a member of AAA, AICPA, and Ohio Society of CPAs. Wendy is extremely passionate about introductory accounting education, social media, engagement, and educational technology. All these passions have been combined in today's business environment as she, like many others, has been forced to teach exclusively online and incorporate different social media and engagement strategies through educational technology to continue with her accounting curriculum. To learn from Wendy's experiences and hear some practical steps for leading online learning, download and listen to this episode now!


Mitch: (00:05)
Welcome back to Count Me In, IMA's podcast about all things affecting the accounting and finance world. As we've said in previous episodes, IMA is here to support the profession through a variety of resources to keep management accountants connected during this time and a portion of our profession that has been significantly impacted by the movement to remote work due to the Coronavirus is the accounting academics. Yesterday, as of the release of this episode, I may presented a webinar on tips and strategies for effective online education. To further meet the needs of our members and our extended listeners. We would now like to share this bonus podcast, episode four leading remote learning and managing online students. Adam spoke with Wendy Teitz about what can be done to better transition and in-person curriculum to an online one and facilitate these online classes. Wendy is an accounting professor at Kent state university and a veteran to online teaching to help others who may not be. She shared some very timely advice as she walked Adam through lessons she's learned along the way. Let's head over to their conversation now. 
Adam: (01:14)
Wendy, thanks so much for coming on today. We really appreciate you coming onto the podcast. You've been a professor for a while and you've taught classes in person and online and with the state of the industry and everything that's happening with the pandemic right now, a lot of professors are being thrown into, becoming online professors now. And what advice would you give to somebody just starting out? 
Wendy: (01:35)
Okay. I would tell them to take it slow, do a little bit at a time. Right now it's a big order to say, oh, convert to online in the next three days. So take it day by day. You'd know that you're going to make mistakes. The big thing is to be flexible with your students. Be flexible with yourself and know it's not going to be the best experience for everyone. But that's okay. So the primary concern is that we're all safe and healthy and that our students education continues. 
Adam: (02:10)
I think that's great. So I know each college probably has their, has different technologies that using. What are some technologies that you have used that have been successful for you? 
Wendy: (02:22)
Well, I have a large class. So before this pandemic hit, I was teaching classes. I have between four and 600 students a semester. And my students have the option to attend class in person so they can in a traditional environment just like you picture. But then I also have an option for students to attend live online where they can see the screen, they can hear my voice, there's a chat room and they can ask questions. So kind of webinar style. And then the third option is they can view the recording for the day and then answer the questions on the recording. So I have done that for several years. So when the order came to shut down, classes, I was probably impacted less than anyone else because I have the infrastructure. So I have, over the years I, I've developed the delivery online and recording simultaneously. But I also do things like I do record step by step tutorial videos so students can learn at their own pace. I've also done, I do a variety with different social media. so for a couple of years I did Snapchat where I would show examples in real life of what we were studying in class. I've done Instagram way back when. It was just beginning. I did Facebook groups. and most recently I started at group me. And this was in reaction to the pandemic that we're trying to reach out to students because now no one has the social system that they had before. So now I'm trying to reach students and make it more personal experience because so much during the regular semester you see students in person, you know that they're seeing each other. They may be watching the class together in their dorm lounge, but now everybody's their own little Island. But over the years I've also used, I also use polling software and I can continue to do that online. That's not an issue because I want the students to engage with me. So my class is not simply broadcasting videos but engaging with me and I'm using all those resources that I can leverage into the class if there's a valid reason for it. 
Adam: (04:45)
You know, I like the idea you mentioning of finding ways for the students to connect to each other. Are there any other ways that you're doing to kind of help create that community that the class that the class usually creates for people create study groups and they, they look at things together. What are some other ways that you're helping that the, the class kind of build that community? 
Wendy: (05:04)
Well, since the pandemic occurred, I did start the group may, which is a mobile messaging platform. So I've had several students join our group, me and that way they can ask me questions faster and then I can reply and then they can find other people in the class that maybe they want to form their own electronic groups with. So I'm trying to facilitate that. I'm also in, normally during the academic year, we have a chat room, every class day and my graduate assistant monitors the chat room and she will answer any questions. And during a regular time, non pandemic, I always say keep the chatter down in the chat room. It can only be on topic and because things were normal. But now that everyone's all over, I have students all over the country now and I feel like everyone's all by themselves. We are making a real effort to in that chat room start asking students questions like, how are you doing? Or where are you right now? What's happening in your classes? So my graduate assistant has instructions to try to chat with students and we're getting some success there. One thing that started a conversation, the chat room was Monday, I was talking about property, plant and equipment and I wanted to show how land and a house are two different entities. And so I put up a picture of this old Victorian house that happens to be in the city of Kent and put it up and started talking. And all of a sudden in the chat room, one of the students was saying, OMG, OMG, OMG, that's my house and here, she lives there. So she hadn't really talked much all semester, but now she's like, Oh no, that's my health. That's where I live. I'm not there now. But it was really interesting cause then other students start asking and there was a conversation going. So we're trying to build the sense of community even though halfway through the semester everything changed. And then, another thing that I did is Monday, Snapchat had a filter where the filter, I took a picture of my cat cause who doesn't take pictures of cats. I took a picture of my cat wanting to send a Snapchat to my children. And so the filter was my work at home coworker and I thought, Oh that's funny. So I thought, well let me give it a try, put it in my slides for the day. And I introduced my cat to my students and said, send me your own pet pictures so I can feature them. And I got a bunch of pet picture between Monday and today. I just got some pictures today and I continuing to get pictures. So that seems to be a way that they're communicating with me. And every time a student sends me a picture, they sent me a little note about what's going on. So I'm hoping that's me to them, but I'm hoping that I can be a little more personal for them. Then I feel like we really have to work hard to make school feel more personal than just this is my computer and this is my lessons spewing out of my computer. And so I did challenge my students since this is, we have spring break next week and it's going to be a spring break. Like no other spring break. We are in Ohio, so bars and restaurants are closed. All of the education places are shut down. Libraries are shut down. Probably not a typical spring break location destination though the library. But anyways, the students are at home and so spring break is going to be different. So I asked my students to take a picture over spring break of something they did that was unusual and that they're willing to share with us. So we're going to see what they come up with when we come back from spring break. So I'm really excited and in some ways that now I'm having to deliberately forge connections that I could take for granted before because the students were together in their dorm rooms or another classes and now everybody's support system has gone. So I'm trying to work really hard to build those connections in kind of this cereal world that we're in right now. 
Adam: (09:30)
I think that's great. Just finding ways for people to find those connections and even outside of the school setting. Cause a lot of times we connect on things outside of whatever we're studying or working with. But then once we find that connection outside of that, then suddenly we are able to connect on the academic or even even a work level. 
Wendy: (09:49)
Yes, exactly. I mean I find myself too, I had a colleague call me yesterday and she said, she said, I'm so lonely. I don't see anyone, she said our offices are side by side. And so we decided that we would start doing teams meetings a couple days a week with the video camera. I mean it feels weird at first because we've worked together for 18 years side by side and now all of a sudden we're doing it seems meetings. But, I think we need to also worry about faculty is their connection because I think it's easy for faculty who have never taught online to lose that sense of connection with people. So, I've been doing some webinars with people about how to build student engagement and I think that's a big piece of it cause it's not all just the academics. I think a large part of our education is built on our personal relationships. 
Adam: (10:43)
No, I agree. That's great. So how do you think this is going to affect, professors and the accounting space or even just the teaching accounting? Just teaching education in general in the future going forward? 
Wendy: (10:55)
Well, I first of all would never wish the pandemic on us, but I think there can be some good that comes out of it. I think first of all, everyone is rapidly getting used to having virtual meetings. And I think that is a good thing because then maybe we'll be more deliberate before we travel off to a meeting. And as we get more used to virtual meetings, we're thinking this is okay. So maybe less travel. And that's good from a worldwide climate standpoint. So that's one positive. I also think that faculty are having to build up their arsenal of teaching tools very rapidly. So they're having to learn to do it all at once, like being thrown into the deep end of pool. And that's not ideal, but I know that faculty are going to do it. They are going to rise to the occasion. My colleagues are working hard. Yeah. And they want to do it. So I think they're building more tools for their teaching toolbox so that when we do return to that normal world in the future that they will be able to use different tools than they had before where appropriate. Because maybe they've always taught lecture, face to face, but now maybe they can envision doing some videos that they could assign outside of class that are more suitable for students to learn on a one-on-one, you know, kind of positive video, cold forward positive video. so I think, I think it's going to enrich our teaching in the long run. I do. I think this was a great thing to do. Absolutely not. But I have been so impressed with my colleagues willing to do this and saying, okay, we've got to do this. I don't hear anyone whining. I do not hear anyone complaining. I just hear people asking for help. 
Announcer: (12:45)
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