My message to students this semester

With another semester of remote online teaching and learning about to start, I will be posting this message to my students:

Welcome to BBA Business Law. I want to convey to you the learning environment that I hope we can create together this semester.   In separate announcements in the next few days, you will be provided with information on what you need to do for the first week of this semester and how our virtual classes will work.

For obvious reasons, this course is being delivered fully online throughout this semester. However, we will still have a classroom – a virtual one.  You will still learn the same things.  You will be developing the same skills. You will be challenged in the same ways. 

Your learning in this course is structured in three parts: pre-class work, in-class work, and post-class work.  Pre- and post-class work has always been set up to be completed online. Pre-class work involves assigned readings, lecture videos and online quizzes.  The post-class work is participating in online discussions of case problems.  The in-class work, in the pre-pandemic era, involved getting together in a physical classroom and working on case problem analysis and other activities.  Now, in a virtual classroom, we will still engage with each other in the same ways.  In our virtual classes each week, you will collaborate in breakout sessions with your classmates to analyze case problems.

I am committed to making this course a rewarding learning experience for you. But I can’t do my best teaching without your help. My classes are not passive experiences.   I am not the kind of professor who talks on and on and expects you to just listen and take notes. My classes are designed to be active learning experiences.  You will be challenged with activities that will engage and immerse you in the material. Quite often, you will collaborate in small groups with other students.  Your contributions are essential to the success of our classes. Here are some things you can do to contribute.

Be there. When you’re in class or online doing course-related work, I need you to be there completely. In a virtual class, being there is not just signing into the meeting. Being there means being mentally present and engaged — listening, mulling things over in your head, asking questions, taking notes, and interacting in breakout sessions with other students. Your presence and engagement benefit your learning and the learning of those around you. 

Be prepared.  This course is designed using the flipped class format.  In class, you will be engaged in activities that will challenge your critical thinking, analytical, collaborative, and communication skills. There will be little or no “lecturing” in class. To take full advantage of your learning experience, it is important that you come to class prepared by having done the pre-class work.  In doing that work,  make sure you note any questions you may have. You can post your questions in the Post Your Questions for Class forums for each module or just ask them at the beginning of class.  

Participate. Whether it’s in a full class discussion or within a small group, your contributions are valued. There’s no need to speak all the time. Less is sometimes more. Speak when you’ve got something to say. Ask a thoughtful question, share a relevant experience, respond to another student’s comment, or voice a different perspective—contributions like these improve the learning experience for you and your classmates.

Help create a community.   In these times of lockdowns and quarantines, it is all too easy to retreat within ourselves, hide behind our computers, and give in to isolation. Belonging to a positive, supportive community can be invaluable. This class can become a community for all of us.  Conscious effort is needed to create a community in a virtual setting.  We all need to make an effort to put ourselves forward.  I want to get to know you and for you to get to know me and your classmates. I ask that each of you put effort into creating your own personal presence. It can be as easy as turning on your webcam in a small group breakout session.  Turn on your mic. Give voice to your ideas. 

About Wayland Chau

Post-secondary educator involved in teaching and course design for face-to-face and online learning.
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