Options like online courses expand opportunities
THE SANTA CLARA
November 7, 2013
Professionals and business professors around the world now have access to a free internet class offered through Santa Clara. The new online course is just one of the many ways the university is stepping into a tech-filled future.
Santa Clara not only provides the global community with an educational platform, but also utilizes its technological resources to expand the learning process to student-teacher communication, online courses and online degree programs.
The new Massive Open Online Course is called “Business Ethics in the Real World” and is run by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
The classes will allow participants to make more ethical decisions in the workplace and to pass on solutions to ethical dilemmas to their students.
The MOOC opened on Monday and will be available for use until February. On its first day, the program garnered 600 users who are scattered around the United States as well as India and China.
Professor Kirk Hanson, the executive director for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, designed the curriculum based on his teachings at the Leavey School of Business and at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Hanson believes that this class, which teaches principles such as how to respond to unethical requests in the workplace, is highly needed in other countries.
“Anyone working in business today understands that the ethics continually change and it is important for the individual to understand what is ethical in the complex situations they face in business,” Hanson said. “Very often people who are in business around the world don’t have access to as many opportunities to discuss business ethics as we do in the United States.”
This year, Canvas, an education organization tool, allows professors to send out everything from assignment notifications to online quizzes without requiring long email threads. According to Professor John Espinoza, who uses Canvas to communicate with his English classes, it is a step up from the previous system, Angel.
“Angel, to me, was not intuitive, and as a first year teacher last year my time was really limited,” Espinoza said. “I tried to set up a discussion forum on Angel and I could not do it, so I gave up on it.”
In terms of online education, Diane Jonte-Pace, vice provost for Undergraduate Education, said that online courses are only offered at Santa Clara over the summer.
Last summer, there were 40 summer online courses capped at around 30 people per class in order to prevent communication difficulties between the professors and their students.
“We really want to make sure that students are getting the benefits of a face-to-face, residential experience,” said Jonte-Pace. “But we do want to provide online courses during the summer session so that students will have the opportunity to go home and take a course to get ahead.”
In addition, for the first time, Santa Clara is offering a completely online graduate degree program in pastoral ministries called the Hispanic Ministry Initiative.
According to Jonte-Pace, the program was developed in order to train individuals in Hispanic lay ecclesial ministry who lived in areas such as Fresno, Calif., or other cities that do not have immediate access to university resources.
“We would love to have other graduate programs developed online, but we do currently have graduate faculty designing individual online courses,” Jonte-Pace said.
According to Hanson, the main problem faced by online education is the level of student interest in the process.
“We are trying to continually improve the interactivity so people feel involved in the process,” Hanson said. “The problem with all online courses is how to keep people interested in the content and how to help them feel that it is an interactive (process) rather than go to a static website and have them watch videos.”
Contact Sophie Matson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.