News at Smith

Innovations in Teaching: Smith School Hosts 2013 IT Teaching Workshop

May 30, 2013

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Information systems faculty from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and such universities as Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Purdue, Georgia Tech and New York University gathered in Van Munching Hall for the 2013 IT Teaching Workshop.

The May 17 event started with introductory remarks from Ritu Agarwal, professor and Robert H. Smith Dean's Chair of Information Systems, and participants were welcomed by Dean G. "Anand" Anandalingam during lunch.

“Participants shared new teaching techniques, ideas, assignments and framework,” said Peng Huang, assistant professor in Smith’s Department of Decision, Operations and Technologies (DOIT).

Smith-DOIT Associate Professor Sunil Mithas presented his ADROIT (A: Add value or growth; D: Differentiate or increase WTP; R: Reduce Costs; O: optimize risk ; I: Innovate; T: Transform) framework to “articulate the role of IT in broader terms than just focus on the cost reduction role of IT.” Discussion further covered new simulations, games and cases for creating student engagement.

Hank Lucas, the Robert H. Smith Professor of Information Systems, shared insight from recent online course development and delivery activities. He referred to four types of course platforms using different technologies: synchronous, asynchronous, blended, and Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). “This year, I’ve done all of those.”

Regarding MOOC, Lucas this spring delivered "Surviving Disruptive Technologies" to several thousand students representing about 100 countries. He created the offering in conjunction with the education company Coursera as part of a free online course initiative to broaden access to top-level institutions.

Last fall, Lucas taught an asynchronous online course, “Strategic and Transformational IT,” to 24 Smith MBAs. Online video meetings created virtual class sessions complemented by short video lecture modules, case studies and other exercises for asynchronous viewings. “It’s an intense experience no less demanding of you than standing in the front of a classroom,” said Lucas, who is helping spearhead Smith’s forthcoming online MBA degree program.

Andrew Baer (’80), adjunct instructor for Smith's DOIT and former Comcast CIO, said Lucas’ work illustrates how universities can effectively adapt to student expectations. “The corporate world has moved toward improving the customer experience by figuring out how to offer lots of different ways for customer interaction. The Amazons, Googles and Apples of the world have conditioned this level of expectation,” he said. “To have a broad reach to prospective students, we have to create a broad offering of learning options across different technologies.”

Lucas’ and Baer’s comments were part of an “IT in Higher Education: Sustaining or Disruptive?” panel discussion with Deborah Lucas (’96), senior customer success director at Salesforce.com; Maryam Alavi, information strategy professor and vice dean for faculty and research at Emory University’s Gouizeta Business School; and Vasant Dhar, professor and director of the NYU Stern School of Business’ Center for Business Analytics.

Joe Bailey, research associate professor for DOIT, co-presented "IT Decision Games" among other presenters and subtopics. View the full agenda here.

“As information technology is increasingly vital to most enterprises, we are seeing new ways to teach and deliver content that’s driven by Internet and related technologies,” said Zhi-Long Chen, professor of operations management and DOIT chair, who delivered welcoming remarks on the eve of the workshop.

In staging the 2013 workshop, Smith and the University of Maryland follow previous hosts including the University of California Irvine, University of Michigan and Georgia Tech. NYU will host the 2014 workshop.

Hosting this year's workshop is a timely illustrator of Smith’s thought leadership, Chen added. “Not only are Smith’s DOIT information systems faculty among the world’s best IT researchers, they are also outstanding teachers."

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.