Experiential Learning Enhances Business Program and Encourages Student Reflection
Dr. Terrence Simon, Assistant Professor, Business, Management, and Advanced Manufacturing
Dr. Matt Connell, Program Director, Business Administration
Dr. Michael Wolter, Program Director, Management and Leadership
Goodwin College’s Business Administration program, part of the Department of Business, Management, and Advanced Manufacturing, has launched a new student-focused initiative designed to enrich course topics with greater experiential learning. Dr. Matt Connell and Dr. Terrence Simon are using BUS 135: Customer Relations in a Multicultural World as the pilot course to enhance the student experience. Utilizing the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which is being integrated into the classroom structures of the department, Dr. Connell and Dr. Simon have integrated the three learning guidelines for UDL, the why, what, and how of learning, into the curriculum, instruction, and assessments, including a hands-on experiential learning component.
The inclusion of UDL into the classroom is intended to foster stronger access to student learning by limiting the effects of physical, cognitive, intellectual, and organizational barriers. In the Summer 2018 MOD 2 course, students are in the classroom for four of the seven class sessions, learning and discussing the theory of customer relations. During the remaining three class sessions, students work in pairs making live calls from the College’s call center to current Goodwin students, reminding them of upcoming registration dates and encouraging them to meet with their advisors. All students participating in this initiative receive appropriate Family Education Rights and Privacy Act training.
At the call center, Dr. Connell and Dr. Simon provide supervision, support, and feedback to the students and conclude each session with a debriefing and discussion on the challenges encountered, successes gained, and ways to improve. A reflection on the call center experience is a course requirement, and in accordance with UDL guidelines, students may demonstrate their understanding through their choice of a YouTube video, recorded audio file, PowerPoint presentation, or written paper.
The final assessment is a five-page paper synthesizing the overall experience. These various options for students to express the knowledge they gained through the classroom and call center experience will not only help each student connect the theory to practical applications but will also provide different venues for each student to express what they have learned.