Project Management World Journal (PMWJ), published monthly by PM World, Inc., Addison, Texas, is authored by project management experts and practitioners around the world, including John Cable, founder and director of the Project Management Center for Excellence (Center) at the University of Maryland (UMD).
“As founder and director of the Center, it’s my job to provide guidance to the faculty,” he said. “I initially started writing articles about things I would like to help my faculty learn.”
John wanted to share the in-depth knowledge of teaching project management he gained from a lifetime of professional experience. “I was a founder and member of the board of the Global Accreditation Center (GAC) for Project Management that accredits project management programs in universities,” he said. “During that time, I traveled the world visiting universities in many countries that were creating programs that needed to become accredited. That experience, plus creating the program at UMD, has given me a lot of knowledge I wanted to pass along to others.”
To date, several of John’s articles have been published in the PMWJ, including one in the September edition entitled, Blended Learning Classroom Guidance. The submissions are part of a series of articles to be published monthly on Converting to Online Teaching.
Two of the topics from pervious issues include, The Future of Academia in a Virtual Environment and Tips for Working from Home.
As the home quarantine was necessitated to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, video conferencing has almost entirely replaced in-person meetings. One article covers the topic of video conference etiquette. John stated, “The article is aimed at faculty that are generally not used to running video conferences for students. All of a sudden, we’re all having to work from home and not everyone is used to that.”
John made the decision to write these articles to take advantage of an opportunity created by the pandemic. “We’re having to shift the faculty away from teaching in person, as they have been, and move toward a blended format,” he said. “The video conferencing etiquette article provides some useful pointers to assist faculty in making their virtual classrooms more effective.” The pointers are actually good for anyone, not just faculty.
The article about teaching in a blended format grew out of UMD’s work with edX which is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider that hosts online university-level courses across many disciplines. EdX was started by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and, through edX, they have done a large amount of research that people can use about how to teach in a blended format.
John wanted the faculty to start thinking about how to teach their classes in a different way. “That’s how this article series started,” he said. “I’m covering topics about things that I believe people need to know. I’d like our faculty to convert to the blended academic format as I’ve defined it.”
The University of Maryland Project Management Center for Excellence was awarded six teaching innovation grants that support the designing, developing and planning of outstanding online courses that are adaptable and accessible. “Receiving these grants has coincided with what I’m working toward. We are looking at different ways you can educate people,” he said. “There is research that shows that the blended format can be a better way to learn, and that students’ ability to apply concepts and retain information improves.”
As with everything, he said, the starting point to learning something new is desire. “There are very specific points that I want to get across to the faculty,” he said. “There are a lot of resources to help. Is there a better way to teach than the way you’ve taught all these years? If you take advantage of what technology currently offers and start asking questions, things can improve,” he said.
Read John Cable’s article in the September edition of PM World Journal, Blended Learning Classroom Guidance.
Posted by Kathy Frankle on September 30, 2020