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Maryville University is engaging students in a revolutionary new approach to learning that puts them at the center of their education, and provides opportunities for collaborating and connecting with experts and peers alike. Erika Rasure, PhD, assistant professor of business and financial services in the John E. Simon School of Business, understands that technology is a critical component in student success, and continually seeks ways to harness its potential for her students.
Rasure uses a variety of tech tools to make her coursework challenging, dynamic, and relevant.
“I approach technology as an experiment,” she says. “I share each new idea with students and discuss what I hope to accomplish. Then I ask what they see as the strengths and weaknesses. Integrating that approach has resulted in a lot of helpful feedback.”
Since joining Maryville last year, Rasure has incorporated an impressive array of technology solutions into her teaching.
She uses Explain Everything to make lectures truly dynamic. As a replacement for the traditional blackboard or whiteboard, Rasure uses the app to create interactive slideshows with text, images, audio, video, and even hand drawings. She often records the presentations for sharing on social media sites.
“She’s passionate about technology and utilizes it to its full capacity,” says Sean Murphy, senior. “Not only do we see her amazing how-to video, but we can share it on Facebook or YouTube so it reaches people who aren’t even taking the class. I’ve show them to show clients and students at other universities.”
In fact, Rasure’s reach is global, thanks to the Google Hangout and Skype interviews she’s conducted with industry experts from around the world. She shares the videos with students in her online classes, and hopes to create a database of experts across disciplines that can be used in any Maryville course.
“There are so many experts, on a global scale, that want to contribute to student learning,” she says.
In addition to making her course content more compelling, Rasure’s use of technology helps students prepare as job candidates. For example, she uses InterviewStream to conduct mock interviews. She also created a blog where students write posts, which they often add to their LinkedIn profiles. Students in her financial planning class are currently writing a book on personal financial planning advice for millennials. They used Inspiration Maps to brainstorm their content in a visual way, and they’ll design and distribute the material using the iBook app.
Rasure’s reach is global, thanks to the Google Hangout and Skype interviews she’s conducted with industry experts from around the world. She shares the videos with students in her online classes, and hopes to create a database of experts across disciplines that can be used in any Maryville course.
Students understand the importance of having a strong portfolio by graduation. “At the end of this class, I’m going to have my name behind a published ebook,” says senior Megan Korte.
“One of my biggest teaching philosophies is to have a solid, tangible outcome for students,” she says. “I want what they’re learning in class to be useful for their job prospects. My projects are disguised as homework, but the assignments will actually benefit them later.”
Although innovation is an integral part of Rasure’s teaching philosophy, she is careful to use technology as an aid—not a crutch, says Korte.
“She doesn’t just push the technology on us and then sit in the back corner and watch us.” Korte says. “Professor Rasure is actively involved and engaged in everything we’re learning. That’s key.”
This story was originally published in the Spring 2016 edition of Maryville Magazine.