Abhijit Guha is an associate professor of Marketing in the Darla Moore School of Business. He teaches a large MKTG 351 course (300-400 students). In the face-to-face version of course, Abhijit is very energetic, engaging and personable. He walks up and down the aisles of the auditorium, jokes with students and passes out candy. COVID hit and Abhijit had to move his class to a virtual environment. He immediately contacted the CTE for instructional design assistance in Spring 2020 and has worked with CTE Assistant Director and Instructional Designer, Aisha Haynes, ever since. Abhijit noted at the end of Spring 2020 semester,
“Thanks for helping me become an ‘expert’ (slight exaggeration) in online teaching virtually overnight”.
He also expressed that he had room for improvement and wanted to immediately start preparing his Summer 2020 asynchronous online course and his Fall 2020 synchronous online course.
He received the following feedback from his students enrolled in his Spring 2020 course:
“Dr. Guha taught a several hundred student class and managed to make all of us feel like he genuinely cared about us and our education.”
“Dr. Guha is probably one of the nicest people I have ever met. He goes above and beyond to help students and enable our success. He makes the material interesting and engaging. I would definitely recommend him to any student.”
“Great lecturer, made each class very interesting. I was never bored and he made me much more motivated to learn and understand this material. Great at relating topics back to current subjects and keeping students attention.”
“Instructor is great, one of my favorite professors. He is very good at getting to the point, and gives lots of examples which made the information easy to learn. Again even though this was a really big class, he made sure to give time in every class where students had the opportunity to ask questions and meet with the professor one on one.”
“After the switch to online classes, I liked how the professor would do weekly update videos to explain what was going on each week. I also enjoyed the use of voiceover power points to keep us engaged while learning material.”
“I really appreciate his ability to smoothly adapt to the transition to online learning. I know it is challenging for everybody, but Dr. Guha handled the situation much better than some of my other professors.”
Abhijit successfully taught the course in an asynchronous environment during Summer 2020, receiving the following feedback from students:
“It was online and Professor Guha provided us with all of the resources needed to learn the material as well as encouraged us to reach out to him with any questions.”
“Professor Guha did a very good job with transitioning everything from this course to completely online. He even incorporated assignments about COVID-19 that related to the course to get a real-world perspective example for the course.”
“He was very interactive with the students which is especially helpful with an online course.”
“The online lectures were very in depth and explained the material thoroughly. The quizzes also helped me make sure I am focusing on the main points of the lectures.”
The real challenge was teaching 350 students synchronously via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra in Fall 2020. Abhijit brainstormed strategies with Aisha and found ways to be successful. He used iClickers to make the course interactive. Students in the class noted how he was “energetic”, “engaging”, “charismatic”, “a great communicator”, “full of humor”, “such a people person”, “relates well with students”, and “accessible”. One student noted that he was “so understanding, provided many supplemental materials to help us learn with his lectures, so helpful! He was so, so kind and let us also learn about him like his love for Chunky monkey ice cream! Made lectures fun to attend especially with the stress of this semester, he was just a joy.”
Abhijit took the challenge of teaching virtually during the pandemic head-on and thrived. No matter the course delivery method, the students expressed common sentiments regarding him: caring, easy to contact, funny, easy to communicate with, passionate about course materials, flexible, interactive and kind. Abhijit noted,
“Teaching is important to me, students are important to me. In the age of COVID-19, it was important to me to make a suitable and timely pivot to online teaching.”
We are thankful to have Abhijit as a faculty member at USC. He is inspiring and a great professor to many students in the Darla Moore School of Business.
About the Instructional Designer
Aisha Haynes is the Assistant Director at the USC Center for Teaching Excellence. She oversees the CTE’s Instructional Design team. Haynes is a certified Quality Matters Peer and Master Reviewer and has earned Online Teaching certifications from the Online Learning Consortium. She teaches for Palmetto College. She is also Graduate Associate Faculty in the College of Education. Her research interests include: instructional design in online learning environments, online course accessibility, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and collaboration and engagement in online learning environments. Haynes is the current president of the Association for Distance Education and Independent Learning (ADEIL) and is active on statewide committees related to instructional design and accessibility.