Sport Management Professor at the Forefront of Fostering Student Engagement in Online Learning
Gil Fried, J.D., is a pro when it comes to teaching sport management classes remotely, and he says that, like with sports, practice makes perfect for students participating in distance learning.
Arpil 17, 2020
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Gil Fried, J.D. is no stranger to teaching his students online.
While he is currently on sabbatical working on several books, including an esports textbook, Prof. Fried, chair of the University’s Sport Management Department, typically teaches two highly rated online classes each year.
He believes the key to a meaningful online experience is fostering engaging discussions for students by raising thought-provoking topics and questions that don’t have one correct solution. This encourages students to explore an issue from all angles, consider possible answers and ramifications, examine how they feel about issues, and conduct research.
"The key is to let the students know in advance the purpose of each element and what will be expected of them."Gil Fried, J.D.
"Each student learns differently and at a different pace based on their experiences and education," said Fried, who also serves as coordinator of the University’s graduate program in sport management. "When students can share their thoughts and perspectives, they are often empowered to contribute in ways they otherwise would not."
Fried has found that using videos or even movie segments can be particularly helpful for students studying remotely.
"Exploring financial decisions can be challenging," he explains. "However, if the students watch an episode of Shark Tank or The Profit, they might have an easier time understanding why certain decisions were made, and that usually leads to a richer discussion of a more difficult concept."
Fried emphasizes that video needs to be used in moderation. He has found that a one-hour video is much less effective than several five-minute videos, which students typically find more engaging.
Keeping students involved is of paramount importance when learning remotely, and Fried says that keeping the course structured also ensures student involvement.
"If there are deadlines every week, students have to keep up with all of the assignments," he explains. "The course needs to be structured using quick and exciting elements. The key is to let the students know in advance the purpose of each element and what will be expected of them."
"When students can share their thoughts and perspectives, they are often empowered to contribute in ways they otherwise would not."Gil Fried, J.D.
For Fried, teaching online classes has been rewarding, and he has scored very positive feedback from students. He has started including some of the projects he has used in his remote courses in his in-person classes, and he is incorporating additional competency-based elements in his online courses because he has learned that when it comes to remote learning, practice really does make perfect.
"I look at it as similar to practicing a sport," he said. "It is impossible to, for example, be a great batter in baseball without taking numerous swings in practice, in the batting cages, and during games. After thousands of swings, a batter will become more proficient.
"Similarly, if a student is exposed to a concept once, it will be hard for them to become really proficient," he continued. "In all of my classes, and in my online courses, especially, I include assignments that require students to repeat a concept with different facts to reinforce what they are learning."
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