By: Kaliena Bowen
Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, the semi-annual Georgia University Entrepreneurship Initiative (GUEI) was hosted virtually on April 22, 2020. A committee consisting of educators, administrators and entrepreneurial ecosystem builders representing Georgia State University, Emory University, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State University, Morehouse University, University of Georgia, Startup Atlanta, TiE Atlanta and ATDC hosted the virtual event. The state’s leading entrepreneurship educators and students connected to share helpful tips and tools about teaching students in higher education and fostering entrepreneurs via online learning.
The first panel discussion, “Best/Worst Practices and Resources for Teaching Virtually to College Students,” was moderated by Nakia Melecio of ATDC. It focused on the reality that students’ emotional and psychological well-being can disrupt distance learning. Moving home for many college students has brought on challenges such as; time zone differences, financial difficulties, new responsibilities, and more. Universities and educators need to understand that being home does not equate to more availability or focus.
Panelists also discussed improving the online instruction of students and using technology to enrich the digital learning experience. During these unprecedented times, educators must be able to be flexible and work with students’ circumstances. To do this, professors can rework the structure of their digital class to be more engaging and accessible. The panelists in this conversation were:
- Donna Ennis – Director, Atlanta Minority Business Development Agency
- Brian Goebel – Social Enterprise Director, Emory Goizueta Business School
- Karen Peterson – Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
In the breakout session, participants were asked, “What was one idea that resonated with you and is there anything else you would add to the discussion?” Educators reviewed the components of distance learning and the many ways of delivering content. Participants shared what tools they found to be successful, like inviting guest speakers, gamification, and using group collaboration applications.
After the breakout meeting, educators heard from the student’s perspective in another panel discussion moderated by Amelia Schaffner, Director of Entrepreneurship at Emory Goizueta Business School. “Online Entrepreneurship Education – Student Experiences & Input” highlighted the experience of students given the switch to distance learning. Multiple students expressed that they are using this time to develop themselves. Without a structured schedule, students must self-motivate and create routines. For some, this has meant additional availability to participate in extracurricular activities and free online courses.
The following students participated as panelist:
- Joy Bullington – Georgia Institute of Technology
- Sharvil Patel – Emory University
- Nicole Wronski – University of Georgia
To learn more about GUEI, visit their LinkedIn page here.