COB Flex-Sync Superstars

Meet Professors Sean Fingland and Kristi Maruska

September 30, 2020 |

Sean Fingland and Kristi Maruska are two professors that have had amazing success in their flex-sync classrooms! The College of Business wanted to highlight them and hear what they had to say about flex-sync. 

a person wearing glasses and a purple shirt

Sean Fingland

Tell us something that you enjoy about Flex-Sync teaching.

​I enjoy that technology allows me to be more-free.  In a synchronous online environment, you are stationary behind a screen. With Flex-Sync, you have the freedom to roam. I have the ability to more easily talk with my hands.

Tell us something that you learned while teaching Flex-Sync style.

​I have learned to adapt to a new whiteboard style. Under normal in-person teaching, I would spend significant time completing examples or providing summaries drawn on the classroom whiteboards. Due to limited visibility of whiteboards by student viewing via Zoom, I moved to using Power Point on my iPad as my whiteboard. Students can view my iPad in class and on Zoom as I am creating the content. I love that I have the ability to save it for future use.  As I teach multiple sections of the same course, I love the ability I have to reference prior templates as I am recreating them.  

If you were to give any advice to students about Flex-sync learning, what would that be?

​Choose the environment (in person or Zoom) that works best for your situation. The technology works very well. I have observed a significant shift in my classes. At the start of the semester, 75% of the students suggested they preferred to attend in person. I now have less than 10% attend in person. This tells me that among other benefits, students are receiving a similar experience.

a person in a white shirt

Kristi Maruska

Tell us something that you enjoy about Flex-Sync teaching. 

It really is the flexibility for the students. I'm teaching three sections of MRKT100 which is first year students. They are choosing to come to class which accommodates about half of them.  It's very easy to use multi-media in the lectures which keeps the student's attention. I had the students do a remote presentation using zoom and it was fun to see how their parents operated as their IT professionals. I had one dad help his son find "share my screen" and he commented how happy he was that his son learned zoom.   It was something the dad had to learn for his job. 

Tell us something that you learned while teaching Flex-Sync style.

Knowing what the student is seeing was important to me.  They see the first screen you log into.  MH102 is set up perfectly for me.  I can show my computer screen on the left screen and the zoom screen on the right and that shows less clutter, the zoom bar doesn't show.  A tip is to stop sharing your screen periodically so the students can see more of each other.  I don't require the students to show their video unless they are presenting and most choose to block it.  I think I'll change that because it gives more community when you can see each other.  And another tip is to use my office computer periodically so it is more of a close up of me without a mask so they can see who I am.  

If you were to give any advice to students about Flex-Sync learning, what would that be?

Unblock your video, speak up when you have a question, use chat appropriately and remember that everyone can see what you post when it's not private, come to class when you are able and sign up to attend in 'groups'.  The students really appreciate your efforts.  They all thank me after every class meeting.  I don't get that normally!