Innovation and Success

          As Dr. King said, “Keep to active learning. You must learn, research and be so passionate about new ways and methods of doing things to be and remain relevant.” Unfortunately, I learned this a hard way. During my first semester, I taught using more traditional, lecture-based methods. I was trying my best to deliver engaging lectures, but I was getting the impression that my students are tuned out and bored. After exploring the science of learning, I realized that most of my students grew up as “digital natives.” Their phones are much more than mere communication or entertaining gadgets; students view their devices as necessary technological appendages. I asked myself: how can I possibly compete with the “edutaining” and often edgy nature of online information from the likes of Snapchat, or Instagram?

          As a result, I started using digital technologies. Every class, students create the “iCloud of Knowledge.” I ask students to text me their background knowledge on a concept that will be discussed in class (please see Cloud1).  At the end of the class, students answer the same question using knowledge acquired in class (please see Cloud2). This approach allows students to stay engaged as well as provide me with an opportunity to assess students’ prior knowledge and analyze their learning outcomes. Here is an example of the “iCloud of knowledge” that shows how students’ views of the “sourcing concept” shifted from “process” to “relationship” during the class period:

iCloud 1 (Beginning of the class)
iCloud 2 (End of the class)

          Furthermore, I am constantly learning and always trying new things when it comes to active learning in my classroom. For example, to show how randomization can alter survey results in marketing research, I gave students super salty and regular brownies and asked them to compare their flavors. Students who tried the salty piece first rated the regular brownies much higher than those who tried the regular brownies first. Using their own experiences, students learn how, by manipulating simple things, companies can affect consumers’ product perceptions.

          During another class, I provided students with an interview describing why people enjoy running barefoot. Then, I asked students to imagine themselves working for a sport shoe company and to design an advertisement using insights derived from the interview. After this, students shared their ads with each other, and I finished the class by showing a video on an actual ad that the company designed. Here are the posters that students created:

Class Activity
Poster 1
Poster 2
Poster 3

          Overall, my influence is not online, but rather using digital technologies and creative tasks, personally engaging and inspiring students in the classroom, and mentoring them one-on-one during office hours. 

          Below are examples of student comments that highlight some of the creative and innovative approaches that I implement in my classes.

“Professor Shaheen was one of my favorite teachers that I had in my entire 4 years at USF. She makes learning fun and I really appreciate her using different teaching, methods to actually get us involved while in the classroom. She also presented us with multiple relevant case studies that were really interesting. I also liked that she always made a point to look at everything we discussed in class from global and cultural perspective. Furthermore, she is very approachable when it comes to questions or concerns related to class material even when it comes to employment options for after graduation. Great, well-rounded learning experience. Thank you.”

“While Marketing Research is a pretty redundant course that could be very un-interesting given with the instruction of the wrong professor, Professor Shaheen did a great job at making the class interesting. She brought in props such as brownies for the purpose of teaching us about Marketing surveys, she was straight forward about the information on the test, and even had a test “jeopardy” review that helped immensely with the course. She made a not so interesting class interesting. Would definitely take a class from her again.”