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ORM Podcast: Down and Dirty With Davis Transcript


Hi everyone. And welcome to the Online Roadpmap podcast or OM today. We have our first guest who is Lulu Williamson from Davis College, or as our students like to refer to her Dr. Lulu. So welcome to the show, Dr. Lulu. We're so excited to have you with us. And with that, I'm going to go ahead and get started.

I wanted first for you to go ahead and tell us a little bit about who you are and your affiliation with Davis college. Sure. Hi Amber, and thanks for inviting adding me to the podcast today. So, I'm Dr. Lulu or Lou Williamson. I'm the director of online programs at Davis college and Davis college is, is a pretty interesting college because it has a wide variety of courses.

I've only been at the university at WVU since January of last year. So, I came about two months before the pandemic hit. And so I'm still getting used to all of the WVU ways and, and it's, it's, it's been interesting with the pandemic not being in the office, sort of meeting everybody, but I've worked.

In online capacity for about 15 years. And I've been working remotely for that entire time. So when the pandemic hit, it was, it was pretty normal sort of workday for me. But that's my background. I not only am an administrator of online programs, but I also teach online and I've been teaching online.

For about 12 years. Great. That's awesome. Working remotely is definitely been a transition, I think, for all of us. So that's, that's good. So give us a little background of the college and what your college, what Davis specializes in and what degrees or courses that you guys are gonna offer during my master.

Sure. Yeah. So it's Davis College and Davis College is the Agricultural College. And as many of you may or may not know with flagship universities which this one is the flagship university for West Virginia and a land grant institution. The agricultural colleges were usually the first colleges established at the land grant institution.

So Davis College was one of the first college is established at WVU. So it's not just agriculture now though. It's agriculture, natural resources and design. And when I first came to WVU, I thought design, what does that have to do with agriculture and natural resources? And it's interesting, cause my background is actually in design and design thinking and it makes a lot of sense when you think about it, it's design more like landscape design and we're doing a lot of interesting things right now with sustainability and the ecology and that plays into some of the courses that Davis will be offering in May.

So we're, you know, we're offering like a restoration ecology forest resources, conservation ecology. And then we also have an interior design graphic score. And that's for students who have an interest in creating a portfolio. If you're into any sort of digital media or web design or anything like that, there is an interior design graphics course offered during may master as well.

We also have a couple of food science courses in human nutrition. So there's a whole gamut of types of offerings from Davis, which is, which is great, that there's such a breadth of types of courses available. Yeah, that's awesome. I know winter our students really love the Davis College courses.

I knew HN enough when one 71 and one 26 are super popular during the term. So it's good to see Davis offering a wide variety during May-mester too. So we're really, really excited about that. So your courses Dr. Lilia are those, can you tell us a little bit how those are gonna be set up during May-mester and what students should expect?

During the time share. So all of the courses are fully online. Same as winter session and they're all asynchronous, which means you have deadlines in the classroom, but you don't have any class time, meaning you don't go to a classroom. Your classroom is virtual. So everything is asynchronous.

As with all online courses. I mean, I've been doing online for a long time, and I do a lot of orientation sessions with students similar to this one and one of the big things I always tell students and even faculty, when they start teaching online, the number one thing about online courses is to have a good.

Style of communication with your instructor and likewise, the instructor hopefully is communicating well with you, but because these courses go so quickly, they're only three weeks long. You really need to make sure that you have a good sense of both time management and also communication. You never want to get behind in a three-week course, especially, or any online course.

Because then it's really difficult to catch up and it takes students a while sometimes to get used to the asynchronous nature of the courses, because they don't have to go sit in a classroom somewhere. But that also means that you have to pay attention to due dates. For assignments and make sure that you're turning everything in on time.

And if you can't, for some reason that you're telling the instructor why that would be happening. Yeah. That's super important. Now we like students to, to log in daily, you know, to those courses. Right. So, so that's always super important for students to know that these are accelerated, and they are asynchronous.

And so. Definitely. We want you to make sure that you're logging in. Right. Do you think logging in daily is, is, is the expectation that most of your classes set for the students as well? Oh, absolutely. Students should definitely be logging in to their classroom daily going into their discussion boards if they have any make sure you're also looking at your WVU email.

Because from the classroom, your faculty would oftentimes be emailing the entire classroom with instructions. So logging in daily, participating in the discussion board, if there is one making sure that you're looking at the syllabus, which should also have the schedule of what's, you know, what's required and the syllabus.

So being really on top of it. And again, that goes along with just your time management skills, but if you just make it, that goal of you're going to log in every day, then that really helps with time management, like do it every morning, you know, it's like, I'm going to wake up. And then make a cup of coffee or whatever you have in the morning.

Then I'm going to sit down at my computer and I'm going to log in and see what's happening, and then make sure that I'm making note of when my assignments are due and getting those in on time, because you will have, you know, double sometimes triple the work from like a regular 16 week, semester it's down to three weeks.

So you will, it's very accelerated. So you do need to pay good attention to all of that. Yeah, that's great advice. Really, really great advice. So we knew one of the benefits of taking a May-mester course. It's really going to give students the flexibility to, you know, add courses to their summer schedule, or also give them a little bit more freedom.

And the second part of the summer term to maybe go travel, go on vacation, whatever the. The situation may be. So I wanted to ask you, and this is kind of just a fun question, but what is your favorite place to travel to and why? Oh, well, I'm sort of, I know a lot of people like the sun and they like to travel during the summer.

I'm exactly the opposite. I actually love traveling in the gray times of like fall and winter, which I know is sort of like what, but one of my favorite cities is Edinburgh, Scotland. It's my absolute. Favorite city. I've been there a bunch of different times at different times of the year. And what I love about it is it's a full-blown city, but it's also small and you can walk it.

And the architecture there is just incredible. And when I would go there, I would just every day, go out my door, go a different direction, down a different street. And then just walk and sort of get lost in the city and it's, you don't ever really get lost because you can see the Edinburgh castle, which is up on the Hill.

So you always have sort of a reference point. But I also moved up to West Virginia though from the coast of Georgia. And when we lived in Georgia, we spent a lot of time in Florida at the beaches. My daughter really likes the beaches, but I'm, I'm not so much a beach person. I'm more of like a. City Northern castle type of person.

So I love it. I love it. That's awesome. What's the, what's the typical weather like there, it's very overcast and gray and rains a lot. So I mean, the thing I just don't like hot weather at all, and even in the summertime, it doesn't get that hot. So. When I did live in Georgia, there was a lot of time where it would be like 98 degrees and like 90% humidity.

It was just so hot. And I would just get on my computer and start looking for like, Oh, where can I go? That's not this hot and like Edinburgh or like Tala and in Estonia, which is the capital of Estonia. They always had like really reasonable weather, like during the summer, which is like in the low 70's.

So I was, I was like, I really loved those places. That's awesome. I'm also not a huge fan of humidity. My hair doesn't like it, so yeah, I know a lot of kids like the beach though, and that's, that's good. And, you know that's, I mean, like my daughter, she does, she does miss the beach since moving up here, but now we have the mountains and the trees, so.

Yeah, it's a tradeoff. Yeah. It's not a bad trade off. I agree. Awesome. Thanks. So back to May-master what should student or what type of students should take Davis College courses? Well, I think these courses are really for everyone. There are no prerequisites attached to any of these courses. So I always like to say that, you know, w while you're a student, especially in undergrad students, and you have a lot of electives to fill, you know, take something that you've always been interested in, but you haven't just done it.

And, you know, if you've been interested in the environment or sustainability, you know, think about taking one of the ecology courses, there's the restoration ecology or the conservation ecology. We also have a forest resources course. And the history of forests in the United States is another course, but it's also on the flip side of that would be, Oh, you know what?

I really want to do web design or I'm really into digital media. And it would be great for me to spend some time putting together a digital portfolio, which is really a must have these days to be competitive in job applications. Then take the interior design graphics course and learn how to do that. The instructor of that has a lot of experience with it.

He, he also does a lot of study abroad trips during normal times, not during the pandemic, obviously, but during normal times. And I know he, he's also a photographer is a really interesting artistic background. And I mean, everybody teaching these courses also, that's the other thing, the instructors of these courses are really amazing, interesting people and they worked in their field.

It's that it's not just academics. They've also worked in the field, which is great. I mean, what, what I love about a lot of online courses is you mix the content with the application. So it's not, I'm just learning this to learn this, but it's also like I'm learning this so I can apply it to something that I'm really interested in.

And I think a lot of these courses, almost all of them that we're offering how that application, as well as just the academic content. Yeah, that's great. I love the practical knowledge mixed in that definitely is a way that I like to learn. So I'm sure that a lot of our students can relate to that as well.

So that's, that's awesome to know. So in terms of faculty what can our students really expect from the faculty during the, the main master courses? Well, I think hopefully what you can expect is that the faculty are highly engaged and are communicating with you on a regular basis. And that if you do have any questions, they're quick to respond to those questions.

And it's, it's, you know, I mean, that's sort of typical should be typical faculty behavior during any online semester or eight-week session or three weeks session, like May-mester. His quick responses, but especially in a three week accelerated course, you can expect almost, I would say daily or every two days, communication from the instructor, sending out reminders, making sure, especially if you do get behind reminding you that you need to catch up and hopefully you're not going to be that one, that person being behind you're going to be the one on top of it and turning in assignments.

On time if not ahead of time, but I would say that the instructors should be communicating with you on a regular basis and that they are there to help you and support you. So if you do have any questions that should be the first person you talk to, you know, send them an email. One of the things, because like I said, I also teach one of the big things I tell students is when you send me an email, tell me exactly what the issue is, or there's a problem in the classroom.

Tell me where it is. Like give me specific information so that I can solve the problem quickly and not have you know, a long thread of emails for some specific thing. Hopefully the faculty are also being very proactive in their classrooms and Setting up announcements for you. So that's the other thing I would say is when you check in, make sure that you're looking at the announcements section of the classroom to see what new things your instructor is telling you.

Great. That's awesome. Good to know that the faculty are so engaged because remembering this is not only an accelerated term for the students, but also the faculty. So they're in there every day or every other day as well. Checking in on, on the students and making sure that everything is going okay and grading and whatnot.

So that's really, really good to know good knowledge for the students as well. So May-mester is, you know, new, right? This is our first year while we were supposed to write it last year. Right. But with the pandemic everything kind of got a little messed up. So this will be our first, our first time running May-mester and we're excited about it.

What, what excites Davis College about offering may master this year? Well, I think it's a great strategy for students to think about. And I think the more modalities and the more options, the more flexibility you can give to students overall. The better it is for everyone. And so the students benefit because, you know, they have options to take these accelerated courses and sort of in a sense, get them out of the way, get these credentials get these credits or you can also then go into summer and take and take courses.

But I think the great thing about online is how many Different modalities. There are different ways that you can teach online. And one of them is, you know, how long has the course the three weeks for winter session and may master the eight week courses that are being run. During like two, eight week sessions during the regular semester and then six week or 12 week sessions during summer, I think the more options students have the better for everybody and for the faculty as well.

I mean, they may want to be teaching, but they also need to do research. So they like teaching in these condensed formats so that maybe during the summer, they have time to do research with the students. You know, you get to take these accelerated classes and then get a part-time job or go traveling and get a urinal pass and go traveling around Europe.

That's what I'm making my daughter do when she's old enough to do it, I would highly recommend it for everyone. Get a year rail pass. You can get a year old pass until you're 26 years old. You can basically ride every train in Europe, sort of nonstop or a specific period of time. So take one of these courses, get a year out.

Pass. Get your vaccine, got a Europe, you know meet a lot of interesting strangers and friends for life. So it's all, that's why I love online. Honestly, online gives you so much more flexibility to do other things and not saying, having to sit in a classroom. I mean, I've taught, I'll be honest. I've taught online classes.

My husband is actually from South Africa. So I have taught online from South Africa and Guatemala and a lot of different places in the United States. So as long as you have good WIFI and you're on top of it with your schedule online is a really great modality for learning. That's awesome. You are quite the traveler.

I'm a little jealous. Lou well, one final question. And I'm hoping that you can give one piece of advice to our students about taking a May-mester or a summer term course. So what, what piece of advice would you give students? If you could. Well, I think the one piece is I'll just repeat it, but I think it would be the top of my list is to make sure that you're being a good communicator with your faculty member.

If a student disappears in your classroom, you always wonder what's going on with them. And sometimes, you know, my wife, I went out my parents got sick or, you know, something happens, and we want to know what happened to you. And so I think You know, as a faculty person. So I think communication, communicating with your faculty member, communicating with Amber, if you have any questions is the absolute number.

One thing that I would recommend because from communication flows, a lot of different things, which is, you know Getting things done, reading directions, the time management, it all flows from really good communication. So I, that would be the number one thing. And I'll tell you, employers, that is also their number one trait that they're looking for in employees is a good sense of how to communicate about a variety of complex issues.

So I would say if you can work on your communication skills and online sort of forces you to do that. Then you'll be in a really great place. Yeah, for sure. Totally agree with you. Lily, that's something that's super important. I think that's a great tip just for life in general, right? Higher ed throughout your time in college or in the workplace or just, just in your everyday life.

So that's an awesome piece of advice. Well, Dr. Lou, thank you so much. We were so excited to have you on the show. I really appreciate it. And I know our viewers and guests are gonna appreciate listening to, to the podcast as well. And getting your, your tips and advice from Davis College. And I really do appreciate your time.

Well, thanks for having me and hopefully we'll see you all in the classroom.

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