“Our main goal was to maintain the quality of the program and the teaching, and to do it in a way that actually enhanced what the faculty were able to do,” Vail says.

Course designers showed faculty how short, topic-specific videos were actually more powerful than a recorded hour-long lecture. They helped set up course pages in the Blackboard Learn course management system, providing a common place to find course materials. They also worked with faculty to design assignments and assessments, helping to determine which worked best online and in the classroom.

Charlene SullivanIf awards are any indication, the team clearly met its goal. Charlene Sullivan, a longtime professor of finance and associate dean of undergraduate programs, received a 2017 Award for Excellence in Distance Learning: Course Design and Technology at Purdue’s faculty awards convocation in April for her work on Financial Management (MGMT 61000), which is part of the Weekend MBA program’s core curriculum.

“Professor Sullivan is one of Krannert’s most respected instructors and continuously works to improve her teaching methods and courses,” says John Fassnacht, the school’s director of online and hybrid learning. “Having a senior faculty member who is willing to try new things and champion new technologies is extremely valuable in moving the school forward.”

Vail and ITaP instructional designer Sheree Buikema also earned recognition for their distance-learning excellence, receiving 2017 MVP: Instructional Design and Support Awards. In addition to aiding Sullivan, the duo supported the redesign of eight other courses in the Weekend MBA program.

Another point of success has been enrollment. The previous cohort had 22 students. This year, with the new model, enrollment is 57. “It more than doubled,” Roush says, “which is better than we expected.”

Brian ChuppThe hybrid model also has allowed for better insight from students, says Brian Chupp, an organizational behavior and human resource management instructor.

Chupp, who has taught both fully online and hybrid courses for other colleges at Purdue, says the beauty of Krannert’s hybrid program is that it simulates a real-world working environment where students have to learn how to interact with each other both in person and online.

“One of the things I’ve found is that by moving some of the discussion online to message boards, you actually get a deeper level of conversation,” Chupp says. “In the classroom, you might have just 25 percent of the class dominate the conversation, with the rest of the class just content to sit and listen. But online, where everybody has to participate, I’ve found some of the most insightful comments come from someone who’ll rarely raise their hand in class.”

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