When David Stowell goes to teach class, he has to get on an airplane and fly from Chicago to Salt Lake City.
Actually, that only happens when he needs to teach a class in person. Stowell teaches one course a semester at USU via the web. He’s a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Chaoqun (Sheila) Lai talks with David Stowell after
class. Stowell teaches his class in person three times
He travels to Utah to teach his class in person three times a semester. That’s an improvement over a commute he used to have. He used to work in New York for O’Conner Capital Partners, even though he lived in Chicago. On that job he was expected to do his long commute on a regular basis.
Professor Stowell has plenty of contact with his students, however, thanks to WebCT. WebCT is an internet-based system that allows students to post presentations, interact with each other and take tests.
"Although they don’t see me as often as they would a professor who teaches every week at USU, I think they feel they interact with me on a comparable level through the medium of WebCT," he said.
In the fall he teaches a class that focuses on hedge funds and private equity funds. In the spring semester he teaches a course that deals with investment banking. He said the classes he teaches to undergraduates at USU are similar to the classes he teaches graduate students at Northwestern.
He posts the class reading assignments on WebCT. He sends them weekly questions they must respond to, and the class breaks up into teams of three or four per group to work on special projects. These projects are shared via PowerPoint presentations posted on WebCT and discussed electronically.
"They seem to feel that the overall workload is comparable to other classes," Professor Stowell said.
Stowell said his workload as a teacher is about the same as a regular class too.
"Although I spend a lot less time in class, I spend a lot more time with e-mails through WebCT," he said. "The students send me quite a few e-mails that are good questions, and I try to respond to them. I have to correct their individual responses to my weekly questions."
A big part of the reason that Professor Stowell is willing to teach the class is because he graduated from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business .
"I think it works best if someone has a vested interest in the school," he said. "I have, obviously, a vested interest in Utah State; therefore, I am more determined than I might otherwise be to make sure it is a high-quality program, and I understand the students, perhaps, because I used to be one at Utah State."
David Stowell graduated from USU in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and got his M.B.A. from Columbia University at New York City in 1978. He speaks Japanese and has worked in Tokyo as well as New York.