Dec. 17, 2020Print | PDF
Assistant Professor Eva Huang’s previous experience in human resources management helped create a truly immersive remote learning experience for Wilfrid Laurier University students.
Huang possesses an impressive resume that includes roles in teaching and research around the globe, as well as experience in human resources management and consulting. She joined Laurier’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in 2019 and in 2020 served as part of a team of co-instructors who taught students remotely in the Human Resources Management course during the spring and fall terms.
“I love motivating people toward high-performance,” says Huang. “I knew this would be more challenging in a remote classroom, so I focused on building a supportive and friendly learning environment to cultivate this culture virtually.”
The Human Resources Management course addresses strategic and operational challenges of organizational human resources management and is designed to build competencies including teamwork, critical thinking and ethical decision making. The course was rethought for remote delivery using a flipped classroom model – the practice of sharing course content for students to review in advance of a scheduled class so they can apply their learning through activities during class.
To translate human resources theory into practice, Huang designed class roles for students that mirror those found in large organizations and adopted a 360-degree performance appraisal system – an approach to giving and receiving comprehensive feedback used by human resources managers and line managers.
“This approach tackles the social isolation problem and building relationships within their class network might benefit them for their entire career.”
Students had the opportunity to opt in to "class manager" or “group leader” positions each week. Class managers would notify Huang about questions and concerns raised by students during organized chats and send her a report of participation and student feedback after class. Group leaders were responsible for guiding and motivating their group through online breakout room activities as well as evaluating their group members’ performance and providing feedback to the professor.
In addition to breakout room activities which focused on critical thinking questions and real-world case studies, Huang kept students engaged with a mix of “mini-lectures,” polls, instant messaging, “Kahoot!” games, and live class discussions.
Huang says by taking turns as class managers and group leaders, students developed leadership skills and created strong interpersonal connections with each other, all while gaining a better understanding of effective people management.
“Involving students in these roles helps cultivate a high-performance culture for the course,” says Huang. “This approach tackles the social isolation problem and building relationships within their class network might benefit them for their entire career.”
“She was innovative and fostered a virtual classroom environment where students were free to share their thoughts.”
Business student Brandon Vale completed the Human Resources Management course during the summer term. Vale says the flipped classroom approach, paired with opportunities for engagement and feedback, made his learning more immersive.
“From day one, Professor Huang was very flexible and it was evident that she put a significant amount of work into adapting the course to suit the remote learning environment,” says Vale. “She was innovative and fostered a virtual classroom environment where students were free to share their thoughts.”
At the beginning of each class, Huang invited students to engage in non-academic discussion and share messages of appreciation to build a supportive, inclusive community among classmates. She also regularly encouraged students to share their thoughts about the course, reflect on personal strengths and recognize the successes of their classmates.
“I was really impressed with how the course was structured and taught,” says Vale. “I feel that it is important to recognize the great work of Laurier instructors such as Professor Huang, who are teaching – and teaching well – in a remote environment.”
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