Atul Teckchandani: ‘Living in Style’ With Virtual Teaching
Atul Teckchandani, associate professor of management and the inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, shared that teaching his upper-division course on “Entrepreneurial Leadership” online was not what he expected.
“My first virtual class session was more exhausting than I could have ever imagined. It was tough trying to keep track of everything — between what I was sharing on the screen, whether the students could see me, and which student comments were coming via the audio versus which ones were coming in the chat box,” he said.
Misses Smiling Faces
What Teckchandani misses most is the in-person connection with his students, so he asked them to join the class via video, and not just use audio.
“I missed seeing their faces so much more than I had expected,” he says. “Without any visual confirmation that people are listening to what you are saying, it felt like I was talking to myself and I was having a very hard time maintaining enthusiasm. After that class session, I decided that I would always ask students to join by video so I could see their lovely smiling faces.”
To keep his students socially engaged, he’s also taking time at the start of each class to promote small talk with one another. “I come up with a few conversation starters to get them talking.”
Screen Time and Zoom Tip
While working from home, he also tries to keep his children, ages 7 and 12, occupied. Not only do they enjoy the extra screen time, but they like the daily walks outside. “That both surprised me and made me smile,” he said.
Teckchandani, who holds degrees in both business and engineering, has a tip for those using virtual conferencing, such as Zoom, for personal and classroom use.
“I found some great backgrounds that I can use when teaching to make me feel like I’m living in style.”