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Moving on: focus on the classroom, John Haas

Our director and Immediate Past President of Southern States Communication Association, John Haas was featured on the SSCA Connections newsletter. When asked his opinon on the classroom and higher education he responded,

Like most all of you, I’m attracted to some aspects of the changing higher education landscape. New technologies allow us to study in ever greater detail the ways in which humans interact and are impacted by messages. Other aspects of this changing landscape such as the need to master a nearly endless number of new instructional software programs can be less attractive. Few issues in our changing landscape find me siting on the fence. However, I’m still on the fence regarding online courses. An impressive body of literature exists that deals with the topic of online education, and a number of journals (e.g., American Journal of Distance Education) have as their mission the aim of promoting research into this aspect of pedagogy. Multiple studies support the proposition that online learning outcomes are consistent with the learning outcomes experienced by students in a traditional face-to-face format. The ambivalence that I feel grows out of my belief that good teaching is based on building effective relationships with students. Simply put, I’m not sure how to build effective relationships in an online environment. As a member of SSCA, I have the opportunity to gain from the wisdom and experiences of my colleagues to address my concerns about online instruction. As we move on to build and rebuild communication programs, our association is uniquely positioned to help guide our efforts to better understand the evolving classroom and address the concerns of members. As an association of communication educators, we can and should take a leading role in identifying what works and what does not work in the online world. We should not leave this opportunity to others to determine what kind of classroom the communication educator of the future will confront.

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