March 09, 2017
"Finance is not a spectator sport."
At least that's Assistant Professor of Finance Peter DaDalt's philosophy.
In his Corporate Financial Management course, DaDalt covers topics such as financial forecasting, capital budgeting, capital structure, dividend policy and working capital management.
The topics are fairly typical for a management class, but DaDalt's approach is not.
He engages students using the "flipped classroom" technique, which reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content outside of the classroom. Activities traditionally considered homework are moved into the classroom.
Students watch online lectures he posts to a video-sharing website on their own time and then engage in concepts in the classroom with his oversight. Classes open with quizzes to gauge if students have watched the assigned video.
"I can get the information to the students via the lecture outside of class, which increases instructional time while freeing up important classroom time," DaDalt said. "The quizzes provide incentive for the students to watch the videos and the classroom activities lock that information down."
Students input quiz and equation answers via the mobile application Socrative, which allows them to view (anonymously) how their classmates are answering the same problems and how they scored on the quizzes.
"We can see in present time how the problems are being answered," said Nathaniel Leies, a junior creative writing major from Swiftwater, Pa. "And I like comparing myself to others in the class."
Likewise, DaDalt measures the class' progress in real time using Socrative. He also tracks via Google Analytics how many students have actually watched the pre-class videos and how much time they spent watching each lecture.
"I want to know what they know and what they don't know," DaDalt said. "Otherwise, I don't get the feedback until after a quiz, and then they've already been hurt [if their scores are poor]."
As the class worked on one equation after another, it was apparent by the results showing up on the screen via Socrative, that they were catching on.
"I like it," said Denny Miller, a junior business administration major from Killington, Vt. "He won't move forward until he knows everyone's getting it."