“Managing Diversity in the Workplace” (MGT 814) is taught 100 percent online through the use of an online academic platform called “Management Learning System (MLS).” The MLS platform is managed by a contracted company called “BISK” hired by MSU’s Management Department in the College of Business here at Michigan State University (MSU). This course is offered by the Management Department, as part of the graduate degree program in “Management Strategy, and Leadership (MSL).” MGT 814 is the first graduate level diversity course of its kind in the College of Business at MSU. The recruitment of students for the graduate program is also contracted with BISK, and the students come from all over the world and from across many states. The course enrollment ranges from 25 to 60 students, averaging about 50 students. MGT 814 is an elective course for the graduate program in MSL. The course was first designed and implemented by Dr. Roz Jaffer in 2014, and was launched online in fall of 2015. All MSL courses in this program including MGT 814 runs in five week sessions.
The purpose of this course is to provide a basic foundation and framework in managing diversity in the workplace. The course is guided by the “Pedagogical Principles of Teaching and Learning” with a desire to achieve the highest level of instructional effectiveness and student success. This elective course covers important topics which impact today’s highly diverse populations. For instance, the current environmental forces in the U.S suggests a sense of urgency for skills needed in managing across cultures and in dealing with highly sensitive issues covered in this course. Students will learn to recognize the need for leadership competencies in managing across cultures by reviewing their own biases, values, perceptions, and opinions on topics of discrimination, racism, and sexism for performance and organizational effectiveness. There are many topics surrounding diversity and inclusion discussed in the course including but not limited to; Managing a diverse workforce, creating an inclusive culture, cross-cultural understanding, biases and stereotypes, sexual harassment, race and gender differences, cultural and ethnic differences, and training leaders for today’s workforce. Finally, students will examine the best practices in managing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
The recorded lectures through the use of Adobe Captiva application started all lectures with clearly defined learning objectives for each lecture based on the weekly material, and ended with the learning outcomes from each lecture (see sample snap shots with learning outcomes listed below). The recorded lectures have special effects with animations, creative affects, self-assessment (test your knowledge) and Innovative objects to make the recorded lectures more interesting and engaging.
This course also utilized Second Life, a virtual online web-based platform, it is an ideal and effective use of technology and innovation as a means to deliver course content regarding the topics of diversity and inclusion. The new and innovative technology was applied in a creative way of immersing students in real life experiences in a simulation setting which would otherwise be difficult achieve. What makes the use of Second Life a unique and creative use of technology is that it allows students to experiences through role play the sensitive nature of the topics at a deeper level of understanding which otherwise would be difficult to comprehend under the normal online course platform. The use of Second Life is especially effective in this diversity course because a student may change his or her “Persona” to take on a different identity ethnically and racially, which is very effective in gaining an awareness of the sensitive issues and what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes, such as, an African American. By engaging students in the interactive role play exercise, a deeper level of learning was discovered through “meaning making and sense making” of real topics that impact us all today such as; discrimination or sexual harassment.
Dr. Roz Jaffer - Course Development and Instruction
Samantha Roberts - Course TA