Interview with Todd Jick of Columbia
Meet Professor Todd Jick, senior lecturer at Columbia University and expert in all things Business Management. Professor Jick has a particular passion for analyzing and implementing change within companies, businesses, and processes and has dedicated a book to comprehending real world cases on this vast subject, Managing Change: Cases and Concepts, co-authored with Maury Peiperl.
As a pioneer in virtual education and learning, Professor Jick used Yellowdig for his Organizational Change courses at Columbia and the results were astounding. “I just got 250 research assistants who gave me material for next year,” he stated when explaining how students from each of his lectures posted news articles that evolved into case studies via virtual interactions and class discussions.
Professor Jick identified the potential of the Yellowdig platform and is helping us develop the next version, which will have improved data analytics on student engagement, as well as an improved user interface for taking in the content and discussion posted by students. Professor Jick has been an effective advisor and mentor to the Yellowdig team as we strive to understand the intersection between social media, virtual learning and ‘virtual’ psychology. Here is our case study on Columbiadig, in conjunction with Professor Jick’s experiences:
Professor Jick identified the purposes and benefits of the existing Yellowdig platform.
The platform validated the overall course subject matter through cases and examples and revealed that the relevance of the topic is everywhere in the news. Students were able to find current examples and this updated the topics that were a part of the curriculum.
The virtual posts and discussions helped generate some debate about the issues being discussed in class. Yellowdig essentially became an extension of the 90 minutes of time spent in the lecture for continued discussion on a particular topic.
The push for 100% student engagement:
Although about 90% of students participated in the Organizational Change Yellowdig platform, there are still questions as to why 10% did not participate much via the virtual platform or even register for the virtual platform. The question remains: How can Yellowdig, in collaboration with Professors and TAs, ensure 100% participation and engagement?
On the content generated by students:
According to Professor Jick, approximately 70% of the articles posted on Yellowdig were relevant while 30% were ‘a bit of a stretch’. Professor Jick also wanted to be able to feature the best articles posted each week, or have a way to pull them up visually whenever needed. The question remains: How can Yellowdig streamline content generated by students through stylistic design choices and data analytics? The goal would be to ensure that above 90% of articles posted by students are relevant to the topics discussed in the course and push the boundaries of the course further in order to keep up with the times.
On the psychological aspects of a virtual learning platform:
Professor Jick pointed out that the platform appealed to both Introverts and Extroverts in his large lectures, especially Introverts since they tended to contribute to discussions virtually if they were uncomfortable with speaking up in class. Professor Jick also made a deliberate attempt to feature the shyer students’ virtual content so that they would be given a chance to present their opinions to the larger class community.
Another interesting question: What would be the ideal way to create an incentive system using existing Yellowdig features to ensure complete student engagement? Professor Jick featured his best students on the Leadership Board and awarded them for their participation. Professor Jick also commented on all the articles posted by students and asked broad questions in order to open up the discussion while encouraging the poster to analyze the posted article thoroughly and completely.