This information and documents are for my Annual Review and Reappointment in the Business Analytics department, Tippie College of Business, in 2021. My Department Executive Officer (DEO) requested that I cover the last four years, 2/1/2017 – 2/1/2021. I take this opportunity to address questions in the specific requirements in the "Annual Review and Reappointment Policies And Procedures 1-2020" (pdf) and "Tippie Instructional Track Faculty Policy 6-2018" (pdf) documents, explain my accomplishments, and reflect upon my four years of full-time teaching at Tippie. This document provides hyperlinks to support materials.
This “Ace Analysis For Dr. Rick Jerz” Excel file summarizes my teaching evaluations for the 40 courses I taught in the last four years. The courses include:
In aggregate, my ACE average scores hover 5.75, compared to about 5.0 for college and department averages. My Excel file provides an easy way to filter my results (via Excel slicers), but my results remain extremely favorable no matter how you slice the data. The college and department’s “grades” are approximately 85%, and my “grades” are around 95%. Noteworthy is that only 3 of 40 courses were traditional in-class courses, and online courses are always asynchronous.
My best course is “MBA8150-Business Analytics,” online, which incidentally is Quality Matters certified (the only QM-certified course at UIowa.) This "Comparison of Student Final Grades - MBA8150" box plot compares students’ final grades across all online sections of this course.
“Data Management and Visual Analytics Systems” was my relatively worst course, with ACE scores (4.85) near the department averages (5.02.) I attribute these relatively lower ACE scores to several factors: It was a new course that I never taught; My DEO directed me not to use my standard teaching technologies; Student backgrounds varied dramatically, from beginners to experts; and I had classroom technology problems throughout the semesters. Although my ACE scores were acceptable, I stopped teaching this course and recommended that an online version, which I would be willing to develop, would be much better.
In the Excel “ACE Analysis For Dr. Rick Jerz” file, I provide the details to every course, including student comments. I summarize some of my favorite student comments, including email comments, on these web pages:
In my online courses, I also ask students to provide feedback after about six weeks. Here is an example of what students say. MBA8150-F20 - Students’ Comments – Six Week “How’s it going." (pdf)
Student demand for my online course has typically been double what my department offers, between 40 and 45 students per section. Student advisors encourage students to take my sections. Several years ago, my DEO said his problem was “figuring out how to clone me.”
I have received the “Professor Who Made a Difference” (pdf) recognition every year. What is notable is that I have never met these students in person! This award reflects positively on how I instruct and interact with students online. I have also received special teaching recognition from the Center of Teaching, like this "2018-Thank-a-Teacher" (pdf) letter, and this 2019-Thank-a-Teacher (pdf) letter.
The college’s Assurance of Learning instrument compares core learning outcomes between different course sections. In February 2018, my college provided this report, "Business Analytics Assurance of Learning Knowledge Survey: Statistics" (pdf), showing that my students obtained a higher-than-average score of 93%.
In September 2019, I obtained Quality Matters certification for my MBA8150 Business Analytics online course (pdf.) QM is the premier external online course certification organization. Quality Matters standards are adopted and promoted by UIowa’s Distance and Online Education (DOE.) QM evaluates and scores courses against 42 QM rubrics (pdf.) I achieved a perfect 100-point score, and remain the only UIowa QM certified course. QM certification is an honor. UIowa can use QM certification marketing online courses and programs, like this draft QM Press Release (pdf). Although Quality Matters certification was for this one course, I use the same online instructional techniques in all my courses. And I am willing to pursue QM certification for other courses. This final email received from the QM Review Chair (pdf) was very complimentary.
UIowa’s Distance and Online Education department used to provide course evaluations for online courses. For whatever reason, I don’t get these anymore. However, DOE did do these evaluations, my online courses, like this one for my MSCI3005 Information Systems course (pdf,) were always rated higher than all other university online courses in aggregate.
My course this semester is online and asynchronous. I provided my IRC committee members access to my course, MBA8150-S21-Business Analytics, and I have included them as students so that they can observe. Since I pace my online courses and do not turn on everything, I have also provided them access to two previous courses where they can view all course content, MBA8150-F20-Business Analytics and MSCI2800-Su20-Foundations of Business Analytics.
Teaching quality online courses demands continuous improvement, keeping abreast of advancements in instructional technologies, and experimentation. I have developed a consistent instructional system for all my courses, which includes: 1) innovative use of the most powerful open-source Learning Management System (LMS), Moodle 2) My website to provide consistent course resources and assignments, 3) My own videos using my Time-Warped video technique, a technique that I received a “Best-in-Track” award at an Online Learning Consortium conference in 2013, 3) A flexible, reliable, and transparent video server, Vimeo, 4) My unique Excel models that support topics, and 5) A high degree of interaction. I developed my system over the last 20 years, attending many conferences, seminars, and meetings, and getting support from ITS, DOE, SITI, and other support departments at UIowa.
Below are some specifics for each course.
MBA8150 – Business Analytics. My Department Chair asked me to teach this course in 2014 as "mostly statistics and some optimization using Excel.) In 2016, the MBA began moving towards offering an online version of its MBA program and asked me to develop MBA8150 as a completely online course, which I had already been offering as an innovative “self-selected hybrid” course. I delivered my online version in Spring 2017 with success (5.75 ACE score.) I have continued improving this course and achieved Quality Matters certification for it in Fall 2019. Between 2017 to 2020, the online course's ACE scores have been very high (about 5.8 out of 6.) It is my favorite course.
MSCI2800 – Foundations of Business Analytics. This was a new Tippie undergraduate core course in Spring 2018. My DEO asked me to develop the online version for Fall 2018. This course had many same topics in MBA8150, but the department wanted additional dataset assignments and a final project, with student presentations. As I designed this course, the on-campus version of this course seemed short, without enough interaction for an online course, so I added a few more topics and a Tableau data visualization component. My ACE score for the first offering was about 5.6 out of 6. Since then, for six more offerings, my ACE scores were around 5.83.
MSCI3000 – Operations Management. This course goes back to Fall 2011, which was one of the first courses offered in Tippie’s undergraduate online BBA program. I recall my DEO initially saying, "I will warn you that your student evaluations will be low" and after my first offering, saying, "Wow, your students liked what you did." By 2017, it was one of my most mature online courses. I could have pursued Quality Matters certification for this course; however, the online BBA program, and courses, were being phased out. The online MBA program was being phased in, so Quality Matters certification for my MBA course made more sense. For this course, I developed unique Excel models and projects to support lecture topics. My ACE scores hover around 5.8 out of 6 for seven offerings.
MSCI3005 – Information Systems. I developed this course for the undergraduate online BBA program in Spring 2014. This course is perhaps my most creative and demanding online courses. My department desired a course that provided a good foundation in information systems, and interactive projects using Excel and Access. I designed these department desires into my course, and added an Internet project component. I believed that any course in information systems should include how information is provided over the Internet. In Fall 2016, I made some significant revisions, with DOE input, and I offered the redeveloped course in Spring 2017. For my five courses since 2017, my ACE scores hover around 5.65 out of 6.
MSCI6050 – Data Management and Visual Analytics. This course is a combination of SQL and Tableau. My DEO desired a course that focused on “using data” in databases instead of “how to design” a database, and it challenged me to design and deliver this course. My DEO also wanted to remove student database fees, so I created my course using MySQL, an open-source and free database product. I had students install MySQL using an AMP stack, which worked on both PCs and Macs. I believed that students needed a software environment that worked on their local computers, and even after the course conclusion. I taught this course two times. My ACE scores hovered around 4.85, close to department and college averages. As mentioned earlier (above), I believe an online course offering would achieve better than average student acceptance and ACE scores.
I have served on two college and department committees.
My service on the Online Committee extends beyond committee meetings. I often provide ideas for improving online education to various administrative departments. Here are two examples:
I am a remote instructor and do not teach on the main campus, and I do not have an office on campus. My participation in on-campus student-focused activities is limited. However, I do regularly write letters of recommendation for former students who are typically seeking graduate studies.
You can read about some of my noteworthy professional background and endeavors on my Tippie (Rick Jerz) profile web page. I belong to the following organizations.
I am very active in the Moodle community and am recognized worldwide for my teaching ability. I am a regular presenter at Moodle conferences. Moodle is a free, open-source Learning Management System. I have received this “Particularly Helpful Moodler” (pdf) recognition for the last five years, and I am an active member of the Moodle Users Association. I have also been an active contributor to the Canvas Community and have received a “Canvas Community Level 11 Helper” recognition from Instructure, (now a Surveyor award.)
In December 2020, I was part of McGraw-Hill's textbook committee working on revising and publishing the 10th edition of "Basic Statistics for Business and Economics," by Lind, et. al. My role was to review all textbook chapter question bank questions, and to add five to ten more questions per chapter. This question bank supports no only this textbook, but also the textbook that I use in Business Analytics, "Statistical Techniques in Business and Economics," 18th Ed., Lind.
My recent professional interest is in “Course Analytics.” I have every student click for twelve years of teaching in a Moodle database. I am interested in harnessing this data to find ways to improve education. I have worked with ITS and a few other departments in this area of course analytics. It is of growing interest by many.
For many years I had envisioned teaching only online. In the 2019 academic year, my department assigned me a fully online course teaching load, which I enjoyed so much that in December 2019, I told my department that I only want to teach online. My decision was influenced by classroom technology deficiencies, accessibility issues, including my own hearing disability, and my use of technology in teaching. My ACE scores supported this decision.
I believe that the college has many courses that I could teach online. Even though the undergraduate online BBA program was eliminated, there seemed to be a growing need for graduate online courses. Additionally, there remained a need for summer online courses for undergraduates.
For whatever reasons, my decision to teach only online courses seemed problematic for my Department Chair.
The Online MBA director had told me that they need three online courses each semester, meaning nine per year. My Department Chair needed five Operations and Supply Chain online courses for next year, which I offered to teach. And my department needed around three sections of a new Tableau Visualization online course, which I offered to develop and teach. And my department needed two summer undergraduate online courses, which I offered to teach. And the Master of Business Analytics program might need three online sections of Data and Decisions, which is the same Business Analytics course I teach. And I even offered to develop and teach a Database and Visualization course, perhaps satisfying a need for three sections.
Of these twenty or so possible online courses that I can teach, somehow, my next year assignment has been limited to only four or three three courses, and there was a statement that I might even be moved to adjunct from my current reduced full-time assignment. I don’t know if this is going to change in the future.
The summer undergraduate courses, which I usually teach, have been assigned to Ph.D. students. The OMBA sections are assigned to other instructors, some new to online instruction. The Supply Chain courses, since I wanted to deliver my own course, with my materials, instead of using another instructor’s course and materials, have been assigned to others. The Tableau Visualization course, since I wanted to create my own videos instead of having the Distance Education department create these, was assigned to others. So, it appears that my conviction to developing and teaching quality online courses does not match what my department desires.
This puzzles me. In my 20 years associated with The University of Iowa, I have always appreciated and respected the high-quality people, programs, and administration that I have encountered. But I now face an administration with a different perspective. Perhaps some school’s online course philosophy is to develop average (canned) courses that the average faculty can deliver. My philosophy is to produce the best online courses that only the best online instructors can provide.
Recently, I received an email from the Committee on Teaching and Learning that stated, “Consistent with the Tippie College of Business strategic priorities of Educational Excellence and Program Innovation; we encourage faculty to act courageously and take risks in new approaches to teaching. To continually foster creativity and innovation, we will recognize faculty members each year actively exploring new opportunities and cutting-edge practices in the field of engaging students and improving learning.” Somehow, my approach to teaching, creativity, and innovation, and even very high student ACE scores and high student demand for my courses, appears to have cost me a full-time job.
I believe that I still have the energy and vitality for many more productive years teaching. Business analytics is an area of growing demand. So is online education. I hope that my department and the college find a way to use me for what I do best.