August 19, 2020

Shall I SWOT or SOAR? Understanding how to implement two reflection tools to improve lessons, courses and overall academic programs.

Room: LSB 133


After my first semester at USU, I sat down with a mentor to review a course that I inherited. I was surprised at the 24-year old textbook, wordy PowerPoint slides, and out-of-date case studies and not surprised at the IDEA Survey comments I received. I needed to do something dramatic to improve the course! I decided a complete redesign, with new text, new exams, new essay prompts and new case studies was in order. I used a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) as a tool of what to keep in the course and what to change. This reflection was effective and helped me improve the course to see dramatic results.

After teaching for a few years, and discovering the SOAR Analysis tool, (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results), I was able to see the future of what the course could be, including an online summer offering, and made additional changes just prior to COVID.

Participants will bring their course to this workshop, where they will practice applying a SWOT analysis and/or SOAR to focus on the future. From a simple lesson, a complete course or even a full program, you will walk away with a list of ideas, opportunities and helps to reimagine your teaching, to not only reflect on your past experience, but to know what to keep doing and what to refine.

*Participants will use the four SWOT quadrants to analyze a current lesson/course/program: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
*Participants will utilize the four quadrants of the SOAR tool to evaluate future potential for their lesson/course/program: Â Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results.
* Participants will obtain feedback from group on how to implement recommendations.

Lisa GabbertAndreas 'Baron' Wesemann

Director, Professional Pilot Program

Associate Professor Andreas Wesemann, known as Professor Baron to his students, is the Director of Aviation Technology, Professional Pilot Program at Utah State University, as well as the new Aviation Management Degree and Master of Aviation Science program. After retiring from his 27-year career as a pilot in The United States Air Force, Professor Baron returned from the sky to become a full-time instructor at USU. In addition to teaching aviation students The Art and Science of Flight, he guided the aviation program to quadruple with his energy and vision, to over 570 students. Baron has taught over 3,000 students in the last 7 years, and was selected as the Top Professor at Utah State University is 2020. He is in his last year of his PhD with a focus in eLearning, and teaching outside the classroom. He is a sought after speaker and mentor in the community.