Andrew Zur teaches subjects across the Faculty of Business and Economics. We spoke with him to find out what it’s been like teaching online, and what our overseas students can expect in 2021.
Andrew Zur has spent 2020 teaching a range of classes online, including Managerial Psychology, Principles of Marketing, Business Negotiations, Business Ethics, and Management Consulting. With such a diverse teaching portfolio, there’s a good chance that any new students might see Andrew in one of their classes. One such class, is Principles of Marketing.
‘Principles of Marketing is a first-year course that many BCom students take. It’s a pretty good example of how we teach online. We’ve designed it to be as practical and enjoyable as possible, rather than have students listen to me lecture the entire time. We offer readings and pre-work before each session, then we all come together and review the theory work, and go through a range of activities. We like to draw on really strong examples from industry, so everything we talk about has a real-world application,’ he says. ‘And of course, we use Zoom, which is platform most people are very familiar with now. Truthfully, it was relatively easy for us to transition our business classes on to that platform. We can still do everything on Zoom that we would do in person.’
Andrew also teaches Business Negotiations, a class that’s open to students from across the university, and is a popular elective option.
‘Business Negotiations is a 2-week Winter intensive, and honestly it was one of the courses I was more worried about taking online. We’re teaching students how to negotiate, so I thought there would be challenges, as so much of that is about being able to look someone in the eye or shake their hand and have that kind of proximity. We took it online in 2020, and I was thrilled by the result. Students took the cases we gave them and they went away to their breakout rooms, and they did all the same things they would have done over coffee in real life. They came back celebrating their wins and talking about what they learnt from their losses. They developed all the skills we try to give them, that they can then take into the working world when they graduate, and importantly, they developed relationships the same way I’ve seen them develop when we teach in person. An intensive is that kind of experience, whether it’s in person or online.’
For Andrew, that relationship development is such an important part of the teaching process, and indeed, the whole university experience.
‘I think it’s really important that students feel supported and engaged. That they have the opportunity to make friends and feel like they’re part of a community. I previously ran online Friday afternoon drinks for some of my post-grad students, so they could all catch up, and we could bring that social element into the learning process. 2020 was hard, and being stuck in your apartment for 24 hours a day makes it really hard to form those relationships, so we do all we can to facilitate that connection and build that sense of community.’
The Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) equips students with the skills and knowledge to understand and solve key business challenges. Make a difference to society, policy, and organisations while forging a pathway to a global career. Choose from majors including Accounting, Actuarial Studies, Economics, Finance, Management and Marketing.
Andrew has some advice for students entering University, whether they be studying online or in the classroom:
‘Whether you’re in person, remote, working, studying, just in general: You only get out what you put in. If you have your camera off and never speak and don’t get involved, that’s the experience you have. It’s the same as if you come into a classroom, never talk to anyone, then leave. My tip would be, ask questions, get involved, take a chance. It makes it a better experience for everyone. We all feel nervous and awkward at times, but if you take those risks and get involved, you’ll get a lot out of this experience, whether you’re sitting in a classroom or you’re half-way across the world.’