Faculty Focus: Preparing Students for the Next Global Crisis

Monday, May 25, 2020
Dr. Victor Chen has created engaging virtual lessons from his home

The COVID-19 pandemic has created never-before-seen circumstances for business leaders. 

Dr. Victor Z. Chen, an associate professor of international management, incorporated these current events into his courses, helping to make lessons realistic and relevant.

“This pandemic is pushing us to accept the new normal of the future of learning,” Chen says.

Instead of a quiz, his students in International Business Management (MGMT 3275) were asked to write a script and record themselves as if they were speaking to the employees of their multinational enterprise.

Not knowing when we’d reopen, we had to be cognizant of delivering this unfortunate news, in a hopeful manner,” says Else Brown '20, who earned a degree in management earlier this month. “This assignment took me outside of my comfort zone, because I’d then become the person my manager was to me, only a month prior.”

Chen compiled the responses in a video he posted on LinkedIn, adding, “I’m glad that our future is in good hands.”

Creating an In-Home Studio

In March, when UNC Charlotte moved all courses online, Chen quickly pivoted, using skills he developed making TikTok videos with his daughter to create a home studio. 

Chen says the home studio has helped to create a better experience for students, while also making virtual lectures fun.

“It is my first time teaching entirely online with little time for a transition,” Chen says. “But working with many co-authors around the world for many years, I always use Zoom, Skype and other media to run webinars, seminars, and share materials online. They have been very helpful for me to transition to online teaching.”

Although attendance was not required since courses moved online, Chen says at least 75% of his students attended the real-time online lectures.

Marcel Solomon, a senior in business management, says Chen helped to create a smooth transition to online lectures.

“Dr. Chen adopted the technology quickly and kept his sense of humor about himself,” Solomon says.