Find out how associate marketing professor Barbara Millard uses HP LIFE to engage students in her business plan classes.
A constant challenge for Barbara Millard, Associate Professor, Marketing, Johnson County Community College, is finding new and engaging ways to communicate concepts to students. With an average age of 26, Barbara’s class was indeed the “digital generation” – comprised primarily of students who had grown up, and were extremely comfortable, with technology.
“This generation is not interested in reading and is bored by worksheets,” says Barbara. “I needed something to liven up my business plan class and engage students in the materials in a way that speaks to this generation – which ideally means technology-based.”
HP LIFE has helped Barbara to tackle these and other challenges. An innovative, cloud-based, online training program, HP LIFE is designed for students, entrepreneurs, and small-business owners to develop the skills they need for a successful future.
The program’s 32 free online courses cover core business categories such as finance, marketing, operations and communications, plus special topics such as social entrepreneurship, energy efficiency and effective leadership.
“Each module features a realistic scenario demonstrating a common business challenge – such as how to set a fair price for your product,” says Barbara. ‘My students love that the courses are interactive and full of practical exercises. They can go through them at their own pace – spending more or less time on each module as required.
“HP LIFE was just what I was looking for to add new life to my teaching,” she says. “The modules speak to the students in a way that textbooks can’t. In fact, many enjoy the modules so much they work ahead.
“I also like the program’s flexibility. In addition to providing the core, basic concepts it also includes next steps and tools that students can use. This allows me to expand on a subject when I feel a class is ready to go a little further.”
It isn’t just the way HP LIFE increases students’ enjoyment and the subsequent retention of information that impresses Barbara. “I’ve seen its impact firsthand,” she says. “One student of mine was a highly intelligent gentleman in his fifties who had been laid off from his job. Looking to start his own business, he took my course and went on to start his own company in the medical software space. He gave a lot of the credit for his success to HP LIFE saying that it provided the hands-on learning experience that brought all aspects of a topic together for that ’Aha!’ moment. We stay in touch – he actually came back and showed me his first check.”
The benefits aren’t just felt on the student side. “HP LIFE is actually transforming the way I teach,” she says. “I can use the modules as basic course content, or as a refresher. Each module stands alone and can be mixed and matched according to individual class needs.
“I often break my students up into small groups to cover a concept – but that can often mean that some students ride on the coattails of the others. With HP LIFE, every student does the modules individually, but can discuss them in their group afterwards.
“HP LIFE is also perfect to leave with a substitute teacher if I have to be away. They can go over a module as a class and I can leave confident that my students are learning something valuable.”