- Fifteen years as a project management and engineering. Three years as owner and principle of an Architectural and Engineering LLC
- Received six outstanding/best paper awards in the fields of public finance, higher education and ecommerce
- Listed in the 2007 publication of Who’s Who Among American Teachers & Educators
- Eighteen years as a professor; teaching online since 1999
B.S., Physics, University of New Hampshire
MBA, Southern New Hampshire University
M.S., International Business, Southern New Hampshire University
DBA, Southern New Hampshire University
Certification in Public Management
Licensed Professional Engineer
What online course could a student possibly take from you?
MGMT3040 Process & Quality Management
MGMT 4050 Contemporary Issues in Operations and Supply Chain Management Strategies
How do you bring the industry to life in the online classroom?
Industry knowledge is key to attaining career goals. Industry needs people who can solve problems that have no easy answers. Using real-world, real-time industry examples allows students to explore the unknown of problem solving. Knowledge is gained from history, extended to current issues, supplemented with theoretical knowledge to develop new and better solutions. By having no one right answer, students learn how to research industries and develop a base knowledge that they will use in their careers.
What strategies do you use to keep students engaged?
The virtual world is growing. According to Forbes magazine, one in five people (30 million total) already work online. Moreover, that number is expected to grow by 63 percent over the next five years. Online education is the gateway to these online jobs. The skills learned in the classroom transfer to online employment.
The key to online is over communication. People tend to be isolated in the online environment. In this isolation, developing online professional relationships with coworkers is critical. We learn how to do this in online classes. It starts with clear expectations on what is expected. Classes are organized to make expectations clear and easy to find.
Relationships are built over time and with constant communications. In the online classroom we call this student engagement. Weekly discussion boards are key to staying connected and building peer-to-peer and student-to-instructor professional relationships. The skills learned in student engagement carry over to building online teams, effectively communicating with coworkers, and developing your online personality. In the online classroom, we stay engaged to learn and develop skills we will later use in the online world.
What do you like most about teaching online?
Online learning and teaching is freedom! Freedom to learn and teach when you want, where you want, and when you are most ready for it. No wasted time in traffic. Have a few minutes while you wait at the airport? Take the time to learn something that will help your career. Have to see your child’s soccer game? Go ahead, your online class will be here when you get back. You work when you want to do it.
Online courses are many one-on-one interactions, no hiding in the back of class. Online lets you stand out! Instructors get to know all the students over the course through online discussions, emails, and feedback. I find I know my online students better than in class students. Moreover, online students seemed more focused on what they want from the class and where they are going in their careers.
Want to learn more about earning your degree online with Roland Sparks? Complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.