Today is the last class of the graduate course on Managing Diversity in the Workplace that I am teaching at Drake University. Mike Sansone helped me set up a class blog to allow the students to share their thoughts and reactions to the various speakers, videos, activities, and discussions held over the last six weeks. In response to my latest blogpost asking the students what they would say were their top three "Aha" moments, several responded to the use of the class blog itself:
Finally, my third a-ha moment was not of a particular presentation but of watching our class evolve and seeing the power of awareness through sharing our thoughts and stories on the blog. As we have become more aware of issues related to diversity, we have had class-wide a-ha moments. Now that we are aware of prejudices and difficulties associated with diverse people, we are better able to stop ourselves, adjust, and make better decisions than if we did not have this class. After one more class I will be finished here at Drake and I can say that the overall theme to business is not products or strategy but human relationships. How businesses interact with other businesses, customers, suppliers, and employees defines the success of the business. Our class has had an advantage through our exchange... Keri
I agree with Keri that another “aha” moment would include interacting with the class and reading comments of the group. I had taken some courses about four years ago with a makeup of students mostly of the age group of this class. When diversity or discrimination was discussed in the classroom it appeared that the class felt that discrimination no longer existed in this country and especially not in Iowa. I was stunned that more people did not recognize that we needed to improve. I had come away from that course concerned that the younger generation had lost a sense of what discrimination is about. I am glad to say that this course has helped me see that the younger generation does realize that things still need to be improved. Mike C.
Another overall and cumulative “aha” moment is seeing the benefits that can occur when people feel safe to talk about diversity. Before this class, I often felt that somehow it was inappropriate to talk about certain diversity issues. I don’t know if I didn’t want to offend someone or if I just didn’t know how to broach the subject. I think our society falls into this trap all too often. We all want to be safe under the umbrella of being “politically correct.” I think a lot of change has happened this semester for the students in this course. How can our society change if we can’t communicate the issues effectively? Carole
The class blog was an ah-ha moment for me. Not only did I enjoy reading everyone’s posts but I believe I learned from other classmates' experiences and thoughts. The blog postings got much more in-depth than I originally assumed they would. It seemed to be a safe environment for us to share our feelings and stories and that aided in our learning. Keely
I am now trying to figure out how to use class blogs in my other courses as well as how to recommend this technology to others...