Letters to the Editor

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Hybrid and online classes are better for students than traditional courses

To the Editor,
As an adjunct instructor now at UNC-Pembroke and at two community colleges, I found this article [January issue: “Digital degree”] of great interest. 

At the age of 78, I am teaching again and have been doing so for 10 years now.  I have migrated to both online and hybrid courses and am now reluctant to teach just a traditional class.  Why, you may ask?  The reason is that at least in economics and many other disciplines there is so much happening in today’s fast-paced world that no textbook can keep up, and so I include video lectures, video snippets from MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, the New York Times and BusinessWeek in my Blackboard and Moodle CMS courses. I cannot do this in the classroom as it takes too much time, and yet this is extremely relevant today.

The other factor is the so-called “nontraditional” student —  i.e., older than 21, married, working one or two jobs and in need of a degree.  They are multi-taskers and cannot devote the time to a three-day-a-week, 50-minute class.  So this is the only way to meet that need.

Finally, I have found that my online or hybrid classes are better in both content and in participation by the students.  They have one week in which to do their assignments on their schedule, the discussion board is robust, and I can give tests whereby each student gets a different set or different order of questions, so there can be no cheating.  This is the wave of the future, and old-time professors better get with the flow, as they will become obsolete in their profession. 

Yes, I was a full-time assistant professor in the 1960s but then returned to a business career for the next 25 years.  I am better off for it and a better instructor today as a result. 

William M. Wendt
Pinehurst, N.C.

Nyholm is the face of Virginia raceway

To the Editor,

We live close enough to Virginia International Raceway [March issue interview: “Steering a racing resort”] to be able to go quite often — for races, for dinner, for just an enjoyable afternoon on the beautiful grounds.
None of this could have happened without Connie Nyholm — her vision, her drive, her love of what she does.  She is the face of VIR for most of us.  How lucky are we to have this facility and even luckier to have Connie at the helm.

Blossom Gardner
Roxboro, N.C.

Students make racetrack trophy clock

To the Editor,

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for including the article on the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s Business of Art & Design program here in South Boston in your December 2009 issue of Virginia Business magazine. The article, featured in the “Southern Virginia Regional View,” has helped to further instill a sense of pride among our students in the program. That sense of pride is contagious and encourages other students to excel and all of us associated with the SVHEC are very proud of the transformation taking place in our center, in our community and in this region of Virginia.

In this article, you mention a high-profile project that the students in the Business of Art & Design program are working on this semester in partnership with and for the Martinsville Speedway. I am happy to report to you that the trophy clock has been successfully designed and produced by our ­students. We are extremely excited to be bringing this project back to Virginia from overseas where these clocks have been manufactured since the once local Ridgeway Clocks Company was sold and relocated several years ago.

Frank M. Slayton,
South Boston
Slayton is development committee chairman for Halifax Educational Foundation Inc.

Green initiatives prove firms profit from energy innovations

To the Editor,

This article [April issue: “Sea change”] reveals the truth about transitioning into a clean-energy economy: not only can it be achieved, but it also means a more secure and energy-independent private sector.

As businesses in Virginia lower their environmental footprint, they prove that profits follow innovative efforts to become more energy efficient.

Virginia’s congressmen now have no choice but to push for a comprehensive climate and energy bill because their state is filled with countless cost-saving, clean-energy success stories.

With renewed bipartisan efforts to pass such legislation, now is the time to drive up demand for green jobs and reward those businesses that are leading the way to bring America out of this economic downturn stronger and more secure than ever before.

Cory Honeyman
Cherry Hill, N.J.
Honeyman, a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, is an intern at the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, D.C.


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