Faculty Spotlight: Gentry Benjamin

Gentry Denise Benjamin, Esq. is an Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies with Fort Hays State University. Gentry spent more than 16 years practicing law in Palm Beach County, Florida before pursuing her MBA. While earning her MBA, Gentry discovered her love and passion for teaching on the collegiate level. This passion for teaching, along with a passion for travel, led her to SIAS University as a professor in various business topics, including Business Law, Applied Management, Business Ethics and International Trade Theory & Practice, among others. 

Gentry brings to Fort Hays State University a wealth of knowledge and first-hand practical experience in the workplace which translates well into the Leadership Studies curriculum at Fort Hays State University. To further her education and commitment to the field of Leadership Studies, Gentry is currently pursuing a PhD in Global Leadership from the Indiana Institute of Technology.  

In her spare time, Gentry enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with friends.  

OPTIONAL ZOOM SESSIONS

Dr. Gentry Benjamin uses multiple strategies to engage her online students. We are sharing her successful stories in this blog post.

Q: How do you organize the Zoom sessions?

My live sessions are optional. Students are not required to attend. However, if they do attend, they receive extra credit for attendance.

I take attendance through the chat feature. They are required to check-in upon entering the class, and say goodbye at the end of the class. Students who are not there the full time will not receive extra credit.

Q: How do you engage the students?

I play a game where all students’ names are placed on a wheel and the student whose name is randomly chosen must reply to me within 10 seconds to show they are present and listening to the class. These students receive additional extra credit, over and above the extra credit all students who attend will receive.

Spinning wheel for random selection of student names

Q: Do you record these live sessions?

A: I explain to students that I will not record the live session. So, they must attend the live session to attend live teaching. However, they are not required to do so. Attendance has been pretty good, from ½ to ¾ of the classes attend the live sessions.

Live Zoom Session Management

I ask students to mute themselves. They are not required to have their videos on. Someone told me that too many videos on can cause a slow connection. I am not sure if that is true. But, that is how I do it. Occasionally, I have students who unmute themselves and we have to figure out who it is and tell them stop and to mute themselves again.

More Student Engagement Strategies

My zoom meetings are held every other week for 1 ½ hours. My LDRS 670 class meets on Tuesday 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. China time. And LDRS 310 (all 3 sections) meet on Fridays 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. China Time. I use the polling feature with students to have them answer some questions (2 to 3 times per class). I ask them to reply in the chat at certain times to questions as well, maybe 3 to 4 times per class. I also try to play review games, such as crossword puzzles to increase student engagement.

Crossword puzzles as review exercises to increase student engagement

I use breakout rooms for them to have discussions as well. I try to explain to students that they are not allowed to leave the breakout rooms. I also tell them that they must discuss the question posed. I will start instituting monitors for each breakout room to ensure students are being led into discussion and are actually participating. I have noticed that in some breakout rooms. Students are not participating. So, hopefully, this will help with the breakout rooms.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the valuable feedback and insights that you have shared!
    Do you find that your students feel that they can share their own experiences with leadership openly? Are there concerns of the occasional faux pas that you find difficult to help them overcome? I appreciate your kind response.

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