Jennifer Edmonds, PhD

Collat accounting professor Jennifer Edmonds, Ph.D.; opens a new website, has been recognized with the Provost’s Awards for Transformative Online Courses (TOC Awards) opens a new website for engaging online students.

“I was really honored and excited,” Edmonds said about winning the award. “My favorite part about being a professor is teaching, so it really meant a lot.” 

The TOC Awards acknowledges online classes that develop an engaged community through inventive teaching.

Edmonds received the award for the MBA 608 - Cost Analysis and Decision Making course, which teaches the real-world account principles required to run a business.

“It’s not how you prepare financial statements, but how you use accounting internally if you’re trying to decide what it costs to create your product, what should you charge for your product to make a certain amount of money, how much you want to pay your employees,” Edmonds said. “Basically, how to make internal decisions with accounting information.”

Edmonds said that students with previous accounting course experience may rely on memorizing things such as rules, debits and credits. Instead, she aims to help all MBA students understand how they can use the information in their career.

She uses a few tools to keep the online class engaging, including the award-winning app ClassCred opens a new website that encourages students to interact with her and their classmate via Microsoft Teams.

“With Microsoft Teams, I’ve basically set it up like a community where students can talk to me and each other,” Edmonds said. “They can post at any time of day or night. A lot of times, someone is online to help them in that instant.”

So far, it’s proven fruitful. Edmonds said that one course of about 150 students last spring yielded more than 7,700 Teams posts.

“Once you get them talking, and they feel comfortable, and they know that you really just want to help them learn, there’s a lot of momentum to it,” she said.

She also instituted an executive speaker series in which students hear from speakers from different fields.

Past speakers include Raheel Khan, managing director of Alvarez & Marsal; Alex Kremer, director of Patagonia’s Tin Shed Venture;s and entrepreneur John Cassimus. This semester, the series will host Bill Kolesar, chief marketing officer of National Spine & Pain Centers and co-founder of Vesdia Corporation.

“I poll the students and try to figure out who they want to hear from,” Edmonds said. ‘We’ve had some pretty big speakers in private equity and people who’ve started their own companies. It’s a great way to get feedback from your students so you can improve as you go.”

The speaker series, also online, is open to all students. Edmonds holds at least one to two per semester. So far, more than 300 students have attended the series.

Overall, receiving the TOC Award acknowledges Edmonds’s commitment to her students.

“The community is the best part for me, really getting to know the students,” she said. “I hope that they feel like they have access to me all the time.”

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