|Dr Simon Best & Dr Kristian J Sund|
Simon began his working life as a chef, and has spent most of his career working in a number of different countries such as Bermuda, USA, Germany, Austria, Italy and the Sudan before migrating to Australia. In Australia he changed careers and started or bought a number of small businesses. This included a news agency and general store, guest house and market research agency. Looking for a third career change Simon went to Griffith University and took an undergraduate degree in Adult and Vocational Education majoring in Human Resource Development. After a short spell teaching in a private college Simon completed his MBA online through the University of the Sunshine Coast. This was one of the first online degree courses in the world. While completing his MBA, Simon worked as a small business management consultant.
On completion of his MBA he started his own consultancy, working with micro entrepreneurs and small business owners. During this time Simon completed his PhD through Swinburne University of Technology. In 2008 he relocated to Vietnam and started a consultancy there. This focused on executive coaching and training for clients such as UNESCO, Linfox, The Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Simon joined Middlesex in September 2010. His research interests are quite broad and currently include investigating the notion of necessity versus opportunity, entrepreneurship, improvisation and bricolage and learning by small business owners.
Dr Kristian J Sund, Programme Leader MBA Shipping & Logistics
Kristian has a Ph.D. in Management and M.Sc. in Economics from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and is currently Principal Lecturer in Strategic Management at Middlesex University Business School, where he teaches strategy to both undergraduate and MBA students. He leads the online distance-learning MBA in Shipping & Logistics and has been involved in executive education for close to ten years, both as an educator and a program director. Kristian is passionate about teaching but also research, where his current focus is on managerial and organisational cognition. He has edited three books in the last three years, in the areas of e-governance strategy, and postal sector strategy and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Royal Mail Group and in general tries to work regularly with the outside world.
In terms of teaching, over the last three years Kristian has worked hard at improving attendance rates, as he believes high attendance is linked closely to high general achievement (in fact his own data states that there is a relatively high 45% correlation between seminar attendance and exam performance on his undergraduate module). The result has been an attendance rate of over 75% this academic year (with a cohort of 260 students). Kristian has also focused his attention on the issues related to group work and hopes to introduce online peer assessment within the foreseeable future.
In this session, the two online distance education programme leaders will share their experiences of working with module leaders and tutors in online learning. We will share best practice (and worst practice), based largely on student feedback and achievement and hope to stimulate a discussion about what constitutes “excellence” in online teaching and learning.