Teaching class while traveling in China

Top: Dr. Aaron Buchko, professor of management, teaches from his hotel room in China while his students, below, meet for the teleconference class in Bradley’s Caterpillar Global Communications Center.

April 23, 2013

By Kelsey Budd ’14

Dr. Aaron Buchko, professor of management, didn’t let a trip to China cancel his classes. Instead, he taught his two sections of BMA 452 via video-conferencing.

His students met in Bradley’s Caterpillar Global Communications Center while Dr. Buchko used his laptop to lecture.

The physical distance wasn’t the only barrier for his teaching. There is also a 13-hour time difference between Shanghai, China, and campus, meaning Buchko had to wake up at 1:30 a.m. to teach his first section. Afterwards, he had about an hour to rest before the next class, which started at 4:30 a.m. local Shanghai time.

Buchko said it was exhausting, but a fun experience for both him and the students. The videoconferencing allowed him to see the students and converse with them throughout the lecture.

“From the student’s standpoint, it wouldn’t be right for them to sacrifice class time because of a scheduling conflict,” Buchko said. “I didn’t wasn’t to lose class time, so I figured out a way to make it work.”

The unique teaching tool proved to be beneficial for the students. Buchko said he was able to integrate some of his experiences in China into the course’s lesson plan.

“The video conferencing brought an international dimension that wouldn’t have been possible in the classroom,” he said.