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Interview with Marilyn Carroll

Would you mind telling us a little about what you do? I am a businesswoman, writer, college business professor, training and development professional, researcher, mother of a college student, grandmother of a child in elementary school, and a college student myself. I am the picture of the individual in search and need of education that speaks to me and my needs and goals. Basically, I am a busy person with competing priorities but a lifelong learner who values education.

Your book “Diary of an Online Professor” became a reality through that experience? As a child born to a child in an environment that wasn’t necessarily conducive to anyone in my position. The technology we are blessed with today open ups avenues of possibilities for a different delivery of that education so that the instructor’s focus is more on those things the instructor needs to focus on where technology, then can take all of those things that are labor-intensive that cause the educator not to be able to deliver the most authentic learning experience for students to educate the individual at that individuals need level. Since I came into education 11 years ago from corporate America, it has just shown me so many things that from a business perspective, we could do better by integrating effective tactics which helps to meet education at student-centered levels. By doing so it is my belief that we deliver better results and outcomes for all stakeholders, i.e., students, teachers, administrators, communities, etc. Where did the idea for the book come from? In the midst of writing my book on Spiritual Boot Camp, the pandemic occurred. There were so many meetings on education and how education was going to be delivered to students. In addition, I was working on a proposal from my business on how to deliver diversity, equity, and inclusion training to Dallas ISD starting July 2020. Virtually was my answer to the proposal, and I develop how to make it effective, engaging, and efficient. And I had to put that in a bid proposal. In addition, I was pretty successful at delivering online education to my students and my clients that came to my virtual seminars. I felt that I had a winning combination that was the secret sauce, so I decided to use my daily diary entries on my experience as an online professor and educator, and training professional to document that evidence of the secret sauce.

It’s important to me to know what people need to understand an how to educate from afar and a virtual environment. My daughter had taken virtual online classes in high school and college but hated them. I wanted to engage her in virtual learning, and this happened about, I guess, about 10 years ago. Combined with becoming an online teacher over the last three years, it dawned on me that we didn’t have a guide that could help people really understand the secret behind delivering virtual online teaching to students, whether those students are in high school college in a training and development program wherever they may be. That educational systems needed a secret sauce created by an experienced person that could articulate the key to delivering engaging online education that results-driven for all stakeholders. Since I was already writing in my diary daily inspirations for the day to help me get through the pandemic and help others get through the pandemic by thinking positive thoughts blended with activities to do from while cut off from others. It came to to do the same thing here by I can journal every day how my world of teaching is coming using the research and techniques I had mastered to deliver an engaging learning experience for students. From this I decide to write a book and call it Diary of an Online Professor. On top of that, everything was fuzzy as all get out. It was like a math equation that had numbers everywhere where we were all going in various directions. It was crazy, and so I said that’s it fuzzy logic. My friend and fellow researcher Kyle and I had completed a research paper and presented it in China on Affective Computing in Online Learning using Fuzzy Logic. Why do you use emojis in your texts to students, and which is your most used? I use emoji‘s to express feelings, as if student was in front of me. How that would sound or the smile I would have on my face along with using emojis’ I am also using a tone in my writing that embraces a certain emotional feeling in the student, so the emoji goes along with that feeling. So I could be a happy face or it could be an inquisitive face, or it could be a confident face. There are so many different faces of emoji’s that I use. For me, understanding the tone the student is using in their writing and then countering that or balancing it with happiness, friendly or confidence in the student. For example the emotion that is a sad or I’m not sure, or I need reassurance. So I come back with my emoji emojis give that reassurance through a happy face that, or OK, so let’s try this or I think you’re going to be okay. The emojis I use most are: 😊😍👍👌🙏💯

Can you tell us a little about Disruptive Leadership? I wrote the Disruptive Leadership and Culture book a couple of years back because I was asked to be a Southern Methodist University Disruptive Leadership Board member. A new think group, the school, was developing. Since my Ph.D. focus on Leadership, Organizations, and Management, I decided to write a book that many of the leaders coming through the training program could join us as a conversation piece to help in learning dialogue and get us started since there were no Disruptive Leadership books on the market at the time. The terminology was developed to define successful winning strategies in modern times, “Disruptive.” Towards the corporate edge, “Disruptive Leadership” is, in fact, a call for leaders who can ‘disrupt’ or trouble an organization, giving rise to aggressive innovation, change, and transformation, which is essential for both survival and advancement. I guess you can say our education system experience a disruption in 2020 during the pandemic. Disruptive Leadership is observable through a person who appears to be in a position to lead, always seeking better results and ways to improve and develop the overall business. It also signifies an entity that does not need to think twice before making an impactful and massive decision for the business because he is well aware of the outcome of his resolution. Disruptive leadership seeks leaders who visualize confidently, contemplate creatively, and heed passionately to the customer, employee, and environmental requirements. Disruptive leadership requires having the same type of fundamental values to address the disruptive challenges the organization faces. The disruptive leader asks questions instead of directing staff. They guide through questioning. The disruptive leader has fundamental states of leadership practices that are core to their ability to make effective change happen.

How would you describe your approach to Student-Centered Teaching? The goal of education should be to help develop the whole person, not just a single facet of the individual, Whole Person Model of Learning.” Personal and career development, motivation, and self-efficacy are related to the student’s academic performance, which is strongly influenced by a student’s learning and thinking styles. Therefore, my definition of Student-Centered teaching is learning dialogue that engages the student in learning the subject matter so they can understand the learning content. It considers the various styles of the student, such as competitive, collaborative, dependent, independent, participatory, and avoidant, to activate learning possibilities for student-centered instructions. Student-Centered instruction motivates the learners, and it is essential to psychologically invest in them by understanding their learning and thinking styles before engaging their brains in a customized student-centered learning program.

Why do adults and children alike enjoy your classes? My relatability quotient. I deliver learning content in a way that is relatable where my audience no matter their age group, race or ethnicity understands it. My secret sauce to teaching is to make it engaging, interactive, and to package the educational experience for students with knowledge and wisdom, but make it entertaining. The secret sauce has several ingredients:

  1. Entertaining,

  2. Educational,

  3. an unforgettable experience

  4. Make it applicable to real-life scenarios

  5. Fill it with inspirational messages of hope, gratitude, and resilience

The Sauce combined with the approach make for outcomes for students, learners and organizations that shown to provide 80-90 percent engagement and completion outcomes while building critical thinking and communication skills.

How can our readers find you? They can email me or or they can call me at 214.301.1664.

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