Rawlings Winner Coker Leads Students Online Through Pandemic Year

“When the crisis hit she did the best out of all my teachers to care for us students and making sure everything she assigned was reasonable and doable.”

“She was constantly checking in with her students, and making sure we were doing okay, staying safe, and to see if she could help us with anything.”

“She made the transition from in-class to online easier and has continued to check up on students individually to see how they have been doing during these dark times.”

That Was Just a Few of Them

That’s just a few of the glowing student comments the Rawlings Award selection committee read before they chose Dr. Kesha Coker, Ball State assistant professor of marketing, as the 2020-21 award winner.

Given annually, the award recognizes outstanding online teaching at Ball State University, saluting faculty members who demonstrate creativity, innovation, and dedication in the online classroom.

Ironically, Coker won the award teaching Spring 2020 classes that began in a face to face format until COVID-19 drove Ball State classes fully online through the fall of 2020.

Posted Top Course Evaluations

“Dr. Coker met this challenge and successfully accomplished her course objectives while posting the top course evaluation performance in our department among all faculty,” says Dr. Russ Wahlers, chair of the Department of Marketing, who nominated Coker for the Rawlings award.

Coker joined the business faculty in 2017. Her capabilities were evident early, and she received the university’s Miller College of Business Outstanding Teaching Award for 2019.

Dr. Joseph Chapman, Director of the Center for Professional Selling in the Department of Marketing, has had the opportunity to review Coker’s teaching effectiveness annually.

He says her teaching scores are “exemplary.”

“This is an amazing accomplishment given the limited time faculty had to convert classes from face to face to the online format,” he says.

She Was Impressed With Students’ Initiative

Coker was impressed how students took the initiative to stay engaged and complete assignments on discussion boards during the epidemic.

“What’s unique about the Ball State online classroom is that we are guided by the spirit of Beneficence—we all showed up for each other and were grateful for the opportunity for education online in a time when online was much needed,” says Coker.

Wahlers says that while the Rawlings Award speaks to distance education, Kesha has also published numerous articles in highly respected peer-reviewed marketing journals, papers in top national conferences, and has a well-developed stream of research in progress.

Claims Award Was a Class Effort

The award, notes Coker, “reflects the need to continually innovate and be creative to enhance the educational journey for our students, especially given the unprecedented times created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

She says it was a class effort.

“We kept calm and chirped on, showing our resilience, and we were better together—that’s the Ball State way!”

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