A Conversation with Professor Drew Sanderford about the power of a diverse set of perspectives in Real Estate education

We sat down with Professor Sanderford to hear how he uses Blended Teaching, and to learn what kind of impact it's had on him and his students.

1. How did you come to start using Blended Teaching?

My longtime research colleague Spencer Robinson said ‘I'm going to Atlanta to do this thing’. He was pretty cryptic about the thing, and it turned out that he was recording with Blended Teaching, and starting on this adventure. It switched on a really interesting light for me, which is the question of what happens when, instead of one voice in a textbook there are lots of voices that become stewards of students' learning

2. In the early days of learning about Blended Teaching, how did you see it fitting in with your teaching?

To see the different personalities talk about their different specialties, and to know those people as experts  is particularly compelling. For example, Velma Zahirovic-Herbert is a thoughtful researcher who brings her work into the classroom.  To be able to share her expertise with my students is appealing and very beneficial! The diversity and quality of the instructors  really is the value proposition for me - multiple voices, not just mine that are engaged in sharing the material, and in doing so, making the material approachable.

3. There is an empathetic reaction when you have a real person talking on camera about the subject area that they know really really well!

Exactly! There is immense value in accessing, hearing, and seeing this diverse group of experts rather than just reading them. The grouping of different experts into a course packet creates helpful layers and contours that can speak to the different ways students learn too–which is helpful.

4. I'd love to hear a little bit about how you use blended teaching with your students. And a follow up, has it changed the way that you teach?

I don't know that it's changed how I teach, I think instead, it is aligned with how I teach. The way that the Blended Teaching modules are designed, then enlivened by the people that are leading them creates valuable tools to enable that iterative learning process, and so they are aligned with the way that we have thought about and designed  assignments and classroom instruction. 

5. More and more I’m hearing this idea that educators are increasingly having to act as curators, or guides, in the face of an overabundance of information available online.

Perhaps that's always been our role? It's less about me conveying my expertise (some of that is important), than me creating space and confronting students with multiple perspectives that challenge them to grapple  with  a topic.  Pairing Blended Teaching with additional resources and perspectives help shape an effective dialectical process.

Blended Teaching is helping to create classroom stewardship in a really thoughtful way.  You are able to access an array of experts that you would otherwise have (significant) difficulty bringing together.  In doing so, you expand how you reach and speak to students and add value to their learning experience. 

6. Is there any advice that you would give to those Educators who are considering using a tool like Blended Teaching?

One of your jobs as an instructor is to create the best possible experiments, experiences, and space in which students can try, fail, learn, and grow. Blended Teaching provides a new tool that shares material and technical processes and can pair with cases and projects.  Those innovations are helpful!  

7. What are some of the elements of Blended Teaching that you have found valuable?

The modularity, the infinite refreshability, the substitutability of the cases - it's dynamic. It's a living resource. I value the way that Blended Teaching has gone about creating the community of instructors.  There's all this depth and diversity that's important. The differences in their work, their experience, their expertise I think is really helpful to the students because real estate's not one thing, it combines many different discipline.