It was weeks of hard work as Charles Landry, 79, prepared to launch his first online course as part of the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration MBA program.
And he says he’d do it all again.
“If you’d asked me early on, I wouldn’t have said that,” he said.
An Abbeville native, Landry graduated from high school in New Iberia before joining the Navy and eventually making his way back to Louisiana to attend the then-University of Southwestern Louisiana, graduating in business administration.
He earned his master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. After a stint on the University of South Florida finance faculty, Landry moved to the University of Houston to help launch its Master of Science in Finance and MBA programs.
From there, he spent the rest of his career in health care, working for large health care corporations, managing hospital acquisitions, and serving as hospital CEO in a number of settings.
“I’ve done my thing in health care. There are no more new stones to turn over,” Landry says.
“All I can do now is share.”
Landry was invited to “share” nearly five years ago when he became a member of UL Lafayette’s business faculty, teaching face-to-face courses.
When Landry was tasked with expanding his duties to include online courses, he says he was in unfamiliar territory.
Although Landry says he stays abreast of industry news and developments “more than anyone trying to run something today,” he says he’s less aware of technology, especially instructional technologies.
“I understand technology is meant as a blessing, but for those of us that weren’t weaned on it, it’s kind of a curse,” he said. “I was not aware there was an area such as instructional design.”
In July 2018, Landry began meeting with Dr. Diana Wu to develop and design his course set to launch in Term B of the Fall semester.
“When I came (to Distance Learning), I was open about it: I said look I’m going to need a lot of help,” he said. “It’s not a matter of intelligence, or ability to focus, it’s just lack of familiarity.”
Wu earned her Ph.D. at Virginia Tech where she served as assistant director for the Office of Instructional Technology. She started working with the UL Lafayette Office of Distance Learning in March 2018.
“She was really a dream to work with. She was the key to not only a good course being developed, but also getting me through it,” Landry said. “She had the patience, understanding, and encouragement to keep me going.”
As he prepared to close his first semester as an online instructor, Landry was proud of the scope of what he’d achieved, as well as the potential impact of the course.
“Now that’s it’s been done, I understand the importance of it; I think it’s critical,” he said. “I’m influencing someone who’s sitting out on the West Coast in San Diego, somebody in Guam. I think it’s great. This could never happen without this technology.
“I’m still amazed that we did all we did. It was piece by piece, but once you see it all together, it’s enormous.”
Landry said he’s even hoping to develop additional online courses to give MBA - Health Care Administration students even more elective options.
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