Deland Jessop is a Business Management instructor in the Langara School of Management and teaches a number of courses including Busines Presentation Skills and Entrepreneurship.

Covid-19 has vastly impacted everyone teaching today. However, you teach Business Presentation Skills. This class is very ‘in person’ and we were wondering what you and other faculty have done to convert this course to an online environment?

I teach 1500 Presentation Skills and 1115 Entrepreneurship. My goal is to maintain teacher student contact, get to know the students and provide as much as support as possible. It’s also important that the students get to know each other. Developing relationships and meeting contact is an important element of attending college, and although we can’t interact in person, by doing online sessions through Zoom (or other platforms) students can at least get to know each other and work with others. One of my students in Entrepreneurship this spring told me she looked forward to my classes, as I had break out sessions every two days with them. She told me she lacked social interaction and this was important for her. Being online isn’t quite as good as actually being in the classroom, but you can still accomplish a lot, meet some people, learn from each other and have some fun (which is also supposed to be what college is about too). 

 

If you were to give a student one or two pointers to help them through this time, what would they be?

Don’t let it beat you. This is a very tough time people are going through. I think with what we see south of the border, it has the potential to get much worse. Listen to the experts who are trying to protect us, but find ways to enjoy life, get things done, accomplish something every day. This has the potential to radically change the world in many ways, and as students, this is the world you are going to inherit. Be active in making changes, seizing opportunities and making this a better world. There will be many opportunities as well. But we do have to get through it.

 

How do you stay positive and motivated?

I have young children that inspire me, and honestly when I’m teaching, I see a lot of potential in the students. I’ve had the privilege of teaching some very sharp students, who have gone out in the world to work for great organizations, build businesses and make an impact. If I can help them avoid some of the mistakes I made, or help them in some small way to think a bit differently, or encourage their creativity, I’m optimistic about what can be done. Climate change scares the crap out of me, but this may be a chance to reset and make some big changes. People may start to see what is truly important, what really makes them happy and maybe we can avoid returning to some of our harmful practices. There is also so much opportunity in developing more sustainable and ethical businesses. Especially if we work together and treat everyone with dignity.

How are you spending your summer?

I did teach a condensed course for the first time, which I really enjoyed. I do wish I had the chance to meet the students directly, but many promised to come by and we’ll grab a coffee or something when we are able. I’ll be home and local most of the summer with my kids and doing local trips trying to spend some money here to help out other businesses. Lots of hiking, shooting hoops with my son, building a play house for my daughter and working on some material for the fall.

What is the best way to contact you?

Email works best. My email is djessop@langara.ca