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January 12, 2021

McManus Blends Remote Teaching with Family Priorities

McManus Blends Remote Teaching with Family Priorities
Dr. Brandi McManus holds her first child, Donovan, from her home in Oklahoma. McManus adopted Donovan this fall as she continued to teach remote MBA@Nebraska classes.

Dr. Brandi McManus, assistant professor of practice in management, reimagined her career to blend a more satisfying professional life teaching online graduate courses while prioritizing family. When the pandemic hit, McManus’ decision paid off, as she seamlessly taught online MBA@Nebraska classes from her home office in Oklahoma.    

“In my executive career, I lived far from friends and family and traveled internationally 80-90% of the time,” said McManus. “That did not leave much time for work-life balance. This second phase of my life prioritizes family while doing rewarding work.”

Dr. McManus found her remote teaching skills spotlighted when the COVID-19 pandemic forced even more students online in 2020.
Dr. McManus found her remote teaching skills spotlighted when the COVID-19 pandemic forced even more students online in 2020.

Exclusively teaching online courses, McManus found many people paying more attention to her delivery method during the pandemic.

“Suddenly everyone was a lot more interested in online education. I get concerned when people say negative things about online learning. If you simply move your lecture online and share PowerPoint slides, that is not online learning. It is online lecturing. Online learning opens up a world of possibilities for how to communicate with and teach students,” McManus said.

The highly-ranked online MBA@Nebraska program attracted McManus to the university. She enjoys being part of the success.

“The College of Business focuses resources on making professors better teachers. The Teaching and Learning Center is always there to answer questions, meet via Zoom or supply tools to give my students an amazing learning experience,” she said. “Online teaching allows me to employ readings, videos, simulations, writing assignments, individual and group work, case studies, scavenger hunts and discussion forums so students with different learning needs can find something effective,” she said.

In addition to course instruction during the pandemic, McManus focused on the well-being of her students.

“The unknown can be terrifying. I found students struggling so I try to supply more information when I can and remove obstacles when I find them,” said McManus, who dealt with a huge unknown herself.

McManus welcomed her first child, Donovan, born September 2 and adopted October 9. The new arrival affirmed her decision to revamp her career and stay close to home.

“I was in the adoption process for about two years and have anxiously awaited a child. By making family a priority and doing meaningful work, I intentionally designed my life, and I look forward to sharing it with Donovan,” she said.