How does someone write catchy song lyrics about marketing principles, such as macro environments? While online learning isn’t always easy for students, some professors, like BGSU marketing professor Gregory Rich, have found a unique way to make it more engaging.
“This is one of the weirdest things you’re going to see today, I’m sorry,” he said in his lecture video as he began strumming his acoustic guitar and singing. on Ford’s Model T production era.
Rich, a native of Bern, Indiana, and a graduate of Indiana University, has taught at BGSU for 26 years. He started playing guitar when he was a sophomore in college and continued playing. He also plays occasionally with a band that covers songs by John Prine.
“I don’t really consider myself a musician. I just kind of picked it up and learned a bit, but I’ve been doing it for many years now. I took a few lessons here and there, but for the most part I’m self-taught,” he said.
This semester is the first time he’s written a song for each chapter of his online course. This is the first time he says he is unsure of the impact his songs have on his students.
“I don’t know if that helps or not. All the feedback I’ve received is positive so I hope that’s a good thing. You know, I will have the course evaluations at the end of the semester and if I have the courage, I will read them. I’m going to tell you right now that I’m going to be a little scared to read them,” he said.
Although he doesn’t consider himself a musician and isn’t sure if his songs have a positive impact, many of his students enjoy hearing his songs every week. Megan Rowe, a junior public relations student, is taking Rich’s online class this semester and thinks the songs are making a difference in her learning experience.
“Professor Rich’s songs are great and make the class so much more engaging. I find it hard to sit down and stay engaged while watching lectures online, but the songs are a fun time in class that helps with that,” she said.
For the past few years, he has usually sung to the class once each semester. With online learning over the past semesters, he saw an opportunity to write more songs for his classes, especially this semester.
“I started to think that online classes get a bad rap because they’re boring and the students aren’t that engaged, so I’m just trying to spice things up and do something different,” he said. he declared.
Rich writes a song about the marketing concept covered in each chapter of the manual. He offers catchy phrases to help his students remember important material.
“As part of the strategic planning process, the microenvironment needs to be assessed, and if it’s something you don’t know, I hope this song helps you understand it, I hope this song helps you figure it out,” he sang those lyrics as he strummed his guitar in his second video lecture to the class.
He often takes complicated words or concepts and creates a song out of them. Few people would be able to use words like microenvironment, regulation, or strategic planning process in a song that has meaning and rhyme. Taking long, complex words and turning them into a catchy song doesn’t sound easy, but he says he likes the challenge.
“What really got me interested and what held me back was that I like the challenge of writing songs, so I’ve been doing it almost from the beginning,” he said.
Rich says he tries to encourage creativity in his class. He leads by example in his students’ writing and singing, but also encourages their creativity through the work he assigns to them in homework and other areas.
He is married to Linda Rich, who also works at BGSU as the Reference Services Coordinator at the Jerome Library. She says she has always enjoyed her husband’s music and thinks he is brave to sing his songs to his students.
“I’ve heard him write songs and sing in our house forever. I think it’s interesting that he’s brave enough to do that for a class. I think it’s great and more fun for him and hopefully the student,” she said.