Behind the Story: Cal Poly Entrepreneurship Professor’s Struggle with Online Zoom Course

When tasked with reporting on a Cal Poly faculty member, my project partner Andrew Rydinksi and I knew exactly who to reach out to. Marc Cortez, a part time entrepreneurship professor at Cal Poly whose class we had both taken two quarters prior. When we reached out to him he was happy to do it and was excited at the opportunity to tell his story as a professor and also an entrepreneur himself working of his start up called Liquid8.

While Marc is a cool laid-back guy who understands his students on a more personal level, he admits he is also struggling to find ways to keep his class engaged and focused. The interviews I had with Marc really opened my eyes to the faculty perspective and gave me an insight into his hectic life during the coronavirus pandemic.

After experiencing Marc’s charisma and passion for teaching first hand, I became very aware of how difficult the transition to the online platform was for him. He explained how he has to threaten to turn on his student’s zoom cameras so he doesn’t feel like he’s talking to himself. He has also made large adaptations to his curriculum and is a professor who takes student’s needs and time very seriously especially during COVID-19.

” So, in the classroom let’s say on my best day I’m at 100, on my best day on a zoom call I’m probably a 65. That’s as good as I can make it. That’s a big gap”, Cortez said.

My partner Andrew was responsible for creating the video content for this portion of the project and took the lead during interviews to ensure that he had a coherent piece that not only flowed well but informed the public of Marc’s current situation.

“It was so much fun working with mark these last couple of weeks. He is the most charismatic professor that I have had here at Cal Poly. As someone who is working as a part time professor and managing a business, he indirectly taught me a lot about a solid work ethic”, Rydinski said.

I was in charge of creating the written Profile on Marc which was written in the format of a Q&A. Marc gave us some insight on the university policies now in place and how he is balancing his life now which made the profile easy to write and engaging for the audience.

Andrew was in charge of our KCPR Interview section and did a great job of explaining to their audience Marc’s Perspective and some funny anecdotes that Marc shared with us.

As this was our second time completing this project and following the guidleines, I think it went smoother than the list time. I am very proud of both of us for working through this difficult time and producing publishable work. This project has taught both of us a lot about patience, communication, and hard work.