Thursday, 29 March 2018

Games students play: Simulation in HE

Hands up if you have enjoyed a Role Play (in Higher Education that is), a Baloon Debate (Why I should get a First), Discussion (e.g.This House considers that the introduction of student interaction in lectures is deeply offensive to traditional values in Higher Education), a case study or even a Game or Simulation...

Now keep your hands up if you have used any of these devices in YOUR teaching...

Games and Simulation are risky as so much could go wrong (but usually does not). Well designed simulations  - not always based on technology - can help to achieve learning benefit and student engagement.

There are some basic features that make an effective simulation :
  • The sense of competition - we love to win;
  • Risk and the unknown - not everything can be controlled by an easy algorithm;
  • Opportunity to put lessons to use (feedback plus repetition)
  • Complexity - just like real life, and
  • Reward - Normally the warm glow of a job well done...
Oh, and another vital couple of ingredients:
  • Imagination from the tutor and the students, and
  • Risk (again) - but this time on the part of the tutor, its so much easier to conform and to make it easy for yourself.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Educational Case Studies: Writing#1

When you use cases in teaching it is important that they give a platform for achieving the learning outcomes of the module or course.  Sometimes, however, you just cannot find a case that is up to date, reflective of your own teaching or even specialised enough for your purposes.  If that's where you find yourself, you may turn to writing cases of your own - but where to start?

Let's consider the type of case you will write... or, more accurately, what outcomes do you want to achieve in using the case?

Lundberg, C et al. (2001) suggest that there are 7 types of case to choose from - and, of course, variants and combinations of case types to suit a tutor's needs.
Outcomes for the various types of case are: 

1. "Iceberg" cases... research and application of conceptual models.
2. "Incident" cases...application of models or student experience.
3. "Illustrative" cases...discussion of textbook model application.
4. "Head" cases...discussion of motivations of principal actor.
5. "Dialogue" cases... discussion of motivations and interactions of principal actors.
6. "Application" cases... application of a management technique.
7. "Data" cases...organising, analysing and drawing conclusions from data.
8. "Issue" cases...discussion of dynamics and context of a situation.
9. "Prediction" cases...multi-part case requiring students to predict possible outcomes.

Now, for each type of case the writer offers a different level of information and structure:
Now all the writer has to do is to come up with an up to date, accessible and researchable event, story, subject.....and start writing.

You didn't think it was easy did you?

Ideas from: Lundberg, C et al., 2001, Case writing reconsidered, Journal of Management Education, Vol 25., No. 4, August.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Building bridges

Building bridges is one thing, but getting folks to navigate them safely is quite another!

BRIDGE is the name of a Chartered ABS / AACSB programme running in June 2018 in London that tackles the issues of bridge navigation head on.

The Bridge programme has been designed with the specific purpose of giving a supportive and helpful hand to those wishing to cross the bridge from "industry" to higher education, specifically in business schools.

But why on earth would you want to do that?
  • To give something back?
  • To fill up that CSR objective on the annual review?
  • To have a focus in retirement (when retirement starts at age 40)?
  • To Learn?
  • Answers on an application form please...

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Educational Case Studies: Using

A little while ago I embarked on an Interrail journey from the UK, via Eurostar and Paris, to Zurich, Vaduz, Munich and Frankfurt before returning home via Brussels.  I could have done the journey more swiftly by air or even a combination of air and rail but then I would not have enjoyed the scenery, the quiet hours in a carriage, the stressless voyage and even the sense of adventure.
Yes, I had a destination to reach, but the journey was the real objective.

Using case studies in business classes is just like that - the destination or conclusion can be reached in a number of different ways - but which will be the most valuable for the key learning objectives?  Which will be most accessible for the class?  Which will be the most enjoyable and memorable?

Could I have lost my way and been stranded at an intermediate station? - of course - but my trust in the Interrail App, my basic language abilities and the helpfulness of railway staff and other passengers meant that I had knowledgeable guides to ensure that any slight misdirection or unexpected stoppage was not fatal to the achievement of my goal.

In a classroom, the tutor can be the guide, or the guest lecturer from industry (Blog passim), or the students' ability to research and seek out alternative routes.

When I planned a subsequent trip across Australia (Melbourne, Sydney and Armidale) I used the principles of  my European trip and hired a car, rather than fly.

It should warm the cockles of the Chief Accountant's heart (if he had one) to know that my trips were also the cheapest option.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Educational Case studies

Educational field trips can be used to "take students from the classroom to the real world".  In today's mass Higher Education environment, however, such outings are difficult and expensive, not to mention the Elfinsafety considerations.  So, a mechanism to "take the real world into the classroom" is often used - The Case Study.

Although many authors in many institutions write case studies in Business it is that hallowed place - Harvard - that stands out as the champion of the method.  Case study rooms in University buildings are sometimes known as "Harvard style", so pervasive is the influence of that school.
But what is a case study? A story? A problem seeking a solution? An opportunity to dig deeper?
The answer is - all of these.
Most of all it is an opportunity for participants to engage with something they understand or can research and solve problems, discuss alternatives, work collaboratively or alone and even be the basis of an assessment.
Championing cases in the UK is The Case Centre at Cranfield University.  They not only give access to cases from all over the world but also teach the Case teaching and Case writing methods.
In subsequent blogs I will give some tips on writing cases and on using them in a classroom.  I may even, if you are patient, discuss how to write a video screenplay to bring cases to life in the classroom or on the internet.
Such fun!