What’s to come in 2020

xmas 2019-facebook

In this, my last blog of 2019, I would like to spend a little time looking ahead at what’s to come in 2020.

One of the emerging trends of 2019 for me has been the tipping point of online business education from niche to mainstream. Of course, the question of how to apply the case method online is very current as a result. So, I’m delighted that activities being scheduled for next year already include building on an extensive survey that we conducted this year into approaches to teaching with cases online. We have shared some highlights of the survey in Connect and will take the conversation further in the course of 2020.

Meanwhile for anyone about to teach online for the first time, here’s a little humorous reminder that the more things change the more they stay the same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQHX-SjgQvQ

On Tuesday 5 February 2020, we will be again hosting and curating the second #WorldCase TeachingDay. Last year’s was a tremendous success, full of energetic and imaginative celebrations of case teaching contributed by schools and individuals, and I’m eagerly looking forward to this 2020’s contributions. Case teaching makes such a difference to the quality and impact of business education. It’s a pleasure to see the work of faculty celebrated in this way.

We shall also be celebrating the work of case writers in marking the 30th anniversary of our Case Awards, the Oscars of the case method community (the words of the Financial Times) and the primary global awards for case writing. I know our Communications team has been working to plan the celebrations, and I am looking forward to learning more as the anniversary approaches.

Finally, and also relating to communications, our team is working hard to create our new responsive website for release in 2020. The responsive website will give you easy and intuitive access to all our services via the mobile and desktop platforms. Having seen the work in development, I can hardly wait to see it in action. Prepare to be amazed.

I hope you all have a very happy turn of the year however you choose to celebrate it, and a successful and fulfilling 2020.



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Moving the case method online

Close Up Of Student Using Digital Tablet In Lecture

Is teaching the case method online ever possible?

When I ask experienced online educators about online learning, their strongest recommendation is that instructors move away from selecting and packaging information for students, and allow them to build knowledge through digital networks both within and outside their course. The biggest challenge, they say, is finding the best ways to do this so that learners achieve the knowledge and skills they need.

It seems to me that this is a pretty convincing description of the case method. Yes, there is a (mostly) written, formal teaching case, but the case (and Teaching Note) are the stimulus for class discussion. I think this could be described as a form of networked, collaborative or social learning that includes learning inputs from inside and outside the course; academic guidance, course materials, and student experience, knowledge and personal networks of support and advice.

This suggests to me that the case method is ideally suited to online learning. It should, in fact, thrive in online environments. Yet there remains a stubborn resistance to the idea of wholeheartedly committing to using the case method online. This threatens the continuing relevance of the case method in a rapidly growing segment of management education. If the case method is to avoid becoming stranded, we need to develop approaches to using it online that are confident and embracing of the technology rather than tentative half-steps.

Online learning is not going to go away. It is here to stay and is growing rapidly. We have left behind concepts like “new technology”. New technology is now simply no more than the new norm.

So how do we find a way forward?

Earlier this year I took part in a conference session on teaching online. Each participant was asked to join a table discussion on a topic of personal interest. I joined a table group focusing on the case method.

I think it is fair to say that the attitudes expressed in that opening exchange as to whether the case method could ever be used effectively online ranged from discomfort and doubt to confidence and conviction. It was obvious that the range of responses reflected the participants’ own relative experience or inexperience in teaching online generally, and the degree to which they were attempting simply to do online what they did face-to-face, rather than any limitations inherent in the online environment.

Given the fast expansion of online, the greatest challenge for the case method lies in finding approaches that capture its essence rather than seek to mimic the classroom experience.

The Case Centre will continue to support new approaches to the case method, both face-to-face and online, by sharing the experience of our community and promoting the case method as a diverse and living methodology.

Our Connect online magazine has produced a two-part feature on approaches to teaching with cases online. You can read them here.

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