Motivating students to study through cases

Motivating students to
study through cases
By Prof. Bholanath Dutta
Department of MBA
CMR Institute of Technology
Why cases ?
• Akin to the study, practice and profession of
medicine & law
• Simulation of events in the corporate world
• Practical orientation and value addition to theory
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
What is a case?
• Case is a detailed account of a real-life business
situation, describing the dilemma of the
"protagonist"—a real person with a real job who is
confronted with a real problem.
• Case presents the story exactly as the protagonist
saw it, including ambiguous evidence, shifting
variables, imperfect knowledge, no obvious right
answers, and a ticking clock that impatiently
demands action.
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Why this approach ?
• Not possible to have extended internship durations
• Very vast field (management) with many divisions
• Much practical knowledge available already –
compare students’ insights with “solutions” already
propounded; but solutions may not be the same
• More comprehensive coverage of subjects
• Students “get into” the situations in the case and
participate – better learning for them
• Simulation of analysis and decision making
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Why this approach …cont’d
• Opportunity to apply theoretical concepts in given
situations ( this is not to rule out intuitive thinking)
• Involving students in the learning process
• The onus is on the student to read, understand and
suggest courses of action
• Involving students gives them the opportunity and
freedom to role-play
• Encourages multifaceted thinking and application/
elimination of alternatives
• Encourages students to work in groups – experience in
handling group dynamics
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Why this approach …cont’d
• Students have the satisfaction of having thought of a
solution, rather than being told that by the faculty
• Newer insights will enrich the discussion – both the
student population and the faculty can learn something
• Encourages participation – agreement/debate/criticism
• Business is practice – what is practiced in the corporate
world finds its way into textbooks; hence, this is
simulated practical exposure
• Cross-functional or interdisciplinary learning is possible
• Opportunity for all participants to contribute to the
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Cases because…
The case method forces students to grapple with exactly
the kinds of decisions and dilemmas managers confront
every day. In doing so, it redefines the traditional
educational dynamic in which the professor dispenses
knowledge and students passively receive it. The case
method creates a classroom in which students succeed not
by simply absorbing facts and theories, but also by
exercising the skills of leadership and teamwork in the
face of real problems. Under the skillful guidance of a
faculty member, they work together to analyze and
synthesize conflicting data and points of view, to define
and prioritize goals, to persuade and inspire others who
think differently, to make tough decisions with uncertain
information, and to seize opportunity in the face of doubt.
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
• Teaching a case is an unpredictable business. There is
no familiar lecture to deliver, and no telling quite
which way the conversation might turn. Recent events
in the business world may cast the case in an entirely
new light.
• Thus, just as students must prepare intensely for
every class, faculty should spend a great deal of time
preparing for each class as well, alone and in teaching
teams, even for cases they wrote themselves or have
taught many times before.
• And because students bring so much new energy and
insight to every discussion, case teaching is a process
of constant intellectual renewal and growth in which
the teachers can learn as much as the students do.
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Driving the process…
• The hallmark of great faculty—and what students
remember and value most—is their extraordinary
passion, commitment, and skill as teachers – the ability
to be famously "close to practice": Many serve as
business leaders, entrepreneurs, consultants, and
board members in their own right.
• Drawing on that experience as well as their intellectual
rigor, they should produce some of the most influential
business research in the world, and they should write
by far the greatest number of cases used in business
classrooms around the globe. Yet they need to truly
come alive in the classroom, pursuing their mission
to educate the next generation of leaders who will
make a difference
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Case KM
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
What to highlight
• Using a case-based approach engages students in
discussion of specific situations, typically real-world
examples. This method is learner-centered, and involves
intense interaction between the participants.
• Case-based learning focuses on the building of
knowledge and the group works together to examine the
case. The instructor's role is that of a facilitator and
the students collaboratively address problems from a
perspective that requires analysis.
• Much of case-based learning involves learners striving
to resolve questions that have no single right answer.
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
What to highlight
• Cases add meaning by providing students with the
opportunity to see theory in practice. Real world or
authentic contexts expose students to viewpoints
from multiple sources and see why people may want
different outcomes.
• Students can also see how a decision will impact
different participants, both positively and
• Cases usually require students to analyze data in
order to reach a conclusion. Since many assignments
are open-ended, students can practice choosing
appropriate analytic techniques as well.
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Learning from cases
• ( Instructors who use case-based learning say that
their students are more engaged, interested, and
involved in the class. )
• In their effort to find solutions and reach decisions
through discussion, students sort out factual data,
apply analytic tools, articulate issues, reflect on
their relevant experiences, and draw conclusions
they can relate to new situations. In the process,
they acquire substantive knowledge and develop
analytic, collaborative, and communication skills.
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
The faculty’s role
• For the case method to succeed, it is imperative that
students do the background reading and attempt the
questions the teacher has structured. For this purpose,
we may need to assign parts of the questions to
different students. This requires students to engage in
sub-group discussions in preparation for the seminar.
• Here is a list of matters you may wish the students to
consider during your preparation:
– What is the decision to be made?
– What are the key issues to consider in order to reach a
– Are there specific constraints the actors may face within the
environment in which the decision is to be reached?
– Are there alternative actions the decision maker may take? 14
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Faculty preparation
Suggestions for Teaching in Your Classroom: Motivating
Students to Learn
1. Use behavioral techniques to help students exert themselves
and work toward remote goals.
2. Make sure that students know what they are to do, how to
proceed, and how to determine when they have achieved goals.
3. Do everything possible to satisfy deficiency needs -physiological, safety, belongingness, and esteem.
a. Accommodate the instructional program to the physiological
needs of your students.
b. Make your room physically and psychologically safe.
c. Show your students that you take an interest in them and that
they belong in your classroom.
d. Arrange learning experiences so that all students can gain at
least a degree of esteem.
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Faculty preparation
4. Enhance the attractions and minimize the dangers
of discussions getting out of focus.
5. Direct learning experiences toward feelings of
success in an effort to encourage an orientation
toward achievement, a positive self-concept, and a
strong sense of self-efficacy.
a. Make use of objectives that are challenging but attainable
and, when appropriate, that involve student input.
b. Provide knowledge of results by emphasizing the positive.
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
Faculty preparation
• 6. Try to encourage the development of need
achievement, self-confidence, and self-direction in
students who need these qualities.
– a. Use achievement-motivation training techniques.
– b. Use cooperative-learning methods.
• 7. Try to make learning interesting by emphasizing
activity, investigation, adventure, social interaction,
and usefulness
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
How to succeed with the Case
• The emphasis on study groups is the key to success.
Offering a miniature version of the diversity in a
section as a whole, a study group is a place to clarify
difficult concepts, test ideas, ask "dumb questions,"
and learn new ways of attacking a problem.
• Assigning weightage for class participation, prompts
everyone to contribute.
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept
My experiences
• Students do not come prepared- quiz them / random
selection of anchor
• Students are “smartly” prepared – intro , body etc.
Switch students
• Students are prepared – meaningful discussion +
possibility of role plays + application of concepts
becomes possible
• Students talk of cases being “dated”
- take them through the learnings
. Students say the case is too long – they need to be
sensitized to long cases also
. Students talk of the case being just a narration of
events – take them through
Prof Bholanath Dutta/CMRIT/MBA Dept

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