New publication on case-based written examinations (in German)

New article:

Die fallstudienbasierte Klausur als schriftliche Prüfungsleistung: Ein Beispiel für die kompetenzorientierte Restrukturierung einer Modulprüfung. In J. Haag, J. Weißenböck, W. Gruber, & C. F. Freisleben-Teutscher (Hrsg.), Kompetenzorientiert Lehren und Prüfen. Basics – Modelle – Best Practices: Tagungsband zum 5. Tag der Lehre an der FH St. Pölten am 20.10.2016. St. Pölten: Fachhochschule St. Pölten, S. 77 – 86.

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Night train to St. Pölten (5. Tag der Lehre 2016)

On Thursday, 20 October 2016, I jumped on the night train to St. Pölten in Austria in order to attend a conference on competency-based education (5. Tag der Lehre: „Kompetenzorientiert Lehren und Prüfen“). After a strenuous ride in a very small train compartment, I arrived at the FH St. Pölten in order to discuss various aspects of competency-based education.

For the first time, I participated in a so called “DisqSpace”, a relatively new discussion format that is designed to allow for a higher level of interaction between the presenting speaker and the audience. In each corner of a room, a topic is presented by a guest speaker. All speakers and topics are introduced by a moderator. Thereafter, the participants split up into four groups, which will ascribe themselves to an individual corner (topic). After 15 to 20 minutes the groups rotate and move on to the next “station”. Within 60 to 90 minutes, the audience has visited all corners (topics) of the room.

Advantages

  • A smaller number of participants will be able to listen to a presented topic and discuss individual questions with the guest speaker.
  • Participants are able to attend four interrelated presentations on a given general topic, thereby identifying connections and realizing different solution approaches.

Disadvantages

  • The guest speaker has to present the topic four times in succession in a very condensed way, which I experienced as somehow exhausting.
  • Interesting and lively discussions might have to be aborted when the group has to move on to the next corner (topic).

The poster can be found at slideshare:

As always, the conference was perfectly organized by the friendly team of SKILL @ FH St. Pölten: Thank you very much!

And I really enjoyed the vegan stuffed peppers at the lunch buffet!

Pre-conference interview “Kompetenzorientierung mit fallstudienbasierten Klausuren”, Tag der Lehre 2016, FH St. Pölten, Austria (in German)

The pre-conference interview on “Kompetenzorientierung mit fallstudienbasierten Klausuren” with Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher and me is now available on YouTube:

More information can be found one the website of “SKILL – Service und Kompetenzzentrum für Innovatives Lehren und Lernen” @ FH St.Pölten.

@ Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher: Thank you very much for the interview!

Workshop on competency-based development of degree programs with Oliver Reis

On September 13, 2016, roughly a dozen of my colleagues and me attended a three hour workshop on competency-based development of degree programs taught by Prof. Dr. Dr. Oliver Reis (University of Paderborn). We all teach in the degree program “Foreign Trade/International Management” and already apply more or less the principles of competency-based education. However, the workshop aimed at focussing on the overall competency-driven objective of the degree program.

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We are now heading towards a (general) competency-based development model that will help us to align the competency-based learning objectives at the level of the modules. Ultimately, this might lead to a (partial) redesign of the curriculum. I will report on the process…

Second MIB block course on financial modelling

The second MIB block course on financial modelling took place from 4 July 2016 until 8 July 2016. The “module” is a mandatory component of the International Business programme (M. Sc.) at HAW Hamburg. Approximately 20 students were challenged to tackle an especially designed case study entitled “Pulp Fiction”. The case addresses a complex investment decision to be made by a multinational corporation. The investment in question is a greenfield pulp mill project to be located in Southeast Asia. Students assume the role of a junior manager and are asked to develop a financial model as well as to prepare a report containing a strategic and financial recommendation for a fictitious board meeting.

The pedagogical framework of the course is based on the philosophy of competency-based education. The methodical-didactical design applies elements of project-based learning, case-based learning and enquiry-based learning. Preparatory instructional elements in the beginning are followed by supervision and (fading) support. Together with Stephan Beier, I taught the course applying a team teaching approach, which tends to create a positive working atmosphere and reduces the stress level for both students and instructors.

Classroom sessions took place in a computer lab. Daily sessions were scheduled from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. with a one hour lunch break. Students were only required to be present on the first day. Thereafter, they were free to work at home or elsewhere. Although the course started with a phase that requires teamwork (see photos), students are required to hand-in individual models and reports. However, students may collaborate in pairs or small groups while developing and coding their models.

The case work requires a solid understanding of finance and accounting as well as a basic skill set in Excel coding. Hence, students have to tap and apply knowledge that has been taught in previous courses, which seemed to be a challenge for some participants. In few cases, we observed ungrounded fear when faced with the magnitude of the modelling task. Moreover, it seems that fear is accompanied by shame which might be related to supposed group pressure and angst of public humiliation. We think that this observation deserves further analysis, which could ultimately lead to an adjustment of the course design.

Nevertheless, the majority of the participating students demonstrated dedication and a professional attitude towards the course objectives. It is always deeply rewarding to observe the quality of the output that students are able to achieve once they have accepted the task at hand. We have seen some very nice financial models and are looking forward to receiving the final versions of the reports to be submitted in mid-August.