During September each year GBSN takes a look at Case
Method. We explore how to write cases,
find them, and teach with them. Above
all, we look at ways that case method, as it was developed in the classrooms of
elite business schools in developed countries, can be translated for students
in emerging markets. A great many
factors – cultural, technical, logistical – make applying case method in
developing country schools a challenge.
Last month GBSN coordinated the final of a series of
workshops for African public policy professors on case method teaching and
other experiential pedagogies. For some
of the faculty that attended the workshops case method was entirely new, while
others had heard about it or used in at various times in their careers.
Overwhelmingly they told us that they thought that case method was extremely
relevant to their classes, and yet they really aren’t using it much at all. Why?
Two primary reasons stood out:
class size and lack of access to relevant cases. Demand for higher education in Africa is
huge, and the supply just isn’t keeping up.
The result is huge classes that make case method logistically
The focus of the great majority of quality teaching cases on
large corporations based in developed countries also severely constrains the
use of case method. Cultural context, suitability
of topic, as well as relevance to political and business realities in a
particular market all contribute to the success of a case in the
classroom. Without good cases to teach,
or the skills, time and knowledge necessary to write one for oneself, faculty
don’t have much of a choice with regard to case method.
Of course, other factors, such as faculty confidence in teaching
cases, the support of administration for the method and the willingness of
students to engage in a participatory learning environment also limit case
method’s use in the developing world.
GBSN’s Case Method Month in 2013 is focused on Creative Uses
for Cases, looking at resources and innovations that can help address some of
these barriers. We’re posting emerging
market teaching cases that are available at low or even no cost. We’re featuring a webinar on using online
interactivity to present and teach a case.
We’re highlighting resources to help faculty develop their own cases and
teaching notes. And we hope to continue
to foster discussion around the globe about the value of case method and ways
to adapt it for new and changing environments.
If you have a thought, technique, case or innovation to
share with the GBSN community for Case Method Month, I encourage you to email
us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page Buchanan is the Director of Operations at the Global Business School Network.