encourages faculty to integrate video into cases to provide authentic voices
and real world information which will engage students in the case. CaseWorks has included video in cases for a
number of years and is pleased to share the reasons we use video, the approach
we take and the issues we have encountered.
Video Provides Authentic Voices
earliest use of video focused on the decisions facing young entrepreneurs, all
of whom were alumni of Columbia Business School. These leaders of new ventures
were comfortable sharing business plans for use in teaching cases and we
interviewed them about the decisions they faced. In this clip from the case Palogix International Limited, Robert Liebsman, MBA ’08, CEO of
Palogix speaks about calculating the funds he needed to raise to expand his
global shipping business.
chose to use video interviews to engage students, who hear and interpret the
case protagonist’s thoughts directly. In
their interviews, executives convey their passion for their business and their concerns
for the issues in the case. Video also provides more nuance than a written
description, and no editorializing by a case writer.
the interviews we invite case protagonists to come to our studio at Columbia
Business School. We prepare and share questions prior to the taping and conduct
a 15 to 20 minute interview. The interview is then divided into short two to
three minute pieces, each headlined with a question or title card. These
segments are included as links to video clips in the final case.
Video Shows Rather than Tells
can also vividly and directly illustrate how a product is produced, how a
factory floor is laid out, or how another country looks and feels. When on
location at a company we are able to film the production process, or the
company offices, as well as interview case participants on site. In the case Blow: The New York Blow Dry Bar the founders consider
how to use a capital infusion: invest in a new salon or in a line of hair care
products. Here is an example of an onsite
from the case in which a supplier explains the production issues and costs.
also directly exposes students to other cultures or unfamiliar ways of life. In
the case Byrraju
Foundation: SWEET Water Project a video clip introduces the
water treatment business in India. We used a voiceover text rather than a
direct interview to provide context for the visual.
Technical Issues with Video
our first effort to include video we tried embedding the video file within the
case file. We quickly discovered that adding video files to our final PDF files
created huge file sizes that could not be emailed or easily shared. Now we host
the files at Columbia and include a link in the PDF case file. While this
solved the file size problem, it created another possible challenge: if one of the cases with video becomes very
successful and is simultaneously viewed by many readers, the server may be
overwhelmed with traffic and the link may stop working. We have agreed with our
School’s technical team to track this for now.
quality can also be an issue. We prefer filming in the studio, where we have
more control over the environment (i.e., lighting, sound, etc.). When decision
makers visit Columbia Business School classrooms, they will sometimes agree to
be taped. However, almost without exception, the quality of the classroom video—even
if shot by a professional videographer—is not equal to the studio video. When
we shoot on location the quality is generally quite good as we are fortunate to
have an excellent videographer on staff, but free-lance videographers abound.
Lastly, be aware of video compatibility
We currently use an HTML5 player through Kaltura Open Source Video; Kaltura’s
player automatically detects the user’s browser and device and displays the
video in either HTML5 or Flash format in any device. In the past we used a Flash Player which did
not allow the videos to be played on iPad, iPhone, or iPods. Both types of
clips are included in this post. In the long run we plan to upgrade all of our
video clips so that they are playable on any device.
many students like the videos, not all do; some students still prefer printed
cases. Those who read cases on paper cannot access the video as they read the
case. Thus, we provide transcripts of video as part of the final print case so that
the content is available even when the student is reading a paper version.
While Columbia Business School is moving towards online course materials, we
need to provide students with cases that suit their needs.
About Columbia CaseWorks:
CaseWorks began as a program to provide support for faculty in developing
teaching cases that bring their research, knowledge, and business experience
into Columbia Business School classrooms. Our cases are available for sale to
registered faculty at our website.
Elizabeth Gordon is the Administrative Director of Columbia CaseWorks at Columbia Business School