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Teaching the Virtually Real Case Study Webinar Highlights

Posted By Nicole Zefran, Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Nicole ZefranYesterday, GBSN hosted a webinar, Teaching the Virtually Real Case Study, featuring Dr. Wade Halvorson, Professor of Marketing at S.P. Jain School of Global Management and Sabine Emad, Professor of Marketing at University of Applied Science Western Switzerland Business School. In coordination with our Case Method Month, this webinar highlights a case co-authored by both professors, Teaching the Virtually Real Case Study. Halvorson and Emad were the first winners of The Case Centre’s Innovation in Case Teaching Competition (2013).

With a goal to transform students from passive case readers to active participants, Halvorson and Emad used a gaming storyboard to transform a written case study, Selling Green Dots in Second Life, into a lively hunt for information. The hunt was positioned in an on-line, immersive, 3D virtual representation of the case setting (virtual world). Students navigate through this world using an avatar. They selected Second Life, a free-to-access, user friendly, hosted solution. This activity offers students the opportunity to work in cross-cultural groups because the platform is easy to access globally.

>> The video below shows the student teams from both institutions in action.

This case teaching method is unique because it embraces the large presence that technology has in the lives of students in this generation. Today’s students are digital natives. Halvorson and Emad use a virtual world environment to stimulate the intricacies of gathering and analyzing background data. They use the "Second Life” to stimulate students' interest in case information by scattering it throughout the virtual world, turning data collection into a collaborative treasure hunt. Team, search and learning-by-doing components all add to students' attentiveness and immersion in the materials. Game playing is vital for any creature capable of learning. Changing the presentation of cases in this way heightens the educational experience.

Halvorson and Emad’s method of transforming a case study to pique student engagement is broken down into three phases:

Phase 1 – Creating the Virtual World

Deconstruct the marketing case you choose to use (with permission) and transform it into digital objects that can be rendered in Second Life. Each object containing an element of the case information appears as a folder, notice board, newspaper, sign, desktop computer etc., and is dispersed around a specific in-world location. Each object is assigned to one of four functional groups and each student is assigned to one of four corresponding roles, like marketing, finance, operations or IT.

Phase 2– Entering the Virtual World

Students enter the virtual world in groups of four and hunt for the information. Each student can only collect the objects carrying the information assigned to their role. When a group has collected a full set of objects they meet to share the information, reconstruct the case and analyze it collaboratively making recommendations to solve the case issues.

Phase 3Engaged Case Discussion

Students participate in a spirited class discussion based on thorough preparation of the case study and argue their proposed solution.

The results show that the comprised method suits gamers, the upcoming generation of students, which is one of the hypotheses in which the research was based. The method also seems to suit those ‘never gamers,’ who, to some extent, find it appealing. Largely, the students felt that video games should be used in class. The overall the satisfaction of students was high. Halvorson and Emad found that 7-10 students very or rather satisfied. The satisfaction levels were high on all aspects, but specifically the teamwork aspect satisfaction level was high, which was an element in which we wanted the method to add value. The students did not find this method easy, yet students found this method to be motivating and entertaining, interesting and more interactive. These are clearly the main objectives the method wanted to achieve.


>> Download the presentation

If you have any questions please contact

Dr. Wade Halvorson

Prof. Sabine Emad


Nicole Zefran is the Network Assistant at the Global Business School Network.

Tags:  case method  case method month  case studies  teaching cases 

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