Spotlight Shines On Business School Innovations

June 5, 2003

Champions withdraw. Yet some survive and prosper – as a new title shows.
Prof Roland Kaye, Dean of the Open University Business School, and Prof David Hawkridge, former Director of the Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology, have put together Learning and Teaching for Business: Case Studies of Successful Innovation, published by Kogan Page. The case studies they highlight have been collected by the Business Education Support Team (BEST), a node in the UK Learning and Teaching Support Network for universities and colleges.

BEST found these ‘success stories’ through a national survey. They range across business, management and accounting and some draw on information technology. Most are from newer universities and colleges. Some have been developed and tested over five to ten years; others are more recent. All involve methods that are transferable to other business school settings and all are written by the innovators.

Among the case studies are those from the University of Brighton’s Business School. Its development of an intranet for staff and students, its introduction of action learning into courses and its use of live consultancy case studies based on actual companies are all featured.

The title also turns the spotlight on MBA students at City University’s Sir John Cass Business School who link up with those at Fordham Business School in New York each year for an international consultancy assignment performed in a global bank.
Business students at De Montfort, Liverpool John Moores and Hertfordshire Universities learn introductory financial and management accounting through Byzantium software. At Glasgow they depend on Byzantium and EQL’s Understand Management Accounting software.

Those on a final year honours course at Dundee and St Andrews use a portfolio management simulation linked live to the London Stock Exchange. The Plymouth Business School has its students run their own property businesses through the medium of Monopoly, the well-known board game, adapted for the purpose.

Leeds Metropolitan students taking a BA in Public Relations find themselves assessing each others’ work: this form of peer assessment is carefully designed to safeguard validity of the marks.
For strategic management students in the new University of Gloucestershire there is an innovative website, developed privately by two academics but publicly available.

Staff who authored an MBA knowledge management course at the Open University Business School build and maintain online communities of practice among the tutors and their distant students, using established and state-of-the-art knowledge technologies. These include online synchronous conferencing with the OU’s new software system, Lyceum, which provides for voice, text and graphics.

Prof Hawkridge said: “New success stories are still coming to light, of course, but we include the first dozen. The pressure is on business schools to find new ways to teach better the increasing numbers of students registering for courses. Many students now work part- or even full-time and they are impatient with old-fashioned rules, such as required attendance at lectures. As the curriculum expands, lecturers and students turn to new knowledge sources such as the web.”

Learning & Teaching for Business: Case Studies of Successful Innovation (ISBN 0-7494-4025-2) is published by Kogan Page at £22.50.
BEST is the national Learning and Teaching Support Network’s node for business, management and accounting and a partnership between the School of Management at the University of East Anglia, Glasgow Caledonian University and the Open University Business School.

David Hawkridge
Neil Coaten
Open University Media Relations
01908 652580
Claire Milloy
Kogan Page
020 7843 1958