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BYU-Idaho receives Harvard case studies From Boston to Rexburg – BYU-I uses case studies in the classroom Breanna Bennett sports asst. editor Today’s quiz: What do BYU-Idaho and Harvard have in common? (a) Brilliant students, (b) outstanding athletic teams, (c) Learning involving case studies, or (d) All of the above. If you chose d, your optimism is commendable. The correct answer is c. Only two universities in the world have complete access to Harvard Business School’s case study database – Harvard and BYU-I. Full-length case studies are available, as well as shortened Brief Cases or Case in Points and other online sources. “Basically, they’ve opened up everything they have,” said Craig Bell, chair of the Business Management department. “I guess this is one more of the blessings that has come with President Clark.” Clark, former dean of Harvard Business School, has been a forerunner in BYU-I’s “rethinking education” challenge. These case studies are a part of it, and while they are a huge part of the site license agreement, there is much more information available. BYU-I students and faculty, as well as their immediate families, have access to most of Harvard’s online materials through my.byui.edu. ManageMentor, a compilation of interactive programs online, is designed to help management skills and provide access to specific articles or books. E-Learning, Harvard Business Online, books and videos are also available to present information in a variety of ways. According to “Learning by the Case Method,” a pamphlet for teachers published by Harvard Business School Publishing, case studies enhance the learning process by creating more discussion. The purpose is “not to develop a consensus of a ‘group’ position; it is to help member refine, adjust, and amplify their own thinking.’” Robyn Bergstrom, associate dean of the college of Business and Communication, has used Case in Points in her group dynamics class. “They read a case online, we discuss it in class, then they do worksheets,” Bergstrom said. “We discuss key concepts, common problems, and then they go through the application tool for themselves.” Bell said the case study method is part of the “steady, upward course” BYU-I has been challenged to pursue. “Students are involved in teaching each other and students are involved in teaching the teacher, which is wonderful,” Bell said. Mark Nygren, a professor in the Business Management department, said he has seen the case studies help his students apply their learning to realistic situations. “The case method gives them real-life business experience. It’s more participant- centered, allowing the students to come prepared to discuss and analyze the case, and it also engages them in solving and addressing real-life problems,” Nygren said. BYU-I pays Harvard University for the use of their database, which is covered by a fee paid by the students who use them most. It’s mostly business management majors at this point, but the case study method may spread to more departments across campus. “The wonderful thing is the ability to raise the quality of content and lower the cost,” Bell said. “We’re saving the students thousands of dollars. Textbooks cost a lot of money. I think we’re rethinking the quality of the content,” Bell said. Students have responded well to the new teaching method. David Wilson, a sophomore from Rupert, Idaho, used the case study method in Nygren’s class. “It gave us a look at people that have already done it before, and you can look at what they did well and what they did badly,” Wilson said. While some students like the overall impact of the case study method on their education, there are a few problems. “I think it’s really fun and it’s interesting to learn and talk about and stuff, but it’s hard to grade,” Wilson said. “I guess you have to grade on participation, but how do you get 50 people to participate in an hour?” Bell said the case studies are a blessing to BYU-I and will help prepare students to enter the work force. “The scriptures tell us to seek out of the best books words of wisdom. I don’t know if there are much better books, at least as far as business is concerned, than those things published by Harvard,” Bell said.