The from February to May this year I have been teaching in “Seminar in Business Studies” a bachelor course (HA – 4. semester).

The course represents a teaching and form of learning where a group of 12 students with one or more teachers discusses selected issues and problems in management science. First the student should write a 10 page report on a specific subject. The report should provide the possibility of in-depth studies of theories, models and methods in management science. While writing the report he can use the assigned advisor for at most 1.5 hours. Second the student, 2 weeks after delivering the report, should give a 10 minutes presentation about their report. Afterwards there is time for 30 minutes of discussion and last 5 minutes for giving a grade.

I was assigned 59 students in 6 groups. In 4 of the groups I was the only teacher. In the last 2 groups we were 3 teachers.

Below you will find some experiences collected during the course. Please post a comment if you have suggestions for improvements.

Advisor

How to handle advisor meetings with 59 students is a big challenge. I soon realized that e-mail correspondence takes to much time. Therefore I searched the internet and found an on-line application Tungle which do wonders. Sign in and set up a page where you specify the days you want meetings (Tuesday and Thursday in my case) and the duration (½ an hour). Finally install a small plugin in Outlook and you are ready to go.

When a student asks for a meeting you just send him the link to your Tungle page (create a standardized signature/message). Next the student just plot in places where a meeting is possible submit the request and a mail is sent to you. Finally, you just approve one of the requests and an mail is automatically sent back to the student.

Everything is synchronized with your outlook calendar, i.e. you do not have to write appointments into your calendar. Moreover, since the synchronization is both ways a student cannot book meetings at places where you are busy in your calendar.

I did not had any group meetings, since I used some time to write a note with report guidelines.

Time usage

According to the ASB norms for teaching you have 5 hours per student as specified in Table 1 (new norm as of 2010). I used intervals to record my time given in Table 1. Note that I have used less time on the tasks with norms. However, this is expected since you must have time to write the 12 subjects and course management.

Table 1: Time usage and norm (hours)
Norm  (per student) Norm (59 students) Usage (59 students)
Advisor meetings 1,5 88,5 57
Evaluation 1,5 88,5 81
Presentation/Seminar 2 118 71
Preparation of subjects 0 0 89
Course management/email 0 0 12
Total 5 295 310

Student evaluation

In all the groups I asked the students to evaluate the course. In general all the students like the way discussions took place (all the students should read the presenters report and prepare at least 2 questions for the discussion). Some pointed out that it may be a bit unfair that some have more time to write the report (submission is 2 weeks before presentation). Moreover, many would like to have only one teacher in each group (some groups had 3 teachers).