Teaching with the Case Method Online: Pure Versus Hybrid Approaches

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ABSTRACT

The impact of hybrid classroom/distance education approaches is examined in the context of the case method. Four distinct semester-long treatments, which varied mixes of classroom and online discussion, were used to teach a graduate MIS survey course. Specific findings suggest that by using Web technology, college instructors may offer students the option of participating in high-quality courses using the case method pedagogy in an online environment. Students not only appear to do as well as in the traditional classroom, but the data suggest that students in the online environment may perform better at multiple levels of learning outcomes, especially when using a blend of classroom and online technologies. Furthermore, the precepts of the case method pedagogy may be enhanced by the use of online discussions. Instructors employing the technique may find their own importance devalued, while the time demands of the approach can be much greater than for traditional classes. The findings infer that it is the model of learning and its fit with supporting technologies, rather than the presence of technology per se, which enhances learning outcomes.

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