Internet Access and Training Program
2002 Electronic Hallway Summer School:
Teaching with Case Studies
Saint Petersburg, Russia 30 June - 6 July 2002
Project Harmony proudly presents the participants of the IATP Electronic Hallway Summer School: Teaching with Case Studies, a six-day intensive training on the Case Study Method targeting alumni of the Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP). The school will be held at the "Znamenka" Manor in Saint Petersburg, July 1-6, 2002 under the auspices of the Internet Access and Training Program (IATP) assisted financially by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended.
Why Case Study, Alumni, and the Internet?
Alumni of US government exchange programs face numerous challenges upon returning home. After learning about education in the United States, they realize the academic environment of most universities in Russia is still characterized by a traditional approach to teaching, which typically involves the transfer of information in lecture-format from teachers' minds to students' notebooks. In-class discussions and debates among students themselves are uncommon; critical exchanges between student and teacher are even more rare. This hinders development of an interactive, democratic learning environment.
By using the informational resources of the Internet and the case study method of teaching, alumni can help this situation by emphasizing challenge and empowering students to speak and think on their feet. Case Study Method allows students to practice within the comparative security of the classroom (and Internet) the fundamentals of self-expression. Essentially, students learn to think for themselves, express opinions, defend those opinions, and likewise take these new habits of behavior and transfer them to the workplace and to society. Case Study Method demonstrates and reflects democracy through the sharing of power between teacher and student. In addition, corporations, officials, and executives provide information for the cases by email and online Internet communities and in doing so communicate and exchange information freely between sectors of society. This increase in the exchange of information and cooperation aids transitional democracies and emerging market economies, such as Russia, by fostering a populace more skilled in democratic practice. All individuals begin to develop personal initiative, a respect for the views of others, as well as the habits of cooperation and compromise, which provide a basis for consensual decision-making.
Consequently, a class conducted in terms of case method becomes a basis for students to learn about the exchanges, disputes and uncertainties which characterize a democratic environment. Using the case study method provides training in the analytical rules of decision-making and in the more subtle rules of democratic discourse.
Case Study Method Overview
Case study teaching is a method used to develop judgment, skills, and confidence in managers and administrators. The method has been used for nearly a century in training leaders for the business sector throughout the world. Over the last few decades, its use has grown dramatically in preparing leaders in the public sector in the United States and other countries. Instruction by the case method requires a different, more interactive style of teaching. Class preparation differs substantially from lecture methods common to teaching in most academic disciplines, as it requires Internet research and the use of IT tools. This method of teaching has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on the quality of leadership and managerial judgment.
Case study teaching requires materials prepared to engender discussion among students and to develop their judgment, rather than to expand their store of facts and theory. While some of the materials in the case collections in the United States may have value in developing Eastern European public and private management, the issues faced by local government leaders and officials in the countries which emerged from the former Soviet Union require case materials that deal with the issues that are typical to these systems and to this time period. Therefore, Project Harmony/IATP will focus on training faculty how to write cases tailored to their particular locale, institutions and conditions based on Internet research and informational exchange.
The next stages
The IATP will post daily summaries of the summer school to its website so other Russian educators can receive a glimpse of participant impressions. Immediately following the school, Project Harmony and the Innovation and Development Center will launch a website that will offer an online educational course in the case study method. This course will include streaming video, sample case studies and interactive exams to provide quality resources to users nationwide. Furthermore, Project Harmony will develop an online case library which concentrates on the Russian experience and which will also include in its holdings cases that represent comparative international experience. Thus, the IATP will serve as a depository of Russia-specific cases (of which there are currently few) written by participants of the summer school and their colleagues to ensure the cases are made available by means of the Internet to educators nationwide. Similarly, IATP will publish a book that guides faculty of Russian universities to implementing case usage in their classrooms.
Project Harmony hopes you will track the progress of the JFDP summer school participants and will take an active role in online web forums and educational website that will be launched at the close of the 2002 summer school.