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Center of Market Economics, Copenhagen Business School

Using Novell Teaming + Conferencing, the Center of Market Economics at Copenhagen Business School has created an innovative environment for study and research.

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About Center of Market Economics, Copenhagen Business School

The Center of Market Economics (CME) at Copenhagen Business School works with industry partners to adapt research and education in market economics to meet real-world demands. The CME has 400 virtual post-graduate students, of whom approximately 15 percent study entirely online, and maintains a particular focus on self-study in groups and e-learning based on direct, personal dialogues with coaches.

Challenge

The CME believes that in many western countries, university courses are largely based on memorising information and cramming for exams. Even e-learning courses typically continue to deliver the same static course materials but in electronic form.

Dissatisfied with passive approaches to learning, and recognising that today's enterprises want graduates who are able to think for themselves and work easily in virtual teams, the CME set out to transform the content and pedagogical approach of its courses.

The aim was to build a Virtual Learning Space in which students from around the world could define their own projects and virtual teams, then collaborate on advanced research with support from CME coaches.

"Our whole pedagogic approach stems from the principle that static, generic models in economics textbooks have little relevance in a complex, fast-moving, globalised business environment," said Michael Pettersson, Director of the CME. "We saw an opportunity to use new technologies to enable students to build their own models capable of reflecting the real world in all its complexity."

Novell Solution

Working closely with major enterprises in Denmark, the CME designed a completely virtual two-year post-graduate diploma programme for students. At the beginning of the first semester, the CME divides the students into virtual teams of five or six, and assigns them a specific company, for example an automotive company, to analyse.

The students work together to decide on the research topic, using Novell Teaming + Conferencing to build working relationships, decide on the project methodology, and define roles, rules and structures for the research. They then begin gathering and evaluating data from various sources, including commercial databases that provide detailed financial information on the selected companies. All of the information and content is saved, indexed and stored in the Web-based team workspace. Team members can access it from any location using a standard browser.

Novell Teaming + Conferencing is a unified communications and team collaboration solution that provides a platform-independent framework for creating, sharing, discussing and managing information across organisational and geographic boundaries.

"Our industry partners need graduates who are comfortable working in truly global businesses, where project teams may span multiple geographies and time zones," said Pettersson. "Novell Teaming + Conferencing gives our students and coaches the tools to collaborate effectively while working asynchronously in different parts of the world. The other great advantage of the solution is its flexibility: nothing is fixed or pre-defined, which fits our goal of enabling students to design their own learning approaches."

Novell Teaming + Conferencing stores all dialogue between team members in a searchable library, and the CME keeps an indexed record of project documents and course dialogue stretching back 10 years. The e-dialogue library is an edited set of the most interesting and insightful exchanges between students and coaches, providing a valuable resource for current and future students.

"The e-dialogue library enables existing knowledge to be shared, and is very often the spark for the creation of new knowledge and new approaches to problems," said Pettersson. "The ability to see the thinking processes that contributed to research is a valuable asset, and one that distinguishes the CME approach from that of competing institutions."

Results

With Novell Teaming + Conferencing powering its innovative Virtual Learning Space, the CME is producing graduates who are superbly equipped to tackle the challenges of working in large global enterprises. By facilitating self-study and asynchronous collaboration, the Novell solution is helping CME students to develop their own economic models to fit real-world business scenarios.

"Novell Teaming + Conferencing provides a stable yet flexible framework in which our students can map out their own approaches to learning and build their own dynamic models." said Pettersson. "Using the e-learning environment is in itself part of the learning process. For us, e-learning was never about cutting costs, but rather about raising the quality of learning and the level of interaction between students and coaches."

Novell Teaming + Conferencing gives CME coaches a clear view of student performance, enabling them to stretch the best students and give additional support to those who are adapting less well to the challenges of virtual learning.

"The e-learning environment is demanding for students and coaches alike, but it is also highly rewarding," said Pettersson. "Our graduates are used to taking the lead and thinking for themselves, which are precisely the qualities our industry partners are looking for."

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