The Handbook for Economics Lecturers

2.6 Using Virtual Learning Environments

The use of a Virtual Learning Environment can be an effective support of case teaching.

  • Distribution of material. A dedicated website allows you to post relevant cases for class discussion as soon as they become available.
  • Links. Links to the websites of business newspapers and magazines allow students to explore news by themselves. You can stimulate such an exploration by asking students to report any new article that they might think related to some of the issues discussed in class.
  • Virtual seminars. Students can be given articles to analyse by themselves and they can post their investigation for you to check and mark. In this way the rigid lecture–seminar structure is removed and students can engage with the lecturer in a more flexible way that suits their personal commitments. Similarly, you are free to organise the interaction with students when it is more convenient for you.
  • Bulletin board. The communication facilities in a Virtual Learning Environment allow a greater interaction among students and facilitate the ‘virtual’ discussion of cases. You can stimulate the discussion by posting a case and by making some comments on the strategy or policy described in the case. You can then ask the students to discuss the case and your comments. You should follow the development of the discussion and whenever interesting issues are raised you can intervene to steer the discussion towards the analysis of relevant aspects. When you think that the discussion has exhausted the investigation of all possible leads, you should intervene by providing a short structured summary and a closure of the discussion.