Professor Lets Students Hear from Real World Professionals without the Logistical Challenges of Guest Speakers

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We recently spoke with Professor Eva Smith from Western Carolina University about her first experience using Real Time Cases in her teaching. In this article, Professor Smith shares helpful insight regarding the challenge that led her to adopt Real Time Cases, advice for new or interested users, and what her students had to say about the experience. This is Eva’s story:

I have been teaching for over twenty years. From the first class I taught, case studies have been an important teaching tool. Textbooks have helped in creating cases that are relevant to the learning outcomes for each chapter. Sometimes these cases are created by the author of the text and sometimes the cases are vignettes about a trendy company and the professor is left to create interesting talking points, if they decide to use the case at all. When I learned about this cool company called Real Time Cases, my first impression was tepid. After using the cases in a real classroom with real students, real learning outcomes and real feedback, I have become a real fan!

What challenge were you trying to address by adopting Real Time Cases?

Have you ever wanted to utilize class time with a guest speaker and yet scheduling, timing, and logistics just do not want to work with you? Real Time Cases solved that challenge for me. I want my students to have the opportunity to hear from professionals working in the real world and to hear those individuals address specific problems or the industry concerns we talk about in class. With the help of Real Time Cases, I can get cases for my classes that address my specific needs. For example, a Restaurant Management course was focused on everyday issues in the front of the house and Anthony’s Coal Fired Grill was the perfect casepack for this course. I had time to plan for the experience and I knew what the speaker was going to say before the students got there.

What advice would you share with a fellow educator on when to implement Real Time Cases?

Speaking from experience, I don’t believe that the end of the term is the best time to introduce Real Time Cases. I tried using the cases at the end of the semester as a “treat” of sorts. I sold the cases as a break from my voice and as a break from the humdrum cycle of lecture, notes, and tests. In the end-of-term survey, a number of students felt cheated. They wanted more time to spend on these cases and to watch the videos in class with more focused discussion. I will work them into the beginning to the middle of the semester for Spring 2018.

What did your students seem to value most about Real Time Cases?

Real Time Cases gave them a reason to want to come to class. Students overwhelmingly saw these cases as a treat in the classroom. They enjoyed a speaker other than me and they enjoyed the subjectivity of the debate around the issues. The beauty of these cases is there are no right or wrong answers, only discussion and the opportunity to see students thinking critically about topics addressed in the course.

What additional advice would you share with instructors who are considering adopting Real Time Cases, or new to using them?

If you have questions about the Real Time Cases platform, ask. I have been impressed with the level of customer service provided by Real Time Cases. When looking for the right cases to use, the professionals at Real Time Cases were terrific in talking to me about what I wanted the students to get out of the cases and what I wanted them to learn. The cases were carefully selected and my casepacks were created and the students and I both had superior service.