HBS Faces Constraints, Successes in New Undergraduate Course Offerings

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“I don’t think that I would get as much out of the class if it wasn’t case-study method style,” he said. “If the class just had a midterm, final, or a paper, it would be easier to brush it off to the side and to not immerse yourself in it.”

Despite the popularity of the new case-based courses, several resource constraints could potentially limit the rate at which new courses using the case method could be added.

Michael P. Burke, Registrar of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, wrote in an email that a lack of suitable classrooms for case-method classes could limit the number of College courses taught in this style. At the Business School, courses are generally held in large forum-style classrooms suited to accommodate approximately 90 students.

Ager added that the College may need to allocate curricula and faculty-training resources in order to sustain growth in course offerings.

“If this were to grow, we would need to train more people in being able to teach using this particular approach,” he said. “For this to really expand and grow, people would have to become interested in this approach to teaching…. There would need to be curricular resources there, as well.”

Nevertheless, Ager said, the expansion of the case method to undergraduate courses falls in line with the continued experimentation with the case method, especially in light of the Business School’s plan to expand its virtual education platform with the launch of HBX.

“Introduction to Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” for example, requires students to engage with interactive videos after reading each case study, Marino said.

“It’s almost as if you’re learning the material before you come to class,” he said. “The class is just to shore up the finer details of what you may not have understood online.”

—Staff writer Alexander H. Patel can be reached at Follow him on twitter @alexhpatel.