SMG Tech Classroom Featured in Financial Times

in News, School
February 13th, 2012

A new digital reality enters the MBA classroom

A team of students at work in the studio

A team of students at work in the studio

The February 13th edition of Financial Times featured a profile of the School of Management’s new technology-enabled classroom. The classroom is configured with team tables (each with their own LCD screen with built-in video capabilities), a professor’s web-ready interactive digital whiteboard, and the capability to throw problem sets and presentations from the professor to the student teams and vice versa.

The Financial Times writes:

On a chilly, sun-splotched Monday morning earlier this month, 16 MBA students at Boston University School of Management ambled into Room 326, known internally as “the studio”, to discuss the topic of the day: cars and cloud computing.

As the class began, the students, already divided into two teams – one portraying Google, the other Microsoft – bent over laptops and iPads to prepare their PowerPoint slides. Then two executives, one an expert in cloud computing located in a suburb of Boston, the other a former head of digital innovation at Volkswagen based in Detroit, were beamed in via TelePresence to the giant LCD screen at the head of the room.

As the students’ slides appeared on the six smaller LCD screens around the room, the teams took turns to present their ideas. Their professors, Venkat Venkatraman and Richard Swanborg, hardly spoke at all. Periodically, they would solicit a reaction from the experts or write a key phrase from the class discussion on the interactive Mondopad, an oversize tablet with a digital whiteboard.

Welcome to the future of management education. As business schools try to infuse more reality into their classrooms, the old “sage on the stage” model, where a professor lectures a class and interaction is limited to case debate, is going the way of text books.

Many faculty members are embracing digital technologies that enable them to include industry professionals as guest lecturers in the classroom, real-time case study discussions, as clients in immersive consulting projects, or as virtual tour-guides at labs and factories. Rather than lecture, professors guide students and guest speakers through a debate. “Every class discussion is much richer and more engaging,” says Prof Venkatraman, who specialises in information systems. “The payback is deeper learning.”

Read the complete article here.

Room 326 photo 3 by Dan Watkins Room 326 photo 2 by Dan Watkins