A Narrative Approach for Teaching Computer Skills and Decision-Making Practices
Victor Berardi Kent State University at Stark
Gregory Edgar Blundell Kent State University at Stark
Donald Thacker Kent State University at Stark
Abstract It is important for students to not only know about what they are learning and why, but also to appreciate the processes, techniques, and approaches being undertaken to achieve this. When a student makes the connection between what is currently being learned and how it applies to their own experiences, “ah-ha” moments can occur. This presentation discusses how a narrative approach is used to teach application software and decision-making skills in an operations management course. Insights and lessons on spreadsheet design considerations, advanced solution techniques, and decision-making practice are integrated into solving problems, via narratives, which are related application and technical dialogs/stories to help students appreciate the problem settings, the solution nuances, and the problem-based learning approach itself. A conceptual narrative is used to position operations management concerns and situations as pertinent to the organization and to students personally, while a technical narrative is interleaved with the conceptual narrative to emphasize the tools, techniques, and/or the mathematical logic being implemented. Sometimes, pertinent conceptual and technical issues are initiated via mini lectures, while at other times, via a questioning dialog or even through encouraging a trial-and-error approach. In each case, though, model-building and solution techniques are introduced in phases to reveal conceptual and technical insights and concerns as the problem(s) are solved. A twenty-question survey is used to identify student perceptions of the impact of the course design on their confidence and evolving capabilities, as needed for solving problems in their future careers.
Recommended Citation: Berardi, V., Blundell, G. E., Thacker, D., (2017). A Narrative Approach for Teaching Computer Skills and Decision-Making Practices
. Proceedings of the EDSIG Conference, (2017) n.4462, Austin, Texas