APPLICATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD

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1 APPLICATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD 1. SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE COURSE: The bachelor-level course "International Human Resource Management (IHRM) and Organizational Behavior I" is taught in English, and addresses exchange students as well as WU students with diverse study backgrounds. It covers topics in IHRM, including cross-cultural management and HRM topics relevant for managers in multinational organisations who establish HR policies in light of firm strategy and cross-cultural differences, and who manage international staff. Specific topics are training and development, compensation, performance management, HR planning and staffing. The course consists of a maximum of 30 students. Due to high demand on the course, three or four courses are offered each semester, taught by different lecturers. Beside the co-ordinated parts of the course, each lecturer has freedom in designing the course. This semester I put special emphasis on developing a feedback culture in the classroom, because I view it as a relevant form of learning as well as of co-operation in international teams. In the latter part of the application I go into detail on how I developed the feedback culture in the class. 2. GENERAL DESCRIPTION & EXPLANATION OF THE OVERALL CONCEPT OF THE COURSE: Didactic objectives & intended results: The objective of the course contentwise is that students learn about the basic approaches & areas of IHRM. As for the learning process in the course my objective is to encourage students to go beyond the factual knowledge of IHRM and to: o o o reflect on their own experiences applying the theories, so that in the end they learn to co-operate as well as work closely in an international environment. Developing a feedback culture in the class I see as a method for achieving these objectives. Selection & structure of didactic contents: The course is taught in four times 3-hour interactive lectures (where students learn about 2 relevant areas of IHRM), plus a whole day so-called mini conference (see Innovative Lehre 2013 for its detailed description). A written exam and a short self-reflection essay are also compulsory elements of the course. At this semester I divided the whole day mini-conference into two parts: in the morning the students presented & discussed their group assignments (this is the same in every parallel IHRM-course), whereas in the afternoon I conducted a 360-degree feedback with each of the student-teams live. This 360-degree feedback live had a relevant role in the development of the feedback culture. Didactic approaches & methods: Giving feedback could be approached from past-orientation (judging past performance) and from future-orientation (assessing current stage of development for discussing development needs to meet the needs of a desirable endgoal). I follow the latter one in teaching. For me feedback is a relevant way of learning, where students get support to achieve a goal that is relevant for them. This future -orientation to feedback has influenced my course design considerably (which I will highlight in describing the method).

2 Instruments for quality assurance & continuous development: I use several instruments for assuring the quality of my teaching: Feedback from the students: o Every semester I conduct the WU-evaluation questionnaire regardless if it is prescribed by the WU centrally or it is not. o I read the self-reflection assignments of the students (which they write about their development in the course) with an eye on which learning material the students understood and which did not. o After each important theory I explicitly ask the students for questions and for their concerns to check if they have understood the content. This method also encourages them to give feedback openly and to learn to co-operate. I use peer-check (from my colleagues): each semester we have a semester opening, -midterm & -closing discussion with my colleagues on the course, where we share our experiences and give feedbacks on our methods. 3. STUDENTS DEVELOPMENT OF GENERAL KEY SKILLS: Students in this course learn to develop, to give detailed, constructive feedback and to ask for feedback in an international environment. 4. CREATING A CULTURE OF FEEDBACK: 4.1 How a feedback culture supports achieving the course objectives Developing a feedback culture at the class was an instrument for me for achieving the objectives of the course. My reasoning was the following behind it: when the students develop they feedbacks at the same time they also learn to apply theories on their own or on their peers cases and to reflect on them, when the students give feedback they learn to formulate their opinion in a constructive way and in the end they learn to co-operate in an international environment, when the students ask for feedback, they learn to feel safe in an intimate atmosphere, and to work closely in international teams. Learning to apply theories Feedback culture Learning to co-operate in an international team Learning to feel safe in an international atmosphere and to ask for feedback 4.2 Necessary requirements of a feedback culture In order to develop a feedback culture I needed to make sure about its necessary requirements, namely: openness to each other s feedback,

3 safety for developing, giving and asking for feedback. I ensured these requirements in the following way: I motivated the students to be open to each other s opinion and feedback by a small task at the end of each class: I asked the students to nominate each other for getting bonus points by writing the name of the student to piece of paper from whom he/she has learnt the most at the given class. The 5 students who has got the most nominations, got a bonus point, which was taken into into account in their performance at the course. By this task the students were encouraged to listen to each other throughout the class and to be open to each other s point of view. I developed safety at the feedback by two methods: 1. I set the ground rules of giving feedback by setting the criteria for assessing each other s work. I explained them how they can recognise if a criterion was met (see figure in Appendix1). We discussed these criteria at the class, and students were encouraged to ask questions about them. It was important for me that the students understand these criteria and that we make an agreement about them. These criteria have been applied throughout the course and through the 360 degree feedback consistently. Reflecting now on this method I can see that devoting that much attention for understanding the criteria gave safety for the students and guaranteed the fairness of the assessment. 2. I taught the students to be safe with being different and with having an opinion that might be different from everybody else in the classroom. I achieved this objective by a reflection exercise at the class. First, I asked the students to reflect on the following questions (see below) and to write down their answers to a sheet of paper: What is good performance for you at work? How does an ideal employee behave at work? What is good performance for you IN CASE OF YOUR GROUP-ASSIGNMENT? How has your phantasy of good performance influenced your work in the groupassignment? Then, I asked them to sit down with their group-assignment members and discuss their responses to these questions. Finally, we discussed their reflections and their learning in the whole class together. My intention with this exercise was to make them aware (and proud of) about their individual differences, about their implicit expectations to each other that influence their assessments and to discuss their individual approaches openly. 4.3 Feedback culture in action (360-degree feedback live) By a 360-degree feedback one not only gets feedback from one source (usually from the manager in organizations) but get a whole perspective on his/her performance from multiple perspectives, from multiple feedback loops. Such diverse feedback supports deeper learning and more ways for improvement. 1 1 It is important to mention that in order to facilitate giving feedback and learning, and also to put more emphasis on the content of the feedback I did not connect the points they got for their group assignment with the feedbacks. The points they allocated to each other were more viewed as a starting point for discussion and learning.

4 In this course the students have got feedback on their group assignments from (see its figure in Appendix2): another group (peer feedback) the lecturer the group itself (self-assessment) the individual group-members The steps of conducting the 360-degree feedback live were the following: 1. The groups have submitted their assignments via 2. I read and evaluated the group assignments based on the criteria I described above (feedback from the lecturer). 3. The next day I forwarded each group assignment to another group and asked the groups to assess the assignment based on the criteria I described above, and to send me the points they gave to it before the mini conference (peer written feedback). The groups were also asked to develop 2 questions that made them curious about the topic of the assignment, which they would be interested in to discuss at the mini conference. By explicitly using the word curious in this task, I intended to encourage the students to develop their feedback constructively, by acknowledging each other s performance. These questions were discussed after the group s presentation at the mini conference (peer oral feedback). 4. Once the mini conference has finished, at the second part of the day, I asked the students to assess their group assignment individually using the criteria we agreed on (individual groupmember assessment), and then to sit down together with their group and to also agree on the points they would give to their assignments on group level as well (self-assessment). 5. When the groups have finished discussing their points, the class continued at two sites parallel with each other. In the main classroom the students had a world café about the future of international human resource management, whereas I sat down with each of the groups to discuss their assignment from 360-degree perspective in a project room. To make the 360-degree happen I asked the help of a student tutor, who facilitated the world café, while I was with the students at the project room. At the discussions with the groups I made sure that the room has a friendly setting (like that we are sitting in a circle), so that the students feel themselves safe, and view the feedback as a dialogue about their development options. First we put together the points from the various perspectives: the students told their individual- and group-level points on their assignments, whereas I shared with them the peer-assessment and the points they have got from me as well. Seeing the points together I encouraged a dialogue with the groups about the reasons behind the points (behind the higher as well as the lower points). This way we could have an open and safe discussion about their performance regarding the content of their assignments as well regarding how they worked together as an international team. During these discussions the groups have enclosed such secrets about their group work as how they used the culture diversity of their group, what the difficulties they had in writing the assignment coming from their cultural diversity or how they allocated the tasks among each other, and what parts they enjoyed the most, etc.

5 At the second part of the 360-degree feedback we discussed their assignment and writing an assignment more intensively. I asked the groups on what topics they would like to get feedback on. The reason behind this question was to give the students specific feedback on an area where they would like to develop themselves (future orientation to feedback) or where they have doubts and concerns and also to teach them asking for feedback, and to not only wait for getting feedback but for taking an active role in their development. Hearing these topics, I shared my opinion with the groups in a way, that I told them what I found particularly good about their performance regarding the concerning topic, and what they could improve next time or what I recommend to pay special consideration for. At this point we discussed such topics like consistent citations, writing an assignment from the Readers perspective, how they can formulate their opinion in an academic paper, etc. Finally I asked the groups, if there is any question or area where I could support them in their learning, or if there is something else they would like to share. I spent approximately 20 minutes with each of the group with the oral feedback, which seemed to be enough for discussing the questions that were relevant for the students learning. 5. REFLECTIONS & COURSE EVALUATION RESULTS ON THE 360-DEGREE FEEDBACK-METHOD: Hearing the students oral feedback about the course and reading the course evaluations and the self-reflection assignments I reflected on the question: to what extent the 360-degree feedback-tool has supported me in achieving the objectives of the course, which I elaborate in the following paragraphs: Learning to apply theories: I have noticed that at the mini conference students have found connections between their and the other groups work, and were referring back to each other s presentation when they presented their findings, which has convinced me that they not only became an expert of their own area but have managed to see their topics in a context, in light of other topics. Learning to co-operate in an international team: once the 360-degree feedback was over the students went out for a drink to celebrate their group, they have exchanged s to keep in touch with each other and hugged each other at the end of the course, which showed me that they have become very close to each other, and learnt to work in harmoniously despite the fact that they were coming from such diverse and sometimes politically opposing countries, like Russia, Romania, the US or China. Learning to feel safe in an international atmosphere and to ask for feedback: at the 360-degree feedback sessions the students have managed to point out the areas where they would like to get feedback from me, and as we deepened ourselves in the conversations they have posed more and more detailed questions about writing an assignment, which have convinced me that through this tool they have also learnt to take active role in their learning. Overall, running the 360-degree feedback has required special organization and time from my side but seeing how grateful the students were for getting detailed feedback and for knowing what they could improve in their skills (see their comments in Appendix3), I think it is worth of the effort. What I would do differently next time is to ask the groups in the peer-feedback to not only write send me the points about their assessment but one sentence about their overall opinion as well.

6 APPENDIX Appendix1: Criteria for giving feedback

7 Appendix2: Figure of 360-degree feedback at the course Peer feedback Selfassessment Group assignment Individual groupmember feedback Lecturer s feedback

8 Appendix3: The students comments on the 360-degree feedback method from the course evaluations and from the self-reflection assignments Thank you very much, I have never ever got a feedback on my assignments. I liked the interactivity of the course.- A response to the question what did you like the most in the course? Thank you very much. I will also change this in my bachelor thesis. I enjoyed working in an international team very much. Working in teams can prove difficult because of the differences in personality of team members, our group managed to overcome these complications and to work quickly and efficiently on the task. In addition to the knowledge I gained in the assignment, I also developed a greater understanding of the theory as well as the management of teams that I will be able to use in future occasions. And the most important is that I acquired not only the knowledge, but also the skills that make my personality more opened to others and communication becomes much easier. I can unhesitatingly say that this was by far my best teamwork experience. Through this group experience I gained new friends who ll I remain in contact even after the course ending.

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