A Challenge for My Students


A Challenge for My Students (and other faculty should they so desire!)

img15_thMy students are well aware by this time that I am a mystery buff. I love solving television mysteries and real life ones as well. The video below is from You Tube and it features a Miss Marple mystery. These are my favorite mysteries because you have all the clues you need to solve it by the time she arrives at the explanation. I haven’t solved all of the Miss Marple stories but certainly more than 2/3rds. This one beat me.

So, my challenge is, “Can you solve the mystery before our heroine explains the outcome?” You are, of course, on your honor not to cheat. So, don’t be going to one of those spoiler web sites or reading the novel before watching the program. You can do what I like to do in these cases which is to pause the film and think about the evidence at hand. Television watching appeals to the unconscious more than the conscious and if you just let it flow, the “little grey cells” (another Agatha Christie character) never get to operate at full power.

This exercise builds your power of reasoning and deduction known by the classic word, ratiocination.

If you solve it,  make a comment and I will post the winners later.

James Pilant

P.S. I am going to give you a clue that I did not have. I did not figure out the murder because I could not conceive that the murderer(s) could be so evil. And I was revolted when I found out what had been done. jp

Agatha Christie’s Marple: S1E1 – The Body In The Library – YouTube

 

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A Business Etiquette Video for My Students


A Business Etiquette Video for My Students

Business Etiquette – SCPD CBA CSULB – YouTube

One day, I discussed with the class my idea for teaching upper class communication skills to the business students. They asked me to go further with it, so here is the first video in what will be a series discussing the social class skills necessary for business success.

James Pilant

Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper – Upper class mannerisms.

From around the web –

From the web site, IndiTech’s Blog:

Realize that online networking is similar to real life networking. In real life networking, you make connections one person at a time. The same is true for online networking. Don’t be seduced into thinking that you can create meaningful relationships with a lot of people at once, simply by posting updates about what you do.

A better approach would be to consider the online social networks as tools to provide you more access to more people, from the comfort of your home or office, while realizing that the basic relational skills when making a connection remains comparable to both online and offline. In other words, meet a lot of people, but meet them one by one.

From the web site, Quite Continental:

I think the best way to start a business is to look at what you love and think about how you can formulate that into a plan. It’s important to ask questions, always take calculated risks, and develop the ability to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself.There are no failures if you learn from the mistakes you made along the way. I think a bit of self-reflection always helps to build the foundation of a company and let it take shape. Passion, Hard Work, Kindness, Generosity and patience are definitely some of the key factors in making something successful.

It is always important to remember that a business is built in a series of blocks or stages. Slowly but surely it all comes together over time.

 

 

 

 

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Literature and Business Education


Literature and Business Education

The Importance of Literature in Professional Life.wmv – YouTube

Adam Crowley in a wonderful presentation talks about the importance of understanding literature for the professions. In my introductory lectures to my business law classes, I often refer to the importance of other courses like science, math, English and literature. Business teaching can only go so far in educating a human being, we need more intellectual nourishment to be whole.

Adam Crowley
Adam Crowley
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Robert Dolan and Business Ethics


Robert Dolan and Business Ethics

Robert Dolan Teaches Business Ethics – YouTube

This is a brief video in which Robert Dolan, at that time, Dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, held forth on a number of issues particularly business ethics. He begins the discussion by talking about the slow down in hiring in the financial sector and the effect on the students, moves into a discussion of how business ethics should be ingrained into the courses rather than a set of separate courses, and he ends with a good discussion of executive compensation.
His idea of action-based learning is used at the Ross School of Business and explained in some detail on their web site. I recommend you watch the video and, if an educator, read the web site explanation.
James Pilant
Wall_Street_SignFrom around the web –
From the web site, Stacy Blackman Consulting:
The most commonly asked question–How is Ross going to maintain its competitive advantage with its action-based learning and what is the school’s high-level strategy going forward?–elicited this response:

“While there was some recent debate surrounding whether or not we should abandon our action-based learning as the cornerstone of our brand and pick a ‘new horse,’ the faculty has chosen to ‘feed and care for the horse we’ve got.’ In other words, the school recognizes that we do action-based learning better than any of our competitors and it should prevail as our primary differentiating factor. Moving forward, Ross looks to grow this strategy by taking it abroad.”

Dean Dolan is also committed to boosting Ross’s global footprint via the strategic placement of international offices, starting in India and then China, the MSJ reports. Having offices in Hyderabad, Mumbai or Bangalore will help Ross better source field-based Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP), and offices with local roots will facilitate placement of Ross students in India better than efforts based in the U.S.

From the web site, Big Think:

Question: How does the Ross School integrate real world business problems in the classroom?

Robert Dolan: Well, there’s a number of ways. I guess I’ll start out by talking about the way that we do it is maybe as a little bit distinctive among business schools. I think the signature element of our school, our MBA program in particular, compared to others, is what we call action based learning. 

So right now, for example, all of our 425 first year MBA students would not be found in Ann Arbor.  They would be scattered around the globe in about 90 teams, working on real world problems. So what we’ve done to try to differentiate our students and really provide value added was probably about 10 years ago, slightly before I got to the school, we instituted what we called, this map project, which we call multidisciplinary action projects. So we, since, built that up and really invested in it as our point of differentiation.

And finally from the web site, See Sunshine:
For the second time in three years, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business has been named the No. 1 business school in North America by the Wall Street Journal.The Ross School is one of only two business schools to be ranked in the top four every year since the Wall Street Journal began its rankings in 2001.

“We’re happy the Wall Street Journal has again ranked us as the best MBA program in the country,” said Ross School Dean Robert J. Dolan. “The Journal’s ranking is particularly gratifying as it reflects the sentiment of hiring companies that see our graduates at work every day.”

 

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Teaching with Purpose


Francis Bacon - Teaching with Purpose
Francis Bacon – Teaching with Purpose
Teaching with purpose

I’m one of the NRA’s “bad guys” – Salon.com

Why do I do this? I teach creative nonfiction. More importantly, I teach critical thinking skills, which, if Wayne LaPierre is any example, are in short supply in this country. I insist that students read books about difficult topics precisely because I want students to understand how to pick apart a difficult argument and how to see through the eyes of someone else, or because I simply want to see if my students’ vision of life squares up with those that they read. Sometimes, they are able to see themselves depicted in those pages, and sometimes they are able to examine their own prejudices (be they class, gender, race or education level) by being forced to look at the world through the eyes of the other.

I’m one of the NRA’s “bad guys” – Salon.com

I, too, teach critical thinking skills. It’s an uphill battle. My students having endured years of NCLB testing are superb factual test takers but have little experience with expressing an informed opinion. Quite often, a request for an opinion results not in an informed opinion based on any kind of fact or thinking but a reiteration of the worst elements of talk radio and 24 hours “news.” Simple tests where opinions and facts are listed and the student asked to identify which is which are routinely failed even by good students.

Business ethics and business law both demand higher level thinking skills. Deciding what should be done when there are ethical questions can well depend on religious beliefs, philosophical perceptions, life experience and practical considerations all at once. Critical thinking is key to making intelligent business decisions both routine and ethical.

James Pilant

From across the web –

From, http://izygekev.wordpress.com/

Critical thinking refers to a process of judgment taken after an analytical evaluation of a problem. It can be developed through the practice of intentional analyzing of every situation in life. Critical thinking skills can be developed by inculcating a habit of analytical and strategic thinking. If you can get yourself into the habit of analyzing every situation critically, you will gradually acquire critical thinking skills.

Your educational background plays a major role in the development of your thinking skills. Education that requires you to think analytically, the education that instills in you the principles of analytical thinking and reasoning leads you to become a critical thinker. The development of problem solving and reasoning skills since an early age is an excellent way of developing critical thinking skills. Fields that require you to acquire and evaluate information before reaching a conclusion indeed help in the development of critical thinking skills. Exposing yourself to questions that stimulate thinking can develop critical thinking skills.

From the web site, vive la internet

No one always acts purely objectively and rationally. We connive for selfish interests. We gossip, boast, exaggerate, and equivocate. It is “only human” to wish to validate our prior knowledge, to vindicate our prior decisions, or to sustain our earlier beliefs. In the process of satisfying our ego, however, we can often deny ourselves intellectual growth and opportunity. We may not always want to apply critical thinking skills, but we should have those skills available to be employed when needed.
Critical thinking includes a complex combination of skills. Among the main characteristics are the following:

Rationality
We are thinking critically when we
• rely on reason rather than emotion,
• require evidence, ignore no known evidence, and follow evidence where it leads, and
• are concerned more with finding the best explanation than being right analyzing apparent confusion and asking questions.

From the web site, Rliberni’s Blog, Radical Language

How do we focus on the teaching of Critical Thinking skills in a standardized test focused curriculum?
What a fun topic for me this week (per usual for edchat).  I actually almost missed it as I was running late from a meeting.  Don’t tell my superintendent, but I may have pushed the speed limit a bit in a school vehicle to get to my computer.  
As an administrator for the past 9 years, I have wrestled with this question often.  I feel horrible about focusing so much on the test when I know that focusing on the test probably isn’t what is what our kids need for being better thinkers.   

Many strong opinions were shared during this amazing fast paced hour of learning.  It is hard to argue that critical thinking skills are vital to be taught and what we SHOULD be teaching.  However, it is scary for teachers and administrators to deviate from not teaching to the tests when the system is currently set up with sanctions and penalties for those schools that do not do well on the tests.  It was agreed by many, including me, that great teaching that includes teaching students how to think, rather than what to think, while ultimately produce strong results. 

 

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Teaching With Film – Business Ethics – Professional Ethics- People Will Talk with Cary Grant


People Will Talk  – YouTube This is a brief excerpt.

See if you can find all the ethical questions in the film!

People Will Talk = Click this link and you can buy it at Amazon.com for (currently) $11.97 new or $4.95 used.

 

Cary Grant and Business Ethics

People Will Talk is a great film for teaching. The story of an eccentric doctor played by Cary Grant who has an even more eccentric friend offers many ethical conundrums. Jeanne Crain is the love interest in the film. During the first half, she is troubled and a largely passive character. I was waiting for my intrepid students to call me out on this, since I am a vigorous supporter of powerful women characters but somehow they missed this. When she became a more vibrant and powerful character in the second half, I would’ve been justified but my prepared defense was unnecessary.

Should a doctor disclose all pertinent facts to a patient? Professional Ethics

Is concealing your qualifications immoral?Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is using any means including those outside the current science to heal moral or immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is the comfort of patients more important than the calls of procedure and timeliness on the part of the nursing staff?

What attitude should be taken toward unmarried mothers? Ethics

Is attempting to dig up the dirt on a colleague immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is living off of your relatives wrong all the time? or is it wrong depending on the circumstances?Ethics

At what point is a crime “paid for?” Ethics

MY PARTICULAR Points –

Can a kiss equal a marriage proposal? (A good proportion of my class says no. I differ.) A matter of curiosity

Is a story more effective as persuasion or a presentation of facts? (Bet you have that one figured out.) A matter of what I believe – the class tends to go along with me.

Does a movie (especially a good one) explain a moral problem more clearly than a lecture (although they get a brief one anyway!)?

I observe my classes carefully and I use some of the same films each year. But I experiment with new ones each year as well. This was a new one. It was a great success. The class was delighted with it and paid careful attention. Their assignment was to write down all the moral conundrums they observed. We are going to discuss them tomorrow.

James Alan Pilant

Cover of "People Will Talk"
People Will Talk- Business Ethics
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Online Education Maxed?


Have we maxed out on online education? « Kay Steiger

A new survey from Eduventures (the terrible punny name is not my fault) comes via Inside Higher Ed and finds that though the number of adults entering into higher education as non-traditional students continues to increase, the percentage interested in taking all or most classes online has roughly stayed stagnent. The survey found 38 percent were interested in taking all or most of their classes online compared with 37 percent in 2006.

“We feel this is the watershed moment,” said Richard Garrett, vice president and principal analyst for Eduventures and the report’s author told IHE. “After years of endless growth, we’re definitely coming to more of a plateau situation.”

Have we maxed out on online education? « Kay Steiger

This is from Kay Steiger, who has a web site that deals in a thoroughly intelligent manner with education and other issues. She’s clever and often eloquent. I recommend you visit the site.

I find the findings quite interesting. You would think from reading the web and the news that online education is spreading across the nation like some Medieval plague. If the phenomenon has maxed out; if online education maxed, then we have arrived at a balance between online and in-class teaching. This is important to me, for one thing, because I teach both traditional  classes and online. But I have another issue, I love the whole idea of self improvement and higher education. I am delighted by spacious campuses, earnest undergraduates talking about major issues, people trying to think, and, above all, teaching. I like the environment and I believe for many people, it is their opportunity to think new thoughts and become different people, different than the expectation imposed on them by family and high school. Online education has many advantages but it cannot create an environment of hundreds, often thousands of fellow learners trying to understand what is important.

So it would appear from the study that physical campuses still make sense and have a future.

I am very pleased.

James Pilant

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A You Tube Video on the Columbine Shooting


Columbine Shooting: The Final Report [Complete] – YouTube

I don’t own or claim to own this. I am using it for teaching.

Few shooting have gained such notoriety as the Columbine Shooting. The two killers were determined to set off pipe bombs and fire bombs to kill dozens, burn down the school and provoke a shoot out with police. That they failed in these larger plans is a fascinating story. I would like my students to pay attention to the way the documentary breaks their analysis down into a series of questions. Particularly pat attention to police tactics and be prepared to identify shortcomings in their reaction to the crime.

James Pilant

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Is Teaching Business Ethics a Waste of Time?


English: , Prussian philosopher. Português: , ...

English: , Prussian philosopher. Português: , filósofo alemão. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Business school and ethics: Can we train MBAs to do the right thing? – Slate Magazine

The only way we’ll get our students to integrate their moral compasses with the practical tools of business we teach them is to incorporate the topic of ethics throughout the curriculum. This will require the accounting and finance and marketing professors to grasp the ethical blind spots inherent in their respective areas, and to appreciate and recognize approaches to lessening them. Professors, in other words, need to be moral architects themselves.

When you stop and ask students whether they’d like their dying words to be “I maximized profits,” a wave of laughter ripples through the class, as all but the most callous have higher aspirations for themselves. When we ask MBA students why they might want to be a CEO, the first two responses are “I want to make a difference” and “I enjoy a challenge”; “Making gobs of money” always comes in third. We need to work harder to equip students to live up to those aspirations. And if we’re not going to make a better-faith effort in this endeavor, perhaps we should remove discussion of ethics from business schools altogether. Otherwise, it serves merely as empty PR for MBA programs and to appease the consciences of those who teach in them.

Business school and ethics: Can we train MBAs to do the right thing? – Slate Magazine

Maybe, but I don’t think so. I do think the way like the article says that the way business ethics is taught now is a failure and a disaster. The article recommends embedding ethics in every part of the business curriculum. That would be nice, but it is neither necessary or likely that will happen.

I recommend that business ethics be taught the way I do it. (I know, everybody does – however, hear me out.) I believe in giving business students the opportunity to develop their own moral landscape. I use moral problems, big ones, airline crashes, economic disasters, fires, murders, etc., as examples. Then I ask students the big questions: Who’s responsible and what should be done? They decide within a set of guidelines. I tell them that for every big open ended question, that there are usually around five or so really good answers, eleven to fifteen mediocre answers and an infinity of bad inadequate poorly thought out answers. I tell them to look for the five.

By providing the students with broad guidelines and by refusing to tell them the “right” answers, I engage their judgment. They write brief essays justifying their choices, and then we do it again and again. By the end of the semester, they have created a moral framework, that I hope lasts for their lifetimes certainly for many years. My perception is that self education, self creations in a real sense is the most effective means of education.

James Pilant

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My Welcome to My New Students in Criminal Justice!


Welcome!

I want to welcome you to this class. I always consider these joint endeavors in which both you and I trying to learn something in a complicated and exciting field.

 

Studying criminal justice is illuminating. It is a difficult field for many reasons. It deals with subjects that may have personally affected us. It deals with injury and death, often with the most unseemly of human actions. It also deals with psychological problems of the most serious and disturbing kind.

 

Please be aware that much of what you have seen on television is rank nonsense to those educated in the field. On television and often in movies, the law is often interpreted incorrectly, serial killers are portrayed as geniuses moving effortless through the population killing at will, and forensic crime solving is portrayed as well funded and almost always successful in finding the perpetrator. We will learn better.

 

Criminal justice in America is executed through thousands of law enforcement agencies in a bewildering set of jurisdictions often governed by contradictory and controversial laws. That it works at all is surprising and that is that it has serious problems a given.

 

You are going to be the future of criminal justice. As professionals, you will advance to become decision and policy makers. The understanding you acquire now may very well change the lives of thousands in the course of your life time.

 

I salute your willingness to engage in this difficult area of study and a lifetime of service to society at large.

 

James Pilant

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