In early May, the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies hosted a seminar focused on innovations in teaching. Carlson School faculty members John Kammeyer-Mueller, Colleen Manchester, Min Li, and Andy Van de Ven presented their unique ideas for educating students in the MA-HRIR program.

For example, the participating faculty observed that when students take individual classes, they often don’t see the crossover of core concepts across the program. In response to the challenge, Professors Kammeyer-Mueller and Manchester overlapped their separate classes (HRIR 6111: Using Data and Metrics in HR and HRIR 6301: Staffing, Training and Development) earlier this year and plan to do so again in the future. Their goals are to establish the same language across the two courses, and solidify students’ confidence of their “core” knowledge. For these two courses, there will be integrated assignments and groups.

Professor Van de Ven described the “flipping the classroom” method, in which students watch videos of lectures prior to class, leaving more class time for questions, discussions, and interactive work. This hands-on method of learning allows MA-HRIR students to take initiative as they would in the professional world.

“Flipping the course changes the classroom agenda from teacher-dominated learning to student-led questions and presentations. It provides students opportunities to learn when they want: reviewing lectures and readings before class as well as after class,” says Van de Ven.

Instructor Li introduced a simple exercise that imparted a lesson about negotiation and value, and how to approach it in real-life situations. Seminar participants were given a small bag that contained a small item, like a tennis ball, nail polish, or hot sauce, and the group was asked to rate their happiness. Then Li suggested that everyone who was not satisfied should trade. After roughly ten minutes of bartering, everyone returned with an object they were exponentially more satisfied with.

This activity showed the act of trading increased the participants' overall hapiness. Most importantly, students arrived at the conclusions themselves.