When final presentations were given in Missouri S&T’s Strategic Enterprise Management Systems course last semester, half the class may have been wearing pajamas. That’s because half of the students took the course from Amsterdam, where class begins seven hours later than in Missouri.
The S&T students teamed with a class from another continent. They used a variety of technological tools to simulate a working team experience while forecasting financial results for a case company in South America, says course instructor Bih-Ru Lea, associate professor of business and information technology at Missouri S&T.
This partnership with students from HES (Hogeschool voor Economische Studies) Amsterdam was part of the SAP University Alliance. Missouri S&T was one of 190 schools in the U.S. to participate in the program, and the first university in the U.S. to collaborate globally on such a project.
The logistics of the collaboration were coordinated by Missouri S&T’s Video Communications Center and a comparable group at HES. Students met face-to-face with their partners in Amsterdam via video conferencing. They also used Blackboard course management software, a live virtual classroom environment called WIMBA, text chats and voice chats.
The team’s case study was a pioneer user of SAP, called Embotelladora Andina, a Coca Cola bottler located in Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Students used the company’s public data from the last decade to forecast financials and budgets for the first quarter of 2010. The team also had complete access to all of the company’s public records.