posted on Aug. 28: School of Business course goes paperless


This fall, fourth year Commerce students taking Business Policy and Strategic Management 4PA3 will experience the future.

All course material will be available on the internet — no books to be purchased and tests and quizzes will be taken online.

Nick Bontis, course instructor and creator of the course, cited several reasons for the introduction of this new technologically-based course delivery.

Bontis said: “It's not because I'm a tree hugger, although it is an added benefit that this method is environmentally friendly. It's because I feel that, as part of a university which is known as an innovation leader, we need to leverage the technology we have available to us within the School of Business. Most of the classrooms in the School of Business are wired to accommodate computer use.

Bontis is also interested in reducing costs to students. Instead of purchasing a custom course pack for $50, a student purchases an online voucher for $20 which the student must produce in order to gain entrance to the mid-term and final exams.

The voucher features a raised watermark stamp which prevents illegal duplication. This method also helps to protect against copyright infringement. Royalties for case studies are usually worked into the fees of a custom courseware package.

However, the courseware packages can be photocopied and shared among students, thereby reducing the royalties owed to the schools that sell the rights to the cases.

All course materials are posted to WebCT, an e-learning based Web site.

Through this system, the onus for printing is on the student, giving them greater freedom as to how much material is printed and in what format. The instructor can offer online testing to provide immediate feedback for students after each class. The instructor can also monitor student activity and will be able to monitor who has logged in to read the case studies and who has taken the online tests.

When the participation level is increased, you become a facilitator rather than an instructor,” Bontis said.

Other innovative features of this course include an online simulation game, an improvisation workshop (much like the show (What's my Line?), and an Olympiad based on the reality/game show models.