Over the past few years, Chemnitz University of Technology have been using TOPSIM – General Management in a block seminar. This summer, the simulation was played over the whole semester for the first time – and not only because of the corona crisis. Mike Rudolph from TU Chemnitz explained which advantages this format offers and how distance learning with business simulations works.
In this summer semester the bachelor students from TU Chemnitz played TOPSIM – General Management in Pro-Scenario within six weeks. The former block seminars were great for one week teaching only, but they often collided with other lectures of the students. Additionally the Corona pandemic started: Eight hours learning in a classroom might work, but a whole week just in front of a computer might be too exhausting. Playing the simulation during the semester allowed the students to have more free time and flexibility.
How is the simulation used?
Students from the bachelor economics, industrial engineering and business informatics can take part in the seminar. The business simulation is played in the forth semester, about 60 students participated this year. To organize and conduct the simulation online, the seminar instructors held the introduction lecture first to show, among others, the TOPSIM – Cloud. In contrast to the block seminar, the simulation was shortened to 6 periods, as playing 8 periods online would cost too much time.
In addition to the simulation periods the seminar instructors integrated additional tasks like a strategy concept at the beginning, a marketing campaign during the 4. and 5. period and a shareholders’ meeting at the end of the simulation. For this, an internal university tool was used, which provides virtual classroom where groups can meet independently. In this tool the evaluation took place as well.
How was the seminar graded?
Mike Rudolph and his team used an excel sheet in which they put values like share price or employee utilization. The students who study economics don’t get a grade on the simulation. Future industrial engineers need to submit a report at the end of the business simulation which is included in the final grade.
Students’ feedback to the seminar was positive: They wish to go back to classroom learning, but the decision for teaching along the semester was a first step in the right direction. This way students had more time for their decision making process and could explore the simulation more intensively.
TOPSIM – General Management fits well in this part of the bachelor since all contents from the basic courses could be applied in a concentrated way. At this moment the team at TU Chemnitz consider using a second simulation, the beginners simulation TOPSIM – easyManagement which ensure motivation and team building for new students.
Even if during corona there are many possibilities for teaching thanks to a lot of digital tools, Mike Rudolph wants the classroom learning back – even just for introduction and follow up events. The organisation might be good but nothing could replace the personal contact with the students.
We thank Mike Rudolph for the insight in the corona semester at TU Chemnitz and are looking forward to future simulation-based seminars!