Mastering Digital Business Model

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In his MDBM course, Prof. Fleisch introduced a video group project. Applying theoretical knowledge on a concrete example allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts. The project is well perceived and we are currently in the third cohort of the lecture including video projects.

In his Mastering Digital Business Model (MDBM) course, which Prof. Fleisch teaches on master level at MTEC, students gain a theory- and practice-based understanding of how today’s information technologies enable new digital business models and disrupt existing markets. In the autumn semester 2015, he initiated a new examination mode for this course, introducing a video group project as one core element contributing to the overall course grade. In addition, independent of the grading, we award an audience price (i.e. Oscar), based on a peer-to-peer student review.
As part of this newly created examination element, course participants (in teams of two to three students) analyze an allocated company, aiming to better understand the underlying business model. The company pool contains interesting companies in the context of digital transformation, Internet of Things, Blockchain, e-health etc. Companies are pre-selected and allocated for fairness reasons.
With dedicated coaching sessions and the support of two TAs and two tutors (students from the previous year’s cohort), we aim to support students with the video creation process. Students are free to use whatever technology (i.e. software, equipment, etc.) they prefer. We explicitly outline our focus on the content of the video rather than its quality. Nevertheless, each year the presented results are quite impressive. Hence, based on the very positive results as well as student reactions after the first semester, Prof. Fleisch decided to continue and we are currently in the third cohort of video projects.

Based on our experiences of the last years, the video project is well perceived and highly beneficial from an educational perspective. The course aims to provide students with an appropriate tool set to understand and evaluate digital business models from different angles, including theory-based views. Hence, Prof. Fleisch structures the course along a set of different lenses, suitable to address specific business model aspects. These lenses contain practitioner- and theory-oriented frameworks, which are explained in a traditional lecture format. Applying these tools and frameworks to analyze a concrete company allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts and access the challenging content in an appealing and fun way.
Offering students the opportunity to be creative and bring in their own ideas not only significantly increases motivation levels, but also fosters student interaction. This is true for the student groups as well as the interaction with the teaching team.
From our first year’s insights, we have learnt that such a set-up requires high involvement. As a consequence, the course is currently limited to 100 participants, based on a first come first served basis. This way, we can ensure an adequate support for the participating students.