Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This research investigated the role of student participation and student-teacher interaction in Master of Business Administration classrooms utilizing the case method of teaching. The first goal of the study was to investigate how student characteristics are related to classroom participation and to amount learned in two diverse business courses (i.e. Marketing and Finance). The second goal was to examine the development of problem-solving skills during class participation throughout the academic year and to examine the cognitive congruence between level of teacher question and level of student response.;The 58 first year, Master of Business Administration students were videotaped at three intervals throughout the academic year. The students' responses from the transcribed tapes were analyzed both qualitatively (in terms of problem-solving components and cognitive level) and quantitatively (in terms of frequency and length of time), for each of the three time periods in each course.;As hypothesized, the results of the study suggested that degree type, undergraduate average, and critical thinking skills (as measured by Watson-Glaser) were significant predictors of course grades. For the Finance course, the most important predictor of grades appeared to be having an Engineering degree, whereas for the Marketing course critical thinking skills were the most important predictor. It was found that high cognitive level student responses were a significant predictor of final Finance participation grades.;Over the course of the year, it was found, as postulated, that more low level problem-solving skills were exhibited in Marketing than Finance. Similarly, more low level teacher questions were asked in Marketing than in Finance. Overall, it was found that as time progressed, students increased in their use of lower level problem-solving skills.;Finally, as hypothesized, there was a strong congruence between the cognitive level of teacher questions and the cognitive level of student responses. It was found that the majority of questions asked in both courses were low level in nature. The results of the present study suggest the case method can be an excellent active learning technique. Several recommendations are offered for improving problem-solving and critical thinking in class discussion.



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