Board Use

There is a wide range of approaches to board use across case instructors, from a minimalist recording of main discussion points to the filling up of multiple boards with ideas drawn from nearly all contributions made during the class session. Instructors often use board headings as a means for reinforcing and supporting the structure and flow of the discussion. They also use boards to acknowledge student comments and to highlight, summarize and connect contributions by underlining, circling or drawing arrows between words or phrases. Some instructors "pre-board" information prior to class, such as key contextual facts from the case, row/column headings for quantitative analysis, or a summary of the day's agenda.

Using the board during class in a meaningful and structured way, without slowing down the flow of the discussion or the interpersonal dynamics of the group, requires practice and planning. The payoff to this effort is that the board can support the instructor's guidance of the discussion in an unobtrusive but effective way. In addition, a well-developed series of boards can leave students with a coherent picture of the class as a whole at the end of the session.

It may seem counterintuitive that many experienced case instructors carefully plan their boards in advance, yet intend for them to emerge organically during the classroom. But it is exactly the effort of thinking through each major pasture and anticipating how and where major elements of the discussion should be recorded on the board during class that makes it possible for the process to be both organized and spontaneous.