The Intersection of Operations & Policy
Bringing the Case Method into the Digital Era
This course aims to present an in-depth view of the NYC homeless shelter system through the multiple perspectives provided by a comprehensively redesigned technology-enhanced curriculum.
Schools of public administration, management, and social work often face the challenge of finding effective ways to teach distinct disciplines such as operations management and public policy as integrated concepts in concrete scenarios. With this specific goal in mind, NYU professors Natalie Privett and Gordon Campbell at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service approached NYU's Global Learning and Innovation (GLI) team with the idea of developing a new team-taught course that would address the real-world applications of these concepts.
Professors Privett and Campbell intended to use the case study method in such a way that students would actively interact with the course materials in new and innovative ways. They conceptualized the course as an integrated collection of original digital modules, including video documentaries featuring interviews with the case study’s stakeholders, data analysis and visualization tools, and curated collections of external assets, such as research manuscripts, news articles, and historical images. The learning outcomes desired were students’ development of a toolbox of specific skills that support analysis and decision making in a myriad of politically charged contexts.
Working in collaboration with Profs. Privett and Campbell, and leveraging NYU’s new web publishing tool, GLI developed an online platform called the Multimedia Interactive Case Study (MICS) (NYU login required for these links).
Consistent with the traditional case method, the MICS explores a snapshot in time, and maintains the sustainability and longevity of traditional case studies. The Multimedia Interactive Case Study is truly innovative because it integrates technology, multimedia resources, skill-building tools, and real-life context into the traditional case study method.
The MICS can be implemented as a stand-alone course or can be modularly integrated into other curricula. Through a series of interviews with government officials, advocates, service providers, academics, and the families themselves, the students can learn about the many perspectives of family homelessness in New York City directly from the true stakeholders. Students also could use interactive analytic tools such as a Stakeholder Analysis Tool, a Decision Tree Builder, and a Forecast Simulator (NYU login required for these links) to approach the challenges of developing policy and making operational decisions within a highly political context. The MICS also provides resources such as video documentaries, news archives, images, data sets, and a variety of perspectives from public interest groups. The end product is an intensive engagement that incorporates perspectives from academic theory, City, State, and Federal government, service providers, advocacy organizations, and public interest law.