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    New International Business Negotiation program is powered by iPad

    Students in Hamline Law’s inaugural Certificate in International Business Negotiation program were able to benefit from the scholarship generated from DRI’s multi-year, cross disciplinary, international Rethinking Negotiation Teaching Project as well as the latest iPad technology.  In addition, the program attracted a diverse assemblage of students and faculty.  This included a significant contribution from visiting Chinese scholars who provided thoughtful perspectives on the ancient art of negotiation. 

    “Equipping each student with an iPad, and an app that was developed specifically for this program, created a much richer real-world experience,” says Hamline Law Professor Sharon Press, director of Hamline’s Dispute Resolution Institute (DRI).  “Each iPad was fully loaded with all the class readings and gave students access to video and other Internet content which made it very convenient and efficient.  But the technology did much more than that.  With Apple’s chat and FaceTime features, students were able to interact from anywhere, which became an essential part of the course.  We aren’t aware of any other law school using iPads this way and we think there is enormous potential for this technology.  We are excited about the opportunity to incorporate 2.0 negotiation teaching – both from a pedagogy and technological aspect – into this certificate program.”

    The six-credit certificate program, developed by DRI Senior Fellow Kenneth Fox (who is also a Professor at Hamline University’s School of Business) and Associate Professor Press, is divided into  a 2-credit Negotiation course, and a 4-credit Advanced International Business Negotiation course.

    Drawing on the critiques from the Rethinking Negotiation Teaching project,  a significant feature of the program includes student participation in real negotiations.  The iPad 2’s technology allows students to do so in a meaningful, realistic way.  For example, one project – an adventure learning assignment – required the two teams of students to tour and evaluate actual bricks-and-mortar office space and then decide collaboratively which space best suited their respective “companies.”  The new wrinkle, enabled by iPad, was the requirement that this collaboration not take place in the same room.  That is, using the Apple video chat feature called FaceTime, the collaboration occurred via video chat on the iPad, with each group of students connecting from separate locations.

    “This is the way real-world negotiation happens every day, with parties in different cities or different parts of the world,” says Press.  “Using FaceTime gave a much more realistic simulation of how these students will actually negotiate throughout their careers.”

    Michael Mangold, a 3rd-year law student with an information technology background, concurs.  “The use of technology was truly innovative.  Using the iPad gave us the ability to connect with Google Books and other software and really empowered our learning.  The new Hamline app concentrated all of our readings and other resources into this into one, easy-to-carry dynamic tablet, which really enhanced the classroom experience for me.”

    Gathering perspectives 

    While iPads brought the latest technology, students never lost sight of the fact that negotiation occurs between real people in a real world.  Students came together from a variety of perspectives – both business and law students.  The program included students with little or no professional experience alongside others with decades of business experience.  And from a geographic perspective, the class was even more diverse in that the students in the program represented nations from five continents.

    “Having the opportunity to participate in the program, while not being a law student, has really been a great opportunity,” says  Mohamed Shawky, a former officer in the US Army and a current student working on his DRI certificate in dispute resolution as part of his masters in Organizational Leadership (MAOL)  from St. Catherine University.  “Also, having highly qualified international professors sitting in on the course, along with the incredible mix of students, took this experience to a different level.”

    The program’s international character included the presence of two law students, Zhu Yi and Zhang Yi, from Peking University, in Beijing; and two educators from the Leading Negotiation Institute, Andrew Wei-Min Lee and Vivian Feng Ying Yu, who teach negotiation at Peking University.  Zhu Yi and Zhang Yi won a prestigious English Language negotiation competition among Chinese universities earlier this year in Beijing that was sponsored by the Leading Negotiation Institute.  The first place prize for the competition included an opportunity for the winning team to travel to Saint Paul and participate in the Hamline Law International Business Negotiation Certificate program.

    “Even though China is developing very fast we do not have this very cutting edge education technology,” says Zhu Yi.  “I think this is an amazing thing this program offers. “

    Zhu Yi’s competition partner, Zhang Yi, had a similar experience.  “I must say before I came to Hamline, I did not expect to get this kind of wonderful experience,” he says.  “Within the class, I enjoyed the interaction with other students who have a lot of … experiences, expertise, and professors with very unique teaching skills.  They engage in class discussions that are very meaningful and are all very new and fresh experience for me.” 

    Mr. Lee, the founder and CEO of Leading Negotiation, has taught negotiation skills throughout China and is a lecturer at Peking University Law School Center for Public Interest where he teaches negotiation skills.  A lawyer and past fellow of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, Mr. Lee’s legal practice over the last six years has spanned both geographic regions and legal subspecialties.   He and Ms. Feng joined Professor Fox and Associate Professor Press to teach the Advanced Negotiation course in the Hamline certificate program.  She is a consultant on government negotiations and media relations in China and is also a lecturer in negotiation skills at Peking University Law School.  She also consults with the Peking University Public Interest Legal Center, which engages in public policy disputes between local community groups and government officials.

    “There is really so much -- beyond books, beyond PowerPoint slides -- to be learned from just being in a classroom with people from around the world,” says Mr. Lee.  “Sharing their experiences, sharing  their life history, sharing their world view on what it’s like to negotiate, what it’s like to interact, what it’s like to do business with people from all around the world. I didn’t see myself as a teacher in the class.  I saw myself really as just another one of the students and it was such a privilege to be part of the experience.”

    With the success of the first program, DRI Director Press is already looking at broader horizons.

    “Everything went very well,” says Professor Press, “from the iPads to the impact made by our visiting instructors to the rich diversity of the students themselves.  Next year we hope to teach the same program in China, along with the program on our campus in Saint Paul.  We expect that the technology will be even better and that this certificate program will grow stronger with each offering.”

    For one of the visiting Chinese students, the experience of participating in the program may have even changed her career trajectory.

    “I think truly this experience here will change my life,” says Zhu Yi.  “Before this I haven’t decided what [aspect of law]  I am going to choose in the future but now based on what I’ve learned, based on what the professors taught me in the classroom and outside classroom, I really found my interest in negotiation.”

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