The course theme was suggested by a student last year: "What about discussing money?" A sufficiently complex issue that has the Master In Management first-year students thinking hard throughout their "Humanities and Management" module, which uses an innovative flipped teaching format.
Small groups of MiM first years experienced a flipped learning module in 3-hour sessions. "An approach that was greatly appreciated by the students," says Hadrien Simon, Doctor of Philosophy and course coordinator.
Flipped teaching method widely appreciated by students
The aim of the Humanities and Management module is for students to defend a contradictory position in an oral debate. The confrontation of arguments takes place in class. To help them prepare their speeches in advance, the students are given a resource kit containing classical and contemporary texts (philosophy, sociology, history, literature...), as well as press articles and more recent introductory videos.
“This work is to be carried out individually before the class. This allows students to have the necessary knowledge to build their argument. Then, during the debates, care is taken to ensure the different positions are represented in order to cover the question fully,” points out Hadrien Simon.
“The students really appreciate the flipped learning approach of the course, which far from confining them to the written word, forces them to make an oral defence from a given viewpoint," adds Marc Lenglet, NEOMA Associate Professor and course coordinator. "This exercise requires them to work on the argumentative skills they will need during their professional careers and which they haven't really had the opportunity to develop so far in their studies. The task also provides them with an opportunity to apply their critical thinking skills, which in a world of abundant information will increasingly become a necessity," adds Marc Lenglet. "The students are generally in favour of such an approach, which allows them to be actors of their own learning, rather than recipients of knowledge.”
Crypto currencies, inequality, debt and power: 4 money issues to discuss
4 aspects of money were addressed during the course. First of all, crypto currencies and the example of Bitcoin. Since its creation in 2009, just after the financial crisis, this currency has experienced unprecedented fluctuations. The following question was discussed during the course: Do crypto currencies really have any value? Aristotle and the 3 functions of money were discussed in order to clarify the issue.
The second part of the Humanities and Management module focused on wealth inequality. Starting from the premise that although inequality has always existed in society, it would seem that the gaps are being deepened by the current digital revolution. "It was therefore interesting to ask whether economic inequality is fair or not, and from what moral viewpoint can a judgement be made?" says Marc Lenglet. "The course highlighted the basic contradiction between freedom and justice.”
“The session on inequality and wealth turned out to be the liveliest in terms of debate," says Hadrien Simon. "The recent 'gilet jaune' crisis and the tax reforms certainly echo the questions being asked in today's society, and that was precisely the aim of the course".
Students also explored the issue of debt through the perspective of freedom and alienation. On the one hand, debt can provide freedom to the individual who wants to realize their project (buying a car, a house, etc.). On the other hand, being in debt also means the individual has an obligation towards a creditor who will not fail to demand what they are owe. “Just like Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice...” adds Hadrien Simon.
The final theme raised the following question: Is the purpose of the money to increase power? “Money is certainly associated with power today: but in what sense does this relationship actually work? Do we seek money to increase our power in society or, conversely, is it when we have power that we can become wealthier?" asks Marc Lenglet. This theme presented an opportunity to oppose a sociological approach (inspired by Pierre Bourdieu) to a philosophical approach based on phenomenology (using Michel Henry, for example).