Hannah Jun, Academic Partnership Interview: Ewha Womans University
Hannah Jun, Assistant Professor of International Business, Ewha Womans University, answers some of our questions about using WikiRate to teach students.
Course taught using the WikiRate open data platform: Sustainability Reporting & Analysis.
Course level: Graduate Course
1. How many years have you been using WikiRate as part of your teaching?
WikiRate data has been a core part of my curriculum (specifically for Sustainability Reporting & Analysis) for the past five years.
2. How does WikiRate help you teach students about the subject?
Sustainability Reporting & Analysis asks students to analyze sustainability data trends over time through data input and comparative analysis for companies within a specific industry. The platform is an essential element of the course as students must review and input sustainability data for companies during the first half of class. During the second half, students are then asked to uncover sustainability reporting trends in terms of actual disclosure over time and the quality of disclosed data. As each group selects a geographically-diverse set of companies within one industry, we get a sense of any convergences or divergences in terms of disclosure and quality of data based on geography while controlling for industry-level variations.
3. What inspired you to use WikiRate as part of your course?
WikiRate has an extensive global database that is easy to use in terms of data input and comparison. Even the process of reviewing and editing data helps sharpen analytical skills and provides students with an invaluable opportunity to understand the depth and breadth of corporate sustainability disclosures.
4. Do the students you teach have any previous experience in sustainability data research and analysis?
While some students have professional and/or research experience in the field of corporate social responsibility/sustainability, many students come with no prior background and are able to benefit from using the WikiRate platform.
5. What are students most challenged or surprised by when researching companies’ sustainability data?
Sustainability reporting is still largely voluntary, and although many international guidelines help guide firms in preparing sustainability reports, the way information is disclosed varies considerably by company and industry. Many students also comment that compared to the number of pages in a sustainability report, there is relatively little quantitative data that can actually be input into the WikiRate platform.
On the positive side, some students have mentioned that they were able to understand corporate approaches to sustainability and contributions to broader initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the analysis.
6. What do students get out of doing this kind of data research?
Students can examine sustainability reports for themselves and investigate whether sustainability disclosure is really improving over time. The actual data input and analysis is essential to craft informed conclusions on the state of sustainability reporting and disclosure, so using the WikiRate platform in class is critical to achieving this key learning objective.
7. Do you have a fun reaction or anecdote from one of your WikiRate-based classes that you can share?
Due to Covid-19, our final assignment (in-class student presentations) transitioned into preparing a 5–10 minute video summarizing key findings. Students were encouraged to tap into their creative sides and prepare engaging videos while touching on key insights for their industry. One group even created avatars for each teammate (aka “Sustainability Girls”), who then subsequently shared about key sustainability issues in the chocolate industry and an analysis of industry champions and stragglers.
8. What would you say to an educator interested in using WikiRate for their classes?
There are many creative ways to incorporate the WikiRate platform, particularly for business-related courses. While my course was a project-based, WikiRate data can just as easily be used for writing-intensive courses for company-, industry- or geography-based analyses. The platform is free to use, and the WikiRate staff does a tremendous job addressing student queries. I highly recommend utilizing the WikiRate platform to enhance the learning experience at undergraduate and graduate levels.
Are you interested in teaching students how to collect and analyze companies’ environmental, social, and governance disclosures in the 21st Century?
Please send us a message, and we’ll share details about WikiRate’s academic partnerships.