Curriculum design - Amanda Relph, Head of Business Analysis and Statistics Group, University of Hertfordshire
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Curriculum design - Amanda Relph, Head of Business Analysis and Statistics Group, University of Hertfordshire

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Curriculum Design - Amanda Relph, Head of Business Analysis and Statistics Group, University of Hertfordshire

Curriculum Design - Amanda Relph, Head of Business Analysis and Statistics Group, University of Hertfordshire

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  • This case is an example of a Masters programme at the University of Hertfordshire being created to serve a specific and critical niche in the market and which has employer input from design to delivery. <br />   <br /> University Policy <br /> The university declares it is the leading business-facing university in the UK and is focused on developing new and creative approaches to learning, teaching and research with a commitment to adding value to employers, enterprise and regional, national and international economies. <br />   <br /> The premise is that universities and business need to work on an integrated and collaborative basis if the United Kingdom is to retain global competitiveness in the 21st century. <br />   <br /> Every course at the university is developed with input from employers, while research is designed and conducted with the aim of solving business problems and generating new and innovative applications for existing knowledge. The university encourages a constant interchange between businesses, academics and students. Many university staff members spend a proportion of their time working in industry, running their own businesses, keeping their knowledge up to date and help to develop students’ business skills. <br />   <br /> Designing and delivering a new Masters programme <br /> Amanda Relph is programme leader for the new Masters in Business Analysis and Consultancy. She writes, <br />   <br /> ‘Management consultancy is an increasingly important industry…, employing over 80,000 consultants. <br />   <br /> In the last couple of years there has been renewed interest in the need for graduates to be analytical, able to think creatively and to be responsive to an ever changing economic environment…. UK businesses are struggling to recruit enough skilled analysts. .. The types of jobs in this area include: Business Analyst, Business Consultant, Business Improvement Manager, Information Risk Manager, Management Consultant and Risk Analyst.’ <br />   <br /> It is considered that for some students, taking a Masters immediately after a first degree can present challenges. This new Masters gives students the opportunity to develop real skills of business value that are grounded in practical experience. <br />   <br /> This new Masters programme has been in preparation for many months. Having a course champion has been vital, not least in winning over academic colleagues to the programme’s merits including the building in of real work based problems. Students are being selected now for the first cohort and will start in September. Students will gain experience of applying analytical knowledge and skills to real consultancy, ‘working with a local organisation in the complex context in which organisations operate. <br />   <br /> Students will experience a range of teaching, learning and assessment methods to enable them to gain, and be confident in, skills of modelling, analysis and consulting. The main aims of the programme are to enable students to strengthen their critical thinking and communication skills, to become creative and innovative and to be able to identify, analyse and manage business issues to produce viable recommendations.’ <br />   <br /> The programme is offered both 1 year full time and 2 year part time. Full time and part time students work together, an unusual and potentially beneficial mix, not least as part timers will be bring their actual work experience to bear. This is also likely to assist international students particularly, a group that usually struggles to access work based learning opportunities. <br />   <br /> Employer engagement <br /> Employers have been consulted about the programme’s design, partly through the permanent employers advisory group. There are also many informal contacts with employers, some stretching back over a long period. <br />   <br /> Students are being selected for the part time Masters through involving employers who can nominate their employees as part of upskilling their workforce. There is a team of some 7 staff in the university Careers and Placements Service dedicated to developing employer relations including with the many SMEs in the region. Relationship management with employers, understanding what the client really wants, using acceptable language, are all key factors in generating and maintaining productive outcomes for all parties. <br />   <br /> ‘The main modules that involve employers are Running a Consultancy Project and the Individual Consultancy Project; the Running a Consultancy Project provides for groups of up to 4 students in the second semester to investigate a work based project. Each group will have an academic supervisor. The nature of the project, the choice of supervisor and the organisation will depend on the students’ performance and the organisation’s need. The Individual Consultancy Project provides an opportunity for a longer, more in depth study. Students can choose (with guidance) to undertake a practical or desk based study. The work based project will be discussed between the student, supervisor and host organisation. In some instances, employers will to be directly involved and will be content for students to undertake desk based study whilst based at the university. <br />   <br /> Part of the support for students will be to map the language of employers (e.g. work ethic) against what students understand. <br />   <br /> The next practical step is to convert interest from employers into commitment e.g. identifying a business opportunity or problem for students to work on. <br />   <br /> University of Hertfordshire graduate and analyst at British Airways comments, <br /> ‘Overall I think the new MSc. course… has the right selection of modules. Companies such as BA are struggling with finding students with the right skill set and therefore there are positions that do not get filled.’ <br />   <br /> Amit Kukadia, Senior OR Consultant at British Airways said, <br /> ‘This course has the potential to have broad appeal and be very successful. It offers an excellent opportunity for students to differentiate themselves from others in a competitive environment.’ <br />   <br /> Don Leslie, Director, Beament Leslie Thomas Consultancy thinks, <br /> ‘A course which prepares prospective consultants to better face the challenges is welcomed.’ <br />   <br />   <br /> http://www.herts.ac.uk/about-us/our-business-facing-vision.cfm <br />   <br />
  • This case is an example of a Masters programme at the University of Hertfordshire being created to serve a specific and critical niche in the market and which has employer input from design to delivery. <br />   <br /> University Policy <br /> The university declares it is the leading business-facing university in the UK and is focused on developing new and creative approaches to learning, teaching and research with a commitment to adding value to employers, enterprise and regional, national and international economies. <br />   <br /> The premise is that universities and business need to work on an integrated and collaborative basis if the United Kingdom is to retain global competitiveness in the 21st century. <br />   <br /> Every course at the university is developed with input from employers, while research is designed and conducted with the aim of solving business problems and generating new and innovative applications for existing knowledge. The university encourages a constant interchange between businesses, academics and students. Many university staff members spend a proportion of their time working in industry, running their own businesses, keeping their knowledge up to date and help to develop students’ business skills. <br />   <br /> Designing and delivering a new Masters programme <br /> Amanda Relph is programme leader for the new Masters in Business Analysis and Consultancy. She writes, <br />   <br /> ‘Management consultancy is an increasingly important industry…, employing over 80,000 consultants. <br />   <br /> In the last couple of years there has been renewed interest in the need for graduates to be analytical, able to think creatively and to be responsive to an ever changing economic environment…. UK businesses are struggling to recruit enough skilled analysts. .. The types of jobs in this area include: Business Analyst, Business Consultant, Business Improvement Manager, Information Risk Manager, Management Consultant and Risk Analyst.’ <br />   <br /> It is considered that for some students, taking a Masters immediately after a first degree can present challenges. This new Masters gives students the opportunity to develop real skills of business value that are grounded in practical experience. <br />   <br /> This new Masters programme has been in preparation for many months. Having a course champion has been vital, not least in winning over academic colleagues to the programme’s merits including the building in of real work based problems. Students are being selected now for the first cohort and will start in September. Students will gain experience of applying analytical knowledge and skills to real consultancy, ‘working with a local organisation in the complex context in which organisations operate. <br />   <br /> Students will experience a range of teaching, learning and assessment methods to enable them to gain, and be confident in, skills of modelling, analysis and consulting. The main aims of the programme are to enable students to strengthen their critical thinking and communication skills, to become creative and innovative and to be able to identify, analyse and manage business issues to produce viable recommendations.’ <br />   <br /> The programme is offered both 1 year full time and 2 year part time. Full time and part time students work together, an unusual and potentially beneficial mix, not least as part timers will be bring their actual work experience to bear. This is also likely to assist international students particularly, a group that usually struggles to access work based learning opportunities. <br />   <br /> Employer engagement <br /> Employers have been consulted about the programme’s design, partly through the permanent employers advisory group. There are also many informal contacts with employers, some stretching back over a long period. <br />   <br /> Students are being selected for the part time Masters through involving employers who can nominate their employees as part of upskilling their workforce. There is a team of some 7 staff in the university Careers and Placements Service dedicated to developing employer relations including with the many SMEs in the region. Relationship management with employers, understanding what the client really wants, using acceptable language, are all key factors in generating and maintaining productive outcomes for all parties. <br />   <br /> ‘The main modules that involve employers are Running a Consultancy Project and the Individual Consultancy Project; the Running a Consultancy Project provides for groups of up to 4 students in the second semester to investigate a work based project. Each group will have an academic supervisor. The nature of the project, the choice of supervisor and the organisation will depend on the students’ performance and the organisation’s need. The Individual Consultancy Project provides an opportunity for a longer, more in depth study. Students can choose (with guidance) to undertake a practical or desk based study. The work based project will be discussed between the student, supervisor and host organisation. In some instances, employers will to be directly involved and will be content for students to undertake desk based study whilst based at the university. <br />   <br /> Part of the support for students will be to map the language of employers (e.g. work ethic) against what students understand. <br />   <br /> The next practical step is to convert interest from employers into commitment e.g. identifying a business opportunity or problem for students to work on. <br />   <br /> University of Hertfordshire graduate and analyst at British Airways comments, <br /> ‘Overall I think the new MSc. course… has the right selection of modules. Companies such as BA are struggling with finding students with the right skill set and therefore there are positions that do not get filled.’ <br />   <br /> Amit Kukadia, Senior OR Consultant at British Airways said, <br /> ‘This course has the potential to have broad appeal and be very successful. It offers an excellent opportunity for students to differentiate themselves from others in a competitive environment.’ <br />   <br /> Don Leslie, Director, Beament Leslie Thomas Consultancy thinks, <br /> ‘A course which prepares prospective consultants to better face the challenges is welcomed.’ <br />   <br />   <br /> http://www.herts.ac.uk/about-us/our-business-facing-vision.cfm <br />   <br />
  • Active and experiential learning for work and at work Active and experiential learning activities provide a useful way to create links between the institution and external organisations. Students may have the opportunity to participate in a work placement scheme, or they may be tasked with undertaking a research or consultancy project for a company, group or organisation in their local community. <br /> <br />
  • The main advantages of active teaching and learning approaches are, amongst other things, that they may allow for, or encourage: <br /> High levels of participation <br /> Students usually find such activities energising and are likely to engage more with the subject matter as a result. <br /> Use of prior experience or knowledge <br /> All students have previous experiences and knowledge of some kind and active strategies offer them the opportunity to make informal connections with things they have already learned. <br /> Adoption of new perspectives and positions <br /> The opportunity to discuss topics with others and to listen to or address other points of view (as in small group work or role play, for example) may often lead to the revision of existing perspectives and to enhanced learning opportunities. <br /> Contestation of values and assumptions from different disciplines <br /> Many of these strategies are appropriate in inter-disciplinary contexts where students may need to address a problem from a range of view points. In collaborating with each other, they are more likely to have the opportunity to learn to debate and challenge basic assumptions and values. <br /> Openness with respect to learning outcomes <br /> Active teaching and learning approaches will often yield unanticipated outcomes; there will be some learning that takes place, in other words, that has not been (and could not have been) planned for and this can be rewarding for both students and teachers. <br /> Peer support and peer learning <br /> Collaborative activities (such as group work or simulations) provide students with opportunities to learn from and support each other in ways that are not facilitated by more formal, teacher-centred approaches. <br /> Critical reflection on action and experience <br /> By sharing knowledge and experiences, by being encouraged to take a different perspective on a particular topic (e.g. in a debate) students may learn to reflect critically on the things they do and say. [For a brief discussion about reflection as an integral part of ‘deep learning’, refer to section 3 C below.] <br /> Greater ownership of and responsibility for learning <br /> Active teaching and learning approaches may encourage students to become more self-directed and self-motivated. By taking on a more enquiring and autonomous role, they are more likely to develop a sense of ‘ownership’ in relation to their learning and to be able to build on this independently in later life. <br /> Development of generic communicative skills (e.g. listening, debating, collaborating) <br /> Strategies like the ones shown in the diagram above (see Figure 1) afford many opportunities for students to develop interpersonal and communicative skills; as well as being important in any search for employment, these skills are essential to personal effectiveness in a range of contexts. <br />
  • Knowing where to start when contacting organisations can be the most challenging element when organising a BFT. It can take time so it is important to start the process early and contact as many companies as possible to ensure the required number of visits. Dates may change and visits can fall through so it is important to have alternative organisations to call upon. Be patient, some of the best visits may take a few years to come to fruition. Over the years, with word of mouth and more practice, the teaching team have become more successful in engaging and maintaining relationships with organisations in this initiative, leading to the current position of having more organisations ready to participate than are actually required. <br />   <br /> Contacts were originally sought from placement organisations, family members, university staff, students, friends, contacts made at conferences and exhibitions and local knowledge. These organisations were contacted via email, telephone or face to face; in the first year approximately a third of organisations contacted resulted in a visit. Some of the organisations initially contacted have resulted in repeated visits over subsequent years. <br />   <br /> Before you contact any organisation it is useful to reconsider your learning objectives, number of students, location and dates. <br />   <br /> Learning Objectives: Consider the type of organisation you want to visit would services, manufacturing, or non-profit organisations be suitable? Consider the information that you would like students receive, is the organisation likely to be able to provide it? <br />   <br /> Number of students: Is the organisation able to accommodate a large number of students? Some services can accommodate very large groups, whereas even large manufacturers may not have the room to accommodate a big group. <br />   <br /> Location: This is perhaps the most constraining factor with a need to keep transport costs to a minimum to ensure full participation. Ideally visits are either within walking distance of the university/ college or accessible by public transport. <br />   <br /> Dates: consider when in the teaching programme it would be best to undertake the trip, ideally aligning the visit to assessment deadlines. <br />   <br /> Although it is a good idea to consider these points in advance do try to be flexible when contacting organisations. Just because an organisation cannot meet your exact needs, does not mean to say that you cannot have a very productive relationship in the future. For example we have used small companies for a BFT for large modules by organising several short tours for smaller groups on the same day. For some services, we have invited speakers to us to speak directly to the students and suggested that the students visit the service in their own time to undertake the necessary research. <br />   <br />
  • The importance of a pre-visit by the tutor to the host organisation cannot be overemphasised. Koran et al (1989) reviewed 20 studies of school field trips published between 1939 and 1989 and found that the studies all pointed to the importance of gathering information prior to a visit. Although time consuming, the authors found a pre-visit had the following benefits: <br />   <br /> helps develop a closer, more personal, relationship with the organisation which is difficult to do when a group of students are present; <br /> provides an opportunity for the tutor to discuss learning objectives and assessment possibilities thus ensuring good educational outcomes for the students; <br /> provides an opportunity to assess possible health and safety issues and complete a risk assessment; <br /> provides an opportunity for the tutor to learn about the organisation and ask questions before the trip. <br />   <br />
  • The authors felt that the learning activities and assessment needed to be carefully designed linking academic theory and knowledge to the experience gained from the BFT, in order to ensure the maximum effectiveness with regards to meeting learning objectives and enhancing the student experience. <br />   <br /> Ideally BFTs should be fully integrated with the module assessment, requiring students to undertake specific research related to the organisation, evaluating and making recommendations for innovations or improvements. In their paper, under lessons learnt, McQueen at al (2012) support this and recommend linking learning objectives to existing curricula. <br />   <br /> Careful pre-trip preparation was necessary including obtaining ethics approval and negotiating access to information and opportunities to interview the business managers. Special care needs to be taken in the assignment brief to ensure students are clear about the task and the information required; this can be reinforced during weekly class time and via Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) discussions and group assignment areas.
  • Visit preparation: <br />   <br /> 4.1 Logistical / operational aspects: <br />   <br /> Suitable transport options and related instructions need to be organised. <br />   <br /> Mode: <br />   <br /> Foot / cycle – instructions need to be prepared with information / maps about how to find the venue. <br />   <br /> Public transport – instructions should include possible modes and routes. <br />   <br /> Coach – need to be budgeted for and booked well in advance of the trip, and instructions prepared about when and where to meet. <br />   <br /> These details along with the precise meeting time and place at the organisation need to be given to staff and students well before the visit with reminders in the days leading up to the trip. For some visits students need to be briefed on health and safety aspects such as suitable clothing. <br />   <br /> To ensure good attendance details are announced in class, published in the module handbook at the start of the module and are on the VLE. Reminders were issued in class the week before, announcements made on discussion board and emails sent to students. <br />   <br /> 4.2 Pedagogical aspects: <br />   <br /> Studies have shown that students’ prior knowledge of the environment of the field trip is very important for reaching required objectives. (Bitgood, 1989). Orion and Hofstein (1991) refer to the field trip’s “novelty space”. They discovered that if a setting was “novel” or new, the students had to investigate it and only once they were familiar with the space, could they concentrate on their assignments. This is supported by research by Ballantyne and Packer (2002, cited in Dillon et al, 2006) which found significant differences between the students who had completed pre-trip activities and those who did not. <br />   The authors prepare students for the visits via discussion during class time and assignment work related to the visit. These discussions are continued on-line via the VLE discussion board. Groups of students are given task sheets to complete during the trip as well as suggested areas to look out for and possible questions to ask operations managers; students studying at a higher level draft their own questions and are able to direct their own observations. <br />
  • Implementation: <br />   <br /> Staff always accompany students on visits. This allows tutors to meet with and strengthen relationships with organisations, direct discussions and questions and supervise students. Registers are taken at the meeting point and students are reminded to adhere to the security and health and safety policies of the organisation being visited. <br />  
  • Follow up and feedback: <br />   <br /> After the visit discussion group activities are undertaken in class and on-line requiring students to share what they have learnt as a result of the visit. In some cases, to support assignment work, the operations managers visit the university for a Q and A session after the visit. <br />   <br /> Follow up contact with the organisation is also required – sending a thank you email, asking for feedback on the visit and establishing the possibility of future visits is all important. <br />  
  • Assessment: <br />   <br /> Students are required to submit assessment after the BFT ensuring sufficient time is given for the necessary reflection to have occurred and further student research to be undertaken as required. This opportunity to write about the BFT in a reflective manner is aimed at helping “learners connect theory to practices across disciplines and between academic instruction and workplace realities”, Wills and Clerkin (2009:4). <br />   <br /> Feedback from this assessment needs to be timely especially for those students who undertake an examination. Where possible operations managers are involved in reviewing work and providing feedback, although they take no part in grading work. <br />   <br /> The work is summative (often group work in the form of posters at levels 5 and 6, but reports and presentations are also used). The learning from the BFT is examined in the exam and there are opportunities throughout the delivery of the module for formative verbal feedback. <br />
  • Evaluation: <br />   <br /> BFTs take time to organise and the amount of evaluation undertaken at the end of the process should reflect this. Evaluation should consider whether the BFT worked overall as an effective learning activity for the students by considering attendance, assessment performance, including comments made by internal moderators and external examiners and feedback received from the students and the organisations visited. <br />   <br /> Student feedback can be obtained via post visit questionnaires, also via class room and virtual discussions that allow students to reflect more deeply on what they learnt on the BFT. Surveys also allow the tutors to evaluate the effectiveness of the trip, McQueen et al (2012). Tutors need to consider whether the visit could be repeated in future years and if so how the visit and associated assignment work could be improved. <br />  
  • Think about: <br /> Where the jobs are <br /> Using CAPS for advice <br /> PSRB

Curriculum design - Amanda Relph, Head of Business Analysis and Statistics Group, University of Hertfordshire Curriculum design - Amanda Relph, Head of Business Analysis and Statistics Group, University of Hertfordshire Presentation Transcript

  • Curriculum Design Amanda Relph Head of Business Analysis and Statistics Group, Hertfordshire Business School
  • MSc Business Analysis and Consultancy  Students will gain experience of applying analytical knowledge and skills to real consultancy, working with a local organisation in the complex context in which organisations operate.  The main modules that involve employers are Running a Consultancy Project and the Individual Consultancy Project  The Individual Consultancy Project provides an opportunity for a longer, more in depth study. Students can choose (with guidance) to undertake a practical or desk based study.  The work based project will be discussed between the student, supervisor and host organisation.
  • Running a Consultancy Project  Groups of up to 4 students investigate a work based project.  Each group will have an academic supervisor.  The nature of the project, the choice of supervisor and the organisation will depend on the students’ performance and the organisation’s need..
  • Running a Consultancy Project Introduction Problem Recognition Problem Investigation Propose Solution Implementation and Evaluation
  • Active and Experiential Learning on the module  The activity undertaken provides a link links between the institution and an external organisation.  You will have the opportunity to participate in a consultancy project.
  • What are the advantages of this approach?  Open exercise to get students to think about what they will / could achieve.
  • Business Field Trips  Another initiative for involving employers  Introduced by the Operations Management teaching team
  • The objectives of the BFTs are to provide opportunities to: • Enhance students' understanding of business operations • Allow students to see the application of theory in practice • Enhance classroom learning and discussion through a live case study • Engage in work related assessment • Undertake primary research through direct observation and discussions with the operations managers
  • 1. Identify and contact suitable organisations:  Most challenging element  Start early and contact as many as possible  Dates may change and visits can fall through  Contacts: placement organisations, family members, university staff, students, friends, contacts made at conferences and exhibitions and local knowledge / organisations  Contact via email, telephone or face to face  Before you contact any organisation it is useful to reconsider your learning objectives, number of students, location and dates
  • 2. Pre-visit reconnaissance:  helps develop a closer, more personal, relationship with the organisation  provides an opportunity for the tutor to discuss learning objectives and assessment possibilities  provides an opportunity to assess possible health and safety issues and complete a risk assessment  provides an opportunity for the tutor to learn about the organisation and ask questions before the trip
  • 3. Devise assessment:  Learning activities and assessment need to be carefully designed linking academic theory and knowledge to the experience gained from the BFT, in order to ensure the maximum effectiveness with regards to meeting learning objectives and enhancing the student experience.
  • 4. Visit preparation:  4.1 Logistical / operational aspects:  Suitable transport options and related instructions need to be organised.  4.2 Pedagogical aspects:  The authors prepare students for the visits via discussion during class time and assignment work related to the visit. These discussions are continued on-line via the VLE discussion board. Students are given or produce task sheets to complete during the trip as well as suggested areas to look out for and possible questions to ask operations managers.
  • 5. Implementation:  Staff always accompany students on visits.  This allows tutors to meet with and strengthen relationships with organisations, direct discussions and questions and supervise students.  Registers are taken at the meeting point and students are reminded to adhere to the security and health and safety policies of the organisation being visited.
  • 6. Follow up and feedback:  After the visit discussion group activities are undertaken in class and on-line requiring students to share what they have learnt as a result of the visit.  In some cases, to support assignment work, the operations managers visit the university for a Q and A session after the visit.  Follow up contact with the organisation is also required – sending a thank you email, asking for feedback on the visit and establishing the possibility of future visits is all important.
  • 7. Assessment:  Students are required to submit assessment after the BFT ensuring sufficient time is given for the necessary reflection to have occurred and further student research to be undertaken as required.  Feedback from this assessment needs to be timely especially for those students who undertake an examination. Where possible operations managers are involved in reviewing work and providing feedback, although they take no part in grading work.
  • 8. Evaluation:  Evaluation should consider whether the BFT worked overall as an effective learning activity for the students by considering attendance, assessment performance, including comments made by internal moderators and external examiners and feedback received from the students and the organisations visited.
  • Questions?
  • Discussion:  How do you enhance employability in your PG programmes?