Tag: Henley Business School

Henley Business School staff guide to using Turnitin to aid identifying and dealing with academic misconduct when marking

Edith Rigby, Henley Business School
e.rigby@henley.ac.uk

Overview

A review of existing University of Reading assessment advice and two staff workshops at Henley Business School to inform a new marker’s guide on fair marking and managing Academic Misconduct. The marker’s guide will specifically cover what to look out for and when and how to use Turnitin Originality Reports. The guide can also be used at staff development workshops.

Objectives

To produce a staff guide that:

  1. Distinguishes plagiarism, poor academic practice and academic misconduct
  2. Outlines different staff roles in relation to marking and assessment feedback
  3. Provides a training tool for new staff
  4. Promotes consistent marking and feedback practice including when or how to use Turnitin Originality Reports.

Context

Turnitin Originality Reports are used widely to detect potential academic misconduct. While there is some information on how to use Turnitin to help identify academic misconduct, there are no sessions or workshops on best practice specific to Henley Business School. Discrepancies can therefore able to arise across programmes in how similarity reports are used to advise students or inform marking.

Developing a new marker’s guide to best practice within Henley Business School when marking could ensure a more consistent student experience.

Implementation

Two workshops with the School Director of Teaching and Learning, Directors of Studies and Programme Directors were held to first identify current processes and areas of concern around academic misconduct, and specific areas on which guidance was needed. Then the structure and core content for a new marker’s guide were agreed. The core content was to include: definitions of roles of admin teams, module convenors, markers and Directors of Studies; core definitions; processes; and advice on basic and best practice for new markers.

Then a basic but flexible guide with space for users to add more examples and narratives of best practice was developed. This was based on the results of the two workshops and a review of the Henley Good Academic Practice guide and test for students, and University of Reading advice and documentation around academic misconduct.

Core staff were invited to contribute to the guide as a work in progress, and this draft guide was used at staff workshops.

Impact

The basic guide achieved the project objectives.

Different disciplines across Henley Business School have different needs and collating contributions from busy academics has resulted in a guide that is currently best used for workshops only. Once more contributions are forthcoming an online version can be developed as required.

The key impact of this project has been to generate discussion and share practices around the

  • purpose and processes of marking
  • different types of assessment and the assessment literacies required for staff and students
  • handling large group assessment and marking.

Reflections

Being able to identify what new markers need to know about roles and processes has turned out to be essential given the changes to the Academic Misconduct policy over the last two academic years. Academics and programme administrators alike have found this part of the guide more than helpful.

Henley Business School Directors of Studies also found the workshop discussions useful and pertinent to assessment aspects of their roles.

More workshops with targeted academics across an academic year as part of the project plan would have elicited more content.

Overall the work on this project has informed other work on eAssessment and eFeedback at Henley Business School, and will be revisited as part of the Henley review of assessment and feedback.

Follow up

In time more contributions will be sought so that the guide can better illustrate the differences between undergraduate and postgraduate marking requirements. It can then be made more interactive for web self-access or use in workshops.

Links

 Henley Marking Guide to Academic Misconduct and using Turnitin Originality Reports
If you need to edit this, please contact Nicola Langton (nicola.langton@henley.ac.uk).

Game-based learning using social media

Dr Stanimira Milcheva, Henley Business School
stani.milcheva@henley.reading.ac.uk
Year of activity: 2015/16

Overview

We designed a simple game (called the REFinGame) which was aligned with the course material and launched it on Facebook. This approach, which could easily be applied to other discipline areas, was successfully used to enhance student learning and engagement with modules related to real estate finance.

Objectives

  • Allow students to develop transferable skills.
  • Allow students to apply course material in a real-world scenario.
  • Provide immediate and personalised feedback.
  • Improve interactions among students and between students and the lecturer.
  • Help make the module more interactive and enjoyable for students.

Context

Real Estate Finance and Debt Markets (REMF41), is a master’s module within Henley Business School. During the module students gain an awareness of the financing process for real estate from both a borrower’s and a lender’s point of view. The game was designed so that students could apply course material and learn to assess the risks associated with financing decisions.

Implementation

First, together with Professor Charles Ward, the REFinGame was designed before the beginning of the module. The design had to take into account the course material and make simplifying assumptions so that the game could be modelled to best represent reality. The idea was that students would play the game over the course of the module outside the classroom. The game is about making financing decisions. Students are split into property developers (investors) and lenders (banks). The developers make decisions on how many properties to develop depending on how much money they have and how much finding they need from the bank. Moreover, they decide on the type of the properties, the location and other characteristics. The banks decide how much funding to provide to each developer. The game is played on Facebook on a weekly basis as information is introduced on the Facebook Wall each week. Students advertise properties on the Wall, and a decision is made by the game coordinator on the transaction price of the buildings, based on the total supply by developers and the macroeconomic situation in that period. The main idea is that students learn to assess the risks associated with financing decisions as they can lose the virtual money they have available by making the wrong decisions. The game is won by the student who accumulates the greatest amount of money.

A closed Facebook group was created for the module, a logo was created for the game, and students were briefed how to play the game. The developers and lenders had to negotiate loan conditions using Facebook messages. They then advertised the properties they developed by putting pictures and information on the Wall. The purchase prices are then communicated to the developers by private message. Information about the economy and the markets us distributed as a post on the Wall. Students have to fill in a spreadsheet each week and send this to the game instructor. The game instructor then provides feedback to each student. At the end of the game, students shared their experience of the game by giving a presentation in which they presented their strategy and performance throughout the game and compared it to their peers. These presentations are assessed.

Impact

A significant relationship was found between the students who performed well in the game and their overall module mark. Less tangible outcomes are that the game can help students develop skills such as problem solving, creativity, and strategic behaviour, and also increases the interaction among students and between the students and the lecturer. In particular we found that playing a game on Facebook helped to better integrate students who might be more reticent in class discussions. The lecturer can develop a better idea of each student’s performance leading to students receiving tailored and regular feedback and being able to improve throughout the game. This is one of the main advantages that students identified, along with the playfulness of the game, and the ease with which the game is played on Facebook. The major issues students faced were the perception that course material is not directly applied in the game. This demonstrates that it is important to manage student expectations as well as have a structured approach when it comes to game design. Ultimately, our goal is to create guidelines for using self-designed simple games incorporating Facebook, and improve student learning.

Reflection

The novelty of our approach is that we did not design a video game or a digital game using special software, but instead designed a simple game to be played online using Facebook as a platform. We wanted to show how with limited resources and time an instructor can construct a game and engage students with it, as Facebook is free and widely used by students. We have observed that the main challenge in the design of the game is to ensure that it aligns with the course material and to manage student expectations. For this purpose the instructor should very clearly explain how the game can benefit the students and how they will be assessed. Also, it is crucial to communicate how the course material can be used within the game to make decisions. For this purpose, the game designer needs to make sure that the students see the direct link between the course material and the learning outcomes of the game.

Engaging students in online careers events using Blackboard Collaborate

Daniel Kiernan & Graham Philpott, Henley Business School                                                                                              d.kiernan@henley.ac.uk   g.philpott@henley.ac.uk

Context

MBA students, Finance

Number of participants in sessions: 26

Session length: 20 minutes

Description

 Getting students to attend careers events during particular periods of term can be difficult. The
use of Collaborate was piloted to see if attendance could be increased by providing online
sessions when students typically don’t engage with face-to-face careers events.
 A short 20 minute presentation was given with PowerPoint slides and included separate online
poll questions.
 Students were encouraged to pose questions using the ‘Chat’ feature

Impact

 Student feedback was positive.
 The online event had higher attendance than would be expected for an equivalent face-to-face
session held in the same period. “We would typically really struggle to get 26 attendees to a
careers event during the summer term.”
 It was easy to organise and deliver the event.
 Not all of the students who pre-registered actually attended the webinar (15 attended, 17
didn’t). Most students stayed for the entire session.
 Dan was able to send those that weren’t able to attend a link to a recording after the session.

Thoughts and reflections

 Dan is keen to make future sessions more interactive, with more questions and responses. This
should help address attendance concerns. If you attend you get your question answered live!
 Possibly have an assistant to help moderate the chat and pose questions to the presenter.
 Think about the way in which you want to present your content and how this affects your ability
to manage and facilitate the session.
 The PowerPoint slides were displayed on Dan’s computer in Presenter View and delivered in
Collaborate using ‘Application Share’. PowerPoint presented in this way requires 2 screens and
also meant Dan wasn’t able to see the Chat while the slides were up.
 Check your camera angle and be mindful of it during the session.
 If you are recording the session, remember to exit the webinar properly, using the ‘Leave
Session’ button otherwise the recording continues.
 The recording captured the screen, audio/video and chat but didn’t capture the poll on screen
as this was viewed in a separate tool.

 Students attended the session using the ‘guest link’. This doesn’t record the email of the
students, so you’ll need to think about how students sign-up if you want to contact them (e.g.
via email) after the session.
 How should the recording of a session be made available after the session? Do you devalue the
benefit of attending the webinar if it’s made available to everyone? Should it only be sent to
attendees as an incentive to attend?
 Having a recording meant Dan was able to reflect on the content of presentation and consult
with his colleagues.

 

 

University support to avoid plagiarism – Student’s perspectives

Angelique Chettiparamb and Lucy Newton, Henley Business School

a.chettiparamb@reading.ac.uk; l.a.newton@henley.ac.uk

Overview

Four enterprising and enthusiastic students from different programmes in Henley Business School enquired into the effectiveness of School/University measures to enhance and promote academic integrity. The students were Eilish McDonald, Hetvi Shah, Prinal Shah and Tillie Hunter The project leads were Dr Angelique Chettiparamb (Real Estate and Planning) and Dr Lucy Newton (International Business and Strategy).

Objectives

  • To review the support mechanisms available to students at School/University level to help promote and sustain academic integrity in programmes within the Henley Business School.
  • To engage with other students to understand their level of engagement with training and support mechanisms relating to academic integrity available across the University.
  • To suggest ways of improving student support mechanisms to promote and enhance academic integrity of students in Henley Business School.
  • To build positive fruitful student/staff partnerships
  • To strengthen the student voice in policies, procedures and practices adopted to enhance academic integrity in the Henley Business School.
  • To foster personal and professional leadership among participating students.

Context

Developing academic integrity is a challenge across the University. The challenge is likely to increase with the rise of ‘essay mills’, the increasing pressures on students to achieve and the now widespread adoption of plagiarism detection tools such as Turnitin. Dr Chettiparamb and Dr Newton, as previous and current Directors of Studies in Henley Business School, led this project to understand the challenges of maintaining academic integrity from a student perspective.

Implementation

This project was funded (£500) from the UG programme budget of the Henley Business School by Dr Carol Padgett. It followed from a Teaching and Learning Development Fund (TLDF) project on academic misconduct involving student focus group discussions.

Steps in implementing this project were:

  • Four students from diverse programmes across Henley Business School were chosen from those who had previously volunteered in the TLDF project.
  • The students were briefed about this project.
  • Students themselves defined aims, deliverables and methods of inquiry.
  • The students identified and evaluated available material to enhance academic integrity across Henley Business School/University.
  • Participating students interviewed their fellow students to capture and understand different student perspectives and challenges relating to maintaining academic integrity.
  • The academics leads met the students in regular follow-up meetings to ensure support, provide encouragement and continue productive partnerships.
  • The students presented well-received insights and recommendations to key T&L staff in Henley Business School, to CQSD and to Student Union representatives.
  • The student’s perspectives and the student experiences were recorded for later dissemination.

Impact

Students were tasked to present their perspective on current support materials and activities available in Henley Business School/University and suggest improvements in order to help enhance academic integrity. Areas of improvement that they suggested were:

  1. a) A booklet written by students and for students from existing material with practice exercises.
  2. b) More peer student support to ensure that academic integrity is fully embedded;
  3. c) More academic tutor support for aspiring and promoting academic integrity as well as positive staff-student partnerships;
  4. d) Briefing sessions and in-class exercises (rather than online alone) to strengthen academic values and support academic integrity.
  5. e) Significant and sustained Students’ Union involvement in raising awareness across the University;

Points a) b) and d) are being addressed through two follow-on projects initiated by the academic leads and funded by Dr Susan Rose, School Director of Teaching and Learning, Henley Business School. We understand that the Students’ Union is considering point e).

The student’s presentations led to inspired discussions, de-brief meetings with wider staff and agreements to take forward their ideas through additional on-going student-led funded projects.

Reflections

The activity proved to be successful and inspiring as it forged new staff-student dialogues, empowered Eilish, Hetvi, Prinal and Tillie and enabled the student voice to be heard in policies, procedures and practice. It has spawned further projects, continuing and refining dialogues with students on embedding academic integrity.

As academics, the project has enabled us to see ways and means of effectively fostering academic integrity in tandem with students. This has proved to be a sustainable and rewarding approach to improve academic integrity. It has kindled further interest in the subject and encouraged us to disseminate our experience more widely. Through the project, the students have also facilitated inter-school and inter-disciplinary dialogues at staff as well as student levels.

The students themselves have benefited from the project in a number of ways. They have gained confidence through multiple interactions with staff and student colleagues and have presented in different formats to various audiences. Their journey has scaled from within Henley Business School, through the University of Reading to beyond the University of Reading. The students have taken ownership of the project and as a result have constructed their own learning experience.

Henley students’ social media engagement

Alina Maroukian, Henley Business School                                        a.maroukian@henley.ac.uk                                                                                                              Year of activity: 2016/17

Overview

A group of Henley Business School students supported the digital marketing team by creating content for social media use and providing social media support at key events. By creating social media content the students helped improve engagement on Henley Business School’s social channels and helped provide a student voice. At the same time, they gained work experience and developed their skills.

Objectives

  • To build their understanding of social media marketing through practice
  • To enhance their collaboration and prioritisation skills
  • To improve engagement on all social media channels, especially at key events
  • To provide our social media channels with more of a student voice.

Context

The activity was undertaken to assist the Henley Business School Digital team and simultaneously to provide students with valuable work experience and the opportunity to gain a reference as a result of their efforts.

Implementation

The Henley Business school digital team provided students with training on the digital Sprout Social platform and provided guidance for posting content. Students were provided with support at every stage of the process and they were provided with additional equipment, when necessary (such as tripod, portable battery pack, ipod, etc) at Henley Business school events. We asked students to keep a simple record of the activities they did on a spreadsheet (template provided to them) and requested they do 3 pieces/ week– where a publishing a post, or acquiring a testimonial from a fellow student or taking part in live-tweeting would constitute 1 activity. We gave them the tools to do this in the time that suited them best and always ensured their studies came first. The 3 pieces/ week was a rough guide of average to do and we kept it flexible so that exam times / holidays were given as exceptions.

Impact

The main objective was to improve our social media performance and to promote our student voice more. On Twitter the student helpers reached 4.2k and had 31 engagements. On Instagram they had a 12.3k reach and 748 engagements. This drastically helped show a more relatable social media student presence on Instagram and Twitter.

Reflections

Having students help with social media did prove to be very successful as it helped increase engagement on our channels but also gave them opportunity to develop their skills. The key was that, after initial digital training, the students were provided with a level of flexibility with their content and working hours. The activity could be taken further and if students were provided with hourly pay this might provide more motivation and lead to an increase in the amount of social media student posts, as well as a higher quality within their work. By an increased amount of posts they would help increase our social media presence even further and improve our engagement levels. Also, we could enhance their input by training them further on content production.

Follow up

We are looking into the possibility of using Campus Jobs to hire students for ad hoc work similar to what was done in 2016-17, as it proved to be successful. We will be adding content production to the type of work they can take part in as their input last year revealed that there is an interest. This is for on-the-go videos and photos on a mobile device but with training for optimum results.

Links

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSLlchAj8ii/?taken-by=henleybschool
The above video was taken by Henley Business School students and it received 2,190 views on social media. Other examples include:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/HenleyBusinessSchool/videos/?ref=page_internal
https://twitter.com/HenleyBSchool/status/837038728753397760
https://www.instagram.com/p/BTWNRlxjP7d/?taken-by=henleybschool
https://www.instagram.com/p/BRnuXXxD9ph/?taken-by=henleybschool
https://www.instagram.com/p/BQlhsD3jecs/?taken-by=henleybschool
https://www.instagram.com/p/BQDNMOzh4Ju/?taken-by=henleybschool
However this is only a sample, the work was spread out throughout the academic year 2016-17.

 

 

Group work: investigating the requirements of a student resource

Sonia Hood, Study Adviser, Library                                                             s.hood@reading.ac.uk                                                                                                                     Year of activity: 2015/16

Overview

The project explored both the challenges and solutions of assessed group work, from a staff and student perspective. Focus groups and in-depth interviews with undergraduates, postgraduates and staff revealed a number of key challenges such as: confronting ‘difficult’ group members; ensuring fairness; and dealing with varying priorities. A number of solutions were proposed including: careful consideration of the % mark allocated to group work; training on dealing with challenging individuals; more emphasis on self-awareness; and timetabled group work sessions. The project offers a number of recommendations to anyone wishing to improve their students’ ability to engage positively with group work.

Objectives

  • To explore the challenges and solutions to assessed group work, from a student and staff perspective
  • To offer recommendations that support students to independently solve some of the challenges they face with this form of assessment
  • To create a ‘student reviewed’ bank of group work resources

Context

Group work is an integral part of assessment at university but students rarely arrive equipped with the skills, experience and knowledge to deal with the challenges they face when working in groups. As a result this can be a cause of anxiety for students and also a time consuming intervention for lecturers. Henley Business School (HBS) approached Study Advice for help in supporting their students to deal with the group work challenges they face. Whilst it was accepted that a wide range of open access group work resources were already available, it was felt that students needed help navigating these. In addition, it was felt in order to truly support students with group work we first needed to understand the challenges they face, how they have/intend to overcome these and how best they would like to be supported in doing this. Real Estate and Planning (REP) students were chosen as the sample and focus groups and in-depth interviews were used to explore the perceptions, challenges and proposed solutions for assessed group work.

Implementation

A student researcher post was developed and an REP student was employed over the summer to evaluate the wealth of open access resources available on group work. This resulted in a folder of group work resources being created and uploaded onto Blackboard.  In addition a pack containing key resources was compiled and handed out to part 1 REP students when commencing their first group work project.

A staff focus group took place in June 2015, where 7 HBS staff members discussed the challenges and solutions to group work from their experience and perspective. Following this, in the autumn term part 1 students from REP were invited to a focus group to discuss their early perceptions of group work at university. In the spring term, 6 students following MSc planning courses contributed to a focus group, discussing the challenges they faced and their proposed solutions. Finally over the course of the spring and summer terms, 8 in-depth interviews were carried out with both undergraduates (UGs) and postgraduates (PGs) following Real Estate and Planning courses to explore their individual experiences with this form of assessment. These interviews and focus groups were then transcribed, analysed and themed into both challenges and solutions.

Impact

All three objectives of this study were reached. We now have a bank of resources to support students with group work, available on Blackboard, which can be copied into any course.

Group work student pack
Excerpt from Student Pack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The initial pack handed out to students proved to be useful for undergraduates, mainly as an aid to focus early group discussions. The research has helped to develop our understanding of the challenges students face and the solutions they feel could be implemented. These are being disseminated in the first instance to those in REP and then to the wider T&L community. It is hoped that these findings will help to improve the effectiveness and experience of group working for a wide variety of students.

Reflections

The interviews and focus groups revealed the complex challenges associated with group work: not least in dealing with conflict and difficult group members, managing different priorities within the group and the perception of fairness with regards the marking system. Solutions varied between the PG and UG students, though all recognised that effective teams take time to get to know each other informally. Students suggested that informal events could be organised as part of their course to help them through this ‘forming’ stage. PG students also asked for careful consideration of how the mark for group work is allocated (with a higher proportion allocated to individual work) and a penalty imposed as a last resort. More support was requested in dealing with conflict and difficult team members, and the need for more self-reflection from everyone within the group was identified. There are also some simple things we can do to help students with the practicalities of group work, like timetabling group work sessions and  booking rooms at set times for students to use. In terms of tutor support, it was recognized that their time was limited; when it comes to personal issues within a group, speaking to a mentor (like a part 2 student) who could offer confidential, impartial advice would be a preferable option for UGs.

Follow up

Overall, the majority of students recognised the importance and value of group work, not only for future careers but also in the depth and breadth of work they could produce. There are a complex set of challenges that students face in dealing with this form of assessment and this project reveals some solutions that students believe we could implement to help them to deal with issues independently.

Work continues on this project, as at present we are only just starting to disseminate the findings. Whilst the recommendations from this small scale study might not be relevant to all engaged in group work, it is felt that a number of themes and challenges are shared across a variety of disciplines. We would welcome speaking to anyone who is interested in finding out more about this project and how they might benefit from this research.

Integrating Facebook into team-based learning

Dr Christopher Voisey, Henley Business School
c.j.voisey@reading.ac.uk
Year of activity: 2014/15

Overview

11331The core Part Two undergraduate module, International Business Management and Strategy (MM272), was redesigned on two pillars: teamwork, and social media (Facebook). Formal student evaluations were high and feedback from focus groups with students was very positive – students found the use of Facebook effective and enjoyable, and students felt fully engaged.

Objectives

  • Increase student engagement with team-based learning.
  • Integrate Facebook into module delivery.

Context

Team-based learning forms a core part of the Part Two module MM272; approximately 150 students are enrolled on this module. Yet inter-team discussions within the team-based learning context were limited to and by the classroom. Team-based learning for modules with larger student cohorts is an especially promising context in which Facebook may enhance learning outcomes. A recent project at the University of Reading had evaluated Blackboard Learn and email as being confusing and dated to students for the purposes of sharing, and that Facebook provided a more flexible and familiar platform. As a two-sided network in which posters and readers provide each other with network benefits through interactions, Facebook complements team-based learning by allowing for posting of key team arguments online, and for multiple rounds of comments and responses – dynamic interactions that strengthen learning.

Implementation

First, a closed course Facebook group was created, students were divided into teams, and six Facebook-enabled tasks were designed. These tasks were to vote for module coursework mark allocation across assessment areas, to submit case-based assignments by in-class posting onto dedicated Facebook events (with tagging of other teams for comment), to appeal multiple choice questions, to post analyses of current business topics, for the module convenor to provide assignment-feedback (but not marks), and to post a Q&A and documents for download.

Impact

Facebook enabled development of norms of ‘professional informality’; barriers were lowered and there was greater tacit understanding of the subject, with higher learning outcomes as evidenced from exams. Facebook was inclusive, and gave a ‘voice’ to students who might be more reticent in class discussion. Class time was not monopolised by one speaker, but all voices were provided an audience through postings and comments online.

Reflections

Facebook has afforded advantages understood from a social constructivist perspective on learning – learning emerges from social activity. Students observed each other, their postings, and this shaped their behaviours, leading to the development of norms in interacting, and increasing the level of scholarship in assignments, consistent with social learning theory. Socially, the boundary between personal and professional becomes blurred.

Assessing the use of Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education: the case of trading simulation software at the ICMA Centre

Dr Ioannis Oikonomou, ICMA Centre
i.oikonomou@icmacentre.ac.uk
Year(s) of activity: 2013-14

Overview

8948This project reviewed the effectiveness of the ICMA Centre’s use of trading simulation software, a unique combination of problem-based learning and role-playing which uses modern technology.  While it was found that students enjoyed having access to trading simulation software for their learning, a number of areas in which improvements could be made were identified, and recommendations were made to effect these.

Objectives

  • To assess the effectiveness of the ICMA Centre’s use of trading simulations software.
  • Highlight areas for improvement and make suggestions about the possible restructuring of the content of the offered trading simulation modules and ways of further enhancing their academic and practical usefulness for students.

Context

The ICMA Centre has three dealing rooms, which are used for conducting small group seminars, workshops and trading simulation sessions for modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as being a valuable tool for outreach purposes.

Although the ICMA Centre has been subject to periodic and contextual review, there has been no formal investigation that specifically targets the teaching and learning issues and transferable skills of the trading simulation software.

Implementation

To assess the effectiveness of the use of these facilities, historic feedback was analysed. The ICMA Centre had regularly undergone periodic and contextual reviews as according to University of Reading policy, with these reviews evaluating all aspects of the ICMA Centre’s programmes. This was therefore a valuable resource for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the use of trading simulation software for teaching and learning within the wider context of the ICMA Centre’s delivery of programmes.

Also analysed were evaluation forms connected to trading sessions at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level for three academic years. The great benefit of these data were that it allowed quantitative analysis of trading simulation software, as students gave numerical scores to indicate their satisfaction. Qualitative data were also available, with students providing free text comments, which give specific details about what had worked well and what might need improving.

Interviews were conducted with module convenors and teaching assistants. This allowed greater detailed information to be generated on the strengths and weaknesses of trading simulation sessions, and offered the chance to discuss module convenors’ and teaching assistants’ perspective on trading simulation sessions. Additionally, interviews with staff were valuable for capturing some of the informal opinions and attitudes of students, which may not have expressed in formal evaluations.

The guidance offered by these analyses was used to formulate an online questionnaire in order to generate quantifiable data.  Finally, two student focus groups, one of undergraduate students and one of postgraduate students, were interviewed in order to expand upon the findings of the questionnaire. Effort was made to accurately represent the diversity of student backgrounds on ICMA programmes in the focus groups.

Reflections

Historic evaluation forms, interviews with module convenors and teaching assistants, the online questionnaire, and the focus groups had comparable findings.  Overall, students very much enjoyed the use of trading simulation software, and generally found it to be user-friendly, reasonable and realistic.  The realism and ‘hands-on’ nature of the platform are particularly beneficial characteristics, as adult learners tend to focus on tasks, especially when they believe they may encounter these in their lives.  The trading simulations were highlighted as being effective tools for the development of employable skills, and helped students to internalise complex financial concepts.

The principal negative aspects of users experiences of trading simulation software that were raised at multiple points during the study, were that students wanted more time using the trading simulation software, and better connection between lectures and use of the trading simulation software.  This was most keenly felt by undergraduate students, who receive significantly fewer trading hours than postgraduates, and who felt that the sessions could be better embedded into their teaching and learning portfolios. As a result of these findings, a number of recommendations were made for improving the delivery of teaching and learning with the use of trading simulation sessions.

Follow up

Progress has been made on fulfilling the recommendations of the report: Trading Simulation II has been moved from the Financial Modelling module to the more suitable Debt Markets and Instruments; module convenors have instructions to be mindful of the link between their lectures and trading simulation sessions, and for how performance in trading simulations sessions is to be benchmarked; alterations and additions have been made to the simulation software’s scenarios so that it can be utilised for different learning outcomes; availability of trading simulation sessions has been increased, and trading hours for students have been increased; students are given firm guidance and information on the interpretation of and access to their feedback; and an experienced trader has been employed as a sessional lecturer for the undergraduate training sessions.

With these alterations having been made, feedback on trading simulation sessions has improved, and students demonstrate deep and broad levels of learning on concepts they are able to explore through the use of trading simulation sessions.

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