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Strategic Planning and Control

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Assessment Rationale

Module Learning Outcomes:

•    Prepare a long term plan incorporating externally sourced reports covering all phases of the planning and control cycle

•    Apply concepts and principles of corporate strategy.

•    Apply advanced techniques of accounting and finance within the realistic context of a business simulation game.

•    Be able to conduct market based research from externally sourced information

Note: The learning outcomes are demonstrated by students in two pieces of assessment. The first is a piece of group work which is to be submitted by 21st November 2014. Students will have received feedback on this piece of work prior to submitting their second piece of assessment, a reflective learning log, which will include reflections on the feedback on the first component of assessment .

The techniques included within the module learning outcomes will be assessed via the group work component. Students will cover concepts and principles of strategy within lectures and will have the opportunity to apply these in producing a strategic business plan for the first assessment. Playing the business simulation game in their groups (teams of either three or four players) will give each group the opportunity to experience what it is like to follow their strategic plan in the business simulation, making learning  active and experiential.

Having demonstrated the application of techniques in constructing the plan and then experiencing the game, the students will be able to reflect on the techniques in the light of their experience of using them. This  will significantly increase their understanding and appreciation of what the techniques can and cannot do, and of applying the techniques of strategic planning as part of a team rather than as an individual (a richer and more realistic learning experience than evaluating the techniques from an academic and theoretical perspective only). .  The learning log therefore allows the student to reflect individually on their learning throughout the module, in terms of the technical module content (e.g. applying accounting and finance techniques, using theoretical models for strategy development, understanding how useful a particular technique is once it is used within the simulation,). The learning log will also give the opportunity for students to reflect on  the experience and development of ‘soft’ skills e.g. group working, communication skills, conflict resolution, time management etc, which will enrich their appreciation of the application of theoretical models. Whilst these soft skills are not explicit within the module outcomes, they will contribute to course outcome 4, and to our underlying course attribute of employability and the attribute enterprise.

Assessment Details:

Assessment Title:    Reflective Learning Log
Individual/Group    Individual
Weighting    50%
Hand in Date:    16th January 2015, 5pm

Module Details

The module introduces students to strategic planning and control and considers the role of the accountant in relation to strategic development and implementation. The module is designed to facilitate active and experiential learning through the use, for example, of a business simulation game. It also supports the development of ‘soft’ skills alongside the more theoretical and conceptual H6 learning. The module emphasises ‘learning by doing’ and encourages students to play and experiment within lectures and seminars and in the virtual world of the simulation.

it is important to note that the assessment attaches no weighting to the performance of the students in playing the game. Playing, and learning from playing, is more important than winning, and the criteria for deciding who “wins” in the game are not fixed (the criteria for “winning” itself might be the subject of a reflection). Note also that very rich reflections may arise from critically reviewing decisions which are ultimately found to have been ill-advised during the game playing!

Reflective Learning Log

The reflective learning log should be kept in an electronic format, e.g. Microsoft Word, and reflections on learning should ideally be built up on a weekly basis. These reflections will then form the appendices to a learning statement which pulls together key themes for reflection and discussion.

Your reflective log/journal should demonstrate both level 6 academic and reflective writing skills and is a critical analysis derived from your learning through the module.

Students should reflect on their learning by asking questions such as:

What have I learned?
How did I learn it?
How useful was the theory(s) in practice (simulation)?
Why did I take the approach I did to the problem?
How did being in a team affect what I did?
What would I do differently next time?
How might I use my learning in future, given my experiences in this module?

The log should not be purely descriptive. It is fine to use ‘what’ you have done as your starting point but you then need to develop this. Resources to support you in reflective writing will be provided in lectures and you will find the link to the skills for learning website useful: http://skillsforlearning.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/local/reflection/category_homepage.shtml

On completion of the module you need to submit your reflective learning log. This must include:

•    A table of contents
•    A learning statement
•    Appendices providing evidence
•    An action plan for future development
•    A list of references

Guidance for students:

The learning statement:

Indicative length 1500 – 2000 words

You should discuss your learning development in relation to the module. This will include the development of technical skills, e.g. relating to strategic analysis and accounting and finance techniques, and also ‘soft’ skills developed, e.g. group working, communication, report writing, dealing with conflict, time management etc.
The statement must contain elements of both of these.

The statement should be critical and reflective and should draw on examples and experience of your learning on the module, e.g. in lectures, seminars, playing the business game, independent learning either individually or in groups, past experiences on other modules. The statement should make clear links to the evidence provided in the appendices.

It is important that you integrate relevant theoretical concepts and models into your discussion and demonstrate your ability to practically relate and critically evaluate theory in the light of your own experiences and analysis.

The word count does not include the table of contents, reference list and appendices.

Appendices providing evidence

Indicative length – to provide sufficient evidence to support your reflections you might expect to include around 8 appendices, although some appendices may support more than one part of your reflections.

During the module you should collect material to support your reflections. This could include weekly learning logs/reflective writing, feedback e.g. on your strategic plan, peer evaluation from group members etc.

Notes on reflective writing – reflective learning/writing techniques will be explained in the lectures. The Skills for Learning website provides further guidance and resources. It should be noted that the evidence/reflections in these appendices may be quite ‘informal’ in nature.

Action plan for future development:

This should clearly indicate how you will continue your development and address your ongoing development needs.

Referencing

You should correctly reference all quotations and submit a reference list using the conventions laid out in ‘Quote Unquote’ for Harvard referencing. Appendices, footnotes and all referenced materials should comply with these conventions. Failure to reference quotations properly or incorrect bibliographies will be penalised.

Marking Scheme & Grading Criteria

Module Title:    Strategic Planning and Control (SPAC)    Level: 6
Assessment Title:    Reflective Learning Log    Weighted: 50%

Criteria and Weighting
100-70    69-60    59-50    49-40    39-20    19-0
Demonstration of how theory has been applied to a practical problem.

25%    Excellent examples used of how theory has been applied to specific contexts to show that it has been critically reflected upon.    Good examples used that demonstrate relevance of the theory and well reflected on within the text    Examples used that are informed by theory that are considered within the reflections    Examples are applied using some theory. There is limited critical reflection used to consider this in-depth    Theory and practice are not well integrated to facilitate a demonstration of applied theory.     Theory is poorly applied. Examples are not contextualised or reflected upon.
Clear application of both intellectual and practical knowledge
35%    Excellent, clearly and explicitly identified application of intellectual and practical knowledge that demonstrates excellent engagement with the learning materials, business game and additional reading and actual activities.    Very good application of intellectual and practical knowledge identified in the learning log that demonstrated a very good level of engagement with the course materials and activities as well as some additional reading and reflections on actual activities.    Good application of intellectual and practical knowledge identified with some effective use of course materials and learning activities.    Limited application of intellectual and practical knowledge with little engagement demonstrated on course activities and materials.    Very limited demonstration of both areas. Engagement activities can be identified but are not used effectively.    Non engagement on course and little practical or intellectual knowledge has been demonstrated.
Structure of log

10%
Excellent Structure showing good progression of the learning with outstanding  links  between theory and practice    Good Structure showing clear progression of the learning with clear links between theory and practice.    A satisfactory structure with reasonable progression of the learning.     Limited structure with some evidence of progression but links are unclear between theory and practice.    A poor structure with little evidence of progression or links between theory and practice.    Lack of structure and  very little evidence of progression or attempts to link theory and practice.
Reflective writing

20%    Assessment consistently demonstrates sophisticated and critical reflection which is well integrated in the text.
Application of theory
comprehensively reflected upon and implications well explored.    A good  approach to reflection on learning  is evident.    A satisfactory approach showing some reflection on learning.    Some evidence of reflection, though lacking in depth in relation to the learning.    Reflection generally superficial or lacking in either theoretical application and references to practical and theoretical approaches.    Reflection is very superficial and no real theoretical application or reference to activities is made.

Presentation, Referencing and Format

10%
Presentation shows a professional  approach to the topic. Referencing is consistently accurate using the Harvard system and is in the correct format.    Presentation is logically organized. Referencing is accurate using the Harvard system and is in the correct format.    Presentation satisfactory, showing organization and coherence. Referencing is consistent with the Harvard system but format needs some attention.    Presentation shows an attempt to organize in a logical manner. Referencing is inconsistent with the Harvard system.    Presentation is disorganized. Referencing using Harvard is poor, unsystematic and limited and  poor format.    No referencing and format is very poor.
Overall mark out of 100

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