Building employability through assessments in a comparative management course Faculty Spark - View, reflect and apply
Last updated on 23/10/2019
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Amanda Daly examines management practices within organisations and across countries and cultures. She encourages students to think beyond the textbook as they consider similarities and differences between domestic and international management.
The challenge was to engage students in two ways:
- Applying theory to the contemporary global business context rather than relying on case studies that were often outdated
- Connecting with peers to develop ‘soft skills’ and enhance employability.
This required a shift to assessment that would promote deeper learning.
The on-campus version is a core course in International Business program and as such it supports the Assurance of Learning (AoL) process by which the Griffith Business School assures that students achieve the unique goals and objectives of their Bachelor of International Business.
AoL is a mandatory requirement for accreditation with the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Therefore the assessment assessment tasks had to measure how well students are achieving the overall program goals and objectives of the Bachelor of International Business.
Students are required to think beyond textbook theoretical content to make connections between managing in the global context and real world topical issues and events such as Brexit, the US international relations with North Korea and Russia, natural disasters, changes in government or the Royal Commission into banking in Australia. Students are invited to critically engage with these issues, and think about the impact of these events on a range of management decisions and processes.
As this is an online course, a suite of guest lecture recordings have been developed to provide students with insight into the application of theory, from a manager’s perspective. This aligns with the goal to embed employability within the course.
There is an emphasis on virtual learning, with how-to videos to support the completion of assessment tasks and building the soft skills such as working in virtual teams. There have been several iterations of the course, with a shift in assessment from individual written tasks and an exam to trial learning journals and group-based activities. Now, students are scaffolded across three assessment tasks, in which they are fulfilling the role of an International Management Consultant.
Task 1 is a group task to develop a resource on three countries within a specific region. The resource is guiding a client in their decision-making regarding establishing a new business overseas. This resource is an environmental analysis. Students are assigned a range of countries, including those that may be experiencing political unrest or may be developing nations.
In Task 2, students individually complete a report for their client in which they are advising the client how to establish the business overseas. This is a comparison of one of the countries they previously in Task 1, with a country examined by a different group. This report is written to a specific industry.
Finally, in Task 3 the students have an individual interview with the client (role-played by a member of the teaching team). In this oral exam, students build on their existing knowledge of the client’s industry within the analysed country to explore how to manage the staffing aspects of international management.
Reflecting the Learning Outcomes, students learn to work collaboratively with diverse groups of people.
Initially I was very nervous about introducing the interactive oral exam but this concern was unnecessary because the task is highly valued by students due to its authenticity and is seen as the best aspect:
”Client interview hands down. A very practical piece of assessment”.
This has led to a research project examining the use of interactive oral examinations in business courses. To date, the research team has presented at the e-Learn conference (2017), the GBS TCoP and at the 2017 University’s Celebration of Teaching Week Dean: Learning & Teaching Symposium.
This work is now influencing other colleagues at the Griffith University to implement such authentic tasks.
In terms of student evaluations, this course was ranked in the Top 20 of OUA units twice in 2017, and recently achieved 100% student satisfaction and a student evaluation of course result of 3.8/4.
Yammer is used for student to student and student to instructor discussions. It’s a useful tool for building a sense of community. Hashtags are used for each week’s topic so that students can easily refer to specific topics throughout the course. Students engage in their groups asynchronously through Yammer.
Weekly workshops are presented through Collaborate. Sessions are recorded for those students unable to attend.
Collaborate sessions are also provided to each group so that, if they wish, they can meet synchronously to work on Task 1.
Lectures and guest lecture recordings are created in the studio and embedded into the course site.
Consider the ‘why’ before implementing oral exams. To be perceived as an authentic assessment, the students need to see it links with other learning and teaching activities.
I strongly recommend working with the BLA/ED to understand how the technology can support the interactions between students for the team work and with the teaching team for the oral exam.
It is also important to build up the resources, specific to the assessment task, to scaffold the students’ learning and skill development
Griffith Graduate Attributes
The activities in this course clearly align with the following Griffith Graduate Attributes:
1. Knowledgeable and skilled, with critical judgement
2. Effective communicators and collaborators
3. Innovative, creative and entrepreneurial
6. Effective in culturally diverse and international environments
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Building employability through assessments in a comparative management course. Retrieved from https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/6345/view(2019).