theolynn

Time is Running Out – The DCU Business School Next Generation Management Immersion Course: Day One

In Business Education, DCU Business School, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Next Generation Management on November 7, 2009 at 7:59 pm

The DCU Business School Next Generation Management Immersion Course took place from 21 – 26 September. The intensive weeklong course saw over 160 students from the MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management and MSc in E-Commerce engage in individual and team activities over a week. The objectives of the course are to:

  • Introduce new students to DCU Business School and their programmes
  • Make students more excited about DCU Business School;
  • Imbue a greater sense of belonging at and create a shared sense of identity with DCU Business School;
  • Confirm programme and business school choice;
  • Reduce anxiety and failed attempts at learning;
  • Improve reasoning skills;
  • Improve team working and collaboration skills; and
  • Improve communication and presentation skills.

This year I delivered the course with support from faculty, staff, alumni and external specialists. The week kicked off with 4 minute presentation themed “Time Is Running Out” designed to preview the competencies the Next Generation Management initiative offers students on the MSc in Business Management, MBS in Marketing and MSc in E-commerce programmes. This was followed by an overview of the three programmes and DCU Business School, an abortive introduction (due to technical gremlins) to DCU Library by the business school librarian (and prolific blogger), David Meehan. We also decided to introduce students to key learning technologies – how to get connected to dcu wifi, our vle (moodle), Turnitin, as well as some technologies we will use more sporadically during the year e.g. our SMART Interactive Whiteboards, Senteo Voting Devices, Document Cameras amongst others. Next year, we may need to devote more time and a more structured approach to this element.

coffee

Don't drink from the Pot!

After a much deserved coffee (prefaced by a warning not to drink from the pot!), students were then organised into multi-programme groups to complete a treasure hunt around the campus for the prize of MP3 Players. While to many this may have seemed somewhat juvenile, competition was more intense than expected and it proved to be a good way for new students to discover the key locations they would need to get through the year.

NGM Immersion Course Students working fast and furiously

NGM Immersion Course Students working fast and furiously

The day finished with a team- and game-based exercise called “The Fast and the Furious”.  Designed to preview primary strategic elements and develop analytic thinking, the exercise uses videogame software (Racing Academy from Futurelab) and a narrative context to transfer strategic management concepts into a real-world situation. Although leaving it late, a number of teams reached the final stage within the allotted time. Despite this, there was a clear winner reinforcing the importance of first mover advantage – tickets for Eddie Izzard at O2 this Christmas seemed to go down well! The exercise once more proved successful in that the students behaved as other groups in the past i.e. largely ignoring the instructions and falling in to pre-designed traps. However this served for an instructive debrief. I recommend it as an effective vehicle to begin structured interactions among students, to open a dialogue between students and you, and to create a participative and interactive climate. The exercise and materials are available in the International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies 2009 – Vol. 2, No.1  pp. 92 – 113.

From our perspective, an important outcome for the immersion course was instilling a work ethic and time management culture early and ideally before the programme-proper commenced. The Immersion Course is a 5-credit module so students are expected to be assessed and complete assignments. The first day had some straightforward assignments – the completion of a technology usage and needs survey for one of our research centres, LINK, a review of the University copying, plagiarism and collusion rules, and an introductory reflection exercise. These exercises served dual purposes. The survey starts introducing the students to research in DCU Business School and indeed online surveys; it also allows us to understand their needs and expectations from DCU Business School from a technology perspective. Plagiarism, copying and collusion are an increasing problem in all universities. Not only must students review the rule, they have to print and sign an acknowledgement of such. This signed document is then kept with the student’s record and hopefully we will never have to refer to it but one never knows.  Maybe it will act as a deterrent but certainly provides constructive knowledge of the rules. The final exercise was designed to introduce students in to reflexive thinking but also gives them the opportunity to learn how to navigate and submit assignments through Moodle and Turnitin. Students were asked to answer 13 questions around thinking, intuition and imagination. It was surprising the number of single word answers received at this level – I had hoped for some greater evidence of reflection on why a student answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and some examples to illustrate but equally it is Day One and hopefully by the end of the year, we will have 160+ reflective thinkers!

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