An exploration of rationale behind non submission of final assignment in B100 An introduction to business and management.

Jewitt, Katharine (2020). An exploration of rationale behind non submission of final assignment in B100 An introduction to business and management. The Open University.

Abstract

This report has been funded by SCiLAB to carry out an exploration of rationale behind non submission of final assignment in B100 An Introduction to Business and Management

Most importantly to note first is that 100% of the students interviewed for this research project who were unsuccessful in completing B100, were unable to complete due to exceptional life circumstances that were completely external to the module. 100% of unsuccessful students reported high satisfaction for the module and all students who failed to complete B100 have every intention of returning to The Open University once they are able to do so. Out of all the students who were unable to complete the module, they all stopped studying due to several significant life events happening at the same time that were impacting their time and ability to study.

All students in this research study reported high satisfaction for B100, however, they have also provided feedback that can contribute to significant improvements to the module.

From analysis of SAS VA student progression reports and module dashboard data; ALs’ and students’ feedback and forum data analysis, the following five key themes have emerged as areas to focus on for improvement: • Assessment • Course Calendar • Forums • Induction and Study Skills Support • Tutorials

Key recommendations have been made to address issues within these five areas and are listed in section 8 of this report. In summary, it is recommended:
• The format of TMAs is reviewed with informal micro-assessments being introduced for students to receive interim feedback from tutors in the lead up to a TMA submission. This would provide confidence to students to complete the TMA and feel less pressured, having received some informal feedback in advance. It is also recommended that alternative options to a traditional essay format are provided to students.
• The course calendar is reviewed to ensure that each presentation has the same number of study weeks to avoid some presentations having three less study weeks to complete the module. TMA deadlines to be more evenly distributed.
• It is recommended that the B100 team examine strategies on other B-modules, for example B208 and integrating forum activities more closely into the teaching and strengthening some of the instructions so that it’s clear to students what they do in the forum. Another possibility would be to add some more exercises or activities (e.g. quizzes). B208 have assessment builder activities which may be useful for B100 to adopt.
• Operate an induction for new students to introduce business concepts and theories and begin making use of technology, such as building confidence in the use of OU forums. Support the development of study skills, in particular, writing skills throughout the module.
• Replace the numerous repetitions of the same tutorial with sessions at the start of the course to support students from a non-business background. Provide a mini bridge to build confidence in business terms. B100 is interdisciplinary, ask ALs to run tutorials according to their specialisms and strengths. Have one tutorial recorded for each study block, not all ALs recording all events. This will provide a shorter recording for those unable to attend and enable live tutorials not to be recorded, which will open up discussion during live sessions without students in fear of being recorded. It also stops the pressure students feel to listen to every recording, which also creates confusion with different language used by ALs. Students preferred to attend live online tutorials, rather than listening to a recording.

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