Business and Management update - December 2013

Richard Atfield

Richard Atfield, HEA Discipline Lead for Business and Management

Contact Information:

Mobile: +44 (7720) 968831
Twitter @HEA_BusinessEdu,

Welcome to the December update

HEA Business and Management news - several issues under discussion


Online submission and marking

An exchange of emails over the past week or so has generated quite a wide-ranging picture of the extent to which this is currently in practice in Business and Management schools.

Online submission seems to quite wide-spread - the Open University have used online submission for many years as have the University of the Highlands and Islands, both for 'distance' reasons. Some require drafts and/or final written assignments to be submitted through Turnitin, but there seems to be quite a lot of flexibility across programmes and modules in some instances.

Even if submitted online, marking and feedback may be manual with staff printing off the scripts to deal with by hand, although there were several examples of both online marking and feedback. Here are a few examples:

Ibrahim Sirkeci of Regent's University London said they have been using online marking since 2006 and recently it became more dominant, with Turnitin now integrated into Blackboard. “When the programme teams include nationally or internationally dispersed members there is undeniable advantages, also for external examiners, avoiding paperwork and postal disasters. However, many colleagues also complain that ‘it hurts the eye’." 

Among several comments from the University of West London, Zorlu Senyucel offered the following thoughts .
Pros include:

  • no paper work to carry around, no danger of lost assignments;
  • no question/conflict of whether student submit or not, no lost receipts, etc.;
  • no transferring of marks, no list making, it stores the assignments, comments/feedback & marks;
  • no need to arrange samples for externals;
  • can mark anywhere, any time with internet and web browser access;
  • once labels are arranged simply copy and paste;
  • students don't have to spend hours deciphering your handwriting;

Cons include:

  • compulsory all staff: training, training and training;
  • students need a session on how to submit and how to look for/read comments & feedback
  • cannot mark on iPad;
  • creating labels for comments/feedback can be time consuming in the beginning;
  • might need a wider screen to mark (better on a LCD TV with Internet connection).

David Mackrory added there is the option of recording audio feedback, that time spent on creating a detailed rubric is well spent, and that there is no need to find storage space for masses of paper. However there is a suspicion marking takes a bit longer. And for Usha Mistry who is partially sighted, “I was able to magnify the assignment which is such a relief. There is a question of getting the posture right though.” 

Deb Lewis at Swansea University described largely positive outcomes from postgraduate assignments being submitted through Turnitin, although some colleagues are less convinced. Also a Grademark pilot in 2012-13 all undergraduate submission and marking is online, with many practical benefits about date of submission, access to work to mark it and collation of scripts.    

Suzy Jagger at University of Roehampton says from this year all submissions in undergraduate years 1 and 2 are marked online except where not appropriate (presentations or group work) and from next year all submissions on the undergraduate programme will be marked online. “Using Grademark we have developed a policy which requires three types of feedback for every assignment: a rubric which uses a set range of marks for consistency), 'bubbles' (for detailed feedback), and general comments (for personal overall comment, with an audio facility).” 

Hazel Nendick at Bristol University uses Turnitin but not for marking. “We mark by hand in the Management Department, and make notes on essays, along with a written or word document to summarise our marking. I think there is much more value in personal feedback to students on their essays, and more opportunity for this if it's hand written, and I also give essays back in class which gives opportunity for further personal feedback. I think online marking puts more distance between us and our students.” 

Karen Burrows at the University Centre in Grimsby says they trialled e-submissions and feedback last academic year, which has been rolled out across the whole of their HE provision this year. “I was apprehensive at first but I and colleagues have commented on how much easier we found this process.” Plus points - much easier to provide clear feedback throughout the script, turnaround times do seem quicker, students are happier to receive feedback this way. Downsides - dissertations were difficult as had to keep moving the text up and down, does not work for all assessments.

An additional element is how non-text assignments may be dealt with online too. I have asked if contributers to discussion will write up a brief description to post here and I will let you know when they are available. How is it for you?


Do examinations, and/or the length of examinations, disadvantage students who are non-English speakers/readers?

It is likely to be an issue as there is evidence, e.g. ASKe at Oxford Brookes, that written English will take longer to read for students whereEnglish is not their first language. However we have struggled to find any research on the subject so all contributions would be gratefully received.


My highlights from November

New to teaching in Business Education workshop in Birmingham

I enjoyed a day in Birmingham where Lynn and I led a workshop considering issues for teaching and learning in Business and Management schools.Issues raised included:

  • classroom management/control/attendance/engagement, especislly of undergraduates;
  • balancing teaching and research workloads;
  • career pathways and management, building networks;
  • academic politics;
  • dealing with the variety and diversity of studen types/ backgrounds/ experience;
  • teaching in HE programmes v. teaching professionals;
  • how to make lectures/seminars/learning more student-led and more interative;
  • UKPSF and HEA Fellowship.

Hopefully the workshop discussions and Yammer networking will be of continuing value. There are a number of resources around (contact me if you want to know about any) and many relevant workshops coming up across the UK which could be of benefit for both the content and contacts. However there is no replacement for practice and developing confidence and we wish them and all other early career academics all the best for 2013-14.

HEA Research and Policy Seminar/Webinar - “Higher education for the future: flexible pedagogies that empower learners for complexity, uncertainty and change” 

I attended this recent seminar, presented in York and online by Prof Daniella Tilbury and Dr Alex Ryan of the University of Gloucester. The vodcast is available on the HEA research and policy events page and the slides on the event web page. The definition, “Flexibility is the ability to think, act, live and work differently in complex and uncertain times”, is a message for our own CPD and one I will take into all my areas of work. Some of the questions about the future role of HE will be considered further at the Social Sciences conference next May

Meeting with staff at Newcastle Business SchoolNewcastle Business School

It was a rather cold and grey day to travel to Newcastle, with rain and sleet in the air, and the sun peeping through the murk as I crossed the bridge to the Business School. In contrast the welcome was very warm and I enjoyed meeting with academic staff from both the Business and Law schools. As well as running through the range of services and opportunities available through the HEA, we also discussed the background and processes towards HEA Fellowship. Some had completed or were in progress with a postgraduate certificate to gain Fellowship, others were considering applying for Senior or Principal Fellow. I know that many elsewhere have found preparing applications alongside a few colleagues has been helpful so I left them with the advice to 'find a gang' to work with - good luck with that.

Organising business field trips for Operations Management students

This workshop at Hertfordshire Business School attracted academics from a number of universities to hear from the lectures, students and employers who have been involved in these trips. The team at HBS have been using this approach for some years, providing over 1200 students with a brief experience of a business location, the real operational issues, the business, and of meeting key staff.

There were clear benefits expressed by the students by gaining insights of 'theory into practice' and many went on to full year placements to have a lived experience in industry. Equally there were benefits expressed by employers, some unexpected, but one key issue identified was the need for students on visits and placements to understand the core need to manage staff effectively to deliver business operations successfully.

A summary of the workshop and associated resources will be available from the team soon as a separate post.

In the coming month:

I will be attending Placements with industry experience in Business and Management programmes at Exeter Business School on 17 December 2013 and travelling on to Plymouth for the Internationalisation and the Student Experience 2013 conference at Plymouth University on 18 December 2013

HEA Events

Check out the HEA Events list - some workshops relevant to Business education include:

Other news

Association of Business Schools - Analysis of the NSS data relating to Business education JACS codes is now available on the ABS website.

ABS learning and teaching conference, 29-30 April 2014 - Call for abstracts
The Association of Business Schools 3rd annual learning and teaching conference will take place at Aston Business School, Birmingham.
The call for abstracts is available at - deadline 14 January 2014.
The ‘early bird’ rate for registrations is open to 30 December 2013.

Consultation on draft guidance for UK higher education providers on education for sustainable development: QAA is consulting with universities and other stakeholders about this new guidance, which is intended to be of practical help to those wishing to embed or include an understanding of sustainable development issues within the student academic experience. This approach is based on the successful model used to frame the development of the guidance for enterprise education. The deadline is 03 January 2014. 

Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE): announce they have received funding from the Scottish Funding Council to continue their work with universities until 2016, as well as expanding their support into the college sector. Their role is to encourage and support students as they take their first steps into turning enterprise ideas into reality. SIE work closely with other support organisations, as well as tapping into the incredibly supportive business community in Scotland, to make sure these new entrepreneurs get the right help and support. 

British Academy of Management:The call for papers is open seeking submissions from all sub-disciplines of management research for their annual conference, BAM2014 in Belfast next September.

BAM have also announced the results of the recent elections for their Executive and announce that the successful candidates are:

  • Bill Cooke – Vice Chair (Research and Publications)
  • David Denyer – Vice Chair (Academic Affairs of Conference and Capacity Building)
  • Anne Clare Gillon – Vice Chair (Special Interest Groups) – 2nd year
  • Bill Lee – Vice Chair (Special Interest Groups) – 1st year
  • Katy Mason – Vice Chair (Learning and Teaching) 

European Award for Excellence in Teaching in Social Sciences and Humanities: Call for Applications is open and further information can be found on the European Central University website. The deadline is 20 January 2014. 

Keep in the know!

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  • check out the year ahead calendar for events and calls;
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