Undergraduate Core module STR6008: International Business Strategy
Detailed Guidance for Group Presentation Element of the Module Assessment
Weeks 21 to 23
In accordance with the Module Specification, the assessment for this module has two elements: an examination and a group presentation. The examination will count for 80% of your assessment: thepresentation will count for 20% of your overall mark.
A formal presentation that will be assessed in accordance with the criteria and rules laid out below, will take place within each seminar group in the course weeks 21, 22 and 23. Prior to the formal presentation, groups will have the opportunity to make practice presentations and get feedback from their tutor.
Full details are given below.
1.0 Rationale for including a group presentation
Increasingly we hear from business leaders that they require and thus value certain skills and knowledge sets from new graduates. One such skill set is the ability to make a presentation and to present a situation or problem in a lucid and confident manner. We also learn from students taking a year out of University on a work placement, and from ex-students who are now employed, that it is becoming commonplace for them to present to both colleagues in their team and to others within their organisations – and this may include presentations to their boss, or even more senior management within the organisations – even, occasionally, to customers and/or suppliers. Often, this process starts within days of them beginning their management training – and for many of you, making a presentation might well be part of the actual recruitment process
Therefore, as a part of the University’s commitment to ’employability’ we have a concern that our graduating students have appropriate skills in the area of presenting.
This module represents a perfect opportunity to develop and hone this skill, as traditionally much of the teaching of strategy has been based around case studies, and these give students the ideal subjects on which to perform.
2.0 Background to the organisation and delivery of presentations
The first three weeks of the programme are about orientation to the module aims and requirements, starting to study the subject, and getting used to (again, for the majority of students) thinking, studying and preparing class activities; the next four are about practising the use of theory in case analysis and how to structure a presentation.
However, in your seminar groups, starting from week three of the programme you will be put into sub-groups of about 6 members.
You will be able to choose the members of your sub-group, but will not be able to move from this sub-group, once allocated to it, unless you gain the permission of the Head of Department, Bruce Philp.
In these groups you will practice in the seminar sessions, from week four to week seven inclusive, the use of analytical techniques based on theory, and receive feedback on your understanding and skills development.
2.1 The Three Phases to group presentations
2.1.1 Phase One
From Week Eight onwards (week commencing 16th November, 2015), in each seminar group, usually two sub-groups each week will be asked to present their answers to questions. The questions will relate to a case study. The case study will appear on our STR6008 Moodle site, and together with the questions that the group will have to present their answers on, will be in the week block ONE WEEK before the presentation needs to be made.
This will also be detailed on the STR6008 Course Schedule Document, also available from the “Module Information and Assessment” block. The rhythm of this should become clear as we progress through the first few weeks.
This phase will last until around week 5 of term 2 (so to the end of week 17, 26th February, 2016).
This is NOT a punishment – ALL groups should try to take the opportunity to practice both process and content. For each presentation the seminar tutor will give feedback to the groups presenting, about their presentation content and process. By these terms we mean:
CONTENT the actual material presented (commonly done through PowerPoint slides, but other presenting methods are available), including appropriate information about the case study organisation and its situation, appropriate selection and use of relevant course theory and the discussion of issues as they relate to the questions set.
PROCESS the physical presenting process – what decisions have the groups made about who will present? How clear is the presentation to the audience, in terms of its flow and the speaking abilities of the presenter[s], the style of the presentation (animated, lively and interesting or incomprehensible, dull and boring?), and how well any visual aids have been used.
The “Module Information and Assessment” block also contains a copy of the formal Presentation Assessment sheet that will be used to do this, so it will be worth your time and effort as a sub-group to download this and take into account the marking criteria, when you make EVERY one of your presentations.
2.1.2 Phase Two
Between week 18 and week 20, each group will have one opportunity to make a ‘dress rehearsal’ presentation ahead of the final one, which will be formally assessed. All of the formal presentations will be videoed, so this will happen also, to the dress rehearsal performances. This will be the last opportunity that you get to practice presentation skills and receive feedback.
This phase will last for three weeks.
2.1.3 Phase Three Between week 21 and week 23 of the course, each group will have to make its formal presentation.
Each presentation will be videoed, and graded according to the assessment rules. That mark will be the one entered for all group members, for the “presentation” element of the assessment. This enables another staff member to review the performance, and discuss with the first marker, the mark awarded. It also allows the External Examiner to review the evidence against the marks awarded – an important part of the assessment process.
If a group makes a mess of the formal presentation there is no opportunity to do it again (but see the important conditions, specified in the section below).
3.0 Instructions for Presentations
Case study analysis requires logic and a structure to your approach to the case, and your thinking about the issues raised within it. This is what we also expect you to do when analysing real life situations in your future employment -and it is what your employer will expect of you, so getting to be good at this is an EMPLOYABILITY Skill that employers value in new graduates.
In the examination it will be important to not simply put in some theory or other, or write and tell the examiners about that theory, but to show that you understand what that theory is about and how it works ‘in the real world’ by the use that you make of a particular theory to help structure your answer and to help you make the points necessary about what is happening in the case study.
Similarly, if and when you get to make presentations in your future working life, unless you become a teacher or a university academic, your audience will not expect you to tell them a lot about the theory, frameworks and tools you are using in your presentation, but simply to get on and use them in a practical manner.
To facilitate this, your presentation should make use of some aids. As lecturing staff we invariably make use of PowerPoint slides and expect that most groups will do the same – but we will credit any creative use of alternative media or aids.
TIME: The presentations should each last for a maximum of 12 minutes, including time for any questions, so the presentations should take a maximum of TEN minutes – and so they must be sharp, focused and punchy in their delivery. If you exceed ten minutes for your presentation the tutor WILL stop your presentation at the 10 minutes and fifteen seconds mark, and assessment will be on what has been delivered to that point.
NUMBERS PRESENTING: It is always a major decision to determine how many out of a group of six, should actually take part in presenting. This will be part of the learning experience; staff have no interest in how many of a team participate in the final, assessed presentation, but we recommend that during Phase One each group member tries to present at least twice
CONTENT:Must be related to the questions that are specified in each Phase. We expect students to make reasonable and appropriate use of relevant theory, concepts frameworks and models as a part of their presentation.
GROUP MEMBERSHIP: Once allocated to a group you may not change it without being interviewed by the Head of Department and gaining his written authority to move to a different group. Every group member is expected to take an active part in ALL group presentation (preparing and/or delivering).
4.0 Rules and Conditions for the Formal Presentation
- Once a time and date is agreed for the formal presentation, this CANNOT be altered (imagine a scenario where you are working for a major global company and you are presenting to the Group Managing Director of the business, along with other, equally senior managers; they are visiting your country for just a day and you therefore have to present to them at a very closely defined day/time; treat this presentation as you would that one for such a really important meeting). You will know from the end of October (week 06) when your group has to make the formal presentation, and this date is not until at least the 4th April, which is more than 5 months’ notice, so we do not think that this should be a problem for any student, to arrange their activities and time accordingly.
- Presentations should last between NINE and TEN minutes, with two minutes for questions. There is no punishment for having a much shorter presentation, because it is likely that a shorter presentation will be shallow and/or poorly presented, and so not score very well. If your presentation exceeds ten minutes, however, then the tutor WILL stop your presentation at ten minutes and fifteen seconds; the marks awarded will then be based on what has been presented in that time. Time management is therefore of major importance in this exercise.
- ALL members of the presenting team MUST be present for the formal assessed presentation, even if they are not scheduled to take a part in physically presenting it. FAILURE to attend WILL result in the missing member AUTOMATICALLY being allocated a score of ZERO for this element.
- The presentation will be videoed. The overall mark will be agreed by the tutor only; students from the audience will not be a part of the assessment regime. Once the tutor has determined the overall mark for the presentation, this mark will be allocated to all members of the presenting group [although see points (3) above and (5) below].
- Every team member is expected to play a full part in ALL of the presentations up to and including the formal, assessed presentation. All members of a team will therefore be required to sign a formal agreement regarding their participation, and agreeing to take their burden of responsibility and participation.
Team members have the right to limit the marks awarded to a member of the team whom they believe is guilty of what we call ‘professional loafing’ – that is, promising to deliver work that represents their part of a presentation, and failing to do so; not turning up to deliver a presentation after agreeing to do so; not participating in meetings, or failing to turn up for such meetings as are arranged in order to further the progress of the group in building a presentation, and so on.
The limit to the mark awarded to a single member of the sub-group may range, in percentage terms, from 99% of the group’s awarded mark, right down to 0%. However, note that such a decision can only be made AFTER formal discussions by the group members with their seminar tutor, and after the tutor has given the individual concerned an opportunity to answer the charges regarding their behaviour. If after this, the tutor believes that the individual has a case to answer, then the tutor will formally record the problem and amend the individual’s score for this element, after the team has presented. Once the tutor has agreed with the rest of the team the sanction to be applied, the individual concerned CANNOT appeal their downgraded mark.
We recommend that each group keeps notes on meetings and events, in terms of the individual group members, so that if necessary, the team can demonstrate the poor/missing performance of a group member whose score they wish to limit.
5.0 Rules for anyone failing the presentation and being required to resit
- If a group as a whole fails the formal presentation, or if under points (3) and (5) above, an individual fails the presentation, then the University has regulations covering whether or not they will have to resit the presentation element.
So first, the individual’s score in the examination will be taken into account, then the presentation score, in determining if they have to re-present.
For example, if a student scores 55% in the exam and 30% for the presentation element, based on the 80/20 assessment split, their overall score would be 50% and this would thus be recorded as an overall pass. In this circumstance the student would not have to re-present.
Similarly, an exam score of 48% and a presentation score of 25% would give an overall score of 43% and this too, would be considered a pass.
However, if a student passes the presentation with 42% and then fails the exam on 38%, then this would give a module score of 39% and the student would be required to resit the examination element.
If a student were to fail the exam for any reason, and then miss the presentation for no valid reason, and so fails the presentation element, then the student will have to resit BOTH parts of the assessment.
- Any resit presentations will have to take place in the period immediately before the resit examination. For this academic year, that would be in late July, 2016.
- Owing to the fact that most students will not be at the University if they do not have to take resit exams, it is impossible to get an entire group to redo their presentation if they should all fail, and in our experience it is almost always just one individual from within a group who has to re-present. This being the case, resit presentations will be done on an individual Those students required to retake the presentation element of the course will therefore be given a new case study, and be asked different questions, than the one on which their group previously worked.
- Students should note that because of timetabling in this academic year, the time between notification of failure and the period of retakes for presentations will be only about TWO weeks.
- If a student will be required to retake their presentation (or to do it for the first time, having failed to turn up at the first attempt). An e-mail will be sent to all students in this category, soon after student results are released, giving details of the time and place of presenting. Students will be able to select a day and time, but only from a small list of possibilities, and once a time slot is allocated, failing to turn up for the designated and agreed slot, will mean that the student fails for a second time.
- Students who make a resit presentation, and get a grade with a sufficient score to allow them to meet the minimum overall score of 40% for the module then they will be deemed to have passed the module – but the module mark OVERALL will be capped at 40%. Given that STR6008 is a double module, this score might have a significant impact on overall degree classification for individual students.
- We remind all students that failing ANY element of assessment twice, if this results in an overall fail for the module, then this will mean that they will be deemed to have failed their whole course, and be required to exit the University, without graduating.