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BA (Honours) Business Management - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This qualification will provide you with:

  • a thorough understanding of the theoretical and work-based knowledge relevant to the application of business management in theory and practice 
  • the ability to reflect on experience of business management practices to produce and apply new understanding and skills 
  • an ability to recognise and deal with key individual and stakeholder differences in business management and the issues arising from such diversity
  • a thorough understanding of the operations, structures,  cultures and functioning of business organisations and the complex nature of their key business functions and processes
  • a broad range of important business and graduate skills, which you can bring to your employment in business management more widely
  • comprehensive support and guidance to develop as an independent learner.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will be able to demonstrate:

  • knowledge and critical understanding of the main concepts, theories and principles associated with business management
  • systematic knowledge and understanding in one or more of the following specialisms, and the role they play in enhancing knowledge and practical skills in business management: accounting, economics, innovation and enterprise, leadership practice, marketing.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • synthesise, critically evaluate and challenge information, arguments and assumptions from different sources, including current research and scholarship, in accordance with the theories, concepts and principles of business management
  • select and apply your knowledge and understanding to a wide range of the principal professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with business management, including in contexts with a degree of unpredictability and/or specialism
  • appreciate the potential uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge in business management
  • select and use accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry outside the context in which they were first studied, and be aware of their limitations.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • critically engage, as appropriate, with practical and professional skills and   demonstrate an awareness of relevant responsible and ethical issues in business management. 
  • regularly review current situation and future personal development, career and work options, and develop strategies to address factors that may limit choices
  • recognise the importance of developing both technical and non-technical skills and of learning from feedback and self-reflection 
  • plan, monitor and evaluate your own learning and seek ways to improve your performance, and potentially, your career prospects.

Key skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • identify, interpret and solve complex problems appropriate to business management.
  • reflect on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the problem solving processes used and identify some key principles which may be relevant in future situations.
  • use a combination of formal, logical planning processes and an understanding of context to identify relevant information and risks and be able to identify alternative strategies and resources
  • present or communicate, formally or informally, information about specialised topics in a way which is appropriate to your purpose and audience and which encourages the sharing of ideas and different perspectives
  • communicate with peers, experts and /or senior colleagues on an academic/professional level
  • collaborate with others to achieve joint outcomes, playing an active role in facilitating effective group interaction, influencing and/or leading as appropriate
  • create, use, share and repurpose digital content as appropriate to business management adopting a responsible and ethical approach
  • demonstrate the ability to independently find, critically evaluate and use a wide range of information, data or tools accurately in complex contexts
  • adopt a wide range of numerical skills and digital practices  (including the use of tools/resources), as appropriate to business management
  • demonstrate an understanding of academic language and literacy  practices in order to effectively engage with the academic knowledge and skills of OU level 3 study.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

The key teaching vehicles are distance learning materials which comprise a range of compulsory readings as well as other materials such as audio/visual materials, and specially prepared study guides directing your reading and illustrating key teaching points. These vehicles are presented partly in paper format, partly electronically (web) and partly in other formats (such as DVDs). The programme has a significant practice-based learning focus, which allows you to deepen your knowledge and understanding through application to your own practice. Your learning of the materials is supported by a locally based tutor who maintains contact with you individually, conducts periodic group tutorials and facilitates online learning for his/her group of around 20 students. This tutor is your first and main point of contact, answering your queries, grading and commenting on your work and facilitating group learning.

To support the development of your group-working and ICT skills, you are required to participate in tutor group forums. This also provides you with an additional environment in which to share learning and resolve module-related problems.

Assessment of the knowledge and understanding of the components of the programme is achieved through a combination of continuous assessment and exams. The continuous assessment element consists of a series of tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) – usually 6 or 7 for each 60-credit module, with each assignment of around 2000 words. These are also central to the teaching of the module since they enable tutors to identify and comment on your knowledge and understanding. Assessment of practice-based learning in several TMAs allows you to relate module concepts to your own experience and reflect on your learning and practice.

All compulsory modules at OU level 2 and 3 and at least 66 per cent of the optional modules at OU level 2 and 3 include a written examination.

In all of the compulsory modules you are encouraged to develop the skills specified. First, in each module the specified skills – or specific components of the skills – are identified, mapping out where each skill will be developed and practised. Then as the module progresses the specified skills are sign-posted and you are offered an opportunity to practise them in association with your work on the study materials. Initially the module guides offer you advice and guidance with these activities, offering sample answers for example. As you progress through each module and through from OU level 1 to OU level 3 the extent of this guidance decreases in order to encourage independent learning.

In the compulsory and optional OU level 2 modules, TMAs require you to reflect on your learning and demonstrate progress in skills development as well as your knowledge and understanding. Different TMAs across these modules assess different combinations of skills and knowledge and understanding, including collaborative learning, so that all skills are assessed at some point. This process encourages you to be systematic and self-conscious about your skill development and it also allows the tutor to provide supportive interventions in your skills development.

At OU level 3 you are expected to apply skills developed at OU level 2 in addition to developing independent research and online collaborative skills. You are required to work with fellow students in a virtual group using tutor group forums and wikis analysing data from a case study, using a variety of strategic frameworks in order to complete a double-weighted TMA.

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