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Teaching E-business skills to the non-IT specialist : Supporting self-driven, independent learning using an Active Learning approach Stuart Sanders Senior Lecturer, IBAL/Business School The Problem! Non-specialist student Fast changing problem domain

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Teaching E-business skills to the non-IT specialist : Supporting self-driven, independent learning using an Active Learning approach

Stuart Sanders

Senior Lecturer, IBAL/Business School

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The Problem!

  • Non-specialist student

  • Fast changing problem domain

  • Multiple, overlapping tools and techniques

  • Large number of possible answers

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Subject Choice

  • Business Studies students - business related problem

  • Add :

    • technical complexity

    • remove technical constraints

    • focus on solution selection rather than technical competence

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Having completed this unit successfully the

student is expected to demonstrate:

  • An ability to identify and develop a simple business model, which may benefit from the application of integrated information systems and technology.

  • An ability to use information technology in an integrated (joined-up) fashion, linking different applications and IS resources to support a simple business model.

  • An appreciation of the uses and limitations of information technology in implementing a business model.

  • Application of the knowledge and concepts of the separate disciplines of the subject domain acquired in levels C and I.

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Learning and Teaching Methods

  • This is by design a hands-on unit in which concepts and tools will be introduced in a laboratory environment.

  • Specific detail regarding models, frameworks and other tools will be pursued through student-managed learning based on on-line materials, workbook &/or core text[s].

  • Lab sessions will be used to discuss the application of the concepts and to develop understanding of business models and technology integration. They will also be an opportunity for students to raise specific problems experienced.

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The Assignment

For the overall assessment for this unit you are required to produce a prototype E-commerce Web-site for a small/medium sized organization. The Web-site will consist of a number of inter-linked web-pages (probably 4 – 6 in number) and databases. These must include the following components :

  • An index page to the site;

  • Organization name and logo;Internal information about the organization – to include the latest balance sheet and P&L account;

  • A means for a potential customer to enter structured information for transmission to the organization (e.g. an order form); and

  • A means for the transmission of unstructured information to the organization.

    All sites must contain all of these components in order to gain a pass grade.

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Additional Functionality

In addition you may consider a number of additional elements of functionality which could be incorporated into the web-site, such as :

  • A means of displaying current products for sale, including prices and availability;

  • A means of tracking an order’s progress;

  • A graphical index to the site.

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The Process - Building the System

  • 10 x 1.5 hour lab sessions

  • Plus whatever additional time students wished

  • Not evenly distributed - typically students underestimated the time commitment required

  • Attendance at lab sessions tended to be front and back loaded - definition and completion phases.

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Supporting the Process

3 Principal roles of the lecturer:

  • Setting student expectations;

  • Facilitating student learning;

  • Assessing student progress.

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URLs of these sites

  • http://www.bournemouth247.com/coursework

  • http://www.cliffbolton.com

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Academic Underpinnings

  • Active / Co-operative Learning

  • Learning by Doing

  • Problem Based Learning

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Further Reading

  • Active/Cooperative Learning: Best Practices in Engineering Education.


  • Dodge, B, Active Learning on the Web http://edweb.sdsu.edu/people/bdodge/Active/ActiveLearning.html

  • Felder, R M, Active and Co-operative Learning http://www.ncsu.edu/felder-public/Cooperative_Learning.html

  • Felder, R M and R. Brent, "Learning by Doing."

    Chem. Engr. Education, 37(4), 282-283 (Fall 2003).

  • Problem Based Learning