CSC8624 : Professional Skills
- Offered for Year: 2019/20
- Module Leader(s): Mr Barry Hodgson
- Lecturer: Professor Paul Watson
- Owning School: Computing
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
|Semester 2 Credit Value:||10|
This module provides an introduction to professional skills for students by:
1) Developing students' knowledge, understanding, and practical experience of enterprise culture.
2) Learning the key tools and steps to build a successful start-up (or at least reduce the risk of failure) and hence exploring the fundamentals of entrepreneurial thinking.
3) Exploring the customer development process and learning how to identify and engage customers in a product.
4) Developing students' knowledge and understanding of customer feedback - how to gather, evaluate and use customer feedback (data) to iterate product development.
5) Creating market related hypothesis, testing and validating through the underpinning concept of the business model.
After providing students with an overview of business and entrepreneurial skills, the module develops ‘hands-on’ business skills and awareness of entrepreneurial activity through the lens of the ‘lean start-up’ methodology. Using a business model canvass process as the foundation, students will be asked to understand and deploy enterprise skills which will be critically evaluated throughout the course. These include how to present, articulate and test hypotheses (relating to a business model), how to find and understand the nature of a minimum viable product, how to develop customer and partner relationships and define revenue models. External experts with relevant, current business experience will be utilised through the module to present to the students and comment on their work. This module provides a foundation for the business activities that run through the EPSRC CDT in Cloud Computing for Big Data (for those students who transfer to that programme).
Outline Of Syllabus
Introduction to Organisations – start-ups vs large companies
Business Models and Customer Development
Resources, Activities and Costs
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||8:00||8:00||Contribution to preparation of team PowerPoint presentation (per team member.)|
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||15:00||15:00||Contribution to writing of the group report for the final assessment (per team member.)|
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||8||0:30||4:00||Update of individual reflective blog.|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||4||1:00||4:00||Lectures by external guests|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||8||1:00||8:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Directed research and reading||8||1:00||8:00||Background reading.|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Practical||1||1:00||1:00||Presentation of final report to external guests.|
|Guided Independent Study||Project work||8||4:00||32:00||Visiting customers and acquiring feedback data.|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Workshops||8||1:00||8:00||Presentations, discussions and critique of work|
|Guided Independent Study||Student-led group activity||8||1:30||12:00||Update of project work for weekly presentation, discussion and critique (not assessed).|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
This module brings together lectures, independent study, intensive group work, practical fieldwork exploration and informative lectures and weekly critique by industry experts to deliver a practical understanding of entrepreneurial skills. The module is delivered over an 8 week period. Students are asked to form into teams (max 4). Knowledge is developed through practical iteration of the business model canvass as a process for understanding the key tools and steps to develop successful entrepreneurial thinking. Teaching includes weekly lectures, discussion, group presentation and critique followed by independent fieldwork (to gather customer feedback). Each week the model will be updated based on fieldwork and the cycle will begin again. Students will present the update followed by discussion, critique and a lecture addressing a new component of the business model - until initial business hypotheses (on customers, channels, partners, revenue models, etc) are tested and validated in the real world. Groups will be allocated industry experts to act as mentors who will follow their progress over the course of the module. Iterative weekly sessions will lead to the development of a more robust business model culminating in a final group presentation to external experts, the submission of a group report that follows the1process and iterations from initial business model conception to final presentation and an independent reflective log on lessons learned and peer contribution.
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Report||2||M||60||Group report–final version of business model report following weekly iterations.Peer moderated group assessment (5000 words/team).|
|Reflective log||2||M||20||Individual reflective log on learning outcomes to include peer assessment (1000 words)|
|Prof skill assessmnt||2||M||20||Group PowerPoint presentation on final business model. Peer moderated group assessment (15 minute group presentation, max 12 slides)|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
This module will introduce key concepts in understanding the entrepreneurial landscape and develop analytical skill sets through the practical application of tools and methodologies. Assessment is through a single individual deliverable (worth 20%) and two team deliverables (worth 80%), emphasising the practical nature of the module. The individual deliverable is designed to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the problem to be solved, what their role within the group will be and to provide a reflection on what they have learnt from the module. Team deliverables require students to work together to produce a common report and presentation slides to demonstrate that students are able to work collectively to produce an end product. Peer assessment is employed to identify each individual's contribution to the team.