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Archive for March, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised

Friday, March 21st, 2008

I received my graded Assignment 3 back this week and was pleasantly surprised – I received an excellent grade. Comments indicated that I was on the right path all along. That assignment had wording that really needs to be improved. So, how did I celebrate? Why, I continued working on Assignment 4, of course!

Today I am about half way through the essay and bumping up against the word count. I will table this for a few days and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Decision Making and Costing

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

I turned in MGT5012 Assignment 3: Cost Analysis and CVP yesterday. That assignment was an Excel spreadsheet identifying the break-even point. The instructions were detailed but vague. The assignment had a write up and an example submission, but it really did not match my interpretation of the assignment. I created a scenario about a business assembling garage doors and a decision that the owner would have to make about adding to the product line or keeping only one model. We will see later this week if I was on track or not.

Last night I began reading chapters 7 and 8 in prep for Assignment 4: Decision Making and Costing. This assignment is an essay comparing variable and activity based costing and will include examples and applications.  Essays are to be 1000 words only and broken up into these headings:

Question /Prompt

Review of Subject

Discussions – max 600 words

Conclusions

References

I do not like these “canned” assignments and word count maximums. It seems so…high schoolish. I typically run more than the word count but I am not embellishing. I add a lot of references and try to be very clear. The point of the research and study is to LEARN. Word counts are just plain nuts at this level.

I hope to start on the writing portion of the assignment today. I wish I had more time to work on assignments because I would like to complete a course in fewer weeks. This course ends on 05/24 and has 12 assignments. I know some who are able to take two courses at a time or finish early to start on the next one earlier than 12 weeks (the course length). My PhD looks very far off in the distance – maybe 2011. I will be 52 then. Ugh.

Archive Page Added

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I had a nice letter from a blog reader, asking about how to navigate to the first blog entry. Well, I figured out how to add an Archive Page. Look up in the navigation bar for “archives.” Clicking there will take you to a list of blogs by month and by category. It took me a while to figure how to make it work and look right at the same time. Readers, let me know what you think!

Assignment 2: Graded…on to 3

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

I got Assignment 2 back and have been working on Assignment 3 in MGT5012, Managerial Accounting for Decision Makers. This one is a “Tutorial Model” related to Break-Even Analysis. I am not sure if I am on the right track or not on this assignment. It looked pretty straightforward but once I got into it, the Excel spreadsheet has unexpected errors in it. I am changing them to what I think is correct. This weekend I hope to work on it for an extended time and turn it in. I have not been able to devote as much time this week to my studies. I know I will PAY for it!

The Faculty Criminal

Friday, March 7th, 2008

A March 7 article on Inside Higher Ed discusses a decision by the University of Pennsylvania’s Faculty Senate executive committee to reject a proposal to develop a policy requiring prospective faculty to divulge prior criminal convictions. Over the past several years, a few professors at Penn have come under fire for being involving in some sensational criminal cases. The question for Penn is whether they should set a uniform HR policy of requiring criminal histories on applications. Some jobs require this information, but not all.

I confess that I am not a professional educator. I work in the business world, and yes, a question about criminal background was on the application. “Have you ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation?” is a standard question on job applications. Unless a firm has a policy of “no criminal convictions,” this question does not disqualify applicants immediately unless the conviction was recent or relevant to the job. Lets say an applicant has a shoplifting conviction – would you hire this person as a clerk in your clothing store? I think not.

If you answer “yes” to the criminal history question, normally there are a few lines available to explain the conviction. As a manager, I do not trash an application or resume but I do look at how long has it been since the conviction, its relevance and its seriousness. My company does a background and credit check – many large companies do the same thing. It’s normal and expected.

Penn is getting some negative press in an era when school safety is often in the news. Knowing about a person’s criminal history does not mean that they will act inappropriately in the classroom. However, the public leaps to conclusions all the time, and this time the conclusion is that safety is compromised if the professor has a criminal record. The University should listen carefully to what their contributors are saying – get in step with modern hiring standards.

Does this mean that criminals will try to get hired on at universities because they can cover their criminal backgrounds? I doubt it – but this article reminds us again of the gulf between academia and the “real world.” Why is there such a gap between them? A professional educator is a professional, just as I am a professional in my field. Standards  must be applied or perceived integrity is cheapened. Penn and others with inconsistent policies should require honest answers to background questions. Asking about criminal histories on an application is a standard in business. Educational “companies” like Penn are out of step and probably don’t even know it.

MGT5012-Assignment 1

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

I completed and turned in Assignment 1 yesterday…it took me ALL DAY to read, research and write that paper! This course comes with a “Learner Plan” file, which states:

Chapter Readings– 1 hour for overview and initial understanding of text. 2 hours for detail review and comprehension

Essays – 1 hour to create, write and edit to the essay format. Half hour for research, APA inclusions, and final edit

What? Only 4 1/2 hours? It took me probably 8 hours! Geez – am I that S-L-O-W? The toughest part was cramming it all into a few pages. The syllabus states 3-4 pages but there was no way with the “Essay Format” the course requires. The assignment could not have been covered in 3-4 pages – no way. I wrote 5 pages, 7 initiatially, and had to trim it down. I am not in college -this is grad school – and complete coverage of the topic should be the requirement – not a certain number of words or pages.

For Assignment 2, I have to use the “Case Format” which has certain numbers of words for each section!!!!

This is driving me CRAZY. Am I the only person that hates being bound by WORDS or PAGE count?