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Student and tutor module reviews

Investigating entrepreneurial opportunities

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: B322
  • Level: 3

Student reviews

Well structured course - easy to follow, clear guidelines for setting up a new business venture. Good quality written materials as you would expect from the OU.

Disappointingly poor tutor guidance and support however - which is unusual for the OU in my experience. Very little encouragement to participate in our tutor group TGF, resulting in most students having to resort to the overall module forum to ask questions relating to topics covered by the workbooks.

Responses from our own tutor were too slow (or non-existent) meaning that in the run up to the EMA, questions were being posted to him that remained unanswered on the TGF until the deadline was actually upon us.

Ultimately I felt that the fee for the programme was purely for the written notes and most certainly not for any tutor support. I expect better from the OU.

Course starting: November 2013

Review posted: June 2014

Faculty response

The course materials - and the underpinning assessment, moderation and quality assurance process - encourage students to be self-directed learners who adopt an independent and innovative approach to exploring new business ventures. As a result, the B322 tutor role may vary slightly from other modules. We will seek to make this clearer to prospective students.

The Tutor Group Forum is an interactive resource for students to seek peer feedback and support. Participation is not obligatory and some students may not be comfortable sharing their new business ideas in a public domain – so participation levels can vary.

B322 is a unique course that guides a student through the process of determining the likely success (or otherwise) of a particular 'business' venture (I use 'business' like this because their idea may be a social enterprise, not simply something to generate a profit, etc.). The course covers the creation, marketing, financing, etc. of the idea, which can involve a lot of thought and research as a result depending on the idea itself in a methodical, but logical, manner.

The course material is very well written and the OU tutors, as ever, were both informative and accessible. Divided into two main blocks, there is not much reading to do (it is not that type of module) but many 'prompts' to help you maintain the thought processes and reflect on your progress, together with many useful online exercises that will form part of the 'R&D' process that students need to do well with both the TMAs and the (largely summative) EMA.

It definitely helps to have an idea of either a product and/or service as soon as possible, preferably before you begin the course. I did not, hence struggled initially, especially being somewhat surrounded by (seemingly) older and more experienced business people. Also, you may find yourself having to 'adapt' your idea along the way to satisfy some of the application methods of the course. However, it is genuinely pleasing to witness the culmination of your hard work (and believe me, it will be hard!), especially if you believe it to be an idea worthy of progressing.

B322 counted as the final module of my BSc (Hons) Open degree and obtaining a grade 2 pass in it allowed me to achieve a First Class in my degree overall, which I was very happy with as one might imagine, therefore I will always remember B322 with great fondness as I sweated (at times almost literally, due to the frustrating nature of it!). Either way, it is an enjoyable, but challenging, course, for which the OU should be congratulated for in developing.

Course starting: November 2012

Review posted: February 2014

A very interesting and practical course. Unlike other modules I have studied in working towards my BA Business Studies this taught effectively how to prepare a persuasive business plan. It was limited in terms of the amount of reading and theory to digest which was a welcome change.

Although my business was only an idea that I would not necessarily pursue the course provided the tools that would be applicable for future plans.
Highly recommended course for putting theory into practice.

Heather Longden

Course starting: November 2012

Review posted: November 2013

I really did enjoy this course, it's a great way to see if your business model will be marketable and a winner. The EMA was basically a business plan and a collaboration of all your previous work throughout the module.

My biggest gripe with the course is the feedback from the EMA, I didn't get much and my mark was lower than I hoped but then this is in line with the way the OU provide feedback for your final assignments.

Overall, I think this course is workable but suggest that you have a product or service in mind before starting.

Course starting: November 2012

Review posted: September 2013

I did find this course enjoyable. On other courses I have done I have found it can be very difficult to get good marks on your EMA, this course really brings every TMA together into the EMA with some critical reflection.

I found the pace of this course and the content covered to be very good. It helped to pull together knowledge from previous and current courses I am studying.

James Hardingham

Course starting: November 2012

Review posted: September 2013

As a business owner with plans to launch other businesses, I found that this course to a bit like a 'business start up buddy'. Everything contained within it helped to build an honest picture.

For months I had been working on an idea, but the course tasks and assignments gave me the real facts - that it wasn't profitable. Everyone should conduct financial projections and research their business ideas in full before progressing.

Assignments were challenging, yet rewarding.

Excellent course and has given me solid information to progress other ideas.

Christina Giliberti

Course starting: November 2011

Review posted: March 2013

This was an easy enough course even though I have jumped up from Level 1. I think I could have managed another 30-credit module with this.

If you have a business idea it gives you the tools and a structure to assess it. Do make sure, that you don't over complicate your idea and/or you choose something you are interested in, as it will bite you back.

Half of the workload is doing research about your idea and the TMAs build on each other and the EMA is the consolidation of your TMAs, so it is worth putting the effort in so the EMA will then be quite easy.

The tutor gave me good feedback, which gave me good pointers on how to build on my idea and TMAs. Overall I'm happy.

Course starting: November 2011

Review posted: July 2012

A good all round course that allows you to explore a new business venture or idea from initial concept through to marketing and possible launch.

However I found the structure of the TMAs and ECA to be very repetitive, in the 2009/10 presentation each TMA starts with a 500ish word question broken into four parts and then a 2000ish word report to be addressed to "an interested investor" with the ECA being exactly the same format and question.

Like many students the business idea we had and developed through the course did not require investment (in my case internet design based) meaning that of the total marks available for the course 60% related to investor reports. This meant the majority of study time was spent on inventing things to go into reports to non existent investors that were not required.

The ECA was primarily a copy and paste job from the previous 3 TMAs as it covers exactly the same material (including the investors report ) yet again

In summary if you have a business concept that you envisage completing as a sole trader without external investment think twice about this course, if on the other hand you are going for global domination in your project it will stand you in good stead

In its favour the course is well laid out and follows a natural progression through the blocks making for a good L3 course to study

Clinton Dale Hogben

Course starting: November 2009

Review posted: June 2010

I found this course to be pretty tough to me as it was Level 3 and I had only studied Level 1 courses up to that time.

I found myself surrounded by 30+ aged people with experience in business while I was only 22 and looking to start my own venture for the first time.

Even if I struggled and managed to get just a very tight pass, the result is that now I am getting a living from my online travel consultancy specialized in New Zealand, which is the idea I developed in the course, so I'm pretty sure the course helped me specially in getting focused in what had to be done.

If you enjoy a real challenge, then it's a great course to take if you are young and have no experience. Else, you should probably wait to take it at another time in your life and you'll find it a lot easier.

Daniel Alonso

Course starting: November 2008

Review posted: August 2009

This was an interesting course and has been a significant help in putting a business idea together so that it can be put into action in 2010/11. The TMAs were difficult to get my head around at first, with each building on the previous one so it seemed like a lot of repetition was needed. The ECA (at least there was no exam) was about 50% summary of the 3 TMAs and 50% new thinking.

There seemes to be a lot of emphasis on explaining how the idea was innovative or enterpreneurial, which does not always fit with a business idea.

The main advantage is that it has led to a much greater business idea and the confidence that it can be done (as long as I can earn a profit of £100 on a wet Tuesday in November!).

I would recommend this course to anyone who is starting up a business or looking to develop business knowledge, but would have doubts about how easy it would be to do as a purely academic course as there is a major (or total) emphasis on the business idea, and without that focus it would be difficult to develop ideas properly. That said, there were significant comments on the forums about the couse seeming too academic at times.

Finally, a major disappointment was not getting the ECA back with comments on it. A lot of work went into it and it would be useful to see tutor and examiner comments on the final thoughts about the feasibility of the enterprise.

Gwyn Philip Griffies Moses

Course starting: November 2008

Review posted: July 2009

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Tutor reviews

B322 Developing Entrepreneurial Ideas is an unusual course in that it enables students to immediately apply the theories and concepts described to a real world business. Students need to have their own business idea that they want to focus on for the duration of the course. They explore the idea in depth, looking at what is good about the idea, what the barriers to success might be and then use B322 to fully explore how they will overcome the barriers. By the end of B322, in addition to hopefully gaining another 30 points towards a degree, students will have a much clearer idea as to whether their business idea can succeed.

It is a fantastic course to tutor as every TMA is unique (makes marking fun). It is great to see a student's idea become focussed and even better when an idea is good enough to actually launch as a real business.

Success stories as a result of B322 are sought out by the OU, so if you succeed come back and tell us about it.

Sue Curd

Review posted: January 2009

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

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