Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mallory and Eileen's Group Project

Group Project: Small Business Record-keeping
Mallory Smith & Eileen Casey White

1) Identify different types of bookkeeping methods used by small business owners.
2) Recognize the strengths and limitations of each method.
3) Develop local contacts within the small-business community who may someday serve as mentors or advocates.

There are many different types of accounting systems used in small businesses, from hand ledgers to sophisticated software. To understand the different ways of record-keeping, students will interview at least one local business owner in their communities. Prior to beginning the group work the students must work together to draft a contract that outlines the expectations that the members have of one another as well as the steps that will be taken if a student fails to meet the expectations that the group has agreed to.

Activity Set-up:
Students are assigned in groups of 3-4, based on the type of business they are interested in (e.g., retail, personal services, consulting, food service, sales, etc). Each group needs to establish a wiki or Google doc site to serve as their common point of information sharing. They may use Eluminate or other communication tools to organize their work, set timelines, and support each other’s progress. Each group needs to produce the following:
  • a link to their final shared planning document
  • a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation of their experience
  • answers to the interview protocols in some form, with references to the week’s readings.

Each student will also write an individual paper expressing how they felt the group worked together, if there was an equitable distribution of responsibilities, and how each student participated. In the paper, students should also reflect on the distribution of points among members; that is, if they were to assign points for this project, would they assign everyone equal points and if not, what point value they would give to each student.

Interview protocols:
Each group needs to include at least these questions in their interviews and findings:
1) What type of record keeping system did you use when you first started your business?
2) What is your current system?
3) Why did you choose the first method?
4) Why did you change?
Best Practices:
1) What 3 “best practices” in record-keeping have you discovered that you would recommend to those starting a business?
2) What 3 things would you change about your record-keeping experience if you could do it over again?
What You Learned (Student):
1) What did you learn from the interview(s) that you didn’t know?
2) How will this assignment change how you manage your own financial records?
Contact Information:
Include the business owner’s name, business name, and email.

Assessment / Evaluation:
The students will be graded both individually and as a group. The individual student grade will be determined based on all of the group members’ assessment of each individual (as described in the group’s papers), the student’s individual paper, and his/her ability to adhere to the requirements set forth by the group contract.
The group will be graded on the relevance of the site that they jointly develop, the thoroughness of the interview that they conduct with the business, and the final presentation.

Group Work / Presentation Rubric: (100 points total)
  • Planning site was established with evidence that all group members participated: 10 pts
  • Each group member asked all relevant interview questions: 10 pts
  • Group recommended “best practices” in record-keeping for the companies: 10 pts
  • Group identified practices that the business owners would change: 10 pts
  • Group described any new insights based on the project: 10 pts
  • Group explained any changes that they plan to make in their own business finances based on their findings: 15 pts
  • Each group member made connections between their experiences and the class readings on record-keeping: 15 pts
  • Presentation included information about all interviews: 10 pts
  • Presentation quality, completeness, and effectiveness: 10 pts

1 comment:

  1. The lesson looks very well organized and thought out. I especially like the interview portion and that you gave the students a protocol to follow for this part. I think this provides a real world application. I also like how you have added a contractual obligation for each individual. I think these keep everyone moving on the same path. Nicely done!.