Making Your Learning Count

Home Admissions Course Guide Making Your Learning Count

This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.


Making Your Learning Count

Welcome to BUS 1030BED Making Your Learning Count! This is the core course within the Bachelor of Business Administration with Honours (BBAH) programme. This is a six-credit- unit, one-term, 1000-level course that must be taken by all Year 1 Entry students wishing to complete a BBAH degree. It is also available to students studying for Bachelor of Sports Management with Honours.

In this course, you will develop the learning you have previously undertaken by considering new ways to study and learn in the future. You will be guided towards new ways of thinking. The course will deepen your understanding of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary subjects.

BUS 1030BED is delivered using a set of five study units (adopted from the UK Open University course YXM130 and HKMU Study Skills), online multimedia components and live learning sessions.


Course aims

The overall aims of BUS 1030BED Making Your Learning Count are to:

  • provide you with an introduction of new ways of learning, assessment literacy and basic knowledge of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary subjects; and
  • develop your effective distance learning skills and digital skills to enhance learning.

Course learning outcomes

Upon the completion of BUS 1030BED Making Your Learning Count, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate effective distance learning skills (LO1);
  • actively reflect and effectively use assessment to improve learning (LO2);
  • apply digital skills to enhance learning (LO3); and
  • distinguish the differences between multi- and interdisciplinary study (LO4).

The course is based around a set of five study units and multimedia components, supported by live online learning sessions and compulsory in-person day schools. The study materials for this course can be found on the BUS 1030BED course page of the University's Online Learning Environment (OLE).


The study units

The study units set out your study pathway through the course learning resources. They provide you with learning materials, such as interactive components and activities, that are designed to facilitate your understanding about each topic. You will therefore need to keep referring to the units as you work through the course.

The five units are as follows:


Unit 1 Planning your learning

This unit is about planning your learning. It introduces the concepts, benefits and tools to be used to be an effective learner, including reflective and active learning techniques, as well as time management skills.


Unit 2 Notetaking and good academic practice

This unit will develop your effective distance learning skills, including notetaking techniques, effective reading and writing skills. The unit also explains what constitutes good academic practice, including proper referencing and citation.


Unit 3 The origin of disciplines

This unit introduces the concepts of multi- and interdisciplinary study, and how you can apply different subject approaches or views to different contexts.


Unit 4 Developing presentation and digital learning skills

This unit gives you a chance to demonstrate effective presentation skills and create digital learning artefacts by using the available digital tools in HKMU.


Unit 5 Understanding assessment and feedback

This unit introduces you to different types of assessment and ways to develop assessment literacy by using assessment and feedback to enhance learning.


Learning support

In addition to live online lectures, live online surgeries and compulsory in-person day schools, a variety of learning support services is provided to assist you in your studies. These include the Online Learning Environment (OLE) and the My Milestone Tracker mobile app.


The Online Learning Environment (OLE)

The main place you will refer to for learning resources during the course is HKMU's Online Learning Environment (OLE). There, you will have access not only to the course materials in different formats (both PDF and ePub versions), but also to a rich array of multimedia materials such as videos, web-based activities etc. At the same time, you will be able to discuss topics with other students and your tutor via the course discussion board.


Learning support sessions

You will be supported throughout the course by regular meetings in the form of live online lectures, live online surgeries and compulsory in-person day schools. Details of the dates and times of these sessions can be found in the Presentation Schedule on the OLE. The following is a summary of the learning support sessions offered.


UnitLive online lecture
(2 hours each)
Compulsory in-person day school (6 hours)Live online surgery
(2 hours each)
Online consultation session
(1 hour each)
1Lecture 1  14 online consultation sessions
to be arranged over the course period
2.1Lecture 2 Surgery 1
3Lecture 3 Surgery 2
4.1Lecture 4Day school 
5Lecture 5  
Total5 online lectures
(10 hours)
1 day school
(6 hours)
2 online surgeries
(4 hours)
14 online consultation sessions
(14 hours)


My Milestone Tracker mobile app

The My Milestone Tracker mobile app is specifically designed to help you to check your study progress, such as your completion of assessment components, along the learning journey of the course.



During the course, you will have your progress assessed both formally and informally.

Informal assessment includes various case studies, web activities, exercises and online discussions that you will undertake while working your way through the study units and course readings.

Formal assessment consists of the following elements to pace you to learn effectively throughout the course:

  • Lecture polls, worth 10% of the total marks for the course, are to be completed during lectures and evaluates materials covered in Units 1 to 5, achieving LOs 1 to 4.
  • Assignment 1, worth 40% of the total marks for the course, is due in Week 7 and evaluates materials covered in Units 1 to 2, achieving LOs 1 to 2.
  • Assignment 2 (compulsory), worth 40% of the total marks for the course, is due in Week 13 and evaluates materials covered in Units 3 to 4, achieving LOs 2 to 4.
  • Application-based assessment, worth 10% of the total marks for the course, is to be completed during the compulsory day school and evaluates materials covered in Units 3 to 4, achieving LOs 2 to 4.

To pass this course, you are required to pass the overall continuous assessment. You must also obtain a pass in Assignment 2 and participate in the application-based assessment during the compulsory in-person day school.


Assessment summary

Details of the summative assessment items are outlined in the following table.


Assessment itemCourse areas coveredWeighting
Lecture pollsUnits 1 to 510%
Assignment 1Units 1 to 240%
Assignment 2 (compulsory)Units 3 to 440%
Application-based assessmentUnits 3 to 410%
Total 100%


How to submit assignments

You must use word processing software (such as Microsoft Word) to prepare the assignments, and submit them via the Online Learning Environment (OLE). All assignments must be uploaded to the OLE by the due date. Failure to upload an assignment in the required format to the OLE may result in the score of the assignment being adjusted to zero.


Assignment extension policy

The assignment policy of the University as stated in the Student Handbook should be observed. You are required to submit assignments for this course in accordance with the dates communicated by your Course Coordinator. You may apply for a submission extension on the grounds of illness, accident, disability, bereavement or other compassionate circumstances.

Applications for extensions must be submitted online via the OLE. Please note the following:

  • Supporting documents must be submitted to justify applications for extensions of over seven days.
  • Applications for extensions should normally be lodged before or on the due date.
  • Applications are considered by:
    • your tutor for extensions of up to seven days;
    • the Course Coordinator for extensions of 8 to 21 days; and
    • the Dean for extensions of over 21 days.

After an assignment is submitted via the OLE, it is your responsibility to check that the assignment has been successfully submitted. Extension applications due to any problem with uploading will not be accepted. The University cannot accept any responsibility for assignments that are not received by your tutor due to any problem with submission via the OLE. As a precaution, you are advised to keep a copy of each assignment you submit.

According to the University's policy, no extension of the due date will be allowed for the final assignment. This policy will be strictly enforced. Any late submission of the final assignment will result in the score of the assignment being adjusted to zero.

The following table gives a general overview of the course structure, including the number of weeks allocated to each unit, the assessment requirements and the learning support provided.


UnitWeekStudy unitAssessmentLearning support
1 Planning your learning1Unit 1 Planning your learning• Lecture poll 1• Live online ecture 1
2 Notetaking and good academic practice3Unit 2.1 Note-taking techniques• Lecture poll 2• Live online lecture 2
• Live online surgery 1
4Unit 2.2 Effective reading skills
5Unit 2.3 Effective writing skills
6Unit 2.4 Good academic practice
3 The origin of disciplines7Unit 3 The origin of disciplines• Lecture poll 3
• Assignment 1
• Live online lecture 3
• Live online surgery 2
4 Developing presentation and digital learning skills10Unit 4.1 Developing effective presentation and digital learning skills• Lecture poll 4
• Application-based assessment
• Assignment 2
• Live online lecture 4
• Compulsory in-person day school
11Unit 4.2 Presentation skills I: Being clear
12Unit 4.3 Presentation skills II: Being credible
13Unit 4.4 Presentation skills III: Being competent
5 Understanding assessment and feedback14Unit 5 Understanding assessment and feedback• Lecture poll 5• Live online lecture 5
 16Revision and consolidation  


Note: The above teaching schedule and assignment due dates are tentative and are subject to change. In case changes have to be made, students will be notified via course announcements on OLE and/or HKMU student email.

Case studies are a useful and increasingly popular form of learning and assessment in HKMU's School of Business and Administration. In this section we will look at why case studies are used and then suggest some learning strategies that you can use to approach case studies. We will also briefly discuss some problems that you may encounter as you learn from case studies.


What is a case study approach to learning?

One main purpose of a case study is to explore an issue or a number of issues in relation to an organisation. The intention is to get you to carefully diagnose an organisation; to focus on key problems, and to suggest how these might be resolved. Often the case is a real-life account of an organisation which you are required to analyse in order to focus on a problem. Usually, the information that is provided is incomplete and you are often expected to observe developments in the organisation over a period of time. The case study approach is an excellent opportunity to actively apply material that you have read and conceptual knowledge to the reality of an organisation.

At HKMU, case studies may be used as part of assignments, exams, study units, or day school exercises. You normally are given some information about a company (this could be both text and graphical information, such as figures and tables). You are then asked to think about some problems related to the company and to use concepts and apply theories that you have learned in your course to propose possible solutions for the company.

Let's have a look at two kinds of case study questions that you might be asked to work through in your courses. The first example is quite structured, while the second is much more open-ended.


Two examples of case study questions

  1. Read the case study entitled 'ABC Consultants' and consider the following issues:
    • Using your understanding of the resource-based model, what measures could be taken to improve ABC's returns?
    • Drawing on your broad understanding of the consultancy industry, assess ABC's relative competitiveness and its profit potential.
    • To what extent do internal factors account for ABC's financial weaknesses?
    • Based on your assessment of ABC's financial weaknesses, formulate a new strategic intent and develop a mission statement for ABC.
  2. Read the case study entitled 'XYZ Industries'.
    • Identify the key problems that are currently faced by XYZ's management.
    • Propose viable solutions to these problems.

Why case studies?

As you can see from the above examples, a case study approach to learning requires a great deal of thinking and often will not easily yield a quick 'wrong' or 'right' answer. However, case studies are also good preparation for dealing with real-life business problems. Cases may be short and relatively simple, or longer and complex. The purpose is the same for both types: to give you an opportunity to develop your skills in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation under examination, to consider the processes at work within the organisation, and to make decisions about future actions.

Case studies are not meant to replace textbooks, but rather to ask you to draw connections between theories and practice and to apply abstract ideas, concepts, and principles to specific concrete situations. Consequently, case analysis develops a number of skills that are crucial in business. In particular, they help you to:

  • analyse complex, unstructured, sometimes ambiguous situations;
  • identify critical issues and problems;
  • question your own and others' assumptions;
  • improve your problem-solving skills;
  • develop your ability to find alternatives and make informed decisions;
  • make decisions with incomplete information and think strategically;
  • self-educate yourself and draw on a broad range of resources and knowledge; and
  • present and justify recommendations in writing.

You may find that there are many possible 'right' answers to the questions in a case study. This illustrates that there is often no single best way to responsibly manage and solve real-life business problems.


Some guidelines for analysing case studies

The following strategies should help you to successfully analyse case studies:


1 Read the case and become familiar with the facts

First, skim read the case to obtain a general understanding of the main point(s). Highlight or underline the pertinent points as you read.

Read the case again, and this time note down critical facts (such as names, time sequences, and where events occurred). Try to understand how events have influenced decisions. Identify the important individuals or stakeholders, and try to assess the importance of supporting information in the case. How reliable is this supporting information? Are there any gaps in the information that is given?

Make a note of any questions that you have as you read the case.


2 Assess the context of the case

Try to understand the environment of the organisation and the wider context of the case.

Ask yourself questions about:

  • The state of the organisation: What is the state of this organisation: good, bad or in- between? Usually this involves thinking about interpersonal relationships, and assessing production or financial problems.
  • Key players and systems: How do systems and people operate in this organisation? Why do they operate like this? Are the systems undergoing change? How successful are the changes? Is there someone who could sabotage any future strategy? Is there someone who can ensure the success of a future strategy?
  • Significant trends: How does this industry operate? What are the main or unique characteristics of the industry? What were they five or ten years ago, and what are they likely to be in the future? What impact are trends likely to have on the organisation under investigation? How does this organisation's performance compare with that of competitors?
  • Constraints: Clearly identify all constraints in the case. A constraint may be viewed as anything (usually beyond the control of the organisation) that may prevent an otherwise feasible course of action from becoming a success. What is outside the control of individuals in the case study? For example, it is unlikely that any company or individual in Hong Kong could prevent a foreign government from imposing tariff barriers on imports.

A SWOT analysis is a good way to get a better understanding of the organisation and the context or environment in which it is operating. A SWOT analysis considers the Strengths and Weaknesses of the organisation, and the Opportunities and Threats which the organisation faces in the external environment.


3 Recognize the case's symptoms

Read the case again and as you read, try listing all the symptoms of the case. The symptoms of a case are not the problems, but they may help you to identify the problems. Symptoms are all the things that are undesirable or that are not as expected. For example, falling sales could be a symptom of several problems such as poor market segmentation, poor product quality, or problems in a supply chain. At this stage of your analysis, you should just try to observe all the symptoms, and avoid prematurely identifying problems or suggesting solutions. Like a doctor who consults a patient, you first need to observe and note all the symptoms before you can give a definite diagnosis of the problem. Think about how the symptoms may be interrelated. Relationship diagrams, like the one below, may help you to see the relationships between symptoms.




4 Diagnose the case's problems

After you have a good sense of the symptoms, you're ready to determine key issues that need to be analysed more closely. You are now diagnosing the situation, like a doctor diagnosing a patient's symptoms. Ask yourself 'what seems to be the trouble in this organisation?' and make a list of what you now perceive to be the key problem(s). You will probably need to go back to the details of the case and as you do this, you may add to or refine your list of potential problems.

If there are several problems, you need to order and prioritise them. You might want to number problems according to how you perceive their importance, or make a matrix, like the one below, which shows relationships between various criteria and each problem.


CriteriaProblem #1Problem #2Problem #3
Importance: What will happen if the problem is not addressed?   
Urgency: How quickly must this problem be solved?   
Centrality: To what extent does this problem cause other problems?   
Solvability: Can this problem actually be solved?   


Also try to establish if there are relationships or themes in common among the various problems. Perhaps different problems in your list are actually variations of a broader central problem.

Ask yourself what assumptions you have made about the case. Are these assumptions reasonable, and are they supported by the facts? Would other people objectively suggest the same problems, based on the facts that you have? Are you suggesting problems that are not supported by the facts of the case?

After you have considered and put into order the possible problems and questioned your assumptions relating to these problems, you should write a statement of the problems as you perceive them. Avoid suggesting solutions at this stage.

Once you have a problem statement, you need to find evidence in the case to support your problem diagnosis. Also, try to identify ideas, concepts and theories from your textbook and course units which help to explain what is happening in the case.


5 Formulate criteria for a 'good' solution and identify possible constraints to solutions

Before you propose a solution, you need to consider the characteristics of a 'good' solution. Obviously, your solution should bring benefits such as improved productivity, reduced costs or greater profits. However, it also needs to be viable and to accommodate the constraints that you have already identified, i.e. Is the solution legal? Is there a budget for this solution? Does it conflict with the organisation's culture?

Try to brainstorm alternative solutions. Aim to generate a broad and creative range of options and then try to rate each according to various criteria.

The following matrix demonstrates how this can be done.


 CostEase of implementationImpact on organization cultureImpact on profits
Option 1*******
Option 2*********
Option 3*******


Also refer to ideas, concepts and theories from your course materials as you consider and assess each possible solution.

It's often wise to propose a solution that allows for plausible alternatives if it should fail. Managers use the term satisfice when they are considering acceptable alternative solutions, that is, the solution is able to satisfy the situation while also making some realistic sacrifices to existing constraints. Therefore, it is a satisficing rather than a maximising solution.

Finally, don't forget to consider the possibility of taking no action. What will actually happen if no action is taken? Are any (or all) of the solutions less viable than taking no action at all?


6 Recommend a viable solution

After you have assessed the merits and pitfalls of each alternative solution, select the best solution for the situation.

Remember that the solution needs to be viable. Can the recommended solution be introduced? Are there the resources and the willingness to implement it? Be realistic about what may work. Explain why it is the best solution within the constraints of the existing context and explain how it can be applied to the organisation. Suggest a time-frame for the solution's implementation.

Outline possible strategies for implementing your solution, either partially or completely. As many feasible courses of action as possible should be considered before you choose the one that seems the most likely to succeed. The more ideas you have, the greater your chance will be of finding a solution that will work well. The complexity of most organisational problems means that it is highly unlikely that one idea alone will correct the situation. Usually a combination of actions is required, and these need to be funded differently, timed carefully and staffed as necessary.


7 Present your solution as a written recommendation

Review your final solutions and then prepare a set of written recommendations. These should clearly outline your proposed solution in relation to the problems that you have identified. Your recommendations should also include details of why these solutions are the most appropriate given the circumstances and constraints of the case. Finally, you need to clearly state how and when your proposals will be implemented.

Your tutor and your course Assignment File can provide some guidelines on how to present your recommendations.


Some mistakes to avoid as you analyse cases

When you first tackle case studies, you should be careful to guard against the following mistakes:

  1. One of the most common mistakes made in case analysis is repeating or simply summarising the facts of the case. Your tutor is already very familiar with the case details, so you do not have to restate them. You are required to use and analyse the facts, not repeat them. Your analysis should contain only enough case material to support your arguments. Therefore, be analytical!
  2. You may often be tempted to just deal with symptoms and ignore the causes of the problem. It is very important to analyse the background of the case (and the climate in which the events of the case unfold).
  3. Avoid discussing problems in isolation and do not overlook their interrelatedness. If you try to think in terms of 'systems' rather than in terms of individual problems, you are more likely to avoid this pitfall.
  4. Students often fail to state the assumptions underlying their analysis. If any important assumptions have been made, have you questioned them and are they reasonable and appropriate? Avoid selectively using and interpreting case material in order to justify a preconceived solution.
  5. Practical limitations and constraints may sometimes be overlooked. For example, a recommendation that a whole team be fired is probably unrealistic.
  6. A very common mistake is poor integration of the facts in the case with the concepts, principles, and theories in the textbook. Such integration is vital. Ask yourself if relevant theories from your course have been fully and constructively applied.
  7. Finally, recommendations are too often not spelt out in detail or are unrealistic. A timetable for implementing them is also often not given.

Analysing cases poses many challenges, and this is one reason the case study method is so rewarding. It is a very active form of learning. It offers you a risk-free opportunity to gain managerial and organisational experience and should greatly increase your confidence to make informed decisions in the real world.

Good luck and we hope you enjoy working through the cases that you encounter!

BUS 1030BED Making Your Learning Count is an important course that introduces you to new ways of studying and learning in future. This course aims to equip you with effective distance learning skills, deepen your understanding of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary subjects, and develop your digital learning skills and assessment literacy.

BUS 1030BED covers the following topics: planning your learning, notetaking and good academic practice, the origin of disciplines, developing presentation and digital learning skills, understanding assessment and feedback.

The course is presented through a blend of written and multimedia materials which can be accessed on the OLE. As you work through BUS 1030BED, you will need to refer to your study units. You will also be provided with support through regular learning support sessions including live online lectures, live online surgeries, and a compulsory in-person day school.

The course is assessed through lecture polls, two assignments, and an application-based assessment.

We hope you find BUS 1030BED stimulating and valuable for your future studies.

If you wish to defer your studies of this course until a later date, you should apply for deferment of studies. For the regulations governing deferment of studies, please refer to your Student Handbook. If you have applied for deferment of studies you should continue with your studies of this course and submit the required assignments until formal approval is given by the University.

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