Nuffield Economics and Business ICT Investigations (CD-ROM)

By Rodda, Chris | Teaching Business & Economics, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

Nuffield Economics and Business ICT Investigations (CD-ROM)


Rodda, Chris, Teaching Business & Economics


SOFTWARE

Nuffield Economics and Business ICT Investigations (CD-ROM) available from Statistics for Education, 5 Bridge Street, Bishop's Stortford, Herts. CM23 2JU

This CD ROM is worth buying even if you do not teach the Nuffield course. It will run on your PC from the disk and therefore requires little in the way of computer memory. Even older computer set-ups should cope. At L29.50 +VAT/ post and packing, it is astonishingly good value - the price of a couple of textbooks.

For this outlay you can load the program onto a school network or as many individual PCs in the school as you like. So if you want, you can run it on one old machine from the CD or copy it onto a school intranet. Students may even load it on their own home computers! Even if you offer only business or only economics this resource is worth serious consideration. If your school is not well equipped with IT facilities it is possible to print all the material for classroom use. The CD-ROM allows the contents to be viewed as either web pages or within Microsoft Word with ease. Any student with an acquaintance with Word, Excel and web-browsers will navigate the software without much trouble.

For business students there are number of case studies. If used with a web-browser rather than Word there is the added benefit of beautiful graphics. For example, the study of Perkins Engines' shop floor really helps to bring to life concepts such as lean production. For those with the luxury of electronic whiteboards or projectors, the way to use this might be to go through the case study on screen and then hand out the written word copies in order to complete the exercises that accompany each case. Alternatively, students could be left to navigate and complete the exercises alone on individual PCs.

There are another 11 case studies covering topics such as efficiency and cost-benefit analysis. Some case studies require calculations like break-even charts, or final accounts to be completed. For these, spreadsheets are used, and the seamless way in which Microsoft Excel links to the cases is most impressive. Once again these calculations can be done on the PC or printed off and done manually.

At first sight the Economics case studies appear sparser.

However, the disk contains data sets similar to the SECOS data sets and programs that many teachers are familiar with. The value in allowing students to select data countries etc. and the ability to graph these quickly is valuable, yet this reviewer gave up on data sets a few years back because of the time required to master the software. On this disk the task takes a couple of minutes at most. …

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