Portfolio and oral exam

Students planning and executing camps

Key words: Portfolio, facilitator, group work, creativity, collaboration with companies

Suna Løwe Nielsen,
Associate professor, MSc in Economics and Business Administration – International Business and Management Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management

This is an example of an assessment method designed for a first semester course in the master programme in Economics and Business Administration – Strategic Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern Denmark in Kolding. The assessment method was initiated in the fall 2013. During the course the students work in groups and collaborate with a company in solving an issue for the company.

The students are divided into groups from the beginning of the course. Each group are assigned a company, which they will collaborate with for the rest of the course. It is up to each group to contact the company and together find an issue that the group can work with. The students work together on solving the issue, and during the course they must plan and execute a one-day camp, in which the company participates and the students present their work. During the camp day and the group work throughout the course, every student has to try the role as facilitator. The facilitator has the responsibility of leading the group through parts of the process, and it is emphasized that the facilitator should find innovative solutions for dealing with and completing the challenge. During the camp day peer reviews will be conducted, in which the students assess each other’s efforts in the role of the facilitator. 

During the course, the students also have to write a personal and innovative log containing their thoughts about the process and reflections on the working methods. The log should be handed in as a portfolio together with a synopsis of the theoretical explanations behind the execution of the camp day. The course concludes with an oral exam with outset in the portfolio.

The students should gain experience with the role as facilitator of a group in an innovative project. The objective is for the students to be able to plan a long-term collaboration focused on an authentic business issue, and then demonstrate the ability to handle challenges in an innovative and solution-oriented manner.

This assessment method has not yet been carried out in this form, why there is no feedback for this specific example. However, the study programme has previously had camps in collaboration with companies. The students had mixed opinions about these. Some students find the assessment method very challenging and time consuming. Some students also find the role as facilitator very challenging when the group is in a process where decisions have big implications for the group. The students also find it challenging to take initiative to contact a company and structure a partnership. Other students find the camp work fun and exciting, and the authentic business issues are great motivational factors. The study programme is in English and has several international students with multiple nationalities, which can also foster culture clashes. This assessment method encourages free and innovative opportunities for expression, which can be unfamiliar to some students and thus affect their response to the assessment method.

The committee at the University of Southern Denmark, who are developing new assessment methods, inspired the development of this assessment method. The motivation springs from a wish to test the students in the role as innovative facilitators and not only their ability to demonstrate the content of the curriculum.

Suitable for classes of: 10-40 students (in 2014 classes with 35 students will try out this assessment method)
Suitable for level: Master level
Suitable for offline, online or both:  Offline
Is the activity part of the curriculum? Yes


For more information about VUE please contact:
SDU Centre for Teaching and Learning - Rie Troelsen - riet@sdu.dk

For more information about this assessment method please contact:
Suna Løwe Nielsen sso@sam.sdu.dk