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Student Learning Experience

Doctorate of Business Administration [DBA] Doctorate of Business Administration
The University's ambition is to be consistently one of the best modern universities in the UK. To achieve this ambition, the
University focuses on the needs of students, economies and societies, aiming to:
enrich the all-round experience of students throughout their engagement with the University;
enhance the quality and relevance of taught provision;
increase the diversification of the student population;
expand the provision of corporate programmes and lifelong learning opportunities;
grow internationally excellent research and knowledge exchange activities and reputation;
secure economic and environmental sustainability.
The University believes a professional education starts with excellent teaching and research within a supporting
environment, and is about a lifelong and sustainable approach to working and living. The University's portfolio is informed
by its commercial and public sector partners, who are instrumental in helping to develop courses to ensure their relevance for
the evolving economy and society. Many include practical experience and placements, and are professionally accredited.
These contribute to the University's position as one of the UK's top universities for graduate employment.
By combining the best of both academic and professional worlds, the University aims to give its students the best possible
start to their careers. A degree from Robert Gordon University is confirmation to a future employer that a student will
possess the required blend of learning, skills and experience.


Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy
Throughout the taught stage of the course, for those students in either full-time or part-time attendance, the main mode of
delivery will be through lectures, interactive seminars and group work, with appropriate support material and discussion
forums on the Intranet. The Aberdeen Business School encourages the utilisation of a diverse range of teaching and learning
methods designed to encourage student involvement in the learning process. Through the implementation of techniques such
as group exercises, role-plays, workshops, simulations, case studies, and oral presentations, the School will ensure that
students are given the opportunity to play an active role in their educational development. The taught element of the
Doctoral programme will thus be enhanced by the innovative teaching approaches employed by the School, which are
features typical of Professional Doctorates.
The Aberdeen Business School also encourages that various forms of assessment will be used to monitor student progress
within the taught modules and to determine progress through the taught programme. The coursework for a module may
consist of critical review essays, project report, online activity and group discussions, and self and peer assessment, portfolio
of evidence etc. as appropriate to the learning outcomes of the module. Specific assessment requirements are specified in
the Module Descriptors.
For the distance learning students, throughout the taught stage of the programme, the main mode of directed study is by
networked distance learning through the course's website (part of the University's Virtual Campus). In addition students may
undertake several web-based activities as an important part of their learning process. As an online learner, the student will
be part of a virtual cohort', and communication and interaction among the cohort is also a significant aspect of the learning
process. In a collaborative learning environment however, the student is also required to become an independent open
learner and take responsibility for when, where and how learning occurs.
The University recommends that Distance Learning is assessed solely by coursework, and in the interests of equity the same
assessments will be administered to all students.
In preparation for the dissertation, students will receive a programme of instruction in the basic aspects of research
methodology. This covers: the nature of research; writing a research proposal; sourcing relevant information; data
collection; collection and analysis of data; writing up their work. The preparation of a formal proposal for approval by the
Research Degrees Committee forms part of the formal assessment of this programme.
Students will also be encouraged to interact with their peers through discussion groups and research forums. Further
individualised support will be provided by the Principal Supervisor and the supervisory team.
The School has an ongoing responsibility for promoting innovative teaching and assessment methods. The School's
Teaching, Learning and Quality Enhancement Committee monitor developments in these areas, with staff being encouraged
to introduce innovations in the teaching methodology and/or assessment techniques to challenge the students, develop their
transferable skills and inculcate a desire for deep learning.
Progression and awards would be dependent on successful completion of each stage. Progression to the Dissertation stage
would be conditional on satisfactory completion of the 120 credits of taught Modules at SHEM Level.
It is expected that all candidates will complete the full programme of study, including the dissertation. There may, however,
occasionally be instances in which a candidate fails to complete the programme for personal or academic reasons. It would
be in keeping with the University's existing policy on Exit Awards for there to be one. In appropriate circumstances,
candidates may be advised to complete a relevant programme from those already approved by Academic Council, taking any
necessary outstanding Modules to do so. In most instances, this would lead the student to be awarded a Certificate,
Diploma or Masters Degree in Professional Studies.
The Learning Environment
Doctorate of Business Administration [DBA] Doctorate of Business Administration

COURSE SPECIFICATION: Student Learning Experience
On Campus Students
The Aberdeen Business School building was purpose built in 1998, and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. This
ensures that students are taught in a comfortable and appropriate venue. In addition to the physical facilities, the students
will have the benefit of access to the Intranet. The Intranet is similar to the Virtual Campus, and has a number of functions
ranging from a repository for lecture support material to video clips of guest speakers.
Open and Distance Learning Students
The Virtual Campus provides a generic infrastructure for online learning. Facilities provided include:
A course enrolment system.
Discussion forums for online meetings and conferences, and tutorials.
A messaging service allowing student feedback and support from supervisors/advisors, and confidential peer group feedback
between student cohort.
Student publishing space enabling production of a personal profile, organisation of relevant links, and links to student work.
A calendar of course events.
A means of distributing text-based open learning materials, assignments and course handbooks.
Provision of web-based open learning materials and other appropriate resources
Tools for delivering student self-assessment.
Tracking of student interaction with resources provided via the Virtual Campus and with course materials.
In addition, the Department of e-Learning ( DeL ) will also support the School to deliver additional specific learning
environments for group work.


Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods
Specific mappings for the teaching, learning and assessment strategies are given below. However, all strategies employed
for distance-learning students will be consistent with and utilise CELT/DeL guidelines as they are prepared and revised.
These are modelled on the Code of Practice Collaborative Provision and Flexible Learning. Assessment follows the guidelines
in the University's Assessment Handbook and the chapters on distance learning, in particular.
In this section the various methods of teaching, learning and assessment used in the achievement of the Level Learning
Outcomes (LLO) are detailed
Methods for
Exemplar Methods for Assessing/
Evaluating Outcomes
(a) Knowledge and Understanding

Live lectures;
lectures; directed
study of
textbooks; study
of paper-based
self-study; CBL,
multimedia and
materials; case
studies, class
Examinations/tests based on
objective items, short-answer items,
short-notes questions, structured
essays; computer-based
assessment; oral assessment;

(b) Key Transferable Process Skills
Doctorate of Business Administration [DBA] Doctorate of Business Administration

COURSE SPECIFICATION: Student Learning Experience
Structured and
unstructured essays;
assignments and projects
involving writing reports,
making live presentations,
laboratory, studio or
clinical work, etc;
seminars; games,
simulations and case
studies; mediated
feedback sessions;
self-help groups.
Structured and
unstructured essays;
assignments and projects
involving writing reports,
making presentations,
laboratory, studio or
clinical work, etc; seminar
presentations; assessment
of performance in games,
simulations, case studies
and mediated-feedback
sessions; oral assessment
of all types.
Live lectures; electronic
lectures; individualised
study methods of all
types; worked examples;
applications of theories
and principles; case
laboratory/practical work
of all types; use of
computers; projects and
assignments involving
calculations, data
processing, etc.
Examinations/tests based
on objective items,
short-answer items,
problems, case studies;
assessment of computer
and laboratory/practical
work; assignments and
projects involving
calculations, data
processing, etc.
IT Skills
Live lectures, electronic
lectures, individualised
study methods of all
types; use of computers
as word processors,
calculators, databases,
design tools,
communication systems,
etc in class work, projects
and assignments, and
private study; tutorials.
Assessment of use of C&IT
in class work, projects and
(details/exemplars to be
Learning Skills
Live lectures; electronic
lectures; individualised
study methods of all
types; assignments and
projects; tutorials.
Not assessed directly, but
underpin performance in
virtually all assessments
carried out in programme.

Interactive and
Group Skills
Tutorials; class
discussions; seminars;
interactive games,
simulations and case
studies; mediated
feedback sessions; group
projects; self-help groups.
Assessment of
performance in class
discussions, seminars,
interactive games,
simulations and case
studies, mediated
feedback sessions, group
Doctorate of Business Administration [DBA] Doctorate of Business Administration

COURSE SPECIFICATION: Student Learning Experience
projects, etc.
Research Skills

Live lectures; electronic
lectures; individualised
study; laboratory,
practical and project work
of all types, particularly
any major project
incorporated in
Tutor assessment of
written project reports,
live presentations on
project work, etc; peer
assessment of individual
contributions to group
projects; self-assessment.

(c) Higher Cognitive Skills
Live lectures; electronic
lectures; individualised
study methods of all types;
worked examples;
problems, case studies,
simulations and games;
assignments and projects
of all types; laboratory,
studio, clinical and field
work; work placements;
seminars; tutorials.
Examinations/tests based
on objective items, short
answer items, problems,
case studies, structured
and unstructured essays;
reports, performance in
seminars, assignments,
projects, portfolios,
practical work and
laboratory/clinical work,
work placements of all

(d) Subject-Specific Skills
Workshops, seminars,
projects, online and
research team discussions.

assessment/tests based on
reports; coursework,
online and supervisory
team discussions;

The assessment methods are designed to support the teaching and learning strategy. Teambased working, collaborative
learning and discussion are encouraged within the assessment design. This may be by allocating a proportion of the grade to
the assessment of team outcomes via presentations or evidence portfolios. In other circumstances, individual assessments
may be based on earlier team working or discussion.

Assessment will follow the guidelines in the University's Academic Regulation RGU: Academic Regulations. In particular
assessment will be designed to:
Ensure that learning outcomes have been met;
Provide feedback to students, and thus support and guide learning;
Demonstrate that appropriate standards are being maintained;
Motivate students to undertake appropriate work; and
Provide opportunities for students to communicate with peers and staff.

Assessments are selfcontained within modules and are designed to assess the module learning outcomes. Where there is
Doctorate of Business Administration [DBA] Doctorate of Business Administration

COURSE SPECIFICATION: Student Learning Experience
more than one assessment mechanism within a module it is expected that they will assess different learning outcomes.
Coursework assessment is the main mechanism for assessment, but within this there is considerable flexibility for module
coordinators to use methods appropriate for their individual modules. Diversity of assessment types and the use of
innovative methods are encouraged. The majority of coursework assessment focuses on assessing individual competence.

It is considered that coursework assessments are on balance the most appropriate to permit the demonstration of learning
outcomes at Masters' level. Within these a variety of assignment types is encouraged.

In accordance with University procedures:

All coursework assignments are moderated internally as above, and are also subject to external moderation;
A sample of all coursework assignments are double marked to ensure consistency of marking, and a smaller sample
is subsequently sent to the appropriate External Examiner for moderation, before grades are reported to and approved by
the Assessment Board;
All assignments are marked according to a criterion referencing system, which seeks to ensure objectivity of marking.

The Programme Management Team has an ongoing responsibility for promoting innovative teaching and assessment
methods and practices. It monitors developments in these areas, with every subject lecturer encouraged to introduce
innovations in the teaching methodology and/or assessment techniques. It is recognised that there is an ongoing need to
develop and implement ways of challenging the student, developing transferable skills and inculcating a desire for deep
learning. All assessments endeavour to have professional relevance and are related to issues and situations which students
can expect to encounter in the workplace.

With regard to the distance learning mode of study all strategies employed will be consistent with and utilise the Department
of eLearning ( DeL ) guidelines as they are prepared and revised. Assessment follow the guidelines in the University's
Assessment Handbook including the chapters on distance learning and take due cognisance of QAA's Code of Practice on
Collaborative Provision and Flexible and Distributed Learning (including elearning) (September 2004). There is an
equivalence of assessment methods and practices employed across all delivery modes.


The University provides a number of means of supporting teaching and learning:
a University-wide Teaching and Learning Strategy, accessible at;
student induction organised on a course or School basis;
an ongoing scheme of personal/pastoral support for students;
an extensive programme of student study skills delivered through the Library and the Study Skills and Access Unit;

an extensive library of learning resources;

close collaboration with industry and professional, statutory and regulatory bodies;

the University's active participation in the Scottish Funding Council's Quality Enhancement Themes,;

support for staff from the Department for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and Assessment (DELTA), including
provision of a Postgraduate Certificate Higher Education Learning and Teaching course;

extensive opportunities for student placements with companies or organisations, academic overseas exchange
programmes, and support for entrepreneurial activity;

CampusMoodle,, the University's dedicated virtual learning environment;
a commitment to knowledge exchange and technology transfer through focused research activity, which contributes
to the critical underpinning for all taught courses;
the expanding provision of state-of-the-art, purpose-built facilities and buildings.
Extensive use is made of the Virtual Campus. For distance learners, the Virtual Campus forms the principal mode of delivery.
For on-campus students it forms a significant part of the teaching and learning process and is used for the hosting of lecture
notes, reading lists, case studies and facilitating teamwork. Course and Module Handbooks are also made available through
the Virtual Campus. The DBA team makes full use of information and communication technologies in teaching, learning,
assessment and research.


As above.


The DBA is a challenging course demanding a combination of intellectual ability and experience.
Students on the the course will have the opportunity to blend the latest academic thinking, with business knowledge, skills
and practice, to enable them to make a significant contribution to the enhancement of professional practice. Students will
have the opportunity to work closely with a vibrant research community that can support their research and career ambitions.
In all modes of study, there is a requirement for individual study which is both directed and selfdirected.
The course strongly integrates theory with professional and vocational practice and the student will be expected to develop
an understanding of the principles and ideas in contemporary management. Particular emphasis is placed on the student's
evaluative and analytical skills with the overall aim of producing creative, innovative and reflective practitioners. The student
will be required to engage fully with and participate actively in the learning process. The course is intensive, yet highly
enjoyable and engaging. Regular attendance at lectures (taught mode) and engagement with all course components is
required to achieve a satisfactory level of performance.
Doctorate of Business Administration [DBA] Doctorate of Business Administration

COURSE SPECIFICATION: Student Learning Experience
In full time mode, the learning occurs through lectures, seminars and workshop. These comprise of a mix of formal lectures,
group study, discussion, simulation and presentations of findings by teams and individuals. Where appropriate, computer
laboratory sessions are employed for electronic simulations. Oncampus students will work in teams on case studies, team
activities, presentations and discussions. Students are required to purchase their own textbooks to support their study and
make full use of the library resources.
The distance learning mode is supported by the Virtual Campus through individual study of the study materials and active
participation in the group learning experience. Online community groups, communication tools and discussion forums enable
students to:
Communicate with each other and their tutors;
Share ideas, debate issues and explore concepts;
Reflect on the contributions of others and consider critically their own position prior to posting a response to the
Participate in a few live lectures as they occur on the full-time course;
Enhance the learning experience for all involved.
Central to the virtual campus is the development of a learning experience responsive to individual needs which encourages
the active participation of students with tutors and with each other to expand their ideas in class or via electronic forums
and communications tools.


As above.


20 September 2010

This document constitutes one of two course documents that should be read together:
Course Specification: Core Award Data
Course Specification: Student Learning Experience
Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Scotland, UK
A Scottish Charity, Registration No. SCO13781
Telephone: +44 (0)1224 262000
In compiling this information the University has taken every care to be as accurate as possible, though it must be read as
subject to change at any time and without notice. The University reserves the right to make variations to the contents or
methods of delivery of courses, to discontinue, merge or combine courses, and to introduce new courses.
Printed: 12 Sep 2011
Record Number: 0041
Version Number: 1
Doctorate of Business Administration [DBA] Doctorate of Business Administration

COURSE SPECIFICATION: Student Learning Experience