Role-Plays the Way to go for Presentations, says Auditing Lecturer
A UKZN Lecturer has decided that all presentations by her Auditing (AUDT200) class will in future be role-plays as this forces the students to work together instead of preparing their work individually.
And, to get the competitive juices flowing, there will be a contest where the best teams present in front of the class with the winners getting a prize.
The Lecturer is Ms Tiffiny Sneedon, a Qualified Chartered Accountant and UKZN alumnus who worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Johannesburg for 18 months before returning to Durban to follow her passion for education.
Inspired by a training session at PwC where they were asked to create a video, Sneedon wanted to set a similar task for her students at UKZN but realised that stipulating a video presentation was problematic as not all students had access to the equipment and software required.
So she put the students into groups to research the issues of Corporate Governance and produce a discussion paper, following which they were tasked to create a training presentation - a video, a live presentation or a combination of both - to inform a newly-appointed company director about the issues.
At the end of the project, students had to submit a reflection report explaining their role in the group work and what they had learned from a technical and soft skills perspective. Themes that emerged included:
• The majority of students had previously not been made to work with people they did not know (groups were randomly mixed by race and gender) and most groups were pleasantly surprised by how effective group work was being able to bounce ideas off people they didn't usually speak to;
• Students got a better understanding of what Corporate Governance was as they had to make the links between the principles of Corporate Governance, the documentary and why Corporate Governance was important to them as future chartered accountants in South Africa.
From the informal feedback that Sneedon received from the students, the groups that did a good job and took the task seriously, thoroughly enjoyed the process whereas some students were very unhappy about being taken out of their comfort zone and made to work with students they did not know.
Said Sneedon: ‘When you work in audit, you are continually put in audit teams with people you don’t know of different standards and backgrounds and you have to work with them. It is essential for students to get experience working in these situations so that they can develop the skills necessary to work effectively in a team.’
Sneedon plans to stipulate that all presentations by her students should be role-plays as it forces them to work together instead of preparing their work individually and only getting together at the end for the delivery. She also plans to have competitions in the class to get the competitive juices flowing.
‘In retrospect, it was actually quite a fun and interesting experience,’ said student Mr Pratish Hansjee - a Cameraman, Editor and Actor in one of the top video presentations.
‘I really enjoyed recording the video presentation the most. All the painstaking research and editing paid off and I am pleased with the results. It could not have been possible without my other group members.’
Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor Kriben Pillay, lauded the initiative saying: ‘I’m all for these kinds of projects because the greatest learning happens when you are doing rather than simply sitting in a classroom receiving information and you don’t apply it - that information is quickly lost as the brain does not see the need to retain it. We have to find ways that move away from rote learning.’
* Pillay is currently engaged in a project led by Ms Upasana Singh - an Emerging Researcher in the discipline of Information Systems & Technology - to look into different types of multi-media technology that can assist students and academic staff.