Kenneth Wilkinson (55104450) Flex Portfolio


Flex 1. Delivering Practical Sessions (word count: 970)

This portfolio item is based on a workshop designed to encourage use of practical methods in teaching. In this entry, I combine the “Tell, Show, Do” model with Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle to produce a new theoretical perspective for an innovative approach to achieving the benefits of creative, practical tasks. The issue of triggers and where they could be placed in the Experiential Learning Cycle is discussed. In the Action Plan, several creative tasks are proposed. These take the form of student-created triggers of learning, and more suggestions for the implementation of creative and practical tasks in tutorials.

Flex 2. Reflective Writing (word count: 853)

A reflective writing workshop provided the impetus for this portfolio inclusion. In this workshop, I was reminded of the importance of structure in reflective writing. In one level VI unit that I have taught, the coursework assignment required students to write reflectively about their performance in a competitive group activity designed to reinforce certain aspects of Operations Management theory. Hitherto, this assignment included no suggestions for structuring the reflective component of the assignment. Hereafter, basic instruction in systematic reflective writing will be incorporated. Regarding creativity, in the framing of this or any similar problem-solving activity, the value of creative thinking could be better emphasised. The business case for creative solutions to systems improvement can be persuasively articulated in the argot of the discipline, hence should be. These intentions are communicated in the Action Plan.

Flex 3. Employability Contexts and Practice (word count: 860)

In this last portfolio entry (also based on a workshop), employability skills and qualities as they pertain to Operations Management opportunities receive scrutiny and suggestions for creative applications in teaching. The Action Plan argues for the incorporation of student-formulated, student-performed creative tasks with the objective of testing and reinforcing student knowledge vis-a-vis desirable traits in candidates applying for Operations Management roles. Creativity is also present in the tasking of students to draft a self-development programme.

Total word count: 2683

Word counts do not include references.

The format of all three entries is based on the guidance provided on page 13 of the Flex: Creativity for Learning Unit Handbook. The reflective model of Rolfe et al (2001) has also been used to provide additional structure.

Reflecting the recommendation on page 9 of the Unit Handbook, the content of all three entries is informed by the following policy documents:

MMU Strategy for Learning, Teaching and Assessment (Principles 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.3, 3.2, and 4.3)

UK Professional Standards Framework (Aims 2 and 4; Dimensions A1, A2, A5, and V3)


This game-like activity demonstrates the weaknesses and strengths of differing operations layouts. Briefly, the game requires students to design a layout through which a simple object constructed of Lego can be produced. The object is produced through a sequence of stations. A transformation activity occurs at each station. The game comprises four steps and two phases. ...continue reading

Activity: Delivering Practical Sessions

Date: April 3, 2017

Summary and Rationale (“What?”)

This was a three-hour workshop designed to suggest techniques and provide “creative space” for considering different practical activities to enhance teaching (

My interest in practical activities began 2014, when I devised The Supply Chain Game for level VII students and observed astonishing engagement and enthusiasm for the game. I participated in this workshop to gather and trial ideas for other practical activities that facilitate the teaching of abstract, conceptual material. ...continue reading

Activity: Reflective Writing

Date: May 19, 2017

Summary and Rationale (“What?”)

This was a two-hour workshop that introduced (or recapped) models of reflective practice. The workshop also reviewed the essentials of reflective writing.

I have taught reflective writing to undergraduates – with varying degrees of success – so need to improve my own understanding and learn from others who have explored the theory more deeply than I. Two courses I have taught featured assignments that required reflective writing, which, I believe, could have been better explained to improve student performance. ...continue reading

Activity: Employability Contexts and Practice

Date: June 14, 2017

Summary and Rationale (“What?”)

This workshop provided an overview of national graduate employability prospects and data sources. It introduced the DLHE and KIS statistics and gave an opportunity for discussion of MMU’s employability strategy and career services. The participation of staff from various academic faculties and services allowed sharing of methods and advice regarding integrating employability into academic practice. No theory was taught; focus was on explaining employability data – its sources and potential utility.

My reasons for attending the event were manifold: to understand how graduate employment stats can feed into improved curriculum design; to discuss methods by which teaching and employability can be better aligned through directly taught content, the “hidden curriculum” (Portelli, 1993), or other indirect means. Indirect teaching is particularly challenging in Business Studies, where compatibility with the values and philosophies of commercial organisations, their goals, and their philosophies has to be integrated into and informative of every topic taught, and, ideally, demonstrated in the teacher’s methods and ethos. ...continue reading