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: 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


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: 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


Money laundering can be simply defined as “the act of concealing the source of illegally gotten money”. In the United Kingdom, companies have been under considerable government pressure to create and enforce anti-money laundering policies. This pressure has increased since 2007, when the Money Laundering Regulations were introduced. The following is a synthesis of practices and guidelines (formal and informal) that I have recorded in discussions on matters of corruption and money laundering with procurement and supply chain professionals.

By their nature, international procurement and supply chain transactions are at risk of abuse by parties intent on money laundering. The nature of international business necessitates currency exchange, which can conceal the origins of money. Very large one-off payments for single items, especially if unaccompanied by strong bargaining behaviour, should be treated with utmost suspicion. Effort should be made to receive payments from previously declared and authorised company bank accounts and credit cards. Requests for transfers into and out of unusual currencies, as part payments or whole, should also be treated with extreme suspicion. True cash, i.e. bundles of notes, is to be refused – there is no easier way of transferring ill gotten money and simultaneously putting the receiver at immediate high risk. ...continue reading


Trade credit is often extended by carriers (for example: operators such as Hamburg Sud, where I worked for a spell) to regular or high-volume/-value customers. For firms who require frequent shipping, credit provision is one benefit of holding managed accounts with the carrier (other benefits are customer service-related). When cash-flow constraints limit the availability of funds, credit facilitates business continuity. When the restraint is lifted (when the funds from a major sale are received, for example), the firm can then repay the credit extended by the borrower. In the case of shipping, firms may experience demand spikes. To meet their orders, firms might have to increase capacity. Any expansion of plant will come at high cost. If overseas orders are particularly voluminous and sudden, the transportation budget that normally covers shipping costs quite adequately will probably be insufficient. To deliver however, the firm will need to ship. Offering favourable credit terms provides firms with much needed flexibility. Carriers who can extend trade credit are especially attractive to small and medium-sized export-oriented manufacturers. The normative assumption is that the customer will repay the carrier when financial stability is re-established.

Normally, credit obtained directly from the shipper is simpler to obtain and cheaper to service than credit obtained from a third party, such as a bank. Trade credit rarely inflicts the interest rates and penalties that characterise bank loans. For the carrier too, trade credit is beneficial: provision of trade credit also allows vessels to sail with an economically rational quantity of cargo. ...continue reading


International Trade is a risk-prone activity. Transportation related risk is largely external to the firm. That is, transportation is more likely to be interrupted and cargo lost due to factors outside the control of either the selling or buying party. Cargo loss can result from illicit human intervention (crime or terrorism), accidents (crashes, derailments, shipwreck), political incidents (trade embargo or trade war), administrative error (placing of cargo on the wrong vessel), and so on. Such events will incur losses for both the buying and the selling companies. The buyer will be without the product or materials required to continue production or business. The seller may lose the payment from the disappointed buyer. Either or both parties may have to bear the costs of recovering the goods and rearranging onward or return shipment. ...continue reading


Dishonest, opportunistic, and unscrupulous importers and exporters might to disguise description, value, and/or origin of goods on the export licence documentation. The description of goods submitted to obtain the export licence may not truthfully describe actual contents of a package, carton, or container. This will likely be done in order to evade contraband regulations, that is, to effectively smuggle illicit or controlled items beyond customs borders to supply a black or grey market. Biological items, such as animals and plant life, are common ingredients in exotic foodstuffs. The ecological implications of introducing non-native creatures and flora or fauna could be severely negative. Similarly, endangered species, particularly those that cannot be legally obtained or bred in the United Kingdom, are highly sought after by collectors and producers and consumers of traditional ethnic medicines, so have a very high cash value. This increases the likelihood of illicit import. A genuine description of such an item will result in export licence refusal. If it is successfully exported, truthful labelling will result in immediate inspection and likely confiscation. The importer may also face fines and criminal charges. For this reason, fraudulent descriptions of high-value forbidden items are frequent events. ...continue reading