This activity challenges small student teams to conceptualize a service that could be offered on campus, and determine the costs, price and profitability using an online break-even calculator, using a context-rich problem. The student teams are tasked with identifying the service, the costs associated with delivering it on campus, establishing a price, and estimating demand. The student teams then use the online break-even calculator to determine what sales level will achieve a profit. Learning goals, teaching notes and questions for assessment are included.
The module was developed so that students will: "(1) Conceptualize a service for delivery on campus, (2) Identify fixed and variable costs, (3)Estimate demand at an established price, (4) Identify the price and sales point at which the activity will show a profit, and (5) Analyze how changes in costs, price and demand influence the break-even point."
Target Student Population:
The activity is appropriate for any course discussing profit analysis, break-even analysis or pricing, particularly Principles of Marketing, Business Planning, Strategic Planning, etc.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The module is understandable for lower-level students. The activity can be completed just prior to, during or after a Pricing discussion.
Type of Material:
Individual or Small-Group Homework – if desired, class discussion following
Works well with Google Chrome
Evaluation and Observation
This module takes an essential concept in Marketing and forms it into an easily relatable and understandable assignment for students. The topic can be well-incorporated into numerous courses, can be used in multiple ways, is complete as designed and clearly demonstrates a topic that is both relevant and current. The critical thinking emphasis is significant, both in the students’ initial development of the campus service, estimating demand, and the use of the breakeven calculator for trial and error, but in the follow-up analysis as well. The module/activity is well-crafted from start to finish, and has high teaching value. It's excellent to have teams of no more than three students. This allows for true learning, not being a team member with nothing to do!
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The assignment is a well-developed applied activity related to pricing. The author’s rationale is easy-to-follow and to incorporate into a course, particularly with the included assignment instructions, questions for discussion, and anecdotes from her own experiences. Students should find this activity definitely relatable, and should enjoy the challenge of the task and any ensuing class conversation. The merits of the assignment include both the actual applied pricing knowledge, but also the critical thinking component that is incorporated throughout. Additionally, the assignment (as developed) is relatively short in nature, but has high learning value – a win-win for everyone. Instructors wishing to adapt the assignment, i.e. lengthen it, add additional elements, etc. can do so with ease. It will be very effective, the students will not be bored!
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The module assignment is fully developed from start to finish, including learning goals, helpful tips, the actual written assignment for students, questions for thought and a link to an online breakeven calculator. An instructor need only to download and assign the task, making it the easiest of modules to enact. The assignment is highly interactive, both among students and with the online calculator, making it the perfect complement to utilize practical class knowledge towards a “real-world” issue.
Other Issues and Comments:
No concerns at all. Excellent assignment for students.