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MERLOT II

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Peer Review


Virtual Farm - Running You Own Business

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Dec 04, 2006 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This is a small business simulation by Bized in the U.K. Participants are asked to make decisions regarding the operation of a farm based on information they receive about pricing, the exchange rate, political changes, and various other factors impacting the external environmental. Students work through ten years of decision making regarding farm production and receive an overall ┬┐management rating┬┐ at the end of the simulation along with a rating for each of their ten years spent managing the farm.
Learning Goals: The major goal is to educate students about the complexities of the external environment and the impact it has on decision making in a business. It also introduces students to the multitude of factors that must be considered when making any business decision.
Target Student Population: Upper or lower division undergraduates. Possibly MBA students and Executive MBA students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None
Type of Material: Web-based small business simulation.
Recommended Uses: Classes: Introduction to management, for undergraduates, strategic management (upper division undergraduates). This exercise would be useful to assign for individuals to complete once or twice outside of class, and then to discuss in class.
Technical Requirements: Standard internet browser.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Content uses several factors which affect yearly profit and introduces random events.
Concerns: None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: No comments.
Concerns: No comments.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Once you get the swing of it, the game is very playable and has a solid interface that is striking not for its originality or beauty, but for its ability to function in any browser's window. It is a work of simple elegance.
Concerns: It takes several turns to get a "feel" for the game. The screens that present "current status of your farm" are very confusing at first. The help system is useful here, but could the terms employed be clearer? I acknowledge this is written for a British audience and I am an American reviewer.

Other Issues and Comments: Outstanding overall. Creates a meaningful simulation of managerial decision-making--a worthy achievement. Some additional attention to details on the presentation of numbers and statistics might improve things a bit. Have the authors considered a partial re-working with use of java for additional graphics?