IO2 CV Rationale

1. INTRODUCTION

These guidelines aim to define a subject benchmark statement for Economy, Tourism and Marketing, which are the three main pillars of the 3Economy+ Projects funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme. In other words the guidelines define what can be expected of selected students in these subjects in terms of what they might know, do and understand at the end of the 3Economy+ Project.

The Subject Benchmark Statement has been inspired by the UK Quality code for Higher Education (the Quality Code)  which sets out the expectations that the higher education providers are required to meet in order to secure threshold academic standards.

The Subject Benchmark Statement describes the nature of study and the academic standards expected of graduates in specific subject areas, and in respect of particular qualifications. They provide a picture of what graduates in a particular subject might reasonably be expected to know, do and understand at the end of their programme of study.

Starting from this premise, we would like to use the subject benchmark statement as the basis to describe the academic standards expected of Spanish, Maltese and Portuguese students involved in the 3Economy+ Project. Basically what these students might reasonably expected to know, do and understand form the 3Economy+ Curriculum.

For some subject areas like Economy, Tourism, and Marketing, higher education providers may need to consider other reference points in addition to the Subject Benchmark Statement in designing, delivering and reviewing programmes. These may include requirements set out by professional, statutory and regulatory bodies, national occupational standards and industry or employer expectations. This is the reason why the 3Economy+ consortium has required the support of other companies and institutions in the development of the 3Economy+ Curriculum and in the other project outputs.

In such cases, the Subject Benchmark Statement may provide additional guidance around academic standards not covered by these requirements. However, the responsibility for academic standards remains with the higher education providers which in this case are the partners involved in the 3Economy+ Project namely the University of Granada (Spain), University of Malta (Malta), and the Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre (Portugal).

2. BACKGROUND

Higher education providers are responsible for meeting the requirements of legislation and any other relevant policy. In particular the Europe 2020, a growth strategy, seeks to promote a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.  A key factor in the achievement of this strategy concerns literacy, numeracy, science, and technology, so called basic skills since it represents the foundation for further learning and are a gateway to employment and social inclusion.

According to the EU DG Education and Training, in Europe, approximately 20% of the young generation is not equipped with the necessary basic skills in literacy, mathematics, science and technology. Moreover, these skills are becoming even more important as the digital revolution gives rise to new forms of reading and writing, as well as diversifying sources of information. At the same time, the demand for a qualified workforce in technology and research intensive sectors remains high.

Until 2010, work at European level focused on increasing the number of graduates in mathematics, science and technology subjects, with particular focus on women. In 2010, EU Ministers set out an agenda for European Policy cooperation on basic skills .

The European Commission works with EU countries to strengthen 'key competences' – knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed by all for personal fulfilment and development, employability, social inclusion and active citizenship. The Key competences include: literacy and languages; maths, science and engineering; digital competence; personal, social and learning competence; civic competence; entrepreneurship; and cultural awareness and expression. 

The approach is to promote key competences by:

  • Providing high-quality education, training and lifelong learning for all
  • Supporting educational staff
  • Promoting a variety of learning approaches and contexts, in a lifelong learning perspective
  • Exploring approaches to assessment and validation of key competences

Among those objectives 3Economy+ Project aims to provide high quality education and training to the selected students and support educational staff; to promote a multicultural learning approach and context; and explore new ways to assess and validate multidisciplinary competences, skills, behaviours, learning outcomes in Economy, Tourism, and Marketing.

The European Commission launched a European Policy Network of National Literacy Organisations in February 2014. This network has the purpose to, amongst others, raise awareness, exchange good practices, policies, campaigns and initiatives promoting literacy.

3Economy+ Project aims to become a good practices for the development of skills in relevant sectors and areas such as economy, tourism and marketing in three partner countries.

3. IDENTIFYING COMPETENCES IN ECONOMY, TOURISM AND MARKETING

The 3Economy+ Curriculum sets out minimum expectations within economy, tourism, and marketing to ensure that the selected students are prepared for enterprise or employment following qualification, or for further study.

Higher education in Economy, Tourism, and Marketing is dynamic, diverse, engaging and rapidly developing as employers place greater value on the higher levels of critical thinking that universities, colleges and academics encourage and enhance in their transfer of knowledge, understanding and skills.

This is a crucial relationship in the development of programmes and projects and in ensuring that students are well prepared for their future employability through the learning opportunities and experiences offered to them in the 3Economy+ Project.

As described in the following subheadings, specific competences in each of the 3Economy+ pillars, have been identified.

3.1    Competences in Economy

3economy will help to complete the academic record by developing the most demanded competencies by the companies: adaptation to changes, initiative, problem solving, decision making, planning and organization.

Of special importance in the framing of the 3economy+ was recognition of graduates’ need to prepare for jobs that are rapidly changing in today’s contemporary workplace. For this reason also includes the value-added formative experiences such as the possibility for placements and professional internships abroad international, participation in social responsibility projector and language level.

The economic block promotes aspects of the regional economy and specific aspects of business administration.

The study of economics necessitates an understanding of the principles that govern the operation of the economic system. This programme focuses attention on the aggregate (macro) relationships and gives attention to the central problems of economic organization, the economic role of government, the determination of national income and a brief glance at economic policy, principally to the European regional economic policy.

Introduces also the unique but fundamental aspects of the global economy, including the economic and political aspects of international trade and investment and emphasizes the study of cultural traditions other than one’s own.

The modern business environment has changed drastically in a short time. Business technology has advanced business functions and operations to levels not previously believed possible. The role of accounting and business is perhaps one of the most reliable functions in business. While a few basic procedures or methods have changed, the purpose of accounting remains the same. Business owners use accounting to measure their company’s financial performance and make business decisions.

The growth in accounting is often attributed to increasing government regulations and increasingly complex financial situations.

Business management studies help individuals increase their business skills: leadership, interpersonal communication, technology and other valuable character traits. These skills are commonly referred to as hard skills in the business environment.

Accounting and finance play an essential role in the management of any business. Companies operate on money, and if you don't control that money, you don't control your business. By understanding the flow of money through your business with proper accounting practices, you can begin budgeting. In budgeting, you anticipate revenues and use that knowledge to make decisions about how to maintain and grow your business. Budgets are the culmination of good financial record keeping.

The goal of most companies is to make a profit, but the road to get there is one you have to build yourself. Financial data from within your own company comprises one of the chief tools you have in understanding the economic landscape of the market you're operating in.

For it we consider to be necessary that they should know the new control instruments, software ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), which allows to plan and manage the resources of all the areas of the company: from logistics to accounting, happening for the commercial department and of marketing, finance, production, management of projects, of the quality, maintenance or direction and general administration.

It will seek to improve those aspects that are less valued in relation to the stage of university education, and not only among graduates in Economics, they include, as expected, the limited opportunity to participate in projects, the lack of sufficient emphasis on research, few opportunities for internships in companies.

3.2. Competences in Marketing

3economy will help to complete the academic record developing different competencies: adaptation to changes, initiative, problem solving, decision making, planning and organization.

Marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a profitable target market. Marketing identifies unmet needs and desires. It defines, measures, and quantifies the size of the identified market and the potential for profit.

The study of marketing necessitates an understanding of the principles that govern the operation of the commercial business. This programme focuses attention to the central problems of marketing at different kind of organization. The marketing has changed drastically in a short time.

Marketing studies help individuals increase their professional skills: leadership, interpersonal communication, technology and other valuable character traits. These skills are commonly referred to as hard skills in the business environment.

The term 'marketing' in professional terms refers activities like: Design, implement and follow up business plans; Design strategic business plans; Make market analyst and research; Create marketing plans and innovation systems; Create Advertising; Promotes External and Internal Relations; Develop Direct Marketing plans; Management, Merchandising and Promotions; Develop product, Service and Brands; Management product, Service and Brands; Manage sales team; and Manage CRM.

It will seek to improve those aspects that are less valued in relation to the stage of university education, and not only among graduates in Marketing, they include, as expected, the limited opportunity to participate in projects, the lack of sufficient emphasis on research, few opportunities for internships in companies.

3.3. Competences in Tourism

The term 'tourism' refers to the activities and behaviours arising from the international and domestic movement of people away from their normal home environments for a variety of purposes.

The study of Tourism and the visitor economy draws on a wide range of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks including, but not limited to: production, consumption, management, economics, marketing, development, mobility and migration, sustainability and ethics.

Tourism is an internationally recognised subject area that contributes to wider interdisciplinary understanding of the development and management of tourism and its broader contribution to understanding society as a whole.

The study of Tourism overlaps with subject domains. To some extent, this is reflected in the trend for some Tourism programmes to incorporate ideas and concepts drawn from, for example, social anthropology, sociology and cultural studies. Students may also study Tourism alongside a language or social science subject.

Degrees in Tourism often involve study of the following: the concepts and characteristics of tourism as an area of academic and applied study in relation to business, management and wider social science, and at local, national and global levels; destination management, development, policy, governance and strategy; tourism economics, economic impacts and contributions to society (global to local); sustainability, ethics and well-being in tourism; security, safety, risk, resilience and crisis management on regional, national and international scales; the nature and characteristics of tourists and associated behaviour characteristics; tourism in the cultures, communities and environments that it affects; the role of technology, media and data in tourism production and consumption;  the products, structure, operations and interactions within the tourism industry; professionalising the tourism industry as both processes and structures, and professional identity and business acumen in professional development; career development and learning opportunities in the tourism sector.

The Curriculum content in Tourism may include: sustainable tourism, strategic planning and development of tourism, geography of tourism, impacts of tourism, ethics, tourism and globalisation, operation of the tourism industry, passenger transportation, research methods, technology in travel and tourism, tourism and the natural environment, tourism economics, tourism marketing, tourism policy, entrepreneurship in tourism, and visitor management.

Tourism subject encompasses programmes of study aligned closely to the service sector and experience economy. The sector is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the global economy, representing a significant proportion of gross domestic product in most western nations including the partner countries, namely Spain, Malta and Portugal. Alongside this growth in economic impact, the sector has seen increasing professionalization of those employed within it. This is reflected in the number of programmes in this sector offered by higher education providers in the 3Economy+ partner countries, both universities and further education colleges, and which range from higher national awards to research degrees.

The research profile of Tourism subject has become firmly established, reflected in the establishment of dedicated academic journals and the award of funding from European and international bodies. Moreover, the multidisciplinary nature of the subject area means that research based upon tourism also contributes to building the body of knowledge in other subject areas, such as business and management.

Tourism has a long history of experience and expertise in working with industry and providing opportunities for work-based and work-related learning. Interaction between employers and higher education providers is a fundamental part of programmes in tourism, with the nature of engagement ranging from input to programme design and guest lectures, to offering placements or live projects, through which students may learn and develop the particular applied professional and vocational skills and behaviours necessary for employment. In engaging with such opportunities, the focus is on the effective fusion of academic integrity and rigour with cutting edge occupational knowledge, and on developing the professional identity of students in order for them to go on and lead the industry. It is recognised that to achieve this, students need a critical, innovative, creative and entrepreneurial mind-set, which enables them to be responsive to change.

Tourism plays a crucial role in the health and well-being of society since it generates economic, social and cultural effects. Besides that tourism is particularly sensitive and responsive to changes in the world environment. This is reflected in the increasing inclusion in degree programmes of opportunities for students to consider the issues of internationalisation, environmental sustainability, ethical positioning, social responsibility and social justice, global security and risk, crisis management and other contemporary issues.

The role of technology, and the increasingly digital and mobile nature of society is also significant since tourism as a subject is well placed to inform the global debate and identify future areas of challenge.

3.4. Communicative Competence

Communicative competence within the 3Economy+ is a transversal competence aiming at providing students with the necessary skills to improve their economic, touristic and marketing profile in an international scenario, thus, English will become the lingua franca for business communication. In this respect, students will need to achieve a proficient use of the language within the specific field of Economics, Marketing and Tourism (henceforth, EM&T). EM&T topics will include: business organisations, industries and business sectors, finance and banking, production, international trade, sales and marketing, advertising and media, politics and economy. The subcompetences related to this area have been designed taking into consideration the Common European Framework for Languages (EU, 2001) descriptors for level C1 and C2.

3.5. Soft skills

Soft skills related to the project are related to personal and digital competences within the Economy+, and they are to be considered equally important to achieve a truly competitive and international professional profile. It is no longer sufficient for a new graduate to have knowledge of an academic subject; increasingly it is necessary for students to gain those skills, which will increase their chances of employment. Lately, companies have been claiming to the higher education sector a “personal skills gap” at the employer/graduate student. In this regard, students of this project are expected to develop and improve the following personal skills through practice and experiences within the specific field of Economics, Marketing and Tourism.

4. MAPPING LEARNING OUTCOMES IN THE 3ECONOMY+ PROJECT

In this section, the skills, behaviours and learning outcomes shared by the students in Economy, Tourism, and Marketing in the institutions involved are identified. They form generic learning outcomes that are applicable to the whole Project alongside the relevant subject-specific outcomes in Economy, Tourism, and Marketing.

Students involved in the 3Economy+ Project have a range of skills and demonstrate a range of behaviours appropriate to their professional context, including being able to:

  • Research and assess paradigms, theories, principles, concepts and data, and apply such skills creatively in explaining and solving familiar and unfamiliar problems, challenging previously held assumptions or answering research questions.
  • Describe, synthesise, interpret, analyse and evaluate information and data of an applied nature.
  • Creatively plan, design, lead, manage and execute practical activities using appropriate techniques and procedures while demonstrating high levels of relevant skills. 
  • Complete a sustained piece of independent intellectual work (such as a long project or dissertation) which plans, designs, critically assesses and evaluates evidence in the context of appropriate research methodologies and data sources.
  • Demonstrate literacy and communication skills in a range of contexts including verbal, auditory, performance, digital and multi-media forms.
  • Demonstrate the numeracy skills required to manage budgets and analyse quantitative data, including that of big data.
  • Work effectively independently and with others, as both a team member and a leader, recognising and respecting the values of equality and diversity. 
  • Take and demonstrate proactive responsibility for their own learning and continuing personal and professional development through self-appraisal and reflecting on practice in academic and professional contexts. 
  • Recognise and respond to moral, ethical, sustainability and safety issues which directly pertain to the context of study including relevant legislation and professional codes of conduct.
  • Undertake fieldwork with continuous regard for ethics, safety and risk assessment.

4.1. Learning Outcomes in Economy

  • Understanding of current economic issues and economic principles and methods, including real-world applications and elements of macroeconomics.
  • Study the core elements of management knowledge and skill, including accounting, organizational behavior, economic theory, finance, and strategy.
  • Gain an understanding of core elements of organizational finance decisions, including accounting and financial statement analysis, principles of finance, investments, corporate finance, and business evaluations.
  • Build advanced knowledge of economic theory, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, international markets, and risk management
  • Develop quantitative and problem-solving skills in resolving complex financial decisions through a local, regional, and global lens.
  • Develop an advanced understanding of leadership, corporate responsibility, digital media, and business communications, including mediation and negotiation.
  • Gain insight into the latest management theories and practices through case studies, instructor lectures, group projects, and active learning experiences.
  • Deepened knowledge in focused topic areas, such as economics of financial markets, economic strategy and competitiveness, and economics of emerging markets.
  • Knowledge of economic perspective on the nature, scale, and organization of businesses and the role of information and transaction costs in internal and external markets.
  • Manage budgets.
  • Oversee day-to-day operations in business.
  • Learn how to integrate economic principles and business concepts and you build understanding of the role of local, national, and global economies and their influence on business, commerce, trade, and government.
  • Advance a career in business, finance, a multinational corporation, trade, or international development.
  • Gain a solid grounding in management theory and practice through foundational subjects, including economics, accounting, finance, strategy, organizational behaviour, and management.     

4.2. Learning Outcomes in Marketing

  • Analyse and evaluate the concepts and characteristics of marketing in different contexts (domestic and international contexts)
  • Critique and challenge the definitions, nature and operations of marketing.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of marketing proposes in different societies.
  • Evaluate the intercultural dimensions in marketing.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of technology and media and how these influence and change the marketing rules.
  • Critique the stakeholder relationships involved in different contexts.
  • Evaluate the products, services and marketing policies.
  • Understand the cultural significance in the marketing.
  • Analyse relations between consumers in different environments.
  • Understand the issues and principles of sustainability and social responsibility in the marketing

4.3. Learning Outcomes in Tourism

With regard to the learning outcomes in Tourism, the selected students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and characteristics of tourism as an area of academic and applied study, including being able to:

  • Analyse and evaluate the concepts and characteristics of tourism as an area of academic and applied study in relation to business, management and wider social science.
  • Explain and challenge theories and concepts which are used to understand tourism in domestic and international contexts.
  • Critique and challenge the definitions, nature and operations of tourism.
  • Use a range of source material in investigating tourism.
  • Critique and challenge the nature and characteristics of tourists and associated behaviour characteristics.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the dynamic nature of tourism in contemporary societies.
  • Explain, assess and challenge theories of sustainability and ethics in the production and consumption of tourism.
  • Evaluate the intercultural dimensions of tourism.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of technology and media and how these influence and change tourism products, operations, processes and behaviours.
  • Critique the stakeholder relationships involved in destination management, development, policy, governance and strategy.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of security, safety, risk and crisis management on regional, national and international scales.
  • Evaluate the products, structure, operations and interactions within the tourism industry.
  • Professionalising the tourism industry as both processes and structures, and professional identity and business acumen in professional development.
  • Explain the patterns and characteristics of tourism demand and the influences on such demand.
  • Understand the ways in which tourists behave at destinations.
  • Understand the cultural significance of tourism for tourists and societies.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the structure, operation and organisation of the public, private and not-for-profit sectors and their activities.
  • Evaluate the factors that influence the development of organisations operating in tourism.
  • Analyse relations between consumers of tourism and the providers of tourism services.
  • Analyze the role of Government and policy makers in the development and management of destinations.
  • Evaluate the contribution and impacts of tourism in social, economic, environmental, political, cultural and other terms.
  • Understand and evaluate, the approaches to managing the development of tourism through concepts of policy and planning.

4.4. Communicative competence

In relation to listening skills:

  • Can understand extended natural speech of spoken discourse, even when it is not clearly structured, on topics related to EM&T
  • Can understand broadcasted or natural spoken discourse, conferences, on topics related to EM&T.
In relation to reading skills:
    • Can understand specialised written text related to the field of EM&T, such as 
    • Can understand articles on EM&T.

In relation to spoken interaction:

  • Can express on spontaneous conversations with people related to the context of EM&T respecting politeness rules and managing features of conversations.
  • Can understand and express shades of meaning in conversations.
  • Can use language flexibly for social and professional purposes.

In relation to speaking:

  • Can produce a coherent and cohesive formal speech on EM&T appropriate to the context
  • Can give a fluent spoken presentation on themes related to EM&T

In relation to writing:

  • Can express in clear, well-structured texts related to EM&T, such as formal letters or emails, brochures, financial summaries, business projects, economical reports, etc.
  • Can fill in specific forms related to EM&T

4.5. Soft skills

In relation to personal skills the following competences are to be considered:

Interpersonal abilities:

  • Can relate well to others.
  • Can build working relationships. 

Self-motivation:

  • Can commit to personal or organisational goals and improve certain personal standards.

Initiative:

  • Can act on opportunities.

Problem solving skills/creativity:

  • Can make logical and informed decisions to the best abilities.

Critical thinking:

  • Can assess the evidence and identify spurious or illogical reasoning.
  • Can create strong arguments based on the evidences.

Flexibility:

  • Can adapt to change, take on projects outside of their scope and shift their schedule if necessary.

Leadership and management:

  • Can motivate and inspire, providing a solid foundation for teamwork.

Teamwork:

  • Can work well with others while pursuing a common goal.

In relation to digital competence the following learning outcomes are to be expected, related to the Europass self-assessment grid on digital competences (independent user):

Information processing:

  • can use a variety of search engines to find information, which is compared and classify so as to use it efficiently.

Content creation:

  • Can produce digital content in different formats (e.g. text, tables, images, audio files, using templates and basic formatting (e.g. insert footnotes, charts, tables) to the content
  • Can reference information and media so as to follow copyright conventions.

Digital communication:

  • Manage different communication and collaboration tools
  • Use online services
  • Knows the netiquette and is respectful in online communication

Problem solving:

  • Solve frequent problems in digital technologies.
  • Regularly update digital skills.

Safety:

  • Use security programmes and update them regularly.
  • Use different passwords to access equipment, devices and digital services and I modify them on a periodic basis.
  • Identify fake websites or e-mail messages
  • Is aware of the risk of sharing personal information in the Internet.

5. METHODOLOGY 

The development of the 3Economy+ Curriculum was carried out by a group of work including representatives from the University of Granada (Spain), University of Malta (Malta), and the Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre (Portugal).

The learning methods used in the 3Economy+ Project generally include combinations of some of the following: lectures, group tutorials, laboratory practicals, real-time practical activities, live performance and events, case-studies, field studies, placements, internships, consultancy, working in small groups, independent study and research, and technology-enhanced and blended learning.

The Intellectual Output no.2, as well as the other project outputs, have been reviewed by two External Evaluators identified among outstanding experts of project management, economy, tourism, and marketing beyond the three partner countries.