Friday, January 25, 2019

simCEO Courses: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



SimCEO Courses FAQs
We're excited by the potential of our new platform, allowing users form all around the world to join existing courses - and instructors from anywhere to share their expertise. Learn more about it here.

General Information

What's different about simCEO courses?
SimCEO provides an interactive, award-winning platform to host any type of courses. Users from around the world can sign up for any number of courses.
SimCEO courses allow users to interact in an online environment with a simulated stock market as one mechanism for feedback. Students go beyond demonstrating comprehension and knowledge of the material. Students actually produce products/solutions (or parts of products) and then actively evaluate the quality of each others' work through investing and feedback. Students learn from and with one another (not just a teacher) to leverage social learning as they leave with practical, real-world products that have been enhanced by feedback from others.

What types of courses are offered?
Almost any type of courses can be offered.
However, the interactive and social learning platform is best leveraged when a course has practical applications. Go beyond courses that simply assess student comprehension. When students to create products/solutions that are unique, they learn from comparing and evaluating how others have solved the problem or demonstrated quality.

Who are the course instructors?
Some courses are offered by certified instructors and some are just passionate thought-leaders in their area. All instructors must pass preliminary requirements in order to offer a course on the simCEO platform.


How much do courses cost?
The cost for each course is determined by the instructor.

Can Instructors make money?
Yes. Instructors keep 85% of the revenue from the course.

Does it cost money for me to be an instructor on this site?
Return to questionsNo. The course set-up is free. In fact, being an instructor within simCEO is a great way to earn money for engaging, relevant courses.

How long are simCEO courses?
Each course length is determined by the instructor - from a few days to many months - depending on the course content.

Does every student who joins a course have to create a new product/solution? Can students join just to learn more and help evaluate other students' solution?
Yes. Depending on the instructor's preference, each course can have two types of student-user. Each type of user plays an important role. 
  • Innovators / CEOs create products/solutions to share within the course. They evaluate and give feedback on others' solutions. Based on the feedback they receive, they make adjustments to their own creation to finish with an enhanced product. 
  • Investors receive join a course to learn the same content by evaluating the CEOs' products/solutions. They share written feedback and make investment decisions based on the quality of each product/solution.


How do I know simCEO courses will be a quality experience?
Each instructor is given anonymous ratings by the class participants according to this rubric. The ratings for each instructor are shared publicly.

Are the students evaluated/graded?
Yes. Each instructor will set assignments and assessments (in addition to the final evaluation of the quality of the solution) in order to assign an overall grade. Courses can also be graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

Are simCEO courses accredited?
Not at this time. Each course is meant to focus on the application of content in a real-world setting. Learners should sign up because they want to learn more by practicing the application of their knowledge and value the feedback that they will receive from others. 
We believe that some courses will be accredited in the future.

How does the simulated classroom stock market function in our course?
The classroom stock market is simply one way for students to give and get feedback on the quality of their products/solution. As students buy shared in a 'company' (product/solution), the share price immediately increase. As shares are sold, the share price decreases. Instructors are always evaluating the quality and can influence prices based on their evaluation of quality - as they would with a traditional grade.

How does a simulated classroom stock market enhance learning?
The stock market allows students to pursue two goals simultaneously. They strive to create the best solution by ending with the highest share price. They also strive to identify the highest quality solutions that are being produced. Both skills provide insights into a student's ability to demonstrate understanding of the targeted content.

Is the simulation dynamic?
Yes, like a real stock market prices change instantly.
More importantly, instructors are encouraged to add news articles and announcements to introduce real-world variables and encourage student-adjustments along the way.
Students actions (or non-actions) can be supported by rationale - thus providing an additional way that students can demonstrate their understanding and application of content.

Instructors: Setting Up a simCEO Course

Can I set the course duration, learning outcomes, and cost?
Yes. Each of these will be detailed in the Course Description which will be shared with potential students.

Can I just take all the course materials from my existing course and use it on the simCEO platform?
Yes. But you - and your students - would likely be missing the real power of simCEO's potential. 
Because of the interactive platform, we encourage instructors to go beyond assignments which assess comprehension of content. Instead, we encourage a shift towards assignments where students are creating unique solutions/products within a real-world context. This can be a shift in planning and conceptualizing some of the course outcomes, and you can brainstorm ideas with our "Instructor Prompts: Questions to Guide Your Planning." to help instructors make this shift.


Can I offer multiple sections of the same course to target different levels of complexity (aimed at different students)?
Yes. You will specify the details of your course in the Course Description.

Does each course have a minimum / maximum number for students?
Yes. You can set the minimum and the maximum number of students for each course. If minimum numbers are not met, instructors have the choice to proceed with the course or not. (If the course is delayed, students receive a refund.)

Can I share news articles, resources, assignments, and videos to support my students?
Yes. Our platform allows all of these mediums and more to be shared.

As an instructor, should I be involved during the course itself?
This will vary depending on the topic and course outcomes, but generally "yes".
The power of our platform is that it is dynamic and interactive. Instructors will certainly want to provide feedback to students along the way, and will hopefully share a few variables and scenarios that occur in the real world to help students apply their understanding of an ever-changing context.

Is an understanding of the stock market essential for me to be an instructor?
No. Instructors give feedback all the time via traditional grades and written comments (which are also available in simCEO). The stock market just provides an additional, fun way to give students feedback. Additionally, it provides a mechanism so that each student can give direct, anonymous feedback to others as they buy/sell shares based on quality.

Can I get support in setting up my simCEO course?
Of course. As educators ourselves, we love exploring the learning outcomes you want to see and then working with you to develop meaningful tasks within a real-world environment to engage students. Take an easy first step and brainstorm answers to our "Instructor Prompts: Questions to Guide Your Planning.".

Additionally, you can email us at info@simceo.org or join one of our free webinars.

I'm interested in becoming an instructor. What steps must I take?
You can start the process by simply filling out this short form to get more information. Eventually, you will have to complete the 4 steps below.
1. Join our free "Becoming an Instructor: Training Course" to become more familiar with the site and begin planning your own course.
2. Pass our assessments along the way.
3. Share a Course Plan using our template and have it approved. (Most of this will be developed by the completion of the Training Course.)
4. We post your course online. You monitor the student sign-ups, and kick-off a fun, engaging course.

Game Play in simCEO Courses

What is a typical course timeline?
Each instructor will determine the flow for each course, but usually, it looks something like:
  1. Instructors define the problem to solve or the goal for the student-created product/service/solution. Instructors also provide basic resources, but students are free to seek out other resources.
  2. The instructors may break the project up into stages/phases. Each phase is an assigned task.
  3. Students work on their products/solutions within the context of a simulated Business Plan. As phases are completed, the Business Plan becomes more developed.
  4. As student work is uploaded to the course for all participants to see, students also evaluate the quality of each other's solutions by buying and selling shares and sharing written feedback.
  5. Throughout the course, instructors may share news articles (real or fictional) with real-world variables to see if students can make the necessary adjustments along the way.
  6. Throughout the course, instructors may share additional (Private) assignments to measure student comprehension or ask students to reflect upon their most recent actions. (Answers to private answers are not visible to all students.)
  7. Students continue adjusting their investment portfolio and their own solution based upon the feedback from students and the instructor. Each student strives to end with:
    1. The solution that has the highest share price by producing a quality solution.
    2. The investment portfolio with the highest dollar value, demonstrating an ability to recognize quality solutions.
Is the course, and our simulated stock market, open 24/7?
Yes. During the duration of the course, students can log in and make adjustments at any time.

What are the important dates for each course?

The Course Start Date is the first day that students are asked to log in. You will interact with the instructor and officially begin your course.
  • The Start Trading Date is the first official day that the stock market is open. Prior to this date, students were likely developing their solutions and sharing their progress in phases/assignments.
  • The End Trading Date is the date the Stock Market officially closes. The stock market officially closes at 11:59 pm the day before the End Trading Date.
The Course End Date is the last day of the course. It is the last day to complete assignments, reflections and wrap-up work.

How do the prices change?Prices within this simulation change based on the supply and demand of the shares (as students buy and sell shares). This is no different than the real stock market. However, the students (investors) in this simulation represent the entire investing population, and this is certainly not the case in the real world. To make this situation more realistic, the instructor of the simulation will act as "the rest of the world's investors". Here is how it works:
  1. Students will buy and sell shares causing fluctuations to this estimated price. (Buying causes the price to rise; selling causes a drop in price.) This price fluctuation occurs in every simulation. Additionally,
  2. Instructors are given options during the Set Up process which can influence the price of companies. In this way, the instructor has the option to influence prices in the role of "the rest of the world's investors".
Do the price changes due to trading happen immediately?Yes, you can see the change reflected by visiting the ticker board immediately after a trade.

Can a student change the answers to their Business Plan (solution/product) during the simulation?Yes, updates can be done at any time. Each component is recorded with a timestamp of the most recent update to help users recognize CEOs who are making adjustments to improve their business plan.

Why can't students buy/sell the same company for one day after they first buy/sell it?This is to prevent price manipulation.

Technical/support questions

How can I contact simCEO?To learn more about simCEO email info@simCEO.org. To get help regarding a current simulation, instructors should fill out a support ticket at our SupportCenter or email support@simCEO.org.

What if I lose my password or username?Both participants and teachers can fill out a Password Reminder form and an email will be sent to you with the requested information. Students without a username or unique email address should contact their instructor.

What are the system requirements to participate in a simCEO simulation?
The simCEO courses and simulations are entirely online, so the basic requirements are:
- a desktop or laptop computer, or a large tablet device
- a modern and up-to-date web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge. For Internet Explorer, version 11 is recommended
- a stable internet connection (data usage is moderate)
- an active email account in which to receive notifications, for both students and instructors

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