INTRODUCING SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING CRITERIA INTO FINANCIAL AND BANK MANAGEMENT OF ORGANIZATIONS THROUGH COOPERATIVE LEARNING
The diploma in Labour Relations trains professionals in socio-employment issues. The teaching for this course provides suitable training in the theoretical basis and techniques of organising work and of personnel management, together with the legal system covering employment and social security.
Financial and Bank Management (code RC40) is a second semester optative subject of the third course of Diploma in Labour Relations (2002 Programme of Study) and an elective subject to others degrees. The main objective of that subject is to provide the students of the Diploma in Labour Relations with the basics of financial management techniques, paying special attention to the techniques for investments evaluation, finances management and bank entities engagement. This subject has 4,5 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) equivalent credits (total 112.5 hours distributed into theory, 28, and practices, 15; the other 69.5 hours are assigned to student tasks). With the educational project, the total ECTS credits are conserved but the on-site hours distribution is different: 26 hours of theory, 9 of practices and 8 work in class about the project; the other 69.5 hours are assigned to student tasks.
The main objective of this work is to design an educational methodology based on cooperative learning to introduce the concept of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) to students in the area of financial and bank management. The proposal was focused on the use of cooperative learning as a learning methodology intended to provide students with a global view of SRI and to help teachers in their evaluation process. SRI and sustainable financials in banking and organizations are considered very important topics in research due to the development of financial markets and the rising demand of professionals trained in aspects related to social responsibility and sustainability of organisations.
Cooperative learning has been defined as small groups of learners working together as a team to solve a problem, complete a task or accomplish a common goal. Applied to subject RC40, it was expected that cooperative learning methodology would provide students with some cooperative skills required in their future profession as well as to introduce them in a dynamic and practical manner to the new investment possibilities.
Students could select between two different academic itineraries in that course: one designed for continuous evaluation of students and to be used by the presented project and other including only a final evaluation test. Therefore, a good procedure for reviewing and assessing student work was needed. The main focus of the proposal was enhanced with the inclusion of evaluation rubrics. The use of an accurately-defined evaluation rubric guaranteed the homogeneous and objective evaluation of the students learning and it also involved students not having doubts about their evaluation, so evaluation process was faster.
It was expected that the improvements included in the educational methodology of the subject would help students to solve the problems and difficulties they will find as a consequence of the changes that are being included to move from the current educational system. Marks obtained by students show the students following the itinerary created within this project reached higher marks than those that chosing to be evaluated by means of a unique final exam.