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How are you using HP LIFE with Fastrac?

Posted By Barbara Millard, Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HP LIFE is an Open Educational Resource that Supplements Online and Face-To-Face FastTrac Classes 

The modules in the HP LIFE eLearning program are a perfect supplement to the business plan class I teach at Johnson County Community College. In that class, we use the Kauffman Foundation’s Planning the Entrepreneurial Venture program (the community college version of FastTrac). This semester, I have incorporated the following eleven HP LIFE scenarios into both my online and face to face classes: Unique Value Proposition; Marketing Benefits vs Features; Hiring Staff; Your Target Audience; Social Media Marketing; Effective Business Websites; Setting Prices; Basics of Finance; Sales Forecasting; Cash Flow ; Profit and Loss and Finding Funding.

Students watch the scenario video and then work in small groups

In face to face classes, these units are used both in the classroom and as out of class assignments. When using them in the classroom, I generally play the scenario to the class as a whole and assign the students to small groups where they proceed with the follow up exercise found under the business concept tab. After small group discussions and a report back to the class as a whole, students are then required to individually finish any remaining activities leading to the certification. This is sometimes done in class and sometimes it is assigned as homework. Once students have reached the certification level, they are required to submit a copy of their certification to the instructor. I use a Dropbox within our online learning platform for this even with my face to face classes. But, the same could be accomplished by requiring students to print out the certificate or send it as an email attachment. 

Online students complete the unit and participate in a discussion board

For my online class, students complete the units on their own and then respond to a discussion question related to the unit. While they have already participated in a discussion board within the HP LIFE unit, I feel it is beneficial to students to participate in a discussion question with their fellow classmates as well. I find that since they have participated in the discussion within HP LIFE, their discussions with their classmates are generally more insightful and involved than the discussion postings I typically get from students. 

The units require the students to interact with the material

The greatest advantage I find to using these units as a supplement to the readings in the textbook is that it requires students to interact with the material. In the past, I have given students quizzes over the assigned reading but that doesn’t always give me a true assessment of their interaction with and comprehension of the assigned material. Whereas, the HP LIFE units provide an opportunity to expand and apply the information found in their text prior to application within the business plan itself. 

Barbara Millard Barbara is an Associate Professor in the Entrepreneurship Program at Johnson County Community College where she teaches FastTrac Business Plan, Opportunity Analysis, and Family Business. She also operates BCM Training and Development which provides curriculum development and training in the area of entrepreneurship.

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