Flexible BCOM Minor program

TitleFlexible BCOM Minor program
Faculty/College/UnitSauder School of Business
Duration2 Year
Project Summary

To complement and expand access to the current face to face offerings in the Bachelor of Commerce Minor (BCOM) program, the Sauder School of Business designed, built, and delivered additional section offerings called “flex sections” across the BCOM Minor. These flex sections contained a mixture of face to face (~10%) and technology-enabled learning (~90%). Instructors used flipped classroom strategies and individual and team-based activities, projects, and assessments. Curriculum and content curation and construction was based on subject-matter concept mapping with the intention to reuse across other Sauder programs. The project incorporated open source and Creative Commons resources where appropriate. Varying modes of flex sections were piloted to determine the optimal student experience, cost-effective delivery, and subject-matter function.

Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2013/2014
Year 1: Project TypeLarge TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorBrian Bemmels
Year 1: Funded Amount212,240
Year 1: Team Members

Brian Bemmels, Professor, Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources (OBHR), Sauder School of Business
Rob Peregoodoff, Co-Principal Investigator / Director, Learning Services, Sauder School of Business
Sunah Cho, Flexible Learning Manager / Faculty Liaison, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
Sandra Robinson, Professor, OBHR, Sauder School of Business
David Gillen, Professor, Operations and Logistics, Sauder School of Business
Tim Huh, Associate Professor, Operations and Logistics, Sauder School of Business
Mahesh Nagarajan, Associate Professor, Operations and Logistics, Sauder School of Business
Scott Sinclair, Lecturer, Accounting and Information Systems, Sauder School of Business
Robert Jackes, Lecturer, Accounting and Information Systems, Sauder School of Business
Patricia Mallia, Sessional, Accounting, Sauder School of Business
Tamar Milne, Lecturer, Marketing and Behavioural Science, Sauder School of Business
Phaedra Burke, Sessional, Marketing and Behavioural Science, Sauder School of Business
Murray Carlson, Associate Professor, Finance, Sauder School of Business
Garry Yuill, Sessional, Finance, Sauder School of Business
Perry Atwal, Lecturer, OBHR, Sauder School of Business
Momo Deretic, Sessional, Strategy and Business Economics, Sauder School of Business
Liao Sha, Teaching Assistant
Milka Dimitrova, Teaching Assistant

Project ReportReport-2013-FL-Bemmels-WEB.pdf
Project Outcomes

Products & achievements: Online information about Flexible Learning for students and instructors; implementation of the Flex course designation in the Student Information System; online components for the different courses impacted (e.g., in-house and Lightboard videos, readings, quizzes, problem sets, course notes, case assignments, textbook chapters, discussion boards, surveys, etc.).

Intended outcomes/themes:

  1. Increased flexibility in time and space for students
  2. Implementation of Flex modality in the Student Information System
  3. Gathering and/or creation of learning objects
  4. Creation of participatory, face-to-face learning activities
  5. Impact on other programs/courses
  6. Increased student enrolment in Flex modality courses
  7. Creation of a Studio inside Sauder

Evaluation approach:

  • Faculty Experience Survey – This survey is about the benefits and challenges the instructors experienced in their Flex course and their satisfaction level with Flexible Learning.
  • Student Experience Survey – Conducted during the summer 2014. Students took the Flex courses because it was the only version of the course offered. The survey response rate was low (about 15%) so there is a limitation in the validity of the survey results.
  • Course Grade Average Scores – We compared the course grade average scores of the Flex and Non-Flex courses that were offered at the same time.
  • Course evaluation – We compared and analyzed course evaluation of Flex and Non-Flex courses in 2014 and 2015.
  • Process assessment - Ongoing conversation among Learning Services and instructors ensured that Flex courses were of high quality; an agile approach that included on-going suggestions, advice, in-time technical support, and pedagogical consultations with the faculty was implemented.

Findings: Student demand of taking the Flexible Learning courses did not meet our initial expectation. Student learning experiences about Flex are varied depending on their motivation to take the Flex courses, the instructors and the subject matter. Student course averages were similar across Flex and non-Flex modalities. This project provided improved access for students from all faculties that offer the commerce minor. Flexibility in time and space also helped to optimize classroom usage efficiency.

We leveraged open educational resources where appropriate and worked with librarians for content curation. We created various media that enhance student learning experiences. A Studio in Sauder was inaugurated; it has been used by UBC faculty/staff and by community members (e.g., U Hill Elementary).

As a result of this project, more students are becoming aware of the Flex modality and its benefits. Success of Flex modality is not only about the right students who are self-motivated and able to self-regulate their own learning process, but also about the instructors who understand Flex approaches. A major outcome of this project was the definition of Flexible Learning within the Comm Minor Flex space, and the implementation of a Flex course designation visible in the Student Information System.

It is reported by the Flex instructors that their experience with Flex positively impacted their teaching for other courses including face-to-face courses (e.g., online materials used in different courses; newly acquired skills with online tools transferred to other courses; increased confidence with online tools). Furthermore, the lessons learned from this project influenced other course/program design and development (e.g., B+MM Dual Program/EMBA in Strategic Mining Program). This project experience increased Sauder's capacity to produce Flexible learning objects/courses/programs for students across all Sauder programs.


  1. Peregoodoff, R. & Paulin, D. (2014). Sauder Flex Comm Minor - Challenging Time and Space. Poster presented at the Flexible Learning Open House.
  2. Robinson, S. (2015). DIY video production and the Flexible Learning format: Fostering self-directed learning habits in students. Teaching and Learning Lunch Series.


Strategic directions and planning for Comm Minor Flex need to be more formalized. If the Comm Minor Flex courses are seen as a shared enterprise across the academic division rather than a single individual's course, a more formalized sustainment process could be implemented.  Although some conversations have taken place, there is no clear answer about the ownership of the Comm Minor Flex courses and future directions to date. Further discussion for the sustainment strategy of Comm Minor Flex courses at the academic division, Sauder School, and UBC level will take place in the near future.

Phaedra Burke, COMM 465 course instructor, received the SoTL Seed Research Fund. The intent of her research is to improve student engagement in a Flexible Learning course by understanding student interest and motivation in learning. The potential impact of her study is to help us to find a sustainable course design and improved pedagogical practice.