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One of the field chairs for Accounting has implemented a pilot scheme with Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action to enable second year undergraduate accounting students to provide basic accounting services for a year on a part-time voluntary basis to a variety of local charities. Specialist training was supplied by a local firm of chartered accountants. An interim evaluation of the scheme will be presented, taking into account the experience of the students and those running the scheme. Students’ motivations to engage with the project will be considered. Within the development of the new portfolio of Business School undergraduate degrees, a new Community Engagement module is proposed from 2011 onwards, which would allow future participants in the scheme to gain academic credit for this work. Issues relating to the setting of individual students’ learning objectives, equity of marking between students involved in different organisations and practical considerations will be discussed. Press coverage of the scheme resulted in expressions of interest from charities elsewhere in the UK, and possible ways to role out this project will be considered.
This work will specifically inform the conference theme of community based work, and also of external collaborations and partnerships. Colleagues may be interested in this work both as an example of engaging students in the local community, and in connection with assessing independent learning equitably where student experiences have been different.