Syllabus for FIN-301

PRINCIPLES OF FINANCE


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Principles of Finance serves as an introduction to financial management. Financial management is concerned with value and, when applied to firms, studies financial decision making and its impact on the value of the firm. Virtually all management decisions have financial implications, and the impact of these decisions on the value of the firm is the basis by which management is judged. Superior management produces superior financial decisions that lead to growth and increased valuation of the firm.

This course considers specific financial decisions such as selecting among alternative investments (i.e., capital budgeting), the sources of the firm's finances (i.e., the optimal capital structure), the management of current assets and liabilities (i.e., working capital), and the tools of financial analysis. The course emphasizes analytical tools and their use in solving financial problems.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By successfully completing the learning activities of the course, you should be able to:

  1. Identify both short- and long-term financial management problems.
  2. Solve optimal capital structure problems.
  3. Analyze financial statements.
  4. Determine a firm's cost of capital.
  5. Use present value tables.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following textbook to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

  1. Basic Finance: An Introduction to Financial Institutions, Investments, and Management, 10th ed., by Herbert B. Mayo (Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2012)

ISBN-13: 978-1-111-82063-3

COURSE STRUCTURE

Principles of Finance is a three-credit online course, consisting of seven (7) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1 - Financial Tools 1: Time Value of Money

  1. Module 2 - Financial Tools 2: Analysis of Financial Statements

  1. Module 3 - Investments 1: Stocks

  1. Module 4 - Investments 2: Bonds

  1. Module 5 - Corporate Finance 1: Break-Even Analysis and Leverage

  1. Module 6 - Corporate Finance 2: Cost of Capital and Capital Budgeting

  1. Module 7 - Corporate Finance 3: Management of Current Assets, Short-Term Liabilities, and Intermediate-Term Debt and Leasing

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take a proctored midterm examination, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You will be required to participate in five (5) graded online discussion assignments, in addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum in Module 1. Two of the discussion assignments (in Modules 5 and 7) are devoted to a short research project.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted assignment and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete seven (7) written assignments. The written assignments consist of problem sets from the textbook that you are to complete and submit to your mentor for correction and grading. When preparing the assignments, please identify each problem clearly by textbook chapter and problem number. To receive full credit for your answers, you must show all work and include complete solutions.

Midterm Examination

Principles of Finance requires you to take a closed-book, proctored midterm examination. Consult the course Calendar for the scheduling of this exam.

The midterm is two hours long and covers material from Modules 1–4 of the course (Chapters 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14). The exam consists of objective questions (true or false questions and multiple-choice) and numerical problems. Bring a calculator.

For the midterm, you are required to use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

  1. Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find the answer.
  2. Copying and pasting or in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your online test. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
  3. Plagiarizing answers.
  4. Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take the exam.
  5. Copying any part of the exam to share with other students.
  6. Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at the exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

Final Project

You are required at the end of the semester to submit a Final Project in which you will determine whether PowerCo, a medium-sized power company, should construct a new generator to meet an expected rise in demand for power.

This Final Project will be worth 20 percent of your final grade for the course. For details of this activity, see the Final Project section of the course Web site. For details regarding the due date, see the course Calendar.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Discussion Forums 1–4—10 percent
  2. Discussion Forum 5 (short research paper)—5 percent
  3. Written assignments (7)—35 percent
  4. Midterm exam (proctored—Modules 1–4)—30 percent
  5. Final project—20 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a non-area of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting activities, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized activity, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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