Introduction to Business Simulation Archives

Accessibility Guide for using Smartsims Business Simulations with a Disability

What are Smartsims Business Simulations?

Smartsims provides Business Simulations which run in a web-browser and are used for teaching in tertiary or higher education courses.

These are period or turn based simulations where you make decisions for an entire year, and then the simulation performs a ‘rollover’ to calculate the results of your decisions. You will then analyze the reports to see how well your company performed, make new decisions, and then the simulation rolls over again.

What are the accessibility features in the Smartsims’ Simulations?

We have developed a guide to explain our accessibility features for users with visual, hearing or mobility impairments and how these interact with assistive technologies such as screen readers (JAWS and NVDA) and pointing devices.

Click to view the Smartsims Accessibility and Assistive Technology Guide for the MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation, Music2Go Marketing Simulation, and AdSim Advertising Simulation

Extra support for those with a disabiliy

If you have a physical or learning disability and require additional assistance please contact us. Our team will work with you to provide any additional support or just be there to answer any questions you may have. We can also arrange a phone call to answer your questions if that is easier for you.

Our VPAT / WCAG Documentation

Contact us to obtain our VPAT documentation which summarize our compliance with WCAG 2.0 and the revised Section 508 standards for the MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation, Music2Go Marketing Simulation and the AdSim Advertising Simulation.

Optional CSR Decisions for MikesBikes Introduction Now Available

The inclusion of Corporate Social Responsibility decisions and a company CSR rating will be an optional release for all courses using the MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation from January 2023.

New Sustainable Manufacturing Decisions

From year three students can invest in sustainable manufacturing options to become an ethical player in the market.

Students can choose more than one option with their total investment feeding into a new company CSR Rating.

Updating Corporate Branding to Brand Promotion

Instead of a single Corporate Branding expenditure, from year two students are provided with options to promote their brand through Event Sponsorship, Brand Ambassadors and Socially Responsible promotions.

The screens below are multi-select, so they can choose more than one option. Their total Brand Ambassador and Event Sponsorship expenditure feeds into a Brand Awareness rating. Social Responsibility expenditure affects both Brand Awareness and CSR Ratings.

How do I include these decisions in my course?

If you would like to include these updates in your 2023 course let us know.

Teaching Introduction to Business at Santa Clara University

Credit: Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business

Santa Clara University use the MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation to teach their freshmen course, Contemporary Business Issues. The BUSN 70 is a class designed to help students find their vocations in the world of business.

Part of the BUSN 70 curriculum is a business simulation called MikesBikes. Professor Tim Harris describes the project as “a comprehensive business simulation that is interesting, complex and challenging. It is a great way to experience many of the aspects of running a business and making critical strategic and tactical business decisions (such as price, product, marketing, capacity, etc), without the potential real life downside. It is a favorite experience for many of the students.”

BUSN 70 is an introductory business course with the emphasis on the objectives of the contemporary business firm and its relationship to the modern business environment.

“BUSN 70 really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of a business degree from the Leavey School of Business,” said Nicole Kim, a Peer Educator for the course. “You’ll learn the foundations of anything and everything in business from preparing financial statements to fostering a company culture. The best part about BUSN 70 is that each professor has extensive, unique experiences from the business world that they actively incorporate into the classroom in engaging, hands-on, and discussion-based activities.”

Nicole Kim also reflects on her Mike’s Bikes experience saying, “Mike’s Bikes is all about utilizing your accumulated knowledge from the quarter in lifelike decision-making for a firm. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – this simulation is all about learning through trial and error and having fun with it!”

New Modern & Intuitive Business Simulation Interface

Our new simulation interface is now available for all courses using our:

This has been a long-term project focused on modernizing the interface and decisions, making the user experience more intuitive and improving student’s user experience.

The new interface and navigation experience is built around a new onboarding process, a new company dashboard and decision screens which provide students with relevant information when they need it. We believe these changes will expedite students becoming power users, and therefore, accelerate learning outcomes.

A New Onboarding Experience

When students first log in, and after each rollover, they are provided with information for the year ahead and a short explainer video to help them get started.

And after a rollover key results are displayed:

The New Company Home Page

Students now have a new company dashboard as the default start page:

The Home Page features company info, KPIs, quick links to product decisions and new decisions, key reports and relevant videos for the year ahead.

Top Menu Navigation

A modern top-menu navigation system groups decisions into logical, functional decision areas.

Select menu items feature a drop-down to access a sub-menu:

Intuitive Decision Screens

Our improved decision screens feature information, results and reports all relevant to the decisions they are making on that specific screen. Also, our integrated Live Forecast at the top-right.

Our New Help Widget

The new Help widget includes a search feature, screen-specific FAQs and videos, and links to updated articles, Player’s Manual and access to the Smartsims Support Team.

Improved Report Menu & Reports

An easier to use approach to the Reports menu, sorted by functional area and each includes a description to help students Updated reports and a new search feature.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions please contact us.

– January 2022

Teaching Intro to Business Online at DMACC

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) use our MikesBikes Introduction Simulation in their Introduction to Business course. The course is run in both face-to-face and online formats.

How do you use the MikesBikes Simulation in BUS102?

MikesBikes is used as a supplement to the material that we cover in class. The students are given approximately 45 minutes in class during the week (in face-to-face classes) to meet with their team and review their possible decisions. In an online class, the students compete individually.

How do you introduce MikesBikes to students?

MikesBikes is introduced to students in multiple announcements during the first week of the online class. These announcements direct students to folders in the online class containing Smartsims’ introductory videos and tutorials. In addition, after watching the videos, students must complete a quiz showing that they have a basic understanding of the simulation.

Do students use MikesBikes in teams or individually? If in teams, how do you facilitate teamwork in an online environment?

With the online course offering, students compete individually. If I were to offer the simulation in teams, as opposed to individually, I would encourage students to use free online meeting software such as Zoom Meetings or Microsoft Teams, and to meet at least once a week online.

Do you implement any simulation related assessments?

Primarily, the students are graded on their final shareholder value. There aren’t really many graded assessments in my online class. I have colleagues who have students present a final MikesBikes presentation at the end of the simulation.

What other applications do you use to help deliver your online course?

My college utilizes the Blackboard Learning Management System as the online platform to present classes.

What advice can you offer to others using a business simulation in their online courses?

It is critical to get students to practice with the Single-Player simulation prior to moving to the Multi-Player phase. Checking student login and online activity is important to ensure that there is a basic understanding of the simulation at the end of the Single-Player phase.

One piece of advice I would give would be to post weekly words of encouragement to students throughout the simulation as it keeps the work top of mind and keeps them focused on the work.

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COVID-19: Update from Smartsims Business Simulations

I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that everyone in the Smartsims team is healthy and safe. We have been and will continue to follow all recommended government and professional guidelines to keep things that way. Our simulations, servers and networks remain unaffected.

The impact of COVD-19 will require many of you currently running a simulation to make changes to your schedules. Just let us know so we can postpone or re-schedule any upcoming events for your course.

I understand most university and college faculty around the world are now facing the challenge of transitioning their business courses to online delivery. As we already have a large number of online and hybrid courses, we are well placed to support you in any way we can. There are a range of options available to make this transition as easy as possible. Contact our team to discuss this further.

Wishing you and your loved ones all the best.

Thank you for your continued support!

Kind regards,

Ian McPherson
Vice President & Chief Operating Officer