cod. 1004423

Academic year 2019/20
3° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Economia ed estimo rurale (AGR/01)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
56 hours
of face-to-face activities
8 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the coursework, it is expected that the student is capable of:
1) Knowledge and understanding
- knowing which economic actors, institutions, stakeholders and policies makeup and shape different types of AFNs in the Italian, European and global context
- knowing how each element of an AFN is usually conceived to behave in the recent economic literature on the subject and how it can act in the real-world organisation of an AFN, instead
- understanding the nature and form of the static and dynamic relationships existing among the elements of an AFN and how these affect the economic performance of the economic actors as well as the welfare of the Network, and of society at large
- knowing the most pressing societal issues which shape the organisation and success of AFNs
- knowing the specific economic language employed to describe and discuss the organisation, operation and outcomes of AFNs
2) Applying knowledge and understanding
- applying the knowledge and understanding of the organisation and operation of the AFNs used as teaching examples in class during lectures to other real-world AFNs they will be exposed to by the instructor or will make direct experience of
3) Making judgements
- analysing the organisation and operation of the AFNs discussed in class, and they know and make the experience of, applying critical thinking as developed during the coursework
4) Communication skills
- describing, exploring and reporting – in the English language – on the organisation, operation and outcomes of AFNs, employing both general communications skills already developed, as well as the specific economic language and terminology acquired during this coursework
- interacting in a lively manner in class during lectures and of evaluating the personal and colleagues’ contributions to the ongoing class discussions and discourse
5) Learning skills
- learn, in one of the few specialized coursework of the curriculum, the characteristics of AFNs, their socio-economic outcomes as well as their industry and systemic pitfalls
- relate this knowledge to other disciplines in the curriculum


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Course unit content

The Economics of Agri-Food Networks (AFNs) coursework deals with the organisation, functioning and outcomes of the system of actors which operate and interact to provide national and international consumers and societies with the agricultural commodities and food items they demand and need. The teaching activity will analyse each element of this complex organisation in detail employing the analytical methodologies most suited for each actor of the AFNs and referring to the state of the art of the research on these topics. Furthermore, it will provide real-life examples and opportunities for discussion in class. Because this coursework nests into the track of studies for international markets, the course proposes a focus on international trade, trade policies and trade flow figures for the agri-food industry

Full programme

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Reading materials to prepare for the exam include the slides of the lectures, the papers to be analysed during the discussion of the case studies and any other additional content indicated by the instructor. All the relevant material will be listed and communicated to the students during the first lecture in class and will be distributed to the students on the Elly online platform

Teaching methods

Teaching activities to achieve the listed objectives will be carried out relying on the following formats
- Acquisition of knowledge: lectures and seminars with practitioners and guest lecturers. Over the whole coursework, workshops with practitioners and guest lecturers will expose students to different perspectives on the pressing societal issues faced by AFNs. In particular, seminars will allow students to understand the operation of some of the institutions playing a crucial role in the organisation of AFNs and how they determine the different levels and types of performance of the AFNs
- Acquisition of the ability to apply the analyses methodologies: the study of cases. The study of cases consists of the critical commentary, independently at home or in class with the instructor, of research papers and additional knowledge in different formats (i.e., Podcasts and videos), dealing with selected relevant issues for the coursework
- Acquisition of the autonomy of judgement: the study of cases
- Acquisition of learning skills: lectures will provide the students with the essential background knowledge instrumental to the understanding of the basic concepts necessary to proceed to deal with more difficult topics. Lessons will favour students' participation and critical evaluation of the main issues discussed
- Acquisition of technical language: lectures, seminars with practitioners and guest lecturers, the study of cases. The active discussion with students during lectures, workshops with practitioners and guest lecturers as well as the study of cases will develop students’ ability to communicate their point of view on the subject matter, also employing the specific technical language provided by the coursework

Teaching materials include the slides and papers employed during lectures, the study of cases and provided by the guest lecturers during the seminars. Reference to the relevant Podcasts and videos will be made in the slide decks, which will be distributed and made accessible via the online platform Elly. It is necessary to enrol in the online course on Elly to gain access to the course materials. The course materials provided on Elly must be considered the teaching materials for both students who can attend classes and students who cannot. The teacher is available at office hours to assist students in the process of understanding and learning the teaching materials

Assessment methods and criteria

Knowledge acquisition will be verified through an additive evaluation considering:
- The result of a 2-hours written test, in English, on the main topics of the lectures delivered in class. The written test runs for 2 hours and requires the candidates to answer 3 essay-type questions. The written test is marked on a 0-27 scale (out of a total of 30 points). Each essay-type question is valued a maximum of 9 points (out of a total of 30 points). The instructor shall provide students with qualitative feedback on the quality of written (and oral) English language employed. Outstanding mastery of the English language will contribute to achieving the “cum laude” grade
- The active engagement of students in the discussion of the case studies in class will be rewarded with maximum 2 points (out of a total of 30 points)
- The active participation and discussion of the issues presented during the seminars with practitioners and guest lecturers will be rewarded with a maximum of 1 point
- The results of an oral exam should it be required either by the instructor or the student
- The evaluation of knowledge acquisition for students who do not attend the lectures regularly is based on the 2-hours written test in English only. Therefore, the latter will be marked on a 0-30 scale (out of a total of 30 points). Each essay-type question is valued a maximum of 10 points (out of a total of 30 points). The instructor shall provide students with qualitative feedback on the quality of the written (and oral) English language employed. Outstanding mastery of the English language will contribute to achieving the “cum laude” grade
- Irrespectively, the “cum laude” grade will be awarded to very deserving students who, in excess of having respected the necessary requirements for achieving a full marks grade, will have demonstrated a remarkable systematic knowledge of the topic, an outstanding ability to apply the knowledge acquired to the problem at hand, a noteworthy autonomy of judgement, as well as a particular care in crafting answers in a formal manner
- No mid-term exam is foreseen
- Students sitting in for the exam can use a non-programmable calculator to make the calculations necessary to do the exercises

The results of the written test will be distributed to the students within one week of sitting in through the online platform Elly. Students are reminded that it is compulsory to register their attendance to both written tests and oral exams

Other information

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