- Class Number 5281
- Term Code 3160
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- AsPr Adam Butt
- AsPr Adam Butt
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 26/07/2021
- Class End Date 29/10/2021
- Census Date 14/09/2021
- Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
This course provides a simplified model for solving actuarial problems in practice. Sample actuarial problems are examined in detail, with solutions being developed using Excel and Visual Basic. These solutions are then reported to the stakeholders of the problem. The aim of this course is to develop actuarial capabilities beyond the technical foundations taught in other actuarial courses.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of actuarial problems in a variety of challenging contexts;
- Identify the key factors that need to be taken into account in solving actuarial problems;
- Use computer-based tools to assist in solving complex actuarial problems; and
- Communicate in writing the results of the solution to an actuarial problem to a variety of stakeholders.
The majority of the content in this course is taught using a “problem-based learning” (PBL) approach. Under a PBL approach, learning is experienced in the consideration of detailed problems that students are required to solve, with students being required to do their own research in solving the problems. Hence the structure of classes may be different from what you have experienced in other courses. The expected benefits to students of PBL are increased engagement and autonomy of learning experience. The course is deliberately structured in this way to prepare students for work and/or future study that will require problem solving skills not fully developed in other courses in the actuarial program.
Examination Material or equipment
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the mid-semester and final exam will be held on Wattle with limited timeframes and using the Proctorio online invigilation software. Students will need to have access to Excel and Word. R will not be required for exams. See Wattle for up to date information on exams.
All basic course materials will be available on Wattle. Students will be required to print these out themselves if they want a hard copy of them.
The use of Excel, R and Word is required for the completion of all assessment in this course. You are assumed to have experience in Excel, R and Word from previous courses in your actuarial degree. Excel, R and Word may be used on campus (if computer labs are open) or on the students’ personal computers or laptops. Excel and Word are available for free to ANU students through Microsoft Office 365. R and its user interface R Studio are as freely available at the links provided.
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- Whole of class feedback in-class and via discussion forums
- Individual and group discussions in class
- Direct feedback by group consultants to groups
- Written comments on assignment submissions
- Individual meetings with the course convenor as organised by students
ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
Each lesson is attached to a timetabled class. Lesson material is available on Wattle. The structure of timetabled classes will be advised to students on Wattle. It is essential that students read these instructions, and undertake work required before timetabled classes, to ensure they are adequately prepared for class.
Group Work and Group Allocation
Many of the problems considered in this course (including Assignment 1 and Assignment 2) will be done by groups. This is done for two reasons. One reason is to provide a simplified replica of a team environment in order to provide students with some preparation for a likely upcoming transition to work. For this reason groups will be allocated randomly before the first class. After the completion of Assignment 1, new groups will be allocated for the completion of Assignment 2.
The second reason for using group work is to enable the consideration of problems too large for individuals to have time for. The two assignments that are the centrepieces of this course are designed to be unstructured and realistic, although simple enough for groups to have the ability to attempt.
Groups will be provided with significant training on techniques for effective group work. Further information is provided in Lesson 1.1.
Each group will be allocated a group consultant, whose role it is to provide guidance to groups during the course. Details on the group consultant allocated to each group will be placed on Wattle shortly after the groups have been allocated. Further details on the role of the group consultant have been placed on Wattle.
General information for actuarial students
A generic Wattle site has been created for actuarial students called “Actuarial Students’ News and Information”. The purpose of this page is to provide actuarial students with up to date news on the actuarial profession, requirements for qualification, job opportunities and any other relevant information. To access it, login to Wattle and in the “Search Courses” box at the bottom of the page search for “Actuarial”. Then find the link to the “Actuarial Students’ News and Information” page and click on it, selecting “Yes” to enrol in the course. You will remain enrolled in the site for the remainder of your degree at ANU.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Lesson 1.1 Course Introduction Elements of Actuarial Problem Solving Lesson 1.2 Cash Flow Modelling|
|2||Lesson 1.3 Project Scoping (Assignment 1) Lesson 1.4 Designing Excel Workbooks|
|3||Lesson 1.5 Setting Assumptions (deterministic) Lesson 1.6 Communication of Results||Group Rules & Project Plan 1 due|
|4||Preparing for Assignment 1|
|5||Preparing for Assignment 1|
|6||Preparing for Assignment 1 Lesson 1.7 Review of Assignment 1 Exam Preparation||Assignment 1 due|
|7||Preparing for Mid-semester exam Lesson 2.1 Group Re-allocations Stochastic Cash Flow Modelling||Mid-semester exam (unconfirmed)|
|8||Lesson 2.2 Scoping Assignment 2 Lesson 2.3 Stochastic Assumption Setting for Economic Variables|
|9||Lesson 2.4 Stochastic Assumption Setting for Demographic Variables Lesson 2.5 Analysis and Reporting of Output from Stochastic Cash Flow Models||Group Rules & Project Plan 2 due|
|10||Preparing for Assignment 2|
|11||Preparing for Assignment 2|
|12||Preparing for Assignment 2 Lesson 2.6 Review of Assignment 2 Exam Preparation||Assignment 2 due|
There are no regular tutorials for this course. Weekly Q&A sessions will be held on campus. See information on Wattle for how the class is structured.
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Group Rules, Project Plan and Compulsory Group Consultant Meeting - Assignment 1||0 %||09/08/2021||09/08/2021||1,2|
|Assignment 1||20 %||02/09/2021||24/09/2021||1,2,3,4|
|Mid-semester exam||30 %||20/09/2021||11/10/2021||3,4|
|Group Rules, Project Plan and Compulsory Group Consultant Meeting - Assignment 2||0 %||04/10/2021||04/10/2021||1,2|
|Assignment 2||20 %||28/10/2021||19/11/2021||1,2,3,4|
|Final exam||30 %||04/11/2021||02/12/2021||3,4|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:
The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.
Moderation of Assessment
Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.
Students can participate in three timetabled classes each week, each of two hours in length. Two of these classes will have pre-recorded content (available via Echo360 and Wattle) and the ability for students to interact with group members and the lecturer on Zoom. A third, drop-in Q&A session, is timetabled for students to interact live with the lecturer on campus.
Centrally scheduled examinations through Examinations, Graduations & Prizes will be timetabled prior to the examination period. The due dates for examinations are the earliest possible dates exams could be held. Please check ANU Timetabling for further information.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2
Group Rules, Project Plan and Compulsory Group Consultant Meeting - Assignment 1
Groups are required to upload their group rules and project plan for Assignment 1 to Wattle and present their project plan to their group consultant in a compulsory meeting to be held sometime in Week 3 or 4 of the semester. The structure of the group rules will be discussed in Lesson 1.1 and the structure of the project plan will be discussed in Lesson 1.3. Details on how to sign up for the compulsory meeting will be placed on Wattle no later than the end of Week 2. Group consultants will provide feedback on the project plan in the compulsory meeting.
The due date in this Class Summary is the date when the group rules and project plan must be uploaded by (before 5pm). Compulsory group consultant meetings will be held sometime in Week 3 or 4 of the semester.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4
Assignment 1 will be completed in groups and will require groups to perform an actuarial function (deterministic) for a stakeholder and report the results to the stakeholder. Further information about Assignment 1 will be provided on Wattle. Assignments are submitted using the course Wattle site. Further information about assignment submission will be provided in the assignment description on Wattle, which will be available on the Monday of Week 1 at the latest.
All students will be required to complete a post-assignment survey, describing the work done by all group members, as part of completing Assignment 1. The course convener will use the results of this survey to assist in determining individual marks for Assignment 1. Further information on this process is found in the assignment descriptions on Wattle.
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 3,4
The mid-semester exam is an extension of Assignment 1, but will be completed on an individual basis, giving individuals the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in Assignment 1 and the course so far. The exam is to be held on Wattle and will be 2.25 hours in length with no reading time. Further information will be provided to students in Lesson 1.7.
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 1,2
Group Rules, Project Plan and Compulsory Group Consultant Meeting - Assignment 2
Groups are required to upload their group rules and project plan for Assignment 2 to Wattle and present their project plan to their group consultant in a compulsory meeting to be held sometime in Week 9 or 10 of the semester. The structure of the group rules will be discussed in Lesson 1.1 and the structure of the project plan will be discussed in Lesson 1.3. Details on how to sign up for the compulsory meeting will be placed on Wattle no later than the end of Week 8. Group consultants will provide feedback on the project plan in the compulsory meeting.
The due date in this Class Summary is the date when the group rules and project plan must be uploaded by (before 5pm). Compulsory group consultant meetings will be held sometime in Week 9 or 10 of the semester.
Assessment Task 5
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4
Assignment 2 will be completed in groups (a different group to Assignment 1) and will require groups to perform an actuarial function (stochastic) for a stakeholder and report the results to the stakeholder. Further information about Assignment 2 will be provided in Wattle. Assignments are submitted using the course Wattle site. Further information about assignment submission will be provided in the assignment description on Wattle, which will be available on the Monday of Week 7 at the latest.
All students will be required to complete a post-assignment survey, describing the work done by all group members, as part of completing Assignment 2. The course convener will use the results of this survey to assist in determining individual marks for Assignment 2. Further information on this process is found in the assignment descriptions on Wattle.
Assessment Task 6
Learning Outcomes: 3,4
The final exam is an extension of Assignment 2, but will be completed on an individual basis, giving individuals the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in Assignment 2 and the course. The exam is to be held on Wattle and will be 2.25 hours in length with no reading time. Further information will be provided to students in Lesson 1.7 and Lesson 2.6.
Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.
The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.
The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.
Group rules and project plan submission will consist of Word and/or Excel files uploaded to Wattle to the relevant Assignment activity.
Assignment submission will consist of an Excel workbook, R code (for Assignment 2 only) and a Word report uploaded to Wattle to the relevant Assignment activity, whilst the Word report will also be uploaded to a TurnitIn Assignment activity.
For the group rules, project plans and assignments, groups will upload the submission(s) once, although all individuals in a group will be required to click on the “submit” button for the relevant Assignment activity in Wattle. For assignments, one member of the group is required to upload the Word file separately to a TurnitIn activity as TurnitIn does not offer group assignment submission functionality. Note that uploading these files to Wattle implies that your group has worked only together and not with other groups, and have abided by the principles of academic honesty.
Exam submission will consist of an Excel workbook and a Word report uploaded to Wattle to the separate Examination activities. The Excel workbook will be submitted to an Assignment activity and the Word report to a Turnitin activity.
All assessment submission in the course is online (see above).
No submission of assignments without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assignment is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.
Assignments will be returned by Wattle post to the group forum of each group.
Extensions and Penalties
Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.
Resubmission of Assignments
No resubmission of assignments is permitted.
Distribution of grades policy
Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.
Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.
Support for students
The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students
My research interests include individual decisions in relation to retirement and actuarial education. See my staff profile webpage for more information.
AsPr Adam Butt