Course Syllabus

Welcome to BUS202: Principles of Finance

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Saylor Student Handbook.


Course Description

Learn how to make smart financial decisions by determining which projects will offer the best potential payoff, figuring out your best investment opportunities, and evaluating stock options.


Course Introduction

Firms are required to keep detailed financial records so that organized reports can be distributed to managers, shareholders, and government regulators. Principles of Finance will focus on what these managers, investors, and government agencies do with this information. It is an introductory course to various fields of finance and is comparable in content to courses that other institutions label as "corporate finance" or "financial management".

Finance is a broad term; you will find that both managers that compile the financial reports we discussed in financial accounting and stockbrokers working on Wall Street will claim that they work in finance. So what exactly is finance? Finance is the science of fund management. It is distinct from accounting in that, whereas accounting aims at organizing and compiling past information, finance is geared towards deciding what to do with that information.

In this course, you will be exposed to a number of different sub-fields within finance. You will learn how to determine which projects have the best potential payoff, to manage investments, and even to value stocks. In the end, you will discover that all finance boils down to one concept: return. In essence, finance asks: "If I give you money today, how much money will I get back in the future?" Though the answer to this question will vary widely from case to case, by the time you finish this course, you will know how to find the answer.

You will learn how to use financial concepts such as the time value of money, pro forma financial statements, financial ratio analysis, capital budgeting analysis, capital structure, and the cost of capital. This course will also provide an introduction to bonds and stocks. Upon completion of this course, you will understand financial statements, cash flow, time value of money, stocks and bonds, capital budgeting, ratio analysis, and long term financing, and apply these concepts and skills in business decisions.

This course is comprised of the following units:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Finance, Financial Statements, and Financial Analysis
  • Unit 2: Time Value of Money: Future Value, Present Value, and Interest Rates
  • Unit 3: Capital Budgeting Techniques
  • Unit 4: Risk and Return
  • Unit 5: Corporate Capital Structure, Cost of Capital, and Taxes
  • Unit 6: Applying the CAPM Model


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • explain the objectives of the financial manager and how the organizational structure of a corporation affects financial decisions;
  • explain the concept of time value of money, how the present value calculation is related to the future value calculation, and how those are used in the valuation of financial instruments and applied to elements of stock and bond valuation;
  • explain the rules and methods in capital budgeting when making financial decisions;
  • explain the use of the CAPM model for estimating valuations of a company's rate of return;
  • understand the relationship between investment risk and reward in finance and the application of that to financial principles;
  • describe the principles and tools of working capital management and be able to classify long-term and short-term capital;
  • distinguish between debt and equity instruments, their associated uses and characteristics and their impact on a firm's capital structure, the relevant details of their rate, ownership, and repayment structures, and their unique risks and relationships to market and economic events
    understand the considerations in making capital investment decisions; and
  • interpret, prepare, and distinguish between the types of financial statements and their uses.
    understand the sources of capital in the economy and the roles of the banking system in mitigating risk, regulating financial entities, ensuring the flow of funds and security of payment systems, and serving as an intermediary for financial transactions

Throughout this course, you'll also see related learning outcomes identified in each unit. You can use the learning outcomes to help organize your learning and gauge your progress.


Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are readings, lectures, video tutorials, and other resources.

All course materials are free to access, and can be found through the links provided in each unit and subunit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will instruct you as to what specifically to read or watch at a given point in the course, and help you to understand how these individual materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also access a list all of the materials used in this course by clicking on Resources in the course's "Activities" menu.


Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you may take it again as many times as needed, following a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Saylor Certificate of Completion.

There are also 16 unit assessments and other types of quizzes in this course. These are intended to help you to gauge how well you are learning and do not factor into your final course grade. You may retake all of these as many times as needed to feel that you have an understanding of the concepts and material covered. You can locate a full list of these sorts of assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course’s “Activities” menu.


Earning College Credit

This course is eligible for college credit via Saylor’s Direct Credit Program. If you are seeking to earn college credit, you must opt to take and pass the Saylor Direct Credit final exam. That exam will be password protected and require the presence of a proctor. Upon passing that final exam you will receive a Proctor Verified Course Certificate, and will be eligible to earn an Official Transcript. For more information about applying for college credit review the “Guide: College Credit Opportunities”. Be sure to check the section on proctoring for details (fees, technical requirements, etc.)

Note: There is a 14-day waiting period between attempts of the Direct Credit final exam. There is no imposed wait period between attempting the non-credit certificate-bearing exam and the credit exam. Some credit exams have a maximum number of attempts allowed, which will be detailed on the exam’s instructions page.


Tips for Success

BUS202: Principles of Finance is a self-paced course in which you the learner determines when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or predetermined schedule to follow. While learning styles can vary considerably and any particular student will take more or less time to learn or read, we estimate that the "average" student will take 50 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular (daily, or at least weekly) progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so below we've compiled a few suggested study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Pay special attention to Unit 1, as it will lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, explanatory material presented in the latter units.
  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories as you read. This can help you differentiate and contextualize concepts and later provide you with a refresher as you study.
  • As you progress through the materials, take time to test yourself on what you have retained and how well you understand the concepts. The process of reflection is important for creating a memory of the materials you learn; it will increase the probability that you ultimately retain the information.
  • Although you may work through this course completely independently, you may find it helpful to connect with other Saylor students through the discussion forums. You may access the discussion forums at https://discourse.saylor.org.


Technical Requirements

This course is delivered fully online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one, free of charge, here. Although you can access some course resources without being logged into your account, it’s advised that you log in to maximize your course experience. For example, some of the accessibility and progress tracking features are only available when you are logged in.
  • Occasionally, Flash may be required to run certain multimedia and/or interactive applications in the course. Should you be prompted to enable Flash, click the option to allow or follow these instructions for enabling Flash on your computer or laptop.
  • If you plan to attempt the optional credit recommended final exam that accompanies this course, then you will also need access to a webcam enabled computer. A webcam is needed so that our remote proctoring service can verify your identity, which will allow Saylor Academy to issue an official transcript to schools on your behalf.

For additional technical guidance check out Saylor’s tech-FAQ and the Moodle LMS tutorial.


Fees

There is no cost to access and enroll in this course. All required course resources linked throughout the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, activities, etc are accessible for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

This courses does contain an optional final exam that will provide students an opportunity to earn college credit. Access to the exam itself is free, though it does require the use of a proctoring service for identity verification purposes. The cost for proctoring is $25 per session.

Last modified: Thursday, March 28, 2019, 6:37 PM