General Finance Learning Path
Finance surrounds us in some way every day of our lives; therefore, it is important to have an understanding of the finance industry. The Alison Learning Path in General Finance will increase your knowledge an all topics associated with the world of finance. You will learn about the important role venture capital plays in the finance industry, explore the psychology of human behaviour with the traditional theories of finance and economics, and explain the effects the trade market has on future prices of essential items such as food, energy sources, and raw materials. You will study a sequence of courses designed to boost your awareness of the world of finance. You will be able to define how financial contracts work, describe how currency is valued, devalued, and how countries trade and lend money to each other, and explain financial instruments. This Learning Path in General Finance will benefit professionals in business and finance, and to financial, business and economic students who want a clearer understanding of the role of funds in financial economics.
Courses in this Learning Path
Introduction to Venture Capital
Venture capital firms play an important role in the financial services industry, yet not much is known about them by the average lay person. The venture capital market is made up of private equity firms and venture capitalism is a means of investing capital and helping new business start-ups.
In this course on venture capital, we get an insight into how a company starts off based on available funds, and how they subsequently raise more funds as the company grows so that investments can be made in operations and other areas. Topics discussed include what shares are, how shares are valued, equity versus debt, and types of organisational structures. This free course also examines the difference between bankruptcy and liquidation, if a business should fail.
This course will be of interest to business professionals and entrepreneurs who would like to learn more about the venture capital market and how it invests in and helps business start-ups and more established businesses grow and expand.2-3 Hours50 Points
Introduction to Financial Instruments in Economics
A financial instrument is a tradable asset of any kind and they are a key component of the modern financial market system as they allow for efficient flow of capital through the global financial marketplace. In this course you will learn how financial institutions package and trade mortgage backed securities in financial markets and how collateralized debt obligations function. You will also learn about credit default swaps and interest rate swaps and their role in financial trading. This course will be of great interest to professionals in the areas of finance, investments and economics and who like to learn more about the function and use of financial instruments, and to all learners who are interested in how financial instruments help the global financial marketplace function.1-2 Hour50 Points
Introduction to Stocks and Short Selling
Everyone knows that when you identify stocks that you believe are going to increase in price you buy them. But how can you profit from stocks that you believe will decline in price? The answer is shorting. Shorting enables you to sell stock that you do not own and buy it back at a later time, ideally at a lower price.
In this course you will learn more about stocks and shares and how they are valued. You will then learn about the process of short selling, how to borrow stocks that you do not own, what obligations you have to original owner of the stocks, and how to cover your short where you return the stocks after buying them back, hopefully, for less than the cost when you sold them. This course will be of interest to professionals in the financial services sector and anyone who wishes to understand stocks and what the process of short selling involves.
Please note that while this free course will teach you about making investments in stocks in general, it does not advocate that you should buy stocks or invest in the stock market, and that any investment made in the stock market may lose money.1-2 Hour50 Points
Understanding Risk and Reward in Finance
Risk and reward are two important elements of investment. An investor expects that the more risk that is taken with an investment the higher the reward should be. In this free online course the learner will be introduced to the role of risk and reward in investment and the different types of risk and reward that are available depending on the type of investment.
This course also compares investment with consumption and how investment during property bubbles can actually destroy wealth.
This online course will be of great interest to professionals in the areas of finance and investments, and to all learners who would like to learn more about the risks and rewards of investments.1-2 Hour50 Points
Introduction to Behavioural Finance
Behavioural finance is a new and exciting area in economics that combines the psychology of human behaviour with the traditional theories of finance and economics. The result is a new explanation of how modern economics work, such as how markets are affected by the behaviour of investors.
In this course you will learn how neoclassical economics defines rational and irrational human behaviour and how behavioural finance questions these definitions. You will also learn how behavioural finance is questioning long-held beliefs in economics, such as how individual demand curves can be applied to the market in general.
This course will be of great interest to professionals in the areas of economics, finance and psychology who would like to learn more about behavioural finance and how it is developing a new understanding of modern economics and finance.2-3 Hours50 Points
Financial funds are a very important topic to understand in the area of financial economics. The terms hedge funds, open ended funds and mutual funds are often mentioned in the business and financial media and during interviews with traders, investors and fund managers. But what are hedge funds, open ended funds and mutual funds all about?
This financial funds course will explain in clear and precise terms what is involved in the main financial funds. You will learn that hedge funds are typically open ended funds invested in a diverse range of assets. Open and close ended funds are straight forward in that one is open to shareholders buying and selling their shares whereas the other is closed and once you buy in you cannot leave unless you personally trade your share. Hedge funds are more dynamic in nature, but are not sold to the public. Since the introduction of new legislation in the US in 2008 due to the credit crisis you will learn why the US government will now play a more active role in how hedge funds are managed and regulated.
This financial funds course will be of interest to professionals in business and finance, and to financial, business and economic students who want a clearer understanding of the role of funds in financial economics.1-2 Hour50 Points
When most people think about currency exchange, we are usually thinking about buying foreign currency to bring with us on vacation. However, currency exchange involves much more such as treasuries, bonds, imports and exports, trade imbalances, and the borrowing costs of a country. This course about currency exchange gives us a key insight into the financing behind a country's growth and development, and answers questions such as how is the money raised to build a country's infrastructure.
The course discusses how currency is valued, devalued, and how countries trade and lend money to each other. It also discusses the knock-on effects of lack of demand for treasury bonds to a country and the costs thereafter.
This course will be of great interest to business and finance professionals who would like to learn more about currency exchange mechanisms, and to the non-finance professional person wishing to know more about what role currency exchange practices play in the financial system.1-2 Hour50 Points
Virtual Currencies: A Case Study of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that can be used in electronic payment systems. It is a crypto-currency that relies on sophisticated cryptographic methods to create and manage the currency.
In this course you will be introduced to Bitcoin and you will be guided through the features and functions of this currency system. You will learn how cryptographic hash functions allow the secure transfer of bitcoins across the Internet and how transactions are secured using Bitcoin miners.
This course will be of great interest to all entrepreneurs and business people who would like a greater understanding of how Bitcoin functions and how it may be used in electronic payment systems. The course will also be of interest to all learners who may have heard of Bitcoin and would like to learn more about it.1-2 Hour50 Points
Trading in a Futures Market
In the world of finance, futures trading is a very important activity to understand. It can have a great impact on all our lives as it effects the future prices of essential items such as food, energy sources and raw materials. A futures contract is a contract between a buyer and seller where an asset of certain quantity and quality has a price agreed for it today with delivery and payment for the asset occurring at a specified future date.
In this course the world of futures trading, and its importance, is explained in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. You will learn how money is made based on the demand for a certain commodity and the trade-off between wanting that commodity now, rather than waiting for it at a later date for a given price. Examples of high demand commodities are gold, silver, oil and corn.
This course will be of great interest to professionals in business, finance and economics who would like to learn more about the concept and practice of futures trading and to all learners who would like a better understanding of how the prices of essential items such as food and raw materials are set.1-2 Hour50 Points
Understanding Financial Contracts
Put options and Call options are widely used financial contracts by investors and are part of very important financial trading methods that keep the financial markets running.
In this course you will learn more about the role of put and call options as financial contracts, what the difference between American and European options are, what going short and going long on investments mean, how to balance investment risks by taking a long straddle and how to use payoff diagrams to read the outcomes of put and call options.
This course will be of great interest to finance and business professionals who would like to learn more about put and call options and how they are used as financial contracts, and to all learners who would like a greater understanding of important financial trading methods.1-2 Hour50 Points