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Graduate skills development and the curriculum Dr Barrie Cooper National HE STEM Programme 16 th February 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Graduate skills development and the curriculum Dr Barrie Cooper National HE STEM Programme 16 th February 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Graduate skills development and the curriculum Dr Barrie Cooper National HE STEM Programme 16 th February 2012

2 to map opportunities for students and employers to shape the curriculum; to review the provision of graduate skills development in the curriculum; to identify areas for improving current practice and consider models for achieving this. Aims for the afternoon sessions

3 Session 1: Empowering students to shape their curriculum In this session, we will consider: –the rationale for engaging students in curriculum design; –what (maths) students tell us about why they are studying at university; –models for engaging students in curriculum design; –the opportunities available at your institution for students to shape their curriculum.

4 Managing a changing relationship £9KAAB+ New relationship with students

5 Students as co-creators of the curriculum Students Staff Review Quality Assurance Design

6 A responsive curriculum? For co-creation to be effective it must not only impact future students, but allow (individual) students to make changes that will affect them directly.

7 Starting the conversation Write down the characteristics of a good engineer/physicist/mathematician/chemist? Compare your list in pairs/threes.

8 What (maths) students want The More Maths Grads project surveyed maths students to find out what were the key factors in their decision to: study for a degree; study mathematics; study at their chosen HEI. At Exeter we replicated this study with our own students.

9 Employability is key

10 For other STEM subjects... ? To what extent do you think these results would be true of other STEM subjects? Would you anticipate significant differences between institutions?

11 Some models for engagement Students as Change Agents (Internal project)Students as Change Agents Enhancing the second year experience for undergraduate mathematicians (HE STEM) Student-led employability audit (HE STEM)Student-led employability audit Academic projects focussing on the curriculum (Internal module)

12 Students as Change Agents This initiative at the University of Exeter gives students the opportunity to work with staff to effect changes in the curriculum. Change Agent projects run in every faculty and in most disciplines. ementprojects/current_projects/change/

13 Enhancing the second year experience This is a HE STEM project at Loughborough University. Students were employed as interns to redesign problem areas of the second year curriculum and to create supporting materials. second-year-experience-undergraduate- mathematicians

14 Student-led employability audit This HE STEM project saw students at Exeter: review the development of graduate skills in the mathematics and engineering curricula; make recommendations for improvement, including redesigning modules. curriculum/hec-projects/?p=20&pp=summary

15 Academic projects focussing on the curriculum In the last three years at Exeter we have had student (3 rd & 4 th year) projects considering: employability; technology-enhanced learning; research-led education; digital resource design.

16 Sharing practice – student engagement In fours, use flipchart paper to map the opportunities for student engagement in curriculum design at your institutions. What do you feel you do particularly well? Where is there potential for significant improvement?

17 Session 2: Models for employer engagement In this session, we will consider: –what employers are telling us about engagement with HEIs; –models for engaging employers in curriculum design and delivery; –the opportunities available at your institution for employers to shape the curriculum.

18 Employer engagement I want to engage with employers so badly

19 What employers are telling us Whilst there are pockets of excellence, employers tell us that HEIs do a poor job of establishing and maintaining relationships with them. They want us to be much clearer about what we offer, the benefits of the relationship and who is the primary contact.

20 Quiz – employer engagement Often staff at HEIs are unclear about processes for employer engagement. Try the quiz on page 4 of your handout. Discuss your answers in a pair/three.

21 Examples of employer engagement in the curriculum Employer in the foyer Guest lectures Client-based projects Placements Work-based learning

22 Sharing practice – employer engagement In fours, use flipchart paper to map the opportunities for employer engagement in curriculum design and delivery at your institutions. What are the processes that underpin this? Which are important strategic relationships and how are they managed?

23 Session 3: Assessing graduate skills development In this session, we will consider: –the critical role of assessment in the development of graduate skills; –the integration and balance of graduate skills development in your curriculum; –methods for assessing the development of graduate skills.

24 Getting assessment right is critical “Assessment drives what students learn... The types of questions that we set show students what we value and how we expect them to direct their time.” (Smith & Wood, 2000)

25 Rebalancing the curriculum Employability as an extra-curricular activity will never be enough. The More Maths Grads project recommended cutting up to one-third of the “content” in the curriculum to focus properly on the development and assessment of skills.

26 Employability in the curriculum – an audit On page 6 of your handout you will find an audit spreadsheet of skills graduate employers desire. Complete the spreadsheet for a programme with which you are familiar. Where is there potential for improvement and what actions could you take? Find someone who might be able to advise.

27 How do you assess... ? Project management Teamwork Career management Commercial awareness?

28 Summary of the afternoon Improving their job prospects is the primary reason that students choose HE; There are many ways of engaging students and employers in curriculum design (and plenty of scope for improvement!); Getting assessment right is the key – this may mean reducing “content” to make time.

29 Use a writing development model (e.g. IPACE) to make more explicit the requirements for a given assignment or module Scaffold development of identity and appropriate abilities, values and attitudes across the undergraduate programme, so that when students emerge as graduates, they are more confident, more well-rounded writers Scaffold for employability as well as academic capabilities, using a range of assignments And writing will have served as a powerful vehicle for helping students develop a deep understanding of, and an identity within, their discipline, as well as helping them prepare for employment Summary of the morning

30 Your summary Spend three minutes writing down the key points you will take away from today. Share these with the person next to you.

31 Evaluation Please help us to improve these workshops by completing an evaluation form. We really appreciate detailed comments and hope to incorporate your suggestions on future occasions when we may run the workshops. Thank you!

32 Contact details Thanks for all your contributions today. If you wish to discuss anything from today further then please feel free to contact us: Dr Trevor DayDr Barrie Cooper


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