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Embedding Employability in English

Page history last edited by Gordon 7 years, 8 months ago

Embedding Employability in English : English Studies, University of Nottingham 

Joanna Robinson

 

Background:
This pilot is part of a Higher Education Academy (HEA) funded Embedding Employability in English project to run extra-curricular placements for undergraduates in the Autumn Semester that utilised the benefits of studying an English degree. Placements are offered with established partners in the creative industries and the
University of Nottingham’s Marketing, Communications and Recruitment department. For further information about the project and placements see http://nottingham.ac.uk/english/teachinglearning/embedding-employability-in-english.aspx. An example of a placement role profile is provided here.


The placements opportunity was offered to all year three students in October 2012 and 60 students applied for the 30 places on offer. They completed an application form and shortlisted students were interviewed. Feedback was given to all applicants. Placements were for 1 day per week for 11 weeks.


e-Portfolio use
:
Awareness of Mahara and the University pilot occurred through the CEIPD having a stand at a conference on ‘Assessment and feedback’ that Joanna Robinson was running and a presentation of use in Biosciences by Judith Wayte at the University ‘
Assessment in the Digital Age’ conference in 2012 http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/teaching/event/ada-conference.aspx . It was recognised that e-Portfolio functionality could support the placements and so this work became part of the University of Nottingham e-Portfolio pilot project.

Mentoring and support is given to all students undertaking one of the work-related learning placements. Students are encouraged to use Mahara to reflect on their experiences and receive comments and encouragement from employers and academic staff.


Preparation sessions involved an audit of employability skills at the (could the advantage award placement document be provided here) start and an introduction to using Mahara – the use is voluntary as is the session introducing this due to the extra-curricular nature of the placements. Those students using Mahara created their profile and set up a journal which they shared with their tutor. A focus group meeting was held after a few weeks to share some examples of use (could some of these be shared?) by the students. This was useful in renewing interest in using Mahara. The placements administrator also emailed students to encourage them to make entries into Mahara. Employers were encouraged to embed e-portfolio activities within the placements. Students review the weekly placement day and can provide examples of the work they have been involved in. There are two meetings with the mentor to discuss their experience and review progress, but they can share and get feedback on their entries from their tutor throughout. This culminates with a written statement from both employer and students in relation to the value of the placement?? Is it possible to get an example statement (anonymised?)

Lessons learnt: 

  •  Getting students to engage with the e-portfolio is a challenge as the placements are extra-curricular/ voluntary.
  • One benefit has been that it has widened some students horizons in relation to potential employment.
  • Students value the voluntary extra-curricular nature of the placements as they feel this enables them to evidence to an employer their commitment to doing something extra.
  • It will be helpful to provide some examples of Mahara use by students in future – these as well as video of student’s talking about use could be used to in the introductory session – examples from another course had to be used for the pilot.
  • A secret URL would be used in future to share the e-portfolio with the mentors in future.
  • There is evidence that e-portfolio use supported learning through the placement.
  • The Mahara home page is non-intuitive and a home page/ help would be useful.
  • A placements administrator responsible for placements management is essential to sustain this work.

 

 

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