A PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH TOWARDS BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICE. A CASE STUDY OF UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE BUSINESS STUDENTS AT COVENTRY UNIVERSITY
1 Coventry University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Nottingham Trent University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This paper compares the impact that assessed industry integrated modules have on Undergraduate and Postgraduate student academic performance and the development of employability skills as significant contributors towards raising student aspirations, performance and prospects.
Borrowing from practitioner reflections i.e. both academic staff and student experiences in relation to employability as well as analysed data and practises of credit bearing employability modules at Coventry Business School (UK), this paper explores the value addition of assessed employer initiated projects on tangible real industry based experience, notable soft skills and holistic employability development.
Moreover, it borrows from the Knight and Yorke (2003) USEM model and the Dacre and Pool & Sewell (2007) model for embedding employability into the curriculum and the CBI (2009) model that champion the holistic development of graduates fit for future employment.
Correspondingly, embedding Employability has been noted as a means to improve University reputation, industry and government links and fulfilling trending expectations from other Higher Education stakeholders. (HEFCE 2011; 5)
Previous papers have looked at the role of employers (Crossan, McTavish & Bayley 2010) in the learning contract and how this may support student learning.
Recent focus has shifting to new students entering into the higher education arena, fully acknowledging that academic learning today needs to be applied in order to enhance the employability on graduation.
With over 15% of all higher education students in 2011/12 being business graduates, (HESA 2013), and with increasingly competitive and dynamic employment prospects based on political and economic factors, globally and in the UK, (Harvey, 2000), Coventry University’s Business School has had a strong focus on employability and enterprise evidenced by 94% of its graduates having gained employment or continued onto further study in 2012. (Coventry University 2013). This has contributed towards its ranking as the modern university of the year 2014 (The complete university guide 2014)
Qualitative and quantitative data was analysed from a masters level internship module and students undertaking a placement at undergraduate level. These were utilised as per the set research objectives and were contrasted to safeguard credibility.
In conclusion, this paper argues that with the results being generalizable, providing embedding industry backed academic linked assessment is key not only as a means to enhance overall grades but to also fulfil industry, University, skills and personal development.
Finally, it does note the importance of managing expectation based on Robert Johnston’s Three zones of tolerance (1995:46-61) and identifies scope for further research on linking skills with employer expectations and comparisons to executive postgraduate workbased learning
Keywords: Workbased learning (WBL), pedagogy, employability, internship, placements.