‘What relevance has this to my degree?’ Reflecting on and utilising the contradictions between different interested parties in a social science based employability module

Jameson, Jill and Strudwick, Katie and Picksley, Emma and Cooper, Catherine (2011) ‘What relevance has this to my degree?’ Reflecting on and utilising the contradictions between different interested parties in a social science based employability module. In: Social Policy Association Conference, 4 - 6 July 2011, University of Lincoln. (Unpublished)

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Official URL: http://www.social-policy.org.uk/lincoln2011.html

Abstract

A managerially underpinned ‘evaluation culture’ is an ever increasing influence on universities, resulting in the development of a variety of external and internal evaluation mechanisms in an attempt to be seen to improve the student experience. This pressure is only likely to intensify as a result of the proposed increase in fees following the Browne review (2010). Amongst other measures of ‘quality’ Universities are increasingly under pressure to improve the ‘employability’ of their students, although York (2006) identifies numerous problems in measuring the concept of ‘employability’. Muldoon also (2009) identifies that students and employers differ on what they see as desirable transferable skills, and Kember, Ho and Hong (2008) argue that students are likely to be more motivated and positive if they see the ‘relevance’ in what they are learning.

Using a conceptual framework (Zepke and Leach 2010) on how students engage with and make sense of their studies, this paper will discuss data collected from students whilst they were studying an employability module in the curriculum, and a follow up one year on, to examine their perceptions of the achievability or appropriateness of the learning styles and outcomes, to their planning for life after university. Covering aspects such as student motivation; transactions between teachers and students; institutional support; and engagement for active citizenship, the paper will examine how the module has affected student career planning as they prepare for life after university. In order to achieve a richer appreciation of perspectives from the different interested groups, current undergraduate students who have previously completed the module will work in partnership with staff on the production and analysis of this research. Reflecting the ‘student as producer initiative’ (Neary and Hagyard 2010), the use of students who have already completed the employability module will not only enable a multidimensional reflection of pertinent issues from both staff and student perspectives, but is also likely to provide a valuable insight into the findings; because they have a deeper personal understanding, of the student experience of the module and therefore may interpret participants’ responses in a different way to staff. The main aims will be to reflect on potential contradictions between interested parties, and to reflect on how these can be ‘resolved’ and potentially fed back into teaching and learning.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Additional Information:A managerially underpinned ‘evaluation culture’ is an ever increasing influence on universities, resulting in the development of a variety of external and internal evaluation mechanisms in an attempt to be seen to improve the student experience. This pressure is only likely to intensify as a result of the proposed increase in fees following the Browne review (2010). Amongst other measures of ‘quality’ Universities are increasingly under pressure to improve the ‘employability’ of their students, although York (2006) identifies numerous problems in measuring the concept of ‘employability’. Muldoon also (2009) identifies that students and employers differ on what they see as desirable transferable skills, and Kember, Ho and Hong (2008) argue that students are likely to be more motivated and positive if they see the ‘relevance’ in what they are learning. Using a conceptual framework (Zepke and Leach 2010) on how students engage with and make sense of their studies, this paper will discuss data collected from students whilst they were studying an employability module in the curriculum, and a follow up one year on, to examine their perceptions of the achievability or appropriateness of the learning styles and outcomes, to their planning for life after university. Covering aspects such as student motivation; transactions between teachers and students; institutional support; and engagement for active citizenship, the paper will examine how the module has affected student career planning as they prepare for life after university. In order to achieve a richer appreciation of perspectives from the different interested groups, current undergraduate students who have previously completed the module will work in partnership with staff on the production and analysis of this research. Reflecting the ‘student as producer initiative’ (Neary and Hagyard 2010), the use of students who have already completed the employability module will not only enable a multidimensional reflection of pertinent issues from both staff and student perspectives, but is also likely to provide a valuable insight into the findings; because they have a deeper personal understanding, of the student experience of the module and therefore may interpret participants’ responses in a different way to staff. The main aims will be to reflect on potential contradictions between interested parties, and to reflect on how these can be ‘resolved’ and potentially fed back into teaching and learning.
Keywords:student employability, Curriculum, Criminology
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:6541
Deposited By: Jill Jameson
Deposited On:10 Oct 2012 18:19
Last Modified:10 Oct 2012 18:19

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