Getting stuck in together : improving work integrated learning from an Australian institution and faculty perspective

Peach, Deborah (2012) Getting stuck in together : improving work integrated learning from an Australian institution and faculty perspective. In Zegwaard, Karsten E. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 15th New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education Conference (Nurturing Good Practice: "Getting Stuck in Together"), New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education (NZACE), University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, pp. 9-14.

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According to a recent report Australian higher education is not in crisis. However, we could be doing it better. The report Mapping Australian Higher Education (Norton, 2012) highlights comparative weaknesses such as levels f student engagement; interactions between students and academic staff; and academic staff preferences for research over teaching. The report points out that despite these concerns most graduates continue to get good, well-paid jobs, student satisfaction is improving, and levels of public confidence in Australian higher education are high. It also stresses that ‘the promise of higher education is that it provides adaptable cognitive skills, not that it always provides the job specific skills graduates will need in their future employment’ (Norton, 2012, p.58). This is worth keeping in mind as we contribute to the significant growth in curriculum initiatives aimed at preparing graduates for the world of work. Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is not a new concept but there is increased pressure on higher education globally to address graduate employability skills. The sector is under pressure in an increasingly competitive environment to demonstrate the relevance of courses, accountability and effective use of public funds (Peach & Gamble, 2011). In the Australian context this also means responding to the skills shortage in areas such as engineering, health, construction and business (DEEWR, 2010). This paper provides a brief overview of collaborative efforts over several years to improve the activity of WIL at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). These efforts have resulted in changes to curriculum, pedagogy, systems and processes, and the initiation of local, regional, national, and international networks. The willingness of students, staff, and industry partners to ‘get stuck in’ and try new approaches in these different contexts can be understood as a form of boundary spanning. That is, the development of the capability to mediate between different forms of expertise and the demands of different contexts in order to nurture student learning and improve the outcomes of higher education through WIL (Peach, Cates, Ilg, Jones, Lechleiter, 2011).

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ID Code: 50624
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: boundary crossing, Work Integrated Learning, higher education, professional practice, HERN
ISBN: 9780473210052
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 NZACE
Deposited On: 28 May 2012 21:26
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2012 03:21

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