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IBLC 10 - Session - A blended learning community of practitioners supporting employability skills development for undergraduates

I’ve just attended a parallel session with Dr Roy Smith Head of Interdisciplinary Studies at...

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Rebecca Galley
16 June 2010

I’ve just attended a parallel session with Dr Roy Smith Head of Interdisciplinary Studies at Aston Business school and I've added my notes below. I was particularly interested in strategies to develop the community of practitioners. This is a really interesting area and I'll be interested to see how the project develops.

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Research in the school has shown over a number of years that:

  • Students who do a placement do better on their degree and are more likely to become employed than those who don’t.
  • Most students studying at Aston live at home, however a higher percentage of students who live away from home take up a placement than those who live at home.
  • Perceptions of recession seems to impact negatively on whether students decide whether take a placement

So developed a suite of employability modules. The vision is the development of a blended learning community of students and supporters. Modules have been developed at levels 4 (Enhancing Employability Skills) ,5 (Professional Development) ,6 (Reflective Practice). Focus on extra curricula activities. Aims are to provide a mechanism for recognising the learning of employability skill, opportunity to refine transferable skills, help students recognise and articulate the skills they have. Each module is 10 credits (equiv. 100 hours) and take place prior to placement (placement preparation).


Students work in action learning sets and have access to PebblePad (for evidence, reflection, developmental process) and Backboard (Handbooks, video, short papers, links, discussion groups, email etc).


Student uptake of Blackboard has been disappointingly low (number of hits low), and student retention has been poor. This seems to be a general issue with non-compulsory/ voluntary awards. So, from next year placements will be centralised and assessment for placement will be based on the Employability modules above (instead of focusing placement assessment on subject as has been the case). Emphasis will be on skills rather than subject assessment. ie Employability skills training embedded more firmly in placement process. Those who decide not to take a placement can opt to take an Aston Certificate in Employability instead. A longitudinal study has been planned to 2014/15.

Rebecca Galley
11:04 on 16 June 2010 (Edited 11:05 on 16 June 2010)

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