Technology, Graduate Attributes and employability
The Flexible Delivery Theme emphasised the use of technology in a variety of forms, including its use for career guidance. A key message of the Employability Enhancement Theme was the need for further integration of careers planning into the mainstream curriculum.
Evidence was cited of further developments in web-based resources for careers guidance, including interactive careers materials and self-help career tools, such as on- line tutorials and job-search tools. Some institutions are looking at the development of career-planning modules, or the career-planning component of accredited PDP modules, as core or optional modules in programmes of study (A case study of introducing Personal Development Planning with tutor and peer student mentoring in the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews is reported - 'warts and all').
The extended use of PDP as a means of facilitating careers planning aims to support a more developmental approach by students as they progress through their programme, as well as more explicitly addressing employability skills.
In the Personalisation strand of The First Year Enhancement Theme, Case Study 1 describes the way in which the Open University is using tutor support in different ways in order to tailor teaching and learning support to the needs of individual students.
The personalisation of support is mediated through proactive tutor-to-student contact, by telephone, at key times when students are particularly likely to be vulnerable or at risk. Personalised learning support is tailored around the needs of the individual student, thus enabling students to identify their own learning needs, manage their learning more effectively and take responsibility for their own progress.
The back-up to personalised contact is the provision of extensive electronic resources and the creation of dedicated online homes for different subjects. In addition, online careers conferences and careers information is included in course- choice booklets and the web site.
The University of Edinburgh is developing three contrasting websites/wikis to help inform academic staff's thinking about how to foster 21st-century graduates. One, the 'Enhancing Feedback' website, is designed for staff from across the University. It provides ideas, strategies and case examples drawn from journal articles and other websites across the disciplinary range.
The other two, the School of Biological Sciences 'Good eLearning Practices' website and the College of Science and Engineering 'Learning and Teaching Knowledge Base' wiki, are designed for academic staff in particular subject areas and provide local examples of initiatives being carried out within those areas.