Embedding Career Development Learning – Electrical Engineering

Context

After initial discussions with the Deputy Head – Learning and Teaching, a process was undertaken whereby existing content of the Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) program was mapped against the career development learning outcomes. This process highlighted an opportunity to further strengthen existing CDL within one of the first year courses, Enterprise Engineering (EEET2247).  This course already had significant CDL activities/assessment embedded within it and students participated in an Engineers Without Borders project. It was clear that the existing learning and teaching activities only required slight refinement to incorporate career development learning.  Further discussions were held with the Program Manager, the Course Coordinator and Careers & Employability to determine where CDL outcomes could potentially be achieved.

Description

Existing assessment within ‘Enterprise Engineering’ included completion of a logbook in which students reflected on their Engineers Without Borders project experience. We noticed an opportunity to extend this assessment to more clearly align with a work-ready focus.  The Careers & Employability team recommended the inclusion of a ‘skills audit’ to enable students to identify which generic skills they already had (including those acquired whilst working on the EWB project), provide examples as evidence and to identify skill gaps. This activity would also serve as preparation for constructing a resume in a second semester course, Engineering Design. We also recommended that students complete a simple action plan outlining strategies of how they intended to build their skills.

The Course Coordinator subsequently incorporated a skills audit and action plan into the logbook assessment task for weeks five and twelve of semester one.

Outcomes

As at 14th June, only the skills audit component of the assessment task had been submitted. Feedback as follows:

Over 90% of students completed the skills audit and positively responded to the task.

“The marking load is a lot higher than I expected, but it is worth it because of the professional practice (keeping an engineering logbook is an essential professional skill for our students) and learning outcomes”

“The skills audit is proving to be helpful for both the students and academics (I didn't expect the latter!): for the students, it is a good self-reflection activity (and the large majority of students are taking it seriously - I wasn't sure on this but it's not a problem as it turns out!); and for academics, is gives us insight into where our students are at (in professional skills as well as life skills in general as even first year students have significant other commitments e.g., part-time work, sporting, family etc. that they can see how those skills can transfer over to study and professional contexts)”.

Issues/challenges

Activities provided by Careers & Employability were converted to PDF forms so that students could directly type into and load to their logbooks. Students didn’t take well to having to print out a form, write on it and scan it back for upload (online activities will be used in the future”.

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