Integrating CDL into curriculum

Image showing a four step process for including CDL into curriculum

Methods for integrating Career Development Learning (CDL) outcomes into the curriculum are varied. Some disciplines may choose to develop complete Career Development Learning courses, or place them within Professional Development and WIL Courses,  while others may decide to integrate concepts across all courses in a program. The important feature is that all students get the opportunity to develop their career development skills and knowledge. Program managers have a key role to play in leading the inclusion of CDL. The accordion below describes the steps that can be taken by Program Managers. First, here are some basic principles to keep in mind:

  • For CDL to be relevant to the student it must be engaging and draw on the real world of work.
  • Students must be placed at the centre of the learning process and given the tools to reflect on their own personal values and experiences to develop their own preferred career identity. 
  • CDL is not a simple linear learning process but involves iteration as new understandings are gained.
1. Setting the Scene: determining the knowledge and skills required by discipline related professions.

Setting the Scene

It is important that you develop a whole of discipline understanding of the term employability and what it means for your cohort of students. This should include an understanding of  the range of professions your graduates are likely to enter, the capacity in entrepreneurial activity  and the skills and knowledge required to assist these pathways. A shared discipline definition of employability will assist to clarify the learning outcomes of programs. Development of a whole of discipline understanding should be informed by RMIT Graduate Attributes, and the Program and Policy Design procedure.

It is easy to make the assumptions that program teams  are informed about  employment outcomes for graduates, however current data can alert you to new directions  or overlooked employment pathways. The Graduate Destination data that is provided for the Program Review Process provides an overview of the professional outcomes of your graduate students. In addition it is possible to research using LinkedIn and generate all  employment positions  your  alumni have undertaken and also  numbers in each area.

Reflection questions when redeveloping program Curriculum

All program and discipline staff are central to developing a culture of employability and career management for students. The transition from student to professional should be a focus of all programs at the University.  As a discipline or project team, it may be useful to consider the  following questions prior to examining  your curriculum:

  • Is employability of your students  part of the everyday conversation in your discipline area?
  • Do you talk to students about their future careers as part of your everyday dialogue?
  • Do all staff involved in the delivery of your program understand the learning outcomes of CDL and WIL?
  • Is employability and career management  introduced to students at the beginning of their program. Are concepts appropriately scaffolded across the program?
  • Are learning activities linked to real world application by teaching staff?
  • Are Professional bodies involved in the development or delivery of your programs?
  • Are students aware of the ways in which they are  gaining employability skills and knowledge and the types of skills and knowledge required?
  • Is there a consistent approach to employability across the whole of program from all staff?

These question and others that you team will no doubt raise assist in starting a discipline conversation around around students employability  and can assist with developing a clear understanding of what employability means for your graduates and how you are communicating concepts of employability to your students.

Locating background resources

Investigating current data from Industry representatives and organisations on graduate skills and recruitment processes will also assist in building an understanding of what is required in your program to assist with building graduate employability. There are multiple sources of information listing the prioritised employability skills and knowledge required in professional fields.  Industry Associations are obvious locations to look however government employability sites also provide excellent information.

Qilt: Quality Indicators for Teaching and Learning helps compare official study experience and employment outcomes data from Australian higher education institutions. It manages the Student Experience Survey, Graduate Destination Survey, Course Experience Questionnaire and the Employer Satisfaction Survey.

Australian Professional Organisations, Associations and Societies lists contact details for professional associations and societies in Australia.

myfuture Australia’s national online career information and exploration service that assists career planning, career pathways and work transitions. myfuture provides information and support for career development for individuals, and for those who support or influence career choices.

Department of Education and Training : Job Guide  provides an in-depth look at a range of occupations and education and training pathways to support people to make informed career decisions.

When you have a clear definition of employability for your students then move onto examining what is currently covered in your program and what needs strengthening through mapping and auditing program courses across all years.

2. Program Mapping

Mapping and Auditing your Program

Program Mapping can assist to:

  • Identify courses with explicit CDL learning outcomes
  • Locate gaps in CDL learning outcomes
  • Identify repetition of CDL outcomes.
  • Locate WIL and capstone courses  
  • Confirm appropriate scaffolding of CDL activity.

Programs and courses should be mapped against the  Career Development Learning outcomes. The attached mapping document may be used to identify appropriate learning outcomes in courses and assist in developing scaffolded CDL outcomes across all stages of a program.

Steps:

  1. Download Program mapping template 1
  2. Download  the Career Development Framework  to provide guidelines for scaffolded learning activity.
  3. Download your program documentation. If you require help to locate information please use the attached diagram – program details.
  4. Complete the program mapping template.
    1. Assess the positioning of your course within the broader program structure.
    2. Does your course currently contain any CDL or WIL activities and outcomes?
    3. Should it contain CDL or WIL learning outcomes?
    4. Does the program offer appropriate scaffolding of CDL or WIL activities?
  5. Identify gaps in CDL delivery.
  6. Identify appropriate courses to deliver CDL content to provide scaffolded and appropriate learning. It is important to note the location of WIL courses within a program to ensure that CDL learning outcomes that assist students prepare for and debrief from WIL  experiences, are located appropriately.

Course Mapping

Course Mapping can assist to:

  • Identify CDL based teaching,learning and assessment activities which are not explicitly aligned to the stated course learning outcomes
  • Identify repetition of learning activity 
  • Locate gaps and omissions in learning activities
  • Identify assessment activity directly aligned to learning outcomes
  • Locate gaps and omissions in aligned assessment.

Steps:

  1. Locate and download copies of identified course documentation including, learning outcomes, weekly breakdown of teaching and learning activities and assessment items.
  2. Download Course mapping document, Sample course mapping 1 and Sample course mapping 2.
  3. Use the CDL framework to check that the learning outcomes include CDL learning outcomes  and reflect the course activity. Develop an appropriate outcome if required.  

While the framework presents the CDL  outcomes in a linear fashion it is recognised that often programs will need to alter the delivery of the learning outcomes to relate to the program learning outcomes and requirements. For example, it may be necessary to include CDL to support WIL activities. There is no absolute in integrating  CDL outcomes as long as they have been scaffolded appropriately.

Resources for Writing Courses, CDL Outcomes

  1. CDL framework
  2. Guidelines for Writing HE courses
  3. Design Intentional Curriculum
  4. Quick Guide Writing Learning Outcomes 
  5. Use the attached course mapping template to identify and record  learning activity related to the learning outcomes and assessment of CDL.
  6. Identify gaps in learning and assessment activity.
  7. Utilise resources to develop teaching and assessment resources and activities that are aligned to the CDL outcomes of the course.

Resources for learning and teaching activities

http://www.graduate-careers.org/career-development-learning/implementing-cdl/

Career toolkit

  1. Basic program mapping template
  2. Example of program mapping
  3. CDL framework
  4. Course mapping template
  5. Course mapping Sample

For complete course mapping across all learning outcomes rather than just isolating the CDL outcomes you may like to use the templates and examples from College of DSC. They provide an excellent example of mapping and aligning course outcomes with learning and teaching activity and assessment

3. Locating Resources and Activities

Locating, resources, activities and assessment

This website houses a growing bank of Career Development Learning  resources for staff to utilise in their teaching . Included are a range of lesson plans and suggestions for each of the learning outcomes , interactive media and videos to support lessons, and assessment outlines and rubrics. The resources directly align with the learning outcomes articulated in the Career Development Learning Framework and may be  utilised immediately of tweaked for discipline specific requirements. There are a mix of both online and face to face resources and every learning outcomes has a suggested teaching tool presenting ideas for how the content may be presented to students.  In addition there are extensive resources that you may like to utilise from the Career Toolkit.

Co-curricular

When considering gaps or omissions in your programs you may like to look at the opportunities offered by the Careers and Education team. Many of the co curricular activities can assist in building CDL skills and knowledge and are offered on a regular basis. While it is not possible to utilise careers educators to deliver content in class  you may decide to utilise activity delivered by C and E team outside class hours. For a full understanding of what is available to students please visit the careers website
4. Assessing CDL

Assessment methods for CDL, like other learning activity, must be aligned with the learning objectives of the  program and must actually assess what they claim to assess. It is important that when you are embedding CDL learning components in a program that you revisit assessment activities to ensure the presence and appropriateness  of the assessment tasks . They must align with the learning outcomes of the course and they must include activity which is appropriate to the students focused nature of CDL .

Critical reflection plays a pivotal role in the learning and teaching of CDL and WIL. It  assists students gain an understanding of concepts, make the bridge between theory and practice and can enhance their personal and professional growth. A well designed teaching activity will encourage students to reflect on both their experience and on their personal response to the activity. Reflective practice goes hand in hand with a career portfolio to assist students to start building a professional presence.

Types of assessment  may include

  • Reflective journals 
  • Portfolios
  • Action Plans 
  • Interview simulations 
  • Videos 
  • Research reports
  • Self Assessment 
  • Career plans

Further Assessment reading

https://sites.google.com/a/rmit.edu.au/assessment-of-for-and-as-learning/home?pli=1

Assessing WIL

Assessing Reflection

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