Peer2Peer: Interdisciplinary student teamwork to develop and implement industry based projects

Students from four different disciplines work together to develop and implement a social media campaign
‘Don’t Make Pour Decisions’ Instagram Mock Up

Dr Sall Lewis and Dr Jane Andrews

Dr Sally Lewis (l) and Dr Jane Andrew
University of South Australia
Sally.Lewis@unisa.edu.au

First offered at UniSA in 2016, Peer2Peer is an annual, interdisciplinary student project-based course. The main learning objective is to develop important graduate employability skills including collaboration and communication.

Peer2Peer brings together students from the communication, graphic design, IT and psychology disciplines to research, develop and implement a social media campaign, in order to meet the requirements of real clients. In 2016 students addressed the challenge of young people becoming involved in online violent extremism, while in 2017 students worked with the South Australian Police to address public concern on the issue of safe partying and alcohol fuelled violence.

Peer to peer website

Full details of 'Peer2Peer: Interdisciplinary student teamwork'

Disciplines included in the WIL activity

Creative industries

Model of WIL activity

Interdisciplinary industry based student project

Brief description of WIL activity

First offered at UniSA in 2016, Peer2Peer is an annual, interdisciplinary student project-based course. The main learning objective is to develop important graduate employability skills including collaboration and communication. Peer2Peer brings together students from the communication, graphic design, IT and psychology disciplines to research, develop and implement a social media campaign, in order to meet the requirements of real clients. In 2016 students addressed the challenge of young people becoming involved in online violent extremism, while in 2017 students worked with the South Australian Police to address public concern on the issue of safe partying and alcohol fuelled violence.

Length of time the WIL activity has been/was in operation

2016 – Ongoing. Planning for the 2018 project is underway with the South Australian Motor Accident Commission as the key partner.

Who benefits from the WIL activity?

Students articulate the benefit they gain from Peer2Peer as ‘great for preparing me for the workplace’, ‘very beneficial for life after Uni’ and ‘the real world exposure made the work meaningful and different’. The student alumni who assist with Peer2Peer also recognised how their participation further developed their leadership, collaboration and communication skills.

The Peer2Peer social media campaigns addressing online violent extremism, safe partying and alcohol fuelled violence, ensure there is a direct benefit to the community. The link between the project partners, community and the students will be further reinforced in 2018 with the project focus on addressing Drug Driving behaviour.

How does the WIL activity demonstrate good practice and/or innovation?

Drawing on an experiential networked approach to learning, Peer2Peer demonstrates good practice through addressing the important concept of group-work (which is not always viewed favourably by students) and the associated lifelong learning benefits. By measuring the participation of all students in a multi-disciplinary team any perceived challenges with equal effort are overcome.

Peer2Peer is innovatively designed as it can be adapted without requiring additional funding given students already undertake relevant courses in their own schools. Students are selected based on a mix of GPA, attitude and engagement – in turn reinforcing the project positioning as a sought after final year opportunity. The high degree of client involvement, the identification of real world problems that are directly relevant to the student cohort, and the actual implementation of the campaigns combine to make Peer 2 Peer unique.

How adaptable is the WIL activity to other disciplines, sectors, teaching practices etc?

Peer2Peer is adaptable to other disciplines as demonstrated by the following summary of the project teaching approach: students are divided into interdisciplinary teams for the duration of the course and attend weekly 1/1.5 hour discipline specific seminars and 2 hour group workshops, facilitated by course coordinators and invited experts. The student teams also work independently collaborating online and via self-organised face to face sessions. In the final week, teams pitch their social media campaigns to an expert panel and are given a team score. Students are also assessed individually at discipline level based on participation and specific learning outcomes.

How sustainable is the WIL activity beyond its immediate implementation?

In 2018 Peer2Peer will be offered for the third time. Linking this project to disciplinary specific courses already embedded in existing Bachelor degrees, ensures the concept is sustainable going forward in terms of funding and student participation. The final student work is of such a high standard that it is perceived to add value to the industry partners – ensuring their time and participation is a worthwhile investment. Additional WIL research opportunities provided through Peer2 Peer are also important going forward. Linking research and WIL is fundamental to continually improving our teaching and in turn developing the best graduates.

How is the success of the WIL activity evaluated?

In addition to reviewing student results we use qualitative survey data, individual sociometric badges and a mobile app to create de-identified speaker data and dialogue patterns. This allows us to analyse participation rates by discipline, team and contrasting periods in the project timeline to develop an understanding of the students’ perceived benefits and challenges of group work, and how their interactions change over the duration of the project.  Research was incorporated into the second offering of the course in 2017 and a refereed paper ‘Interdisciplinary teamwork in an authentic project-based learning environment’ has been accepted and will be presented at the HERDSA (Re)Valuing Higher Education Conference in July 2018.

What are the wider impacts of the WL activity beyond completion?

The positive student experience with interdisciplinary teamwork in this project course aligns with the main research finding in respect to learning outcomes. Students have first-hand experience with the diversity of working teams and expand their knowledge beyond their own discipline. The research also shows that teamwork skills significantly improve by the end of the course.

The wider reach of Peer2Peer is evidenced through the accepted research paper and cross institutional promotion. The continued involvement of industry partners is evidence of the value they associate with the project, with two of the campaigns from 2017 adapted by the South Australian Police.

How does the WIL activity approach the preparation, implementation and reflection phases of WIL?

The Peer2Peer teaching team follow a clear schedule that ensures project objectives, discipline specific course objectives and the partner brief are met. Students are provided with formative and summative milestones including presenting findings and status reports. In the final week of the course, teams pitch their social media campaign to an expert panel that includes academics and representatives from the industry partner. Two weeks before the formal pitch, teams are given the opportunity to present their project ideas to other teams, as a way to gain feedback and to improve on their project and final presentation to the client. Given the occasional challenges of student group work, students are supported during all phases of Peer2Peer through the appointment of a student ‘Team Manager’ (generally from the Psychology field) and continuous 2-way communication with the teaching team. The availability of a designated neutral space for the students to come together during the project also assists in team building and applying newly learnt personal skills to a work like environment.

What are the learning outcomes of the WIL activity and how do they link to graduate attributes?

To examine what students learned from this WIL activity, anonymous qualitative responses to the open-ended survey were analysed. The frequently occurring theme was learning about inter-disciplinary skills and knowledge; specifically learning about different terminologies and processes such as coding or design. Students recognised learning about working with diverse groups; a comment from one student was “It’s helped me understand that although we specialise in our own areas, perspectives from alternate disciplines can help shape the product positively”. The idea of work-readiness, how multidisciplinary knowledge would be required in the workplace, and how to manage a real project were also identified.

What are the plans for the WIL activity in the future?

One area of future focus for Peer2Peer involves the increased engagement of alumni. Given the excellent student satisfaction ratings with the project, and the pivotal skills and knowledge students identify they gain as a result of their participation, we plan to integrate alumni as specialist advisors. Establishing this bridge between alumni and current students promotes employability while ensuring the teaching team gain continued exposure to emerging industry trends and opportunities to expand the project. As our alumni progress their careers and extend their own industry networks, their continued involvement with Peer2Peer will ensure the concept remains topical and highly valued.

Creating authentic connections between learning and teaching in real world environments

Responding to student and Industry Partner demand for fast, flexible and relevant learning for internships while in the field.

Dr Clare Dyson

Dr Clare Dyson
Queensland University of Technology
c.dyson@qut.edu.au

This project is a series of blended-learning online modules designed to support students and their industry partners progressively throughout the major stages of a WIL internship placement: preparation, industry engagement, and reflection, and to allow students to access material relevant to their particular timeframe and relevant to their particular placement.

The modules are designed to deliver the learning in a progressive pathway that mirrors the stages of the internship, to utilise technology that can be accessed anywhere and anytime (on phones, tablets and computers) and to have assessment that can be completed while in the workplace to integrate academic learning and real-world learning.

They are delivered in conjunction with disciplinary Academic Supervision and rolling face to face lectures.

 

Video

Full details of 'Creating authentic connections between learning and teaching in real world environments'

Disciplines included in the WIL activity

Creative Industries Faculty including: Acting; Animation; Architecture; Arts management; Creative writing and literary studies; Dance; Drama; Entertainment industries; Fashion; Film and screen; Industrial design; Interactive and visual design; Interior design; Journalism; Landscape architecture; Media and communication; Music; Technical production; Visual arts.

Model of WIL activity

  • Industry/community-based internships
  • Industry/community-based placements

Brief description of WIL activity

This project is a series of blended-learning online modules designed to support students and their industry partners progressively throughout the major stages of a WIL internship placement: preparation, industry engagement, and reflection, and to allow students to access material relevant to their particular timeframe, relevant to their particular placement.

The modules are designed to deliver the learning in a progressive pathway that mirrors the stages of the internship, to utilise technology that can be accessed anywhere and anytime (on phones, tablets and computers) and to have assessment that can be completed while in the workplace to integrate academic learning and real-world learning. They are delivered in conjunction with disciplinary Academic Supervision and rolling face-to-face lectures.

Length of time the WIL activity has been/was in operation

These modules have been actively used by students since June 10th 2016, for enrolment in semester 2 2016. Each semester has approximately 400-460 students. Approximately 25% of students complete them in advance of semester to take advantage of industry timeframes. The project has has had 4 successful semesters (including feedback reviews) since that time.

Who benefits from the WIL activity

The Creative Industries Faculty (CIF) internship program supports complex industry-based learning, accessed by students from 19 different disciplines, any time throughout the year and throughout the world.

The direct benefit of the modules is for students, industry partners and academic staff supervising in this CIF program, but the wider benefit is for all higher education university (and potentially VE) programs who require flexible WIL teaching frameworks that can be responsive to industry timeframes. These modules now support direct input (including feedback and teaching resources) by alumni and industry partners who deliver relevant information from their personal and professional experience.

How does the WIL activity demonstrate good practice and/or innovation?

The innovation of this project is in the delivery of a teaching and learning framework that is responsive to general needs of students, industry and university, while supporting individual WIL experiences in an integrated and meaningful way. While many online delivery models offer progressive learning at the student’s pace, what differentiates this model is the responsive industry-based modules used in combination with remote supervision and rolling face-to-face induction lectures. Students tailor when they access resources in relation to the specific timing of their internship and delivery of material by industry partners and alumni allows students to access relevant real-world material.

How adaptable is the WIL activity to other disciplines, sectors, teaching practices etc?

These modules are already highly adaptable as they span 19 different disciplines. While the content delivered from industry partners and alumni is based within the creative industries, the structure of the learning pathway allows for discipline-specific content to be easily tailored to other industries. The progression mapped in these modules is the same for all internships/placements and is directly related to new specific learnings in the workplace. This model looks at ‘employability’ skills developed during a WIL experience and has relevance in vocational training as well as Higher Education and assessments can be tailored to unit (and course) learning outcomes.

How sustainable is the WIL activity beyond its immediate implementation?

These modules can be nuanced or edited and resources added at any time. Additionally, they can be duplicated for subsequent or progressive units with bespoke content added to each section – a future plan for this program. The modules have had 4 iterative redevelopments since inception mid 2016, each based on student, staff and industry feedback. Advanced level units have recently been added (starting in 2018) that were easily added to the existing program and now allow students to progress into deeper engagement with industry. This flexibility allows a variety of approaches to teaching based on curriculum and university requirements.

How is the success of the WIL activity evaluated?

The new modules were progressively evaluated throughout the first semester’s delivery with informal feedback from academic staff and direct feedback from students (n=409). Of the students who had engaged in both models, 63.33% said yes to the question: “Did the changes in assessment type and delivery format (online modules) better support your workplace learning this semester?”

In addition to specific questions around assessment in the modules, 70.31% of students said that the online delivery format (modules) supported their academic engagement in the workplace. Students, staff and industry partners have been surveyed in each subsequent semester to inform iterative changes.

What are the wider impacts of the WIL activity beyond completion?

While there isn’t enough evidence to fully demonstrate the wider impact of these modules, early feedback suggests that they have capacity to expand into other Faculties and potentially the university. Another strength of this module approach is that students can engage in an international WIL placement with the same resources as a student engaging with the program domestically.

Due to the flexibility of these teaching and learning models and their ability to adapt across disciplines and incorporate additional advanced-level units, they have any number of applications for academics wanting to create authentic connections between university learning and workplace learning.

How does the WIL activity approach the preparation, implementation and reflection phases of WIL?

These modules are designed to support students and their industry partners progressively throughout the major stages of a WIL internship: preparation, industry engagement, and reflection with specific resources for these quite different times, including advice from industry partners who outline their expectations at each stage.

The ‘reflection’ stage has also been broken into two stages – the first involves answering short reflective questions in situ (the workplace), and the second reflects on changes that have resulted from the internship for future practice. These are delivered with different teaching approaches and the assessment reflects the depth expected for each type of reflection.

What are the learning outcomes of the WIL activity and how do they link to graduate attributes?

The Learning Outcomes of this program include: Identifying and implementing relevant disciplinary knowledge, concepts, skills and practices; gaining new knowledge via practice-based approaches; professional communication; working independently and collaboratively; and critically evaluating own performance.

These learning outcomes support students to develop the graduate attributes of work readiness; new industry knowledge; and new understanding of yourself as an emerging practitioner. Industry partners have also identified a need for adaptability, listening skills, refection, problem solving skills and resilience. These attributes link into ‘employability’ skills required across all industries and drive the teaching and learning in this program.

What are the plans for the WIL activity in the future?

Some students have previous industry experience and their preparation is at a different stage to students without past work experience. Future iterations will take industry experience into consideration by micro-credentialing aspects of the program and crediting some ‘prior learning’.

Additionally the differences between industry types will be taken into consideration.  Architecture is usually situated within a company infrastructure, whereas journalism, visual art and creative writing can be sole traders – this poses risk variations, differences in workplace culture and networking opportunities that could be supported more effectively.

Both variations will be developed to support diversity in future student cohorts.

Creating authentic connections between learning and teaching in real world environments

Modules Homepage – this image shows the first entry point into the modules site. Three semesters are running concurrently with different start and finish times and students are enrolled into the relevant semester depending on when their internship starts and finishes.

Once students enter the site, they then click into the relevant unit in the relevant semester. They can also elect to take two units in one semester. This option was added to the modules site in semester 2 2017.

Modules Welcome

Modules Welcome – this image shows the introduction to Phase 1 – preparation. Each Phase has a welcome page that explains the learning progression through that particular phase and the relevant assessment. It also explains how to turn on closed captions for videos and where the resources are located for this phase. There is also a short (2 minute) welcome video that introduces the key learnings for this phase. This image also shows the navigation of this phase and the entire modules site. Students cannot click forward until they have completed all required learning of the current module, but they can see future navigation, including upcoming assessments.

Modules Assessment

Modules Assessment – this image shows the Assessment Tab on the homebar that is available at any stage. This outlines the required assessment for each phase and includes due dates. There are no links on this page except to the criteria sheets – the page is for reference only. Submission links are embedded throughout the site to ensure student’s progress through the teaching material.

Modules Industry Video

Modules Industry Video – this image shows a resource page embedded into Phase 1 – preparation. This page has an embedded video that can be watched on mobiles, tablets and computers and lasts 4 minutes. Each video page includes a rationale for watching the video, the Key Learnings from the video and the video length. Each Industry Partner Video has 4-6 industry partners discussing a particular industry question. This one focuses around ‘What makes a good application?’.

An Industry-linked Honours program in Science

Using waste to fight against Dengue Fever, Kiribati (central Pacific) – an industry linked project

Rowan Brookes Director of Education, School of Biological Sciences, Monash University

Dr Rowan Brookes Director of Education, School of Biological,Sciences, Monash University (Prior Coordinator of BSc – Advanced (Global Challenges))
rowan.brookes@monash.edu

The Bachelor of Science Advanced-Global Challenges Honours year is a unique research program that immerses talented science students in an experiential and industry-linked education.

Students work in groups on authentic multi-disciplinary challenges posed by our industry partners over the year-long project.

The student groups are co-located between the campus and the partner organisation and the students are jointly mentored and assessed by the industry partners and Monash University academics. This co-location provides students with the opportunity to learn through direct industry exposure, whilst also developing their research skills.

Djuke Veldhuis, Coordinator of BSc – Advanced (Global Challenges)
Andrea Robinson, Coordinator honours program BSc – Advanced (Global Challenges). 

Website: Global Challenges

Video

Full details of 'An industry-linked Honours program in Science'

Disciplines included in the WIL activity

STEM

Model of WIL activity

Industry/community based projects

Brief description of WIL activity

The Bachelor of Science Advanced-Global Challenges Honours year is a unique research program that immerses talented science students in an experiential and industry-linked education. Students work in groups on authentic multi-disciplinary challenges posed by our industry partners over the year-long project. The student groups are co-located between the campus and the partner organisation and the students are jointly mentored and assessed by the industry partners and Monash University academics. This co-location provides students with the opportunity to learn through direct industry exposure, whilst also developing their research skills.

Length of time the WIL activity has been/was in operation

The Honours year has been running for one year with its inaugural cohort in 2018. The degree that this Honours year is embedded within commenced in 2014.

Who benefits from the WIL activity?

There are three groups that benefit from this WIL Honours program. Firstly, our students develop skills directly relevant to industry and increase their exposure and understanding of different sectors. Secondly, our partner organisations gain access to our talented students who generate novel and tangible solutions to the industry challenges. In addition, our partner organisations are able to develop a new talent pipeline into their organisations, as the students are in their final year of study.  Finally, through this program the Faculty of Science is able to create new industry linkages to a diverse range of industry partners.

How does the WIL activity demonstrate good practice and/or innovation?

This activity demonstrates good practice in education as it is designed to provide an authentic, student-led, collaborative and experiential education. The challenge-based approach requires students utilize their creative and critical thinking skills, in addition to a host of other skills, within an applied setting. The Honours year has industry linkages throughout its inception, design and implementation.  For example, the concept was proposed in consultation with alumni and industry partners and industry groups were consulted during the design phase of the activities, assessment and the curriculum design. Finally, the students work on real-world challenges supported by industry partners throughout their learning journey.

How adaptable is the WIL activity to other disciplines, sectors, teaching practices etc?

This Honours approach could be adaptable to other disciplines or teaching practices who wish to create industry focused education projects. The students in this degree program have gained a series of scaffolded skills earlier in the program (e.g design thinking, professionalism, stakeholder management, project management). Therefore, it would be recommended that if this approach was implemented in a different context, students should be given modules on some of these additional skills that they may not have not developed in their earlier studies.

How sustainable is the WIL activity beyond its immediate implementation?

This Honours program is a sustainable model for two reasons: 1) The degree that this is embedded within is in high demand by students; 2) The program will continue to attract interest from industry partners, as they are wish to gain access to talented students. The biggest challenge for the sustainability of the program will be to find appropriate mechanisms to engage academics as the supervisors and assessors of student work. This is a challenge because the normal rewards of supervising an Honours student (research output and potential recruitment into higher degrees) are not primary objectives of the program.

How is the success of the WIL activity evaluated?

To determine the impact of this approach, the Honours program is evaluated by gathering feedback from the industry partners, students (student evaluations and informal feedback) and reflective observations of the educators involved in the program. The data collected from this feedback examines satisfaction rates, student and partner experience and student learning gains. Preliminary data is also being collected by the Faculty of Science on graduate employment rates and will later be collected through the Graduate Destination Survey to determine whether this program assists in higher employment rates.

What are the wider impacts of the WL activity beyond completion?

Early evidence provided from the graduates of this program immediately after they completed their final project show a 50% employment rate, with the remaining students undertaking postgraduate study (25%), or choosing to travel internationally before considering work or further study (25%).  Our industry partners indicate a high level of satisfaction working with the students and Faculty. Partners describe the students as high calibre, dedicated and resourceful students with the ability to understand complex, multidisciplinary problems. Several were impressed by their ability to engage with a diverse range of project stakeholders – from members of the public, technical boffins, industry leaders, corporate management and academia – and create productive internal and external collaborations for the partner organisation.

How does the WIL activity approach the preparation, implementation and reflection phases of WIL?

By the commencement of the upcoming (2018) Honours year all students have undertaken at least one internship, have been mentored by people working in industry and engaged in a number of events involving industry partners. At the start of the year, the students complete an online module where they are required to investigate their industry partner and complete a range of activities to familiarise themselves with industry needs and objectives. Students also complete reflective tasks on their own skills and knowledge and identify skills to strengthen. The students complete a reflective assessment at the midpoint of their Honours year after they have completed their individual research project and prior to starting their group project.

What are the learning outcomes of the WIL activity and how do they link to graduate attributes?

This program develops responsible and effective global citizens who:

  • Engage in an internationalised world by working across broad stakeholder groups and effectively negotiate with a partner organisation.
  • Demonstrate ethical values by demonstrating a high standard of professionalism throughout the project.
  • Can align their skill set with stakeholder and scientific need.

What are the plans for the WIL activity in the future?

This Honours year will continue to be provided to students in the Global Challenges degree with gradual iteration as we learn through feedback from the students and partners. Now that the first year has been successfully completed, it is planned that this approach will be extended into the Schools in the Faculty of Science and used as an alternative model for students completing their BSc Honours year. It is hoped that other universities might learn from this approach and trial it within their own context.

Three-way virtual, global WIL project

Sally Parrott

Sally Parrott, RMIT University, College of Business, sally.parrott@rmit.edu.au

A Virtual Global WIL Project (VGWP) is an innovative pedagogical model for developing global competency and business skills that reflects real-world business practice.

The VGWP brings students from multiple countries and time zones together to solve a real-life business problem for a multi-national client. Students use a range of online business technologies to collaboratively develop a solution according to requirements set by the client. This deep experiential learning experience develops skills in written and verbal global business communications, working in cross cultural teams, running meetings online across multiple time zones, problem-solving, negotiation and reflective practice to improve their global employability.

Website: RMIT Global Learning by Design Pattern (PDF)

Videos

Work Integrated Learning On A Global Scale | RMIT University

Three-way Global WIL Project | RMIT University

Full details of 'Three-way virtual, global, work-integrated-learning project'

Length of time the WIL activity has been/was in operation

The VGWP began in 2011 as a two-way project between Kirkwood Community College, USA and RMIT University Australia. From 2011 – 2013 RMIT secured a client with an international marketing problem that would benefit from a combined USA-Australian perspective. In 2014, a third partner, Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT), Ireland, was secured in a third time zone and culture to reflect the way business was operating in global, virtual teams. The first three-way VGWP ran in 2014 with Dundalk Tourism and then in 2015 with Maxol Industries, Ireland. In 2016 the focus was back in Australia solving a problem for the City of Melbourne then in 2017 the project expanded to Vietnam and students worked with Vietnamese company, Neyuh Leather.

Who benefits from the WIL activity (include all relevant stakeholders)?

Partner Institutions receive a scalable, accessible, international WIL experience without the need for travel that improves an educational institutes’ internationalisation targets.

Faculty staff receive a range of opportunities to develop their professional and educational skills on a global scale, which are transferable to other areas of their work.

The Client report they receive immense benefit from involvement in a VGWP including receiving a broad range of ideas and strategies which are valuable for planning and development and even implementation.

The students receive a transformative experience which enhances their employability skills, in particular the skills to operate in global virtual teams, conduct intercultural business communication, working across time zones and use business communication technologies.

How does the WIL activity demonstrate good practice and/or innovation?

The VGWP provides an authentic learning experience which encourages students to learn through the exploration of concepts that involve relevant and real-world problems and projects (Donovan et. al 1999).  The VGWP simulates how global business is operating and such real-life experiences are said to stimulate higher order thinking processes and active learning strategies (Newmann and Wehlage 1993). The VGWP is ever-evolving with new communication technologies providing new opportunities such as using hangouts for video reflections, Canva to collaborate on infographics, Trello to manage team communications and YouTube Live for streaming meetings. Innovative utilisation of technologies not only updates skills but enables greater accessibility and scalability each time.

How adaptable is the WIL activity to other disciplines, sectors, teaching practices etc?

The VGWP has been delivered in a single discipline area, across multiple disciplines, in vocational education and undergraduate degrees and even in a postgraduate EMBA program. It has been utilised for accreditation requirements, faculty professional development, student capstone projects and internal training. It is a flexible model that can be adapted to multiple cohorts, countries and fields of education.

How sustainable is the WIL activity beyond its immediate implementation?

The VGWP’s greatest strength is its flexibility and sustainability. As it is primarily an online project based WIL model it is not constrained by the need for room bookings, physical attendance, travel, site visits or expensive equipment.  The greatest resource it requires is time. The VGWP can run for a one week intensive or an entire semester or year. It can be applied to a single class or, with careful management, an entire course cohort.

How is the success of the WIL activity evaluated?

The VGWP is evaluated following an action learning cycle.  All stakeholders contribute to the evaluation.  The client provides feedback in post presentation interviews. Faculty staff meet weekly to discuss progress and project outcomes. At the end of the VGWP, academics hold an evaluation meeting with suggestions fed back as continuous improvement into the next delivery. Students complete surveys  to capture quantitative and qualitative feedback. Students also complete three reflections pre-during-post VGWP.  Additionally, the VGWP has been presented as a model at national and international conferences, is currently being considered in a book on global perspectives and is the case study for a Higher Degree by Research.

What are the wider impacts of the WL activity beyond completion?

A VGWP improves students’ employability as understanding how to, and having the skills to, communicate and work effectively in global virtual teams is vital for the future of business graduates’ employability (Davies et al., 2011).

Global industry partnerships can be developed through a VGWP with potential for relationships to expand into student placements, industry training or research.

A VGWP can help institutes achieve internationalisation goals, particularly those which require addressing diversity, access and equity to international work based learning experiences.

A VGWP can be an international calling card, showcasing an institutes’ students, abilities and expertise to a global audience which can increase international profile for enrolments and collaborations.

How does the WIL activity approach the preparation, implementation and reflection phases of WIL?

Virtual Global WIL projects require extensive preparation and planning (see ‘planning ladder’ in Appendix 1) and critical success factors include:

  • Identifying partner institutions (considering academic calendars, curriculum, assessment, language, IT) and selecting a suitable client organisation
  • Coordinating/negotiating curriculum, assessment, instructions, expectations
  • Selecting the most appropriate communications technology and supporting teaching staff and students in its use
  • Ensuring motivation and commitment from teaching staff (out-of-hours communication, heavier workload etc.)
  • Providing strong teacher support for students in all cohorts.
  • — Providing support resources, such as guidelines on intercultural communication, cultural sensitivities, working in virtual teams, etc.

What are the learning outcomes of the WIL activity and how do they link to graduate attributes?

The learning outcomes of the VGWP links directly to the RMIT graduate attributes of being work-ready, global in outlook and competence, culturally and socially aware, active and lifelong learners and innovative. As one RMIT participant reflected, “I have learnt how to manage people in 3 different time zones, how to work in a team more efficiently and effectively and how to more effectively use technology on a business scale.”. This taps directly into the two dominant themes in education: (i) preparing young people for the global economy and (ii) developing their global social awareness and capacities reported at the Global Citizenship Symposium in Australia (IEAA 2014).

What are the plans for the WIL activity in the future?

The VGWP is growing in popularity as a WIL activity where it has been applied in numerous disciplines and across five institutes and four countries. The model has been showcased at national and international conferences (EAIA 2016, COIL 2016, AIEC 2016) with many interested parties requesting resources to explore possibilities of applications in their institutions.  It is envisaged that with continued dissemination of the VGWP, that support and consequently uptake of this model will increase. Interest may also increase once findings from research currently being conducted on the effectiveness of VGWP’s for improving tertiary business graduates’ intercultural communication skills is published.

Appendix 1

Planning ladder for a Virtual Global WIL Project

Appendix 2

RMIT VGWP Google Site with support resources

RMIT VGWP Google Site with support resources

 

 

More pics

Virtual Global WlL Project 2016 international teams post client presentations at RMIT

Global WIL 2015 international team with client Moreish by Maxol (Ireland)

Global WIL 2014 winners Dundalk Tourism campaign and (right) Getting ready to present to client in Ireland

Preparation for international sports-based WIL

Mentor and student
Dr Deb Agnew and Ms Elizabeth Abery on behalf of Assoc. Prof Shane Pill, Assoc. Prof Kerry Bissaker, Prof. Janice Orrell, Dr Samantha Schulz and Mr Daniel Mather, Flinders University

Dr Deb Agnew and Ms Elizabeth Abery on behalf of Assoc. Prof Shane Pill, Assoc. Prof Kerry Bissaker, Prof. Janice Orrell, Dr Samantha Schulz and Mr Daniel Mather, Flinders University

Industry Placement Field Project is a core unit of the Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Activity. New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants provided the opportunity for students to complete an international placement in the area of sport development in India (2016; 2017) and Vanuatu (2017).

A preparation program to support these students has been developed that includes modules and resources specific to the international placement destination. These include self-awareness, health and wellbeing, successful entrepreneurship, intercultural sensitivity and country of placement orientation.

The resource pack includes matters pertaining to international travel requirements, health and safety, and places of interest in the international destination.

Teaching netball in India video

Full details of 'Preparation for international sports-based WIL'

Length of time the WIL activity has been/was in operation           

Successful New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants were granted in 2015 for India and 2016 for Vanuatu and provided funding for each project for three years. As a result of this funding the first cohort of students to undertake an international sport development placement was in 2016 for India and in 2017 for India and Vanuatu and will continue annually for the duration of the funding.

Who benefits from the WIL activity?

Providing opportunities for students to undertake an international WIL experience in sport development and purposefully preparing them for the realities of intercultural and international experiences will support student preparedness and lead to more innovative and entrepreneurial students within the sport industry. This can benefit employment outcomes for students plus support current industry diversity. The partner organisations and participants of the sport development projects will benefit from hosting well prepared students facilitating ongoing collaborations. Other areas of this university and other universities who participate in international placements are positioned to benefit from the resources and applicability of the program content.

How does the WIL activity demonstrate good practice and/or innovation?           

Offering international placement opportunities is a growing trend and the need for preparation acknowledged but often generic in application. This program is innovative in that it is specific to the country of destination and focuses on sport development programs in low socio-economic countries. As such it addresses the unique feature of providing a specific but transferable program for international placement preparation that in addition deliberately incorporates developing and enhancing graduate capabilities in entrepreneurship and socio-cultural capability. It demonstrates good practice as it uses a student centered approach with content being developed based on the experiences of the first cohort of students.

How adaptable is the WIL activity to other disciplines, sectors, teaching practices etc?

The format of the program, and module and resource pack content allows for it to be easily adapted other disciplines and universities that offer international placement opportunities. In 2017 4 students from the New Zealand Polytech University have completed the modules online as they will join the Flinders University students on the 2017 trip to India, thereby testing the adaptability of the program to other universities.

How sustainable is the WIL activity beyond its immediate implementation?       

The program modules contain professionally video recorded content that can be accessible in subsequent years of the program, which create a sustainable resource for future student groups and other areas within the university that utilise international WIL placements. The sustainability of the resource pack occurs through the production of the resources in both hard copy and also electronic format enabling simple updating as needed.

How is the success of the WIL activity evaluated?              

This placement program is evaluated through both research and through student feedback. Students complete a reflective journal on their experience, along with a formal evaluation of the placement organisation. Upon returning from India or Vanuatu the students also take part in a debrief session with academic staff. The experience is formally evaluated through the use of photo-voice elicitation methods by an independent academic staff member who has no role in the management of the placement topic. The international placement organisations also complete a reflection on the success of the program each year from their perspective.

What are the wider impacts of the WIL activity beyond completion?

This program will contribute to the continued development of a mature and authentic partnership model that represents best practice for WIL programs in sport in Australia that choose to include an international placement. This program has developed resources that will contribute to the development of sports graduates who (1) have entrepreneurial dispositions skills and knowledge, (2) have an informed appreciation of the role sport can play in economically and socially challenged communities and (3) have identified and extended their own strengths and capabilities in regard to be leading sporting activities in culturally diverse communities.

How does the WIL activity approach the preparation, implementation and reflection phases of WIL?

This program specifically focuses on the preparation for the implementation of international sport development projects. Students complete 6 modules which have been identified as relevant and important considerations for the successful completion of the program. Sessions are completed both face to face and online and must be completed before the students depart. Students reflect on their experience through both photo-voice elicitation methods as well as a reflective journal while they are in country. Following their international placement students also complete an oral presentation reflecting on their experience, what they have learnt and how their skills have been developed.

What are the learning outcomes of the WIL activity and how do they link to graduate attributes?

Learning outcomes specific to the program modules include: identification of cultural beliefs and values, articulation of cross cultural dispositions and associated professional behaviour, maintaining health and wellbeing while on an international placement, sport program development, management and sustainability, entrepreneurship through community engagement and initiative while on placement and creative sourcing of fund raising prior to placement for additional resources and equipment needed, and synthesis of placement experience through reflection. All learning outcomes align with current university graduate attributes being students who: are knowledgeable, can apply their knowledge, communicate effectively, can work independently and collaboratively, value ethical behaviour and connect across boundaries.

What are the plans for the WIL activity in the future?

The need for the program in its current format is dependent on international placement opportunities continuing. Currently these opportunities are supported by funding through the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants for three years as of 2016. Due to the popularity and success of the international sport development placements, once this funding expires other opportunities will be explored.