Jeff Naqvi

Jeff Naqvi University of South Australia jeff.naqvi@unisa.edu.au

Industry and Practice equips students to empower themselves as creative professionals.

By analysing professional careers and infusing an industry context, the course encourages students to view career management proactively to not only generate professional sustenance, but connect to individual values, beliefs, and working preferences.

Exploration activities – both of self, and industry – are designed using multimedia tools, and industry practitioners lead their delivery. Using blended learning, students complete pre-work and then share this at seminars in a collaborative setting.

Assessments reflect the philosophy of student-centred learning, with artefacts directly relating to student-desired outcomes, whether employment, postgraduate study, or entrepreneurship.

Full details of 'Industry and Practice: engaging industry to equip students for lifelong careers'

Disciplines included in the WIL activity

Creative industries

Model/s of WIL activity

Case studies, Simulations, Role plays, Research activities

Brief description of WIL activity

Industry and Practice equips students to empower themselves as creative professionals. By analysing professional careers and infusing an industry context, the course encourages students to view career management proactively to not only generate professional sustenance, but connect to individual values, beliefs, and working preferences. Exploration activities – both of self, and industry – are designed using multimedia tools, and industry practitioners lead their delivery. Using blended learning, students complete pre-work and then share this at seminars in a collaborative setting. Assessments reflect the philosophy of student-centred learning, with artefacts directly relating to student-desired outcomes, whether employment, postgraduate study, or entrepreneurship.

Length of time the WIL activity has been in operation

Since 2015 (taught once per year), growing to twice per year in 2016, adding an External mode in 2017, and additionally delivered via UniSA Online since 2019.

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

Industry and Practice gives students an opportunity to calibrate the disciplinary skills they have acquired, and work with industry and academic practitioners to construct this into a marketable asset for employability. The course’s innovation stems from it being co-designed by academics and industry practitioners. Traditional lecture content is segmented into short 3-7-minute videos. Some are delivered by industry as a piece-to-camera, or via an interview with an academic. Course materials are complemented with readings sourced from journals, trade publications, and news, to continually situate learning in a professional context.

The diverse assessment design reflects the diversity of student cohorts and their programs, drawing in valuable professional skills such as peer review. Multimedia activities devised from career management, marketing, and psychology disciplines teach the importance of students acquiring knowledge of professional workplaces, but also of themselves to make sense of the world around them. Interactive activities use H5P software and include drag-and-drop activities for students to: prioritise preferred work environments; debate desirable job characteristics with peers; or, categorise the differences in employment terms and conditions when working in-house, as a freelancer, or as a contractor.

In successfully adapting the course for online delivery, and with teaching approaches drawn from professional and higher education pedagogies, the course is adaptable for both professional short course education, as well as vocational education purposes. The course structure highlights its resource sustainability, with video and interactive content on a Moodle platform, and large in-person seminars to deliver a workshop feel, ensuring manageable budgetary parameters.

Who benefits from the WIL activity and how?

UniSA prides itself on its connection to industry. Students attest to the value of the course in helping them transition from university into life as a graduate. Many of the industry practitioners who contribute to the course are considered part of the Industry and Practice ‘family’, returning across multiple semesters. They are primarily alumni of the university; indeed, some are alumni of the course itself, graduating 3-5 years ago and returning to share their experiences. Several practitioners have broadened their relationship with the university into other programs. Direct industry engagement with students facilitates a feedback loop for mutual benefit.

How does the activity embed successful evaluation processes?

The course is evaluated through formal student questionnaires, as well as informal weekly feedback provision to the academics using the one-minute paper concept (Harwood 1996). A reflective journal assessment, populated over the semester, enables academic staff to observe the emerging awareness and impact of the course as it unfolds. Importantly, industry practitioners participate in evaluation via informal debriefs, as well as a survey where they are invited to share their analysis of student cohort employability. With the course running since 2015, its enduring achievement of learning outcomes via alumni is now becoming evident via graduate employability data.

What are the broader/longer term impacts for stakeholders?

Students report on the positive experience of working with peers across disciplines, as they will likely encounter as a graduate. There is an emerging evidence base, via strong alumni links, validating the ‘lifelong’ career management benefits of the course, such as through using decision-making models in professional contexts, or negotiating promotions. Industry participants continue to harness their opportunity for hands-on involvement, which also benefits them through the identification of a talent pipeline in competitive creative sectors. Their continued involvement is testament to the course’s benefit. For UniSA, the course presents an additional WIL model for its industry proposition.

How is the WIL activity integrated into curricula?

Industry and Practice is a capstone course of several programs. Beginning with marketing, communication, and media arts students initially, the course now additionally attracts enrolments from journalism, performing arts, and social work disciplines. The WIL phases of preparation, implementation, and reflection occur concurrently: themed content is delivered via online and classroom modes, which is then applied through activities, formative and summative assessments, accompanied by a continuing reflective journal. The assessment diversity – oral/video presentation; peer-reviewed paper; portfolio; and, journal – is designed to enhance students’ graduate qualities and their employability, equipping them with useable skillsets both in the immediate and longer-term.

How the case study is informed by relevant theoretical or empirical literature, research and/or scholarship

Industry and Practice is grounded in career management literature. In taking a lifelong and proactive approach to career management, students are equipped with tools to inform their decision-making as they graduate. A local context is crucial, and the course is supported by a recent textbook focused on navigating the work dynamics of the creative industries in Australia. Teaching and learning activities are informed by a range of scholarly works on assessment design and feedback, including the regular articulation of their own learning in the form of feedback to academic staff, promoting a higher-order thinking from students.

GREENHAUS, J.H., CALLANAN, G.A., and GODSHALK, V.M., 2019. Career management for Life. 5th ed. New York: Routledge.

HARWOOD, W.S., 1996. The one-minute paper. Journal of Chemical Education. Vol. 73, no.3, pp 229-230.

LE ROSSIGNOL, K., and WILSON, R., 2016. Freelancing in the Creative Industries. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

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

In 2019, Industry and Practice will be taught in two UniSA Online degrees for the first time. In 2020, there is an intention to develop the content into a professional short course, targeting mid-career professionals. Portions of the course content are also being adapted for use in a vocational education setting, targeting students on alternate entry pathways to university from 2020-21. The assessment design of the course will also be showcased at a teaching and learning conference in 2020, advocating the pursuit of greater equity in assessment for a diverse student cohort.

Student learning in action

Industry practitioners give their advice on presentation skills

For students looking to freelance, industry experts share their insights

Students use multimedia and multi-sensory channels to complete seminar activity, appealing to the diversity of the student cohort

In a series of short videos used to punctuate academic content on the same topic, industry practitioners share their own presentation horror stories, tips for effective presentations, and here, outline their own frustrations in watching presentations as an audience member.