Global Skills | Global Employability
Industry and Community Partners
Online Project or Placement
Kirkwood Community College
Dundalk Institute of Technology
- Engaging multiple disciplines
- Co-designed with international industry partners
- Geographically dispersed
- Spanning multiple universities or institutions
- A dedicated Project Manager able to build effective relationships with industry partners, as well as other tertiary institutions, is essential to oversee the design and delivery of the project.
- Supportive leadership from the Head of School/Department willing to support flexible working hours, workloads and additional resources for academic staff.
- Preparedness and willingness from participating students to conduct meetings using their own IT equipment from home for after hours collaboration (e.g. meetings using Skype, Google Hangouts).
- Teaching staff and industry partners who are proficient at project management and the use of collaborative technology.
- Industry partners that are flexible with their time, working around university teaching schedules and willing to provide students with access with information as required.
Critical factors for consideration when adapting this model:
- Class size – student enrolment numbers should be similar with the partnering institutions offshore to ensure an even spread of students across teams. It would not be practical for a group of more than 100 students.
- Year of study – best suited to final year students as they develop graduate attributes requiring a certain level of maturity and commitment.
- Academic Calendar – The institutions need to have 6 weeks of common delivery time.
- Mode – suited to on campus face-to-face cohorts in each country but it could be applied to a fully online students with sufficient tutor support.
Discipline – an element of commonality and compatibility of course content is required.
For more information
- variation in academic calendars, academic level of student cohorts, teaching approaches and assessment.
- cultural and social differences affecting how they approach meetings (formal vs informal), clarity of roles and responsibilities, and preparation.
- different language conventions (verbal and written) even though they were all based in English-speaking countries.
Through trial and error, mimicking real-world global business operations, students gain valuable skills for working in global, virtual teams. They use the latest information communication technology tools to communicate, plan, collaborate and present their business solution. They also develop effective teamwork and time management skills that are imperative to the success of participating in global online projects. Given the complex nature of coordinating these projects, students required additional support at a local level from capable teaching staff. The number of Global Virtual WIL projects have continued to grow since the first three-way project 2014. In recent years, five additional projects were undertaken, involving various discipline areas and collaborating with a variety of industries and institutions in other countries. Since its inception, it has grown to include six institutes, five countries and four time zones, with close to 800 students having participated.
Impact / outcomes
Students: In addition to gaining valuable work experience, students developed a deeper understanding of cultural differences and how this influences communication and teamwork on an international scale. Students reported enjoying the hands on, realistic experience that they believe represents how they will work in global, virtual teams in the future. Industry Partner: The tourism board had several innovative campaigns with a fresh global perspective presented to them and they reported they planned to draw from many of the ideas presented by the student teams for increasing inbound visitors to Dundalk. Teaching Staff: The Global Virtual WIL Project has continued to expand since its inception in 2014, providing academic staff with the opportunity to work with international peers and expand their networks. Furthermore, RMIT Global Virtual WIL offers students engaging, relevant and challenging projects.
In the 2014 iteration of the Global Virtual WIL Project, students across all three institutions were enrolled in a marketing-related core or elective subject therefore the graded assessment undertaken was to create an integrated marketing communication plan and ensuing campaign for Dundalk tourism.
Customary end-of-semester subject evaluation channels were used to gain feedback and statistical data on student satisfaction. Additionally at RMIT University, reflective feedback was obtained from the program coordinator, teacher, and students. Ongoing review and evaluation of students’ and industry partner experiences has resulted in a project redesign which has prompted increasing student participation, building student understanding of the challenges of working in globally dispersed teams, and early development of skills required for using digital communications technology to communicate effectively on global business issues.