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Employability in the curriculum – a no-fuss approach. Dr Errietta Bissa School of Classics University of Wales Trinity St David. A bit of history…. The Classics Employability Project started in 2009/10. The School of Classics in UWTSD has about 210 FTE UGs, and some 20 FTE PGs.

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employability in the curriculum a no fuss approach

Employability in the curriculum – a no-fuss approach

DrErrietta Bissa

School of Classics

University of Wales Trinity St David

a bit of history
A bit of history…
  • The Classics Employability Project started in 2009/10.
  • The School of Classics in UWTSD has about 210 FTE UGs, and some 20 FTE PGs.
  • We teach Greek and Roman history, culture and literature, as well as Greek and Latin.
  • The idea was to embed employability in the curriculum within existing subject-specific modules, rather than add a bolt-on module.
aims of the project
Aims of the Project
  • Provide students with a set of skills that make them more employable in the long-run.
  • Make these skills part of the curriculum.
  • Preserve (and increase) student satisfaction rates.
method
Method
  • Identify key skills wanted by employers but not as yet covered in the curriculum
  • Embed these are part of assessment in existing subject-specific modules.
  • Pilot the idea in 2009/10.
  • Keep on, if successful, in later years.
skills and assessment

Skills-training can and is part of modules, often as part of formative assessment: Ex. group work in seminars, presentations in tutorials, reflection over feedback

  • HOWEVER
    • Such skills-related activities are not obvious to employers
    • There is no way for students to show/prove their competence at them if part of formative assessment
    • Often students do not recognise them as part of skills training and thus fail to articulate them in their quest for employment
Skills and Assessment
main hurdles
Main Hurdles
  • Possible effect on student satisfaction
  • Possibility of students not realising that they are becoming more employable
  • Staff workload increase
  • Some staff do not want to consider changing assessments
assessment types tried
Assessment Types tried
  • Portfolios – using formative portfolio to inform summative portfolio
  • Reply to scholarly article – to encourage formal discussion and reporting
  • Oral presentation – individual and group
  • Group essay/wiki
  • Reflective reports on group work, presentation (own and peer)
  • Webpage creation
  • Take-home examination (Students received the examination paper at 9.15am and had to return a completed essay of 3000-words by 3pm on the same day. Aim: Recreate work-place pressure to complete assignment within a business day)
results
Results
  • Student satisfaction remains excellent.
  • Students recognise the importance of acquiring new skills and that these enhance their employability.
  • Some assessment types are too workload-intensive.
  • Employability-specific assessments have been adopted by diverse members of staff, but this cascading can be slow.
  • Staff have become more flexible as to types of assessments used in modules, and types considered for new modules.
some issues for managers
Some issues for managers
  • Validation or re-validation of modules due to change of assessments
  • Providing training for staff, particularly new staff, regarding marking and moderating these types of assessments.
  • The first time staff use a different assessment method, there will be some workload increase.
  • It is imperative that administrative support is available for some types of assessment (take-home examination, webpages).
the future
The future
  • We are still trying to find a way to help students with their NUMERACY skills.
  • Considering very carefully providing more take-home exam opportunities
  • Still looking for a more satisfying method of group assessment.
applicability across subjects
Applicability across subjects
  • Classics is a very traditional subject, like many of the Humanities.
  • Employability is a less prominent feature of student thinking than in more hands-on subjects.
  • Embedding via assessment types has worked.
  • It is essential to identify the skills that are not covered by traditional assessments.
  • There is a limit as to how far one can take this approach – see the issue re numeracy.
thank you
Thank you

Errietta Bissa

e.bissa@tsd.ac.uk