Course Syllabus

This course provides students with the opportunity to work in a partner organisation, to assist in the transition between university and their future careers. Partner organisations may be from a diverse range of industries and sectors, including private industry and not-for-profit organisations. Students are required to attend at their partner organisation for at least the equivalent of one-two days each week over a semester, by arrangement between the student and the partner organisation. Students will undertake the placement under the guidance of a workplace mentor and with the support of academic and professional University staff. The range of projects in which the student will be involved will be determined according to the project priorities of the partner organisation. 

There are no regular classes for this subject.


Assessments:

Assessment 1, Task A: Journal Submission: Expectations

Assessment name: Task A: Journal Submission

Due: This activity must be completed before the commencement of your placement

Weight: 20%

Length: 1000 - 1500 words

Feedback mode: Feedback will be provided in Canvas Grades.

Details: 

Your initial reflective journal submission should record both your preparations for and expectations of the placement.  In 1000-1500 words (excluding any references), you are required to reflect on your preparations for your internship/placement and your motivations for undertaking it.  Specifically, in addition to identifying any practical applications of skills and discipline knowledge relevant to your postgraduate program, you are expected to formulate a plan for reflecting on your experiences and using them to develop your professional practice and insight, both personally and professionally. 

Materials that will assist you to understand scholarly thinking about reflective practice will be made available to you on the course website and per the below.  You should read these materials prior to preparing your submission for this task and references to one or more reflective models must be incorporated into your submission.   

In addition, the following questions that will assist you:   

  • What are your key motivations for undertaking the placement?

  • What are you expecting to get out of your placement/internship?

  • How will you know whether these have been met?

  • How might the models referred to in the reading (or otherwise identified in your own research) be used to assist you in your placement/internship and beyond?

  • How might you use the models to reflect on your experiences?

Key Readings

Reading 1: Kolb's model

See  Van Der Sijde, Peter, Ridder, Annemarie., Blaauw, Gerben., Diensberg, Christoph., and SpringerLink. Teaching Entrepreneurship. Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag HD, 2008. This can be accessed online.  Pages 11 - 13 provide a description of the approach and Chapter entitled "Using Kolb’s Learning Cycle to Teach Negotiation Skill"

 Reading 2: Gibbs reflective learning cycle

'Learning by Doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods' was first published in 1998 by the Further Education Unit at Oxford Polytechnic, UK (now the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development at Oxford Brookes University). The book was the result of a collaborative project between Graham Gibbs of Oxford Polytechnic and Bob Farmer and Diana Eastcott of Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University).  In 2001 the book was made freely available online in a series of webpages by the Geography Discipline Network, hosted by the University of Gloucestershire at  http://www2.glos.ac.uk/gdn/gibbs/index.htm (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. The reflective learning cycle presented in the book models how learners can link theory and practice through engaging in a cyclical sequence of activities: describing, feeling, evaluating, analysing, concluding and action planning. This model has been particularly influential in teacher development programmes  and in professions allied to medicine.

 Reading 3: Schon: Reflection in action / Reflection on Action

Schön's "Reflection in action / Reflection on action" model is described in the learning guide.  The following two journal articles consider the theory in the context of postgraduate education (it has been particularly popular in teaching and nursing/medical training).  In their criticisms of  Schön  the authors below explain the approach and its strengths and weaknesses.

Cunliffe, Ann L. "Republication of “On Becoming a Critically Reflexive Practitioner”." Journal of Management Education 40, no. 6  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.(2016): 747-68.

Comer, Moya. "Rethinking Reflection-in-action: What Did Schon Really Mean?" Nurse Education Today 36 (2016): 4 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Additional reading - for those who want go to the source:  Schön, D. A. (1983) The reflective practitioner : how professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books  (I am not aware of an electronic copy in our library)

Reading 4: Boud Keogh & Walker

Boud, D. J., Keogh, Rosemary., and Walker, David. Reflection : Turning Experience into Learning. London: Kogan Page, 1985 is available from the RMIT Library (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Bundoora campus).  I am not aware of an online version. 

This subsequent article by Boud & Walker will provide further detail and expand on the material provided in the learning guide:  BOUD, D. & WALKER, D. 1998. Promoting Reflection in Professional Courses: The Challenge of Context. Studies in Higher Education, 23, 191-206  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


Reading 5:  Five point level of reflection scale (Also referred to as "The 5 Rs")

These articles supplement the materials in your learning guide:

·         Bain, John D., Roy Ballantyne, Jan Packer, and Colleen Mills. "Using Journal Writing to Enhance Student Teachers’ Reflectivity During Field Experience Placements." Teachers and Teaching 5, no. 1 (1999): 51-7 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.3.

·         Bain, John D., Colleen Mills, Roy Ballantyne, and Jan Packer. "Developing Reflection on Practice Through Journal Writing: Impacts of Variations in the Focus and Level of Feedback (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.." Teachers and Teaching 8, no. 2 (2002): 171-96.

This resource, published by QUT, provides a useful summary of the reflection scale: http://www.citewrite.qut.edu.au/write/4Rs-for-students-page1-v1.5.pdf (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 3.15.46 PM.png
 

Assessment 2 Task B: Participation in a discussion board

Assessment name: Participation in a discussion board

Due: Week 11

Weight: 20%

Length: 2000 words

Feedback mode: 

Details: 

Linked CLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4

Participation in a discussion Board

  • At least 2 posts prior to the end of week 8

  • At least 2 responses to the posts of others prior to the end of week 10

  • Submit edited / curated posts/responses to Turnitin by the end of Week 11

Part 1 - Your discussion post

Prior to the end of week 8 of the semester, each student must submit at least two posts to the discussion board describing relevant events and experiences during their placement / internship.  The objective of this task is to share a description of the major project /projects on which you have been working during the internship and to share with other students’ information about:

  • The nature of the project/s (objectives, measurement, construction etc);

  • the ways in which discipline specific knowledge is employed in the workplace / project that you are placed with;

  • our observations and insights (surprises, disappointments, challenges, new ways of thinking, delight)

The discussion board will be ‘seeded’ with starter questions for you to address in your posts. You must address post in response to at least two of these ‘seeded’ questions. You are encouraged to participate as much as possible in the discussion as this is one of the only ways that you will be able to interact with other students if your placement doesn’t involve teamwork.

Part 2 – Your contributions to a conversation

Prior to the end of week 10 each student must respond to at least 2 posts made by other students asking questions or providing their own insights or reflections with a view to moving a conversation forward. Students must also respond to comments made by other students and the responsible academic to their own posts. Again, whilst 2 is the minimum number of responses required, you are encouraged to participate as much as possible in the discussion as this is one of the only ways that you will be able to interact with other students if your placement doesn’t involve teamwork.

The objective of this task is to allow you to demonstrate that you can apply insight and your own experiences, both within the placement and your degree program generally, to interact with other students in an engaging, relevant and meaningful way.  Whether that is by providing advice about a particular circumstance or situation, reflecting on how a similar question might be addressed within your own discipline or raising questions which might assist another student to consider a problem or opportunity in a different way.

Submit via Turnitin:

At the end of Week 11 students are required to submit copies of their originating posts and each of the comments that they have provided on the posts of others via Turnitin for assessment. You may add annotations to your submission to provide context, explain your choice of matters to respond to and to include reference materials. You may also amend for grammar, spelling and formality (for example) ensure that your references are appropriately cited using the referencing standard relevant to your discipline.

GRADED DISCUSSIONS as part of the Assessment Task B: Discussion Board Participation. Students must participate in a minimum of 5 discussions. All posts must be fully referenced.

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 10.26.58 AM.png

Discussion: Describe your project and your key challenges (This is a compulsory post) 100 pts possible

The objective of this task is to share a description of the major project /projects on which you have been working during the internship and to share with other student’s information about:

  • The nature of the project/s (objectives, measurement, construction etc);

  • the ways in which discipline-specific knowledge is employed in the workplace/project that you are placed with;

  • your observations and insights (surprises, disappointments, challenges, new ways of thinking, delight) 

You are encouraged to respond to the posts of others.


 

Discussion: New ways to think about work and careers, 100 pts possible

Read the The New Work Mindset 

Consider the following questions and share your reflections with your classmates:

  • Which of the Clusters do you mo`st align with and why? 

  • Look at your CV – does it evidence transferrable skills relevant to your cluster? 

  • Reflect on how you might use the insights in the report to plan your career and study progress?


Discussion: Setting Goals, 100 pts possible

Describe the process that you undertook to identify your goals for your Internship and then the goals themselves. Have you met your goals?  How do you know whether they have been met?  

The Learning Guide suggests that ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Did this goal actually measure the impact that you had? Was it a good goal?

  2. Why did you or did you not meet your goal?

  3. Was this goal effective in motivating you?

  4. Should you use this goal again?

Share your responses to and reflections on these questions with the group. Circle back to this thread from time to time during the semester. Have your responses changed?


Discussion: What are the X factors for success? 100 pts possible

Taylor and Humphrey (2002) [1] analysed interviews made with 80 UK and US business leaders, drawn from a wide range of businesses. They identified the skills and attributes which were most common amongst those who had been successful at chief executive level. Although most (91 per cent) had a degree and relevant technical skills, success was not closely linked to a level or type of knowledge: few had business degrees or outstanding technical ability.

The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) worked very long hours – but loved their work. They enjoyed leadership and recognition. They were noticeably self-confident, good at communicating with others and putting the interviewers at their ease. Their excellent inter-personal skills included patience and tolerance, often learned through the job itself. They were energetic, but took care to manage stress levels and stay healthy. Male directors were more sensitive to variations in their emotional lives and needed emotional stability in order to succeed. Most had a wide range of interests and part of what they brought to a company was ‘breadth of vision developed from a wide range of experience’. Most of these are self-management and people skills rather than unusual abilities or technical skills.

The surprising outcome of Taylor and Humphrey’s survey was that the range of personal skills and qualities associated with success were ones that most people could nurture.

The researchers wrote: ‘Board directors are not a race apart … we found ourselves in the presence of bright, hardworking people, but not creatures from another planet. They had a variety of IQs, expertise, and backgrounds. In other words, directors are just like the rest of us – and their positions are up for grabs.’ The skills and attitudes of successful people can be developed by others.

The main skills valued by the CEOs included:

  • self-knowledge and self-awareness – this was especially noticeable, and the directors were frank about their skills and their shortcomings

  • inter-personal skills, especially the ability to work with, and lead, teams

  • problem-solving ability, using creative approaches and positive attitudes

  • a desire to win, especially on behalf of the company or team

  • a willingness to work very long hours and to ‘do what it takes’

  • emotional intelligence, especially when relating to others

  • the ability to manage stress and to take care of their health

  • a love of change

  • confidence

  • a broad range of personal interests

  • readiness to seize opportunities rather than making rigid personal plans.

What do you consider to be the critical success factors (the “X Factors”) in your chosen profession and/or the workplace that you’ve been placed with. To what extent does it overlap with the list above? 

Can you identify which of these personal qualities associated with success you already have? Which do you value the most?  How will you go about nurturing / growing these personal success factors?

[1] Taylor, R. and Humphrey, J. (2002) Fast Track to the Top: Skills for Career Success (London: Kogan Page).


Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 10.26.58 AM.png

Discussion: How well do you work independently? 100 pts possible

Reflect on a time during your placement/internship when you've been required to work independently. Share your experience and outcomes with the rest of the group.  The following trigger questions might assist you to frame your reflection (and don’t forget to practice using the reflective models)

  • Give the best example (providing context - brief details of the work undertaken, for whom and where it was undertaken)

  • What level of responsiblity did you have?

  • What was the size / scope of the work?

  • What did you achieve?

  • How did this work contribute to any larger project or team?  How did it link to work undertaken by others?

  • How did you organise yourself in order to motivate yourself and meet the target?

  • What worked well?

  • What lessons did you learn?

  • How would you managed independent work differently on another occasion?

  • How could this competence / learning by applied to other situations?

  • How did you measure your success (or otherwise)?


Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 10.26.58 AM.png

Discussion: Completing Tasks, 100 pts possible

Are you a self-starter?  Or do you find yourself delaying beginning (or completing) tasks? Share your reflections on your ability to complete tasks with the rest of the group.

The following characteristics [1] are usually needed to take tasks through to completion on a consistent basis:

  • enthusiasm

  • ability to see or conceptualise the ‘end product’

  • perseverance

  • patience

  • self-belief: belief that you can do it

  • being willing to give the task sufficient time

  • being prepared to practise

  • being prepared to keep thinking of different solutions

  • accepting constructive criticism

  • searching out a point of interest

  • keeping the goal and benefits in mind

  • pride in a job well done.

Which of the above characteristics are your strongest?  What examples can you give of where you used those characteristics? Which do you need to develop further? Do you have other qualities that help you to take a task through to completion? What could you could do to develop your ‘finishing’ skills?   How and when will you apply these during your placement to achieve the goals that you set for yourself early on

[1] Cottrell, Stella. Skills for Success: Personal Development and Employability (Palgrave Study Skills) (Page 183). Palgrave Macmillan. Kindle Edition.


Working in Teams, 100 pts possible

‘Finding and keeping a good team’ is amongst chief executives’ most highly rated ingredients of success (Taylor and Humphrey, 2002).

Despite the importance of team work to working life, few people develop outstanding team skills. Team players are usually well-appreciated by both employers and colleagues. On the other hand, our natural self-interest in our own needs, moods, beliefs, wants and feelings can make it very easy for us to sabotage the teams or groups that we find ourselves in.

Reflect on your observation of teams in the workplace you’ve been placed in (either one that you’ve been working in directly, or one that you’ve observed in action).

Identify both the positive and negative behaviours that you’ve observed.  Be honest, which of the behaviours have you demonstrated?  What can you do to improve your own contributions to groups and teams?

Taylor, R. and Humphrey, J. (2002) Fast Track to the Top: Skills for Career Success (London: Kogan Page).
Cottrell, Stella. Skills for Success: Personal Development and Employability (Palgrave Study Skills) (Page 389). Palgrave Macmillan. Kindle Edition.


Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 10.26.58 AM.png

Discussion: Translating Academic Skills into the workplace, 100 pts possible

Although employers search out graduate employees, you may find that they have a more ambivalent approach to academic skills, or are uncertain what these might be. As academic skills are integral to gaining a degree, this might surprise you. However, whilst being sceptical about the value of academic study, some employers consider that a degree indicates that an applicant is bright and intelligent. It is up to you to find ways of demonstrating the value of academic skills to their business. Which academic skills?

Many workplaces gain from the application of academic skills such as: 

  • Research skills

  • Information management

  • Synthesising ideas and/or information 

  • Writing up and presenting reports

  • Critical reflection on practice

  • Analysis, criticism and evaluation. 

Take some time to think about the key academic skills that you’ve acquired over the course of your undergraduate and post graduate programs into their component sub-skills and think about how your are applying those skills in your placement (or how they might be applied in future in the organisation that you’re placed in.


Assessment 3 Task: Portfolio of Work / Reflective Essay

Assessment name: Portfolio of Work / Reflective Essay

Due: Start of SWOTVAC Week 13

Weight: 50%

Length: 2000-3000 words

Feedback mode: Feedback will be provided via Canvas

Learning Objectives Assessed: This assignment assesses Learning Objectives 1, 2, 3 & 4

Details:

Each student must submit a portfolio of work incorporating their reflections on their work experience via Turnitin. 

In 2,000 words minimum (3000 words maximum), you are to collate and collect evidence of the projects you have been involved in and demonstrate that you have used research and other skills relevant to your program of study during the work placement or, in the case of those placements that primarily involve shadowing, in your consideration of an important issue relevant to your placement and your host organisation. 

The objective of this task is to allow you to demonstrate that you can, using models introduced in the learning materials, apply reflective praxis to demonstrate insight in respect to your own experiences.

What is meant by an annotated portfolio of work?

It will not be enough to merely submit examples of your work or any report that you have written. Instead you are required to identify the context in which you were asked to provide this work, the extent to which it aligned with your academic experiences so far, the research and research methodologies you deployed (and the reasons for suggesting them). To the extent that the project was a collaborative or group project, you must identify your own contributions and reflect on the nature of the collaborative process using one or more of the reflective models included in the course materials.  

What if you are unable to produce ‘work product’?

Some students will not be able to produce ‘work product’ for a range of reasons - for example, their placement may involve significantly more observation than work activity (which is the case with student who are given the opportunity to shadow a magistrate for example) or it may be a breach of confidentiality to disclose work product.  In such cases, your final report will need to be structured to focus on the reflective practice. You should talk to your facilitator with a view to determining the most appropriate way to structure your submission in your specific circumstances.

Assessment criteria for the reflective report / annotated portfolio of work

A detailed assessment rubric will be provided in the course website.  The Assessment criteria for this task are:

Participation in a discussion Board

  • At least 2 posts prior to the end of week 8

  • At least 2 responses to the posts of others prior to the end of week 10

  • Submit edited / curated posts/responses to Turnitin by the end of Week 11

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 11.45.11 AM.png