Graduate Skills Workshops
Developing graduate skills through intensive workshops
Graduate Skills workshops have demonstrated the importance of the quality of the interaction between student, teacher and resource material. Graduate skills are best learnt and taught not through information transfer but rather involves a degree of transformation in the way that graduate skills are conceived and applied to relevant situations, for example, through case studies, problem-solving, debates and class discussion.
Photo Gallery: EDGGS Workshop
National workshop: students and academics
35 students from the seven universities around Australia participated in a three-day workshop (“Building Business Professionals”) in Sydney (April 2009). The workshop featured a welcoming ice-breaker activity session, interactive mini-lectures and eight learning modules. Students were tested before and after the workshop on their understanding of the four graduate skills, allocated to teams for collaborative work and presentations. The workshop was facilitated by the team members, who worked closely with students to investigate ways of enhancing student receptiveness to learning and practicing each of the four skill areas. The workshop showed that social interaction is an effective means of improving students’ understanding of these capabilities. The workshop provides a transformational model for professional development.
Student participants responded enthusiastically to the workshop, with many continuing to advocate the benefits of graduate skills to external audiences, based on their positive experiences at the workshop. For example:
- ECU participants explained the relevance of graduate skills and the Sydney workshop to first year students in the pre-existing ECU Business Edge generic skills units (August 2009);
- UC participants briefed the Faculty of Business & Government Education Committee about the learning modules and embedding strategies (May 2009);
- USQ students showcased the icebreaker material at the 9th Students in Free Enterprise Conference, Sydney (July 2009). The icebreakers have now been permanently included in the annual conference;
- USQ students also used the teamwork modules in the USQ BEAMS mentoring program in local schools;
- LaTrobe students formed a reference group which meets quarterly to provide feedback on new teaching and learning initiatives in the School of Management.
Queensland/Northern Territory workshop: students and academics
A second workshop was held in Brisbane in July 2010. This workshop brought together student and academic participants from 13 universities in the northern region of Australia, including 25 students from 5 universities in south east Queensland and 18 academics from 9 universities including University of Queensland, University of Southern Queensland, Griffith University, University of the Sunshine Coast, Southern Cross University, James Cook University, Central Queensland University and Charles Darwin University. The workshop adopted a ‘hands on’ approach and ran a concurrent program involving both students and academics. Academics were also engaged in using the standards of achievement rubrics to measure the outcomes of student work. Academics were also involved in providing feedback to the students on various activities conducting over the two and half days. Student presentations on the final day were viewed by visiting industry liaison personnel from CPA Australia and ICCA.
Macquarie University workshop: students and academics
A three-day residential workshop for 21 high-achieving students was held at Macquarie University (July 2010). Academics and educational developers from a range of disciplines, including the Director of Sustainability at Macquarie and the President of Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability, facilitated the workshop sessions. Each session was structured around the four skills targeted by the project, in addition to an introductory session on icebreakers. Facilitators ran the Graduate Skills learning modules. Student outcomes were very positive, with a high level of engagement which is continuing in the form of a Facebook group of participants.
Victoria workshop: academics
Twenty-six academics and educational developers participated in a hands-on, practical half-day workshop (“Embedding Graduate Skills”) held in Melbourne (June 2010). A range of academics attended, including heads of school, academic skill advisors and academic developers from Swinburne University of Technology, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, LaTrobe University, Australian Catholic University, University of Ballarat and Victoria University. Academic participants shared their own conceptions of generic skills, and used a selection of case studies and processes from the website in a series of practical exercises. These were linked to the standards developed for each of the graduate skills through discussion and practical exercises in the development of rubrics. The workshop concluded after half a day with a general discussion of how these could be adapted for the participants’ teaching and the ways in which their conceptions of graduate skills had changed as a result of the workshop.
Of the 19 evaluation responses from academics, 94% stated that the project website contained materials that they could use in their teaching; 100% indicated they had learnt something useful about generic skills and their assessment standards which they could adapt for use in their subject area and 79% included in their comments that they would adapt the learning modules for their teaching.