Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fourth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Layering Learning for Work-Readiness in a Science Programme
Marianne McKay, Antoinette Smith-Tolken, Anne Alessandri

Last modified: 07-05-2018

Abstract


In order to prepare our students for a challenging workplace, the Department of Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa have ‘layered’ Engaged Learning strategies throughout the four-year undergraduate degree in an approach that is innovative in a science-based programme. In this research project, we assessed the effects of service-learning (SL) and a six-month internship on student employability by analysing reflections that were collected over a number of years. We also asked industry members whether they felt students had improved in key areas after the final year internship. The student submissions for SL showed evidence of personal growth and transformation, and those for the internship reflected industry requirements for professional skills in a complex and technically demanding milieu. It was found that these engaged experiences provided sound preparation for working life, as well as  giving students opportunities for self-questioning and personal growth, which is unusual in the natural sciences learning environment.


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