Thursday, 30 June 2011

Track B: Employability

TRACK B - Rea Prouska, Mike Mimirinis : Empowering Students by Enhancing Employability Skills: The Case of the BA Human Resource Management Programme

This informative and interactive session from Mike and Rea highlighted an approach from the BA Human Resource Management programme on how to focus students on identifying and developing their employability skills through the use of e-portfolios. Both Mike and Rea were interested in; the wealth of skills and attributes students enter into higher education with, how these skills are added to and develop during their time in HE and how they continue to develop skills after HE. The use of e-portfolios with first year students helped to engage students in both thinking about employability but also to reflect upon and evidence the skills they had and furthermore think about the skills they wished to develop.

It was lovely to see firsthand some e portfolios presented by two HRM students who discussed their experiences of, the benefits and uses they felt creating the portfolio had and the different ways in which the e-portfolios had been used (to apply for jobs, share resources between students, etc). It was interesting to note that students on this programme had been encouraged to engage with the e-portfolios with the incentive of marks, however not all students chose to produce or engage with the e-portfolios. Those students who did engage with the e-portfolio found it to be beneficial in numerous ways; in boosting confidence in identifying skills, in helping to articulate and evidence their skills and helping them to reflect on their experiences and identifying learning from their experience. Within the session the common problem of ‘how do we engage the students that are not engaging?’ arose, particularly as the engaged students cited many benefits. Learning from this year, Rea is making the use of e-portfolios compulsory for first year students within HRM and discussion centred on what more can be done to encourage students to engage with e-portfolios throughout their studies. No definite answers as yet but we look forward to hearing more as the project progresses.

Deeba Parmar
Senior Researcher
Centre for Learning and Teaching Enhancement

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