Matt Edwards and Natalie Rowles from Careers Network discuss Micro-Employability Courses.
Background of Micro-Employability Courses
Using funding from the University’s Education Enhancement Fund, we worked with our academic and employer partners to develop a suite of five online courses in canvas on employability-related topics to be embedded in modules. The courses were built in collaboration with a learning technologist to ensure they incorporated best practice in the pedagogy of digital education.
Consultation with schools ensured that the MECs were both relevant to the professional development needs of our students and enabled us to identify which topics would best complement the University’s curricula. This meant that we could be confident that the courses met the needs of, and were attractive to, academic colleagues wishing to include employability-focused activities within their teaching, and the courses have been used in all five colleges, and at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Summary of the courses
Key features and benefits
Creating a professional profile
- All students need a modern professional profile, and LinkedIn is increasingly being used as a recruitment tool
- Many modules include the requirement to produce a CV or LinkedIn profile, and demonstrates how to create a high-quality CV or LinkedIn profile
Employability in and beyond your degree
- Although a degree is a pre-requisite to access the graduate labour market many students struggle to recognise the ‘transferable skills’ developed through their degrees
- This course provides tools for recognising the ‘transferable skills’ developed within degrees, and presenting the skills developed positively to employers
- The course asks students to reflect on the things that they have done during their degrees, and so may be most beneficial for students from semester 2 of first-year undergraduate programmes onwards
Managing group dynamics
- All students engage in group work at some point in university, many will be required to do so within modules, and teamwork is one of the top skills sought by employers
- This course helps students develop self-awareness about how they work within teams and provides tools for managing challenging group dynamics
Responding to feedback
- Recognising feedback and responding to it in a positive and constructive way is challenge at university and after graduation
- This course provides tools for engaging effectively with feedback in three contexts: (1) in assignments, (2) in recruitment processes, and (3) at work
- This course asks students to reflect on feedback that they have received at university, and so if being used in first-year undergraduate programmes, may be most beneficial to students after they have received feedback on their work
Speculative approaches for placements
- In many employment sectors students are likely to need to create their own bespoke placement, i.e., to make a ‘speculative approach’, which can be confusing and hard to do if you have never made a speculative approach before
- This course demonstrates the key steps in making a speculative approach from identifying relevant potential placement providers to approaching them to request a placement
How much input is needed from module tutors?
The courses are asynchronous, and are designed to be discrete and autonomous, so that they can be embedded within modules without the module tutor needing to do any additional teaching on the topics covered in them. Each course has at least one activity linked to the gradebook (usually a short multiple-choice quiz), which means that module tutors can check which of their students have completed the course if they want or need to, for example if the course is used as a compulsory element of a module. The courses are designed so that tutors can provide additional context or wraparound materials if they want to.
As the courses are delivered asynchronously, each student will be responsible for the extent to which they engage with the materials. Each course is comprised of written, video and interactive content including quizzes, it is still possible for a student to skip quickly through the material without engaging with it in detail. We therefore recommend that tutors explain why the course they are embedding is important.
As these are ‘off the shelf’ courses intended to be used in different colleges and levels of study, it may also be helpful for tutors to explain that some of the examples used may at points may be indirectly rather than directly related to their degree programme. We have, however, tried to make the content accessible to as many students as possible, and use examples relevant to a broad range of programmes throughout.
If you would like to discuss how Micro-Employability Courses could be embedded into your programme, and view a demo of the courses please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.