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WIL in Science: Development of a generic unit for BSc students


Acuna, T and Powell, S and Seen, A and Herbert, N and Haley, S and Kingsley, R, WIL in Science: Development of a generic unit for BSc students, Transforming Practice through Innovation and Partnerships, 7 December 2016, Launceston, Tasmania (2016) [Conference Extract]

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Uptake of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is far less in Science than other STEM disciplines at the University of Tasmania, many of which have a requirement for WIL for professional accreditation, including ICT, Engineering, surveying and agriculture. This disparity is consistent with national trends (Edwards et al., 2015). Despite these pockets of activity in specific disciplines, we currently lack a generic WIL program suited to broad implementation across the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology.

This is one of six ‘Lighthouse Projects’ co-funded by the Australian Council of Deans of Science, in the subtheme of ‘Setting up Faculty WIL programs.’ Here we report on a student survey and focus group discussions with academics from 10 majors (disciplines) in the BSc (HREC H0015699). Questions aimed to elucidate the participants understanding of WIL and gather qualitative feedback on the planned unit.

Preliminary analysis of the data shows that staff differed in the breadth of activities they classify as WIL independent of disciplinary area. Types of WIL currently offered in the BSc varied from limited to none in Mathematics and Physics, to use of authentic experiences in practical units in disciplines such as GIS and Spatial Science or research projects in Chemistry, Plant Science and Zoology, typically in third year. Several academics stated that students in their disciplines undertook voluntary or summer vacation work that may meet the professional work requirements of the proposed unit. Consistent with this, 46% of BSc students who responded to the survey (n = 76) preferred to undertake such a unit in the summer semester. Collated information was used to inform the development of learning outcomes, support, delivery and assessment of a generic WIL elective unit for the natural and physical sciences at the University of Tasmania. We will shortly interview selected employers for their perspective on the new unit.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:WIL, Science, work experience
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum
UTAS Author:Acuna, T (Associate Professor Tina Acuna)
UTAS Author:Powell, S (Dr Shane Powell)
UTAS Author:Seen, A (Associate Professor Andrew Seen)
UTAS Author:Herbert, N (Dr Nicole Herbert)
UTAS Author:Haley, S (Mrs Susie Haley)
UTAS Author:Kingsley, R (Mr Robert Kingsley)
ID Code:118272
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Agriculture and Food Systems
Deposited On:2017-07-08
Last Modified:2017-07-12

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