Co-creative design with industry: The future of higher education?
Samantha Burvill, Jenny Cave, Louisa Huxtable Thomas and Barrie Davies
There is a growing recognition of the need to better prepare students for the workplace (CEDEFOP, 2014). Research by various sources suggest that of the businesses researched many complain that graduates are not equipped for the workplace (ABS, 2013; CEDEFOP, 2014; Manpower Group, 2013), suggesting that there is a void between knowledge learnt and its appropriate application. Add to this the increased expectations of the modern student population and the result is a complex and fast moving higher education system, which is not keeping pace with the needs of multiple business sectors. Research by the association of business schools (ABS, 2013) highlights the need to integrate practice into teaching and to bring experienced practitioners into the tertiary learning process. In order to keep pace with workplace changes, and echoing the need, universities need to look to the future, to prepare students for the changes to come and to be more daring and innovative in their pedagogic approaches.
This research aims to address some of these issues by creating an experimental, co-creative module aligned with the needs of an industry partner and tertiary pedagogy. The module was innovative in its design, delivery and approach compared with traditional undergraduate modules. The pedagogoic innovation was used in a second year undergraduate Business Management course in a module entitled Change Management. This research builds upon that which was presented at SALT 2018 which reported on a pedagogic model where an industry partner (Fujitsu) was involved in providing lecture-specific case studies for the module in order to demonstrate contemporary realities in this industry. However, the research presented here goes well beyond this, in that the industry partner co-creatively re-designed the module entirely in conjunction with teaching staff. In depth discussions took place to re-deisgn the module in a way that was theoretical, with academic rigor, but which was also highly practical and reflected change management in the real world. Along with this the industry partner or a guest speaker was involved in the delivery of each lecture in conjunction with teaching staff. The organisation also paid for a social event for the students, were involved in assessment design and oversaw marking and organised a competition for the students for the end of the module. The competition winners travelled to Fujitsu’s Development HQ in Bracknell and to the UK HQ in London where they met and discussed change management with individual members of the Executive Leadership team over a two-day period.
The purpose of this paper is to present the conceptual rationale and process that was used during this re-design and module delivery. It also outlines the research design and methodology used to measure the impact of the module. It also reports on the impact that this pedagogic intervention had on student satisfaction and engagement. Results are preliminary at the moment but further, more in-depth research is planned for the first semester of the 2019-20 academic year. Feedback was gained through the use of end of module feedback and through personal reflection by teaching staff.
The session speakers wish to deliver a power point presentation as an opportunity to begin multi-disciplinary debate regarding industry involvement in module design and delivery. The session will be structured in a way that presents the existing literature on co-design and delivery of modules with industry, which will then lead into the knowledge gap that this research and intervention is addressing. The methodology and process followed throughout the pedagogic innovation will be highlighted along with quantitative and qualitative feedback from students and staff regarding the initiative. Plans for further research will then be discussed. However presentation slides will be kept to a minimal and instead we will aim to highlight the process to attendees through an “over to you” section. This will involve the presenters presenting a number of subject areas that the audience will be split into groups to discuss. The aim will be for the groups to co-create potential teaching themes around these topics. The aim will be to highlight to attendees that collaboration with people outside of their immediate department can be beneficial and insightful.
The aim will be to gain constructive feedback from the audience and to inspire others to follow suit. This is an intervention that could be used on any module in any discipline and as such should be of interest to many SALT attendees. It is hoped that the presentation of this process will encourage and inspire other SALT members to take a critical look at their own modules and consider if they are fit for the future of teaching and learning. To our knowledge this is the only module in the University, certainly the school of management, that has been completely re-designed and delivered in conjunction with industry. Therefore this session should be of interest to any SALT member wishing to increase the employability skills of students, increase the innovativeness and topicality of their teaching and who are interested in business engagement.
There is a need for teaching staff to reflect on their modules in terms of content, assessment and delivery in order to ensure that teaching is fit for the future.
• Involving business in the co-design of modules can lead to increased engagement and motivation amongst students
• This approach to teaching brings all three missions of a university into the student experience; Teaching and learning, research and engagement
• Multiple benefits can be gained from engaging business in teaching with long term relationships established
Co-creative design, Industry engagement, Employability