Thursday, 1 July 2010

Report on Kristian Sund's workshop

Attendance, Employability and Learning Technologies: Are we getting it right?
Kristian Sund

Kristian Sund, Middlesex University

Kristian, Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management in the Business School, had carried out a survey among final year undergraduate students and presented the findings as a starting point for discussion in this workshop. Low student attendance was evident to Kristian and with this study he wanted to explore some of the reasons students may have for this, and how the use of learning technologies may contribute to high or low class attendance levels.

Are our graduates ready for employment – or not? Based on to Kristian’s study, corporations expect graduates to have the soft skills, e.g. communication, interpersonal skills, team working skill etc. required for work when they start their job. So how will students further develop these important life skills during their time at university with low or even no attendance? If the attitude with some students is that there is no need to attend a class when you can down load all the materials then are we therefore making it too easy for our students to avoid attending?

What can academics, many of whom are ‘Digital Immigrants’ do in supporting these ‘Digitally Native’ students when using learning technologies and at the same time encouraging attendance? This workshop echoed some of Steve Wheeler’s keynote discussion, in particular, the development of a facilitator role for lectures where the boundaries of expert and novice are blurring?

Findings of this interesting study could not offer definite conclusions or solutions but it raised many important questions for all those working in HE. It also highlighted the worrying trend of low student engagement in their studies - and created some passionate viewpoints and discussion in the workshop.

Thank you Kristian – carry on the good work with your students!

Pirkko Harvey
National Centre for Project Management
Middlesex University

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