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Curriculum design and graduate attributes

Practice Orientation

An integrated exposure to professional practice through dynamic and multifaceted modes of practice-oriented education

UTS has a longstanding reputation for professional education. Our vision and purpose make it critical that we maintain dynamic, creative and informed ways of engaging students with practice. Practice-oriented education means more than just preparing students for current employability. Graduates will be employed in a world where professional knowledge, practices and contexts will change dramatically over time, so we need to prepare them to be lifelong learners in an 'unknown future' (Bowden and Marton, 1998).

An integrated exposure to professional practice means providing students with opportunities to develop professional dispositions, ways of thinking and practicing in their discipline areas (McCune & Hounsell, 2005), and understandings of different workplace contexts, cultures and expectations. A curriculum-wide approach to practice-oriented education implies that students have opportunities to engage in a diversity of practice-related experiences. The following indicates a rough continuum of practice experiences, from more to less student immersion in practice:

  • recognition of work-based learning, where university learning offers recognition and intellectual extension of learning in practice;
  • internships and practicums;
  • field trips and visits, real and virtual;
  • simulations and role plays: high to low fidelity, face-to-face or online;
  • problem-based, issues-based or practice case-based approaches to learning in subjects;
  • student use of cutting-edge technologies in practice-based scenarios;
  • student-created media resources that illustrate aspects of practice, including podcasts and vodcasts (higher immersion for the creators, lower for other users);
  • guest lectures, vodcasts or podcasts from professional practitioners

For students to have an integrated experience of practice, they need to connect understandings that they develop in practice situations with theories and understandings about practice that might be developed in a range of ways in their university courses (Dall'Alba and Sandberg, 2006). Students need explicit opportunities to engage in all parts of the experiential learning cycle: planning and preparing for practice experiences; engaging in practice; reflecting, interpreting and making connections during and after practice. These opportunities need to be made in the curriculum and supported by student engagement with others in both university and practice environments. Learning technologies, including blogs and e-portfolios, can be used to support students’ reflection, with online discussions and web 2.0 technologies used to support students in sharing and comparing experiences with others. Students in Nursing and Midwifery courses engage in scenario-based simulations to develop their clinical judgement and skills. High-fidelity simulations use advanced simulated patients, with students’ activities recorded and replayed for debriefing and reflection. Engineering students can do an internship in the simulation lab, acting as technicians and undertaking project work. In other types of simulation, Midwifery students have used personal digital assistants to access information quickly and develop skills that can be used in practice, particularly in remote locations.

Examples

Students in first year IT interview a professional and make a podcast as part of their course, gaining insights into possible career options.

Students in Engineering can do experiments from home on current industry equipment through virtual laboratories. The virtual labs allow undergraduate students to work with equipment and conduct experiments that would not be feasible in normal lab settings and gain futher opportunities to test out ideas in experiments they have done in real laboratories

Teacher education students design and offer a learning program in an informal setting. Sites chosen by the students include museums, natural environments, sports or arts settings or libraries. Students are supported by a learning mentor at the site and a UTS supervisor. The program is underpinned by the lecturer’s research on the pedagogy of informal learning and is integrated with other subjects in the students’ course.

In first year journalism subject students  use blogs to develop an understanding of the main forms of reporting. Students rotate through print; radio, television; and online to demonstrate their skills using the form of reporting. Read more...

In nursing students use high fidelity patient simulation equipment to learn how to respond to acute clinical patient emergencies. Read more...

Clinical Accreditation Programs by area health services are providing advanced standing for one post graduate subject in the Graduate Certificate in Children’s Nursing. Read more...

In nursing students working as a team to experience the less common patient events and acute or emergency management strategies which may not be encountered during clinical practicum.  Read more...

In Mechatronics students work in a project team to prototype microprocessor-based products to meet a specification. Read more...

The Work Ready Project has designed and implemented a series of high quality work ready modules to better prepare final year students for professional literacies required in the contemporary workplace.  Read more...

B.Bus. develop the Excel skills they need to explain statistical results once they have graduated. Read more...

First year architecture students worked in teams to design, document and physically construct a simple pavilion from a limited range of affordable and recyclable materials. Read more...

Students use a situated learning environment to enhance understanding of key midwifery practice concepts. Read more...

Students in IT Professional and Society explore the ethical and practical challenges of working in the IT industry. Read more...

Students in nursing develop a more self-conscious professional disposition towards practice by learning to take responsibility for one's learning and practice, capability for independent thought, and ability to work co-operatively in teams. Read more...

A first year ‘service’ subjects in science brings together senior students, tutors (demonstrators) and staff from different departments in order to transform learning in the laboratory for students drawn from the bio/medical/environmental sciences. Read more...

Students in the Bachelor of Midwifery uses video clips modelling effective clinical and interpersonal skills with childbearing women, midwives and practice leaders. Read more...

The subject Architectural Practice has been formed to examine the changing nature of the architectural profession dealing with issues such as the Architects Act, registration, professionalism, and business structure as a background to the management and organisation of architectural practice. Read more...

Students in nursing use of new technologies for learning to bring to life, as near as possible, the experience of voice-hearing into the classroom. Read more...

The Bachelor of Business has embedded professional learning into the business curriculum. Read more...