The opportunity to work with the Digitally Ready team

The Existing and Emerging Biotechnologies (EEB) Framework and our work in Creating a Global Agenda in the Biosciences and the Internationalisation Change Programme (ICP) , have recently enabled us to work with the Digitally Ready team.

Via the small project funding call, advertised in November by the DR team, we have been successful in securing three small funds to further the development of on-line tools, information and workshops leading to more globally focused graduates – helping to provide them with the right skills, outlook and confidence to compete and work globally in their chosen science. Katerina Lazidou (a 2nd year PhD student), will be working with us on this project and will help lead and develop student-led activities and forums. Sam Holton, our summer 2012 UROP student, will continue his works on the blended learning framework.

So far, we have focused on several areas of the student experience, namely: Teaching Methods, Learning Styles, Assessment Methods, Academic Support (including tutorial teaching), Technical Support and Career Management. The work to date during this project, particularly student-led, has illustrated some key factors contributing to the enhancement of the student experience and especially toward improving the ‘Global Employability’ of our students.

We wish to further improve our understanding of students’ and employers’ perception of employability skills through further focus group discussions and case studies with our students who have undertaken placement, as well as, students registered to be in placement for the next academic year.

With Katerina now in the team, we are aiming to run focus groups with students and employers, and to develop relevant case studies with (students and) employers from the UK and global organisations. This will be organised for next term. In preparation, we have collated a list and contacted those students and employers who are willing to participate in the study. Katerina will follow up these initial contacts and, organise and lead the focus groups. Katerina will also be responsible for selecting and developing the case studies, with support us. Katerina will have the opportunity to be trained to use video and audio recording packages and will provide assistance while doing video recording and editing.

We anticipate that the focus group discussions and interviews will shed light on the most critical skills that students require and develop during work experience that contribute to or directly lead to improving their chances for employability in a subject-specific related field. Likewise, we expect that through direct interaction with employers this will reveal the expectations of industry (in terms of work ethic and bioscience skills training) and aid us in further developing career-relevant teaching and resources for our students to enhance their global employability.

For more information, visit the project blog at http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/bioscience-skills/ or contact Dr Kimberly Watson or Dr Teeroumanee Nadan.

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