Notes from WACE, Philadelphia
Roundtable Discussion on Co-operative and Work-Integrated Education Research (Waller, Lumsden, Drysdale...Waterloo)
A consortium of researchers came together in Victoria, in 2009 (WACE). They met yesterday and now invite others to join in the pursuit of research into Co-op. From that meeting there were four basic outcomes, with interests in Theoretical Frameworks, Economic Development, Boundary Spanning, etc.
From WACE 2009, there were categorizations of research areas (smallest to largest, from 101 to 206 presentations): student assessment, student practice, employer assessment and practice, and institution practice. Today, we followed moderators for the different areas, to discuss each of these areas. To be considered, what needs to be researched, how should it be carried out, who should do the research, and what are the implications of the research? The notion on the floor is that by identifying the areas of interest, further groupings of researchers who are interested in each of these matters will come together to pursue the questions and research.
At the Employer Research Roundtable, some of the following questions and observations were made (from New Zealand to South Africa to Cincinnati)...
>> What is the educational obligation of the employer, in support of WIL (work-integrated learning)? Do we need to do more to assist?
>> What is it that employers are looking for in a graduating student, that could be developed in the student (or the program), relative to their employability?
>> What influence does "professional accreditation" play in employer's decision to participate in
WIL. Do they view this as giving back or paying forward?
>> Can we characterize the last 20% of students (to be employed, each semester), who represent 80% of the effort by the Co-op Dept.?
>> There was some discussion around soft skills, the willingness and ability to learn, and something called "learning agility" (Lominger) and the resultant desireability of a student in a hiring proccess.
>> What influence are employers bringing to curriculum change and reform? And what role did Co-op have in this change?
From some of the other roundtables, there were many, many different research ideas, questions, and proposals brought forward. The practice of assessment is widely important across various activities of concern from the points of view of the practitioner, the faculty, and the employer/supervisor.