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I HAVE LEARNED a lot while watching young students learning real world skills. While many of my students want to develop skills they need in the workplace, some of these students are not challenged to develop samples of work they can showcase during job interviews.
I think graduates need to be able to point to work they have completed as students. That could be products or services developed during structured work experience, references from supervisors, or eportfolio pieces. As a third level lecturer at the Limerick Institute of Technology, I am trying to ensure everyone passing through any of my academic modules takes away a useful playbook or a collection of business intelligence curated in a Classroom OneNote (see screenshot below).
Over at the Dublin Business School, Lidl has helped design a business management programme, putting a heavy emphasis on practical skills.
I can see first hand how technology keeps moving up the bar. In mid-2016, Office 365 arrived on desktops at my work, making Web apps readily available to students and staff. While it might take up to five years for some colleges or universities to adapt syllabi to these new services, I have the opportunity to adapt my teaching practise to meet an indicative outline. So instead of being locked into using just the desktop versions of Microsoft Office, I have modified lab sessions to ensure students create and edit in Office Online as well.
New tools like Office Sway, PowerBI, and Delve have increased students' awareness of how they might make and share content they originally produce in an academic environment. These tools foster creative communications and design thinking. And they can be used to showcase student work in ways that suggest prospective employees have the sort of real-world awareness needed to appear competitive on a CV.