Curriculum embedded, Non-placement Work-Integrated Learning: Placements, Internships, Service Learning, Career Development Learning & Industry Engagement
Work-Integrated Learning can mean many things to different people. At times, it is viewed as a term for a range of approaches and strategies that integrate theory with the practice of work within a purposefully designed curriculum (Patrick, Peach, & Pocknee, 2011). Whereas, non-placement WIL can be understood as industry-based project/s that utilise reflective practice assessment task/s as a crucial means for preparing students to become job ready (Hains-Wesson & Campbell, 2014).
Throughout her time, preparing non-placement WIL curriculum embedded projects, Rachael has noticed that students desire projects that are linked/mirrored to 'real' work experiences so that they can practice what it would be like to be a professional in their chosen career path, and while taking risks, sharing ideas and exploring creative opportunities that include the positive nature of making mistakes and learning from them. Without these kinds of "real" and "authentic" learning experiences (and prior to graduating) Australia's graduate workforce will continue to suffer from a systemic fear of failure that will continue to stifle the growth of innovative, new and creative idea making.
In 2015, Rachael completed a keynote presentation for the University of Tasmania on non-placement WIL, research and practice. The event was part of the University's strategy to promote and establish a Community of Practice for WIL at a University-wide level. She conducted the keynote presentation over two days at the Launceston and Hobart campuses. As a result, a variety of interesting and wide conversations occurred about curriculum embedded, non-placement WIL for sustainability, inclusiveness and providing WIL opportunity and equity for all students. One of the main outcomes of the keynote presentation was that the non-placement WIL matrix (that she highlighted in the presentation) was integrated as part of the University of Tasmania's Learning and Teaching Strategy.
In 2016, she completed another keynote presentation for the Federation University on the idea of the future of creative collaboration in higher education: A theory of practice for blended learning. The event was part of the University's annual eLearning showcase (#6) event. It was a wonderful event, in that Rachael was able to present on how she viewed the future for blended learning in terms of working collaboratively with others across disciplines, different expertise areas and diverse levels of knowledge. Rachael is currently completing her second PhD on this very subject with Deakin University.
In 2015, Rachael became the Convenor for the Swinburne Advantage at Swinburne University of Technology. It was Rachael's responsibility to design, plan and evaluate the new WIL framework, which allows all Swinburne students to take part in WIL professional placements, work experience, internships, projects, extra-curriculum and/or industry study tour programs as part of their undergraduate degree. For example, the Industry Study Tours was part of the Swinburne Advantage. Rachael organised a Wordpress Blog for students and teachers to write about their learning for pre-, during, and post the in-country learning experience. An evaluation research project was also undertaken with the findings published here.
In 2016, Rachael became the Convenor for the Professional Masters Career Management Unit at Swinburne University of Technology. It was Rachael's responsibility to design, plan and evaluate the unit offering as a non-placement, WIL unit for post-graduate students (international post-graduate students). Rachael organised a Wordpress Blogfor students who were undertaking this experiential learning unit. It was titled Theatre of the Board. An evaluation research project is also currently underway.
More on WIL
The following PREZIES showcase a variety of presentations that Rachael has completed over the years (and with colleagues) on how to design effective non-placement WIL that is scaffolded (horizontally and vertically) across the year levels.