Student and staff perceptions of fieldwork experiences: Assessing authentic learning

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education Vol. 35

July, 2012, 373 pages
Published by
N. Brown, S.M. Jones, & A. Adam
ISBN
0 908557 89 2
Abstract 

As the higher education sector transitions into a standards based, regulatory environment, educational institutions will be required to provide evidence of the employability capabilities acquired by students during the course of their degree studies. Work-integrated learning (WIL) is promoted as a valuable mechanism for embedding and assessing employability skills and thereby enhancing work readiness of graduates. Work placements, also known as fieldwork are a component of WIL that is a common feature in professional qualifications. Disciplines that have not traditionally offered WIL experiences are exploring opportunities to nurture industry relationships and provide authentic learning experiences to expose students to the world of work. The resource implications of managing, monitoring and assessing work based student activities are immense. Challenges associated with quality, equity and consistency remain unresolved. This study focussed on a range of units covering diverse disciplines which incorporated fieldwork experience. The investigation involved discussions with unit coordinators; and the collection and analysis of student feedback. The assessment patterns for the fieldwork units were collated enabling comparison of student and staff perceptions.

Keywords: Fieldwork, Work-integrated learning, Assessment. 

Student and staff perceptions of fieldwork experiences: Assessing authentic learning

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Ferns, Sonia & Pegden, Julie-Ann