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Work integrated learning in the science curriculum

D.H. Hryciw, School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia, and Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC 8001, Australia.

Graduate employability is an important outcome for students enrolled in university degree programs, with higher education focused on the development of job ready graduates. A challenge in generalist degrees like the Bachelor of Science (BSc) is that the degree program is not focused on qualifying graduates for a specific profession, and the curricula often feature limited transferable and employment focused skills. Work-integrated-learning (WIL) within BSc curriculums varies across different universities. However the main aim is to develop graduates’ employability skills, identified by industry, and supported by authentic assessment tasks. Examples of WIL in BSc curricula is typically recognised via placements, projects, field experience, work simulations, entrepreneurship and reflections on current work practices. Further, most assessment in WIL courses incorporates an early proposal where students identify and outline the tasks to be undertaken, reflection during the industry focused activity and a final written reflection that is often supported by an oral presentation. Development of assessment should ensure that authentic, industry relevant tasks are incorporated into any WIL subject. In addition, students should be supported prior to, during and following their WIL activity, with post-activity discussions demonstrating the clear alignment between their scholarship and future career activities.