2012 iPhone feedback to develop student employability in sandwich engineering degrees

Anne Nortcliffe

Work based and placement learning opportunities have been recognised as a critical importance for future graduate employment, as a third of graduate posts are filled with students who have already worked for the organization, Highfliers (2011).    Placements have been a feature of the curriculum design for engineering courses for a number of Higher Education institutions since the 1960s, (Osbourne-Moss, 1968;Silver, 2007) .   However, the number of students undertaking placements are declining, Wilson (2012).  Equally modern recruitment processes require students to provide evidence of key competencies, though students do successfully develop these key competencies whilst on placement, Hall et al (2009), however in our experience at Sheffield Hallam University in the placement team; large employers are increasingly using techniques similar or the same as their graduate recruitment processes to filter the applications.    The employers require the engineering students to demonstrate in their placement applications a level of competency in key technical and employability skills.  Therefore any student employability development and feedback in engineering courses needs to provide appropriate support that continues to empower students to self identify, reflect, and articulate their relevant technical and employability skills for placement and graduate roles.   Is audio feedback via iPhone the solution to the problem and if yes, how effective is such approach?   What is the longitudinal effect of the feedback?  Do students continue to use the feedback in their final year?  This paper will present an example of an embedding iPhone feedback into computing and engineering courses and will provide critical analysis of the evidence from the qualitative and quantitive studies of the student reflections as to their perceptions of the impact of the audio feedback upon their employability and whether it has had a positive contributing factor in assisting them to secure a placement/graduate opportunity.

B8 – (FU09, EN25) 11.50