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Outduction: Enhancing the final year experience



Outduction: Enhancing the final year experience
6 September 2011
Kew Gardens, Cambridge Cottage


As this three-year project reached its conclusion, we presented our findings and shared our experiences with the wider higher education community.

We welcomed Nicolette Lee, Academic Director, Swinburne University of Technology and Prof Geoff Layer, outgoing Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Bradford and income Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton as our keynote speakers. Delegates had opportunity to participate in workshops that explored six key themes that have emerged from the project:


Indicated links go to files in Adobe pdf format for which you may need to download Acrobat Reader.

9.00 am Coffee/Registration
9.30 am Conference opens and welcome from Prof Julius Weinberg, VC Kingston University
9.45 am The Outduction Project (pdf) - Marion Webb & Peter Hughes
10.00 am Keynote:
The Swinburne professional learning model: Undergraduate experience as preparation for graduate life (pdf),
Associate Professor Nicolette Lee, Academic Director, Swinburne University of Technology, Melborne
10.30 am Refreshments
11.00 am Parallel Workshops:

The role of the student intern (pdf)
Marion Webb, Head of Learning and Teaching Development, Kingston University
A key aspect of the design of the Outduction project was the creation of opportunities for student ‘interns’ to participate within the project. In this session we explain the role of the interns and present the interns' ideas about the role as expressed in interviews and in their reflective journals. This leads to a broader consideration of student engagement in curriculum and educational development and research. Participants will explore issues around:

  • the development of real work skills in a university context;
  • ways in which students can be encouraged to articular this development.

PDP and Learner Autonomy (pdf)
Peter Hughes, Head of Centre for Educational Development, University of Bradford
The final year should be the point at which students begin to exercise and realise their autonomy as learners more fully. To achieve this requires a curriculum that both develops their capacity for autonomy, and the space to make significant learning choices. Personal development planning (PDP) is one practice that has emerged to help facilitate learner autonomy where, for example, learners can develop greater sense of authoring their selves.
This workshop will consider strategies and practices for making the most of the final year in the context of development of personal, rational and relational autonomy, and will focus on the role of PDP within that. Participants will be able to draw experiences and examples from their own institutional practices into the discussion.

Transitions (pdf)
Ruth Whitfield, Outduction Project Officer, University of Bradford,
Roz Halliwell, Lecturer, School of Engineering, Design & Technology, University of Bradford -
Mini Projects: Analysis of stage 3 cohort performance, Transition to postgraduate studies, Direct entry experience.
We have conceptualised Outduction as the transition of learners beyond an undergraduate honours degree. That transition may be to further study, to employment, to entrepreneurship, to life. Our particular focus has been on the final year experience as a platform to aid this transition, but making the most of a final year requires a consideration of educational environments earlier in degree programmes, so discussion of the final year experience needs to be connected with broader work on transition and the student life cycle. We will also consider the experience of direct entry students who are distinctive in their final year being their only year of an honours degree.

12.00 noon Kew Explorer
1.00 pm Lunch
1.45 pm Keynote:
Outduction: from Sandown to Kew (pdf)
Prof Geoff Layer, outgoing Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Bradford and incoming Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton
2.15 pm Parallel Workshops:

Employability (pdf)
Deborah Anderson, Principal Lecturer, Faculty of business and Law, Kingston University
Joanna Bailey, Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator, Faculty of Art Design and Architecture, Kingston University
Tonia Galati, Employability Co-ordinator for the Faculty of business and Law, Kingston University

During this session, presenters will outline two specific projects which support the transition between University and the next stage of a student's life.
Network: Bridging the Gap
In the Faculty of Business & Law the "Network: Bridging the Gap" programme has been set up in collaboration with BT. This is a pilot mentoring scheme designed to help the transition of final year students from university life into employment. Each of the 32 mentees taking part have been allocated a mentor who is employed in a graduate role in the industry within which they are interested, and the mentees will be supported through the various stages of the graduate recruitment process until March 2012. the pilot is another method that has been implemented to help increase student employability, with a view that if successful will be rolled out in other areas of the Faculty.
In the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture the Kingston Futures website was set up to support students in understanding more about the career and employment choices available to them as they complete their course. the website aims to make explicit the ways in which students can move into their chosen career or discipline area and into employment. It does this in part through 'story telling' and short filmed interviews with alumni. It highlights the importance of networks and networking and also includes useful links and resources.
Workshop discussions
Following the presentations, delegates will be invited to contribute to discussions on three issues, with a specific focus on maintaining momentum of initiatives:

  • How else could we support students in the transition from final year to the next stage?
  • Were does the responsibility for transition lie? With academic staff, careers staff, alumni, central student services/student support, students themselves, employers/industry, somewhere else?
  • How can we development strong connections with practice and industry to support transition?

Final year projects/dissertations/shows (pdf)
Ruth Whitfield, Outduction Project Officer, University of Bradford,
Prashant Pillai & Roz Halliwell, Lecturers, School of Engineering, Design & Technology, University of Bradford -
Mini project: Final year project experience.
Ray Sheriff, professor of Electronic Engineering, School of Engineering, Design &Technology, University of Bradford
- Presentation: An investigation in to the use of e-portfolio tools to enhance the final year engineering project experience (pdf) and Poster (pdf).
One of the defining academic aspects of the final year experience is the major project, dissertation or show. Conceptions of the final year project are shifting. This includes a greater emphasis and appreciation of the process of engaging in such a major piece of work, and the exploration of alternative ways of communicating outcomes, beyond a written thesis, for example in showcase events. This session explores several examples of approaches to managing the final year project learning experience, and to showcasing student achievement.

The Resilient Graduate (pdf)
Peter Hughes, Head of Centre for Educational Development, University of Bradford
The Outduction project has been conducted at a time of global recession, during which there has been increased pessimism about graduate futures. At the same time, there is increased sector interest in embedding education of sustainable development, global citizenship, diversity and professional ethics within the curriculum.
Future gradutes will need to be resilient to changing economic, social, political and environmental factors. Resilient graduates will potentially be the graduates to steer the world through a period of transition. What will the attributes of a resilient graduate be? How can we best develop final year experiences to develop these?

3.15 pm Postcards from Kew
Delegates send a postcard to their VC about Outduction.
3.45 pm Tea and depart


Cambridge Cottage, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens provided a wonderful setting for the conference; the following pdf documents provided details of how to get there:

More details from the Kew web site:


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