Students, universities and employers all the want the same thing: capable work-force ready graduates. But despite alignment on the outcomes, the process of preparing students for the workforce is still far from clear-cut.
Think for a moment about the student experience. For all the research and emphasis on student engagement, university teaching and learning has not changed much. Teachers design and carry out curriculum, students do their best to learn it, and employers hope that at the end theyвЂ™ll have an exceptional and well-trained hire. WhatвЂ™s missing?
Collaboration between students, industry and universities is desperately needed. Universities can achieve this through design-focused thinking, such as co-creation. Why place the burden of designing a great business or history course solely on the teacher? Students and industry experts have different perspectives and ideas, and tapping into their resources such as knowledge and time, courses can better serve everyone.
At the University of MelbourneвЂ™s Centre for the Study of Higher Education (MCSHE) co-creation and design thinking are front and center for innovative higher education solutions, offering a wide array of benefits including:
Not all academics are rooting for co-creation to take hold, but itвЂ™s unlikely to slow down anytime soon. Within industry, users already have new pathways to collaborate with businesses and improve services and practices. ThatвЂ™s why itвЂ™s key for higher education institutions to recognise the changing tide and rather than block, facilitate co-creation.
The most important step is changing traditional mindsets. Experts and leaders in higher education should encourage all staff to re-think their daily habits and practices to allow for more dynamic change and improvement. This likely requires professional development programs that explain and give best practice examples.
But also universities need to create more pathways and structures to help students and industry get involved. Everything from online portals, apps, forums, and workshops should be explored. Meaningful participation needs a strong foundation and a deep commitment.
As students and industry both continue to call for more practical and innovative outcomes within higher education, processes like co-creation will grow. The way forward is to understand how to facilitate and expand co-creation practices for optimal outcomes for student, universities, and employers.
Driving collaboration across business, industry and tertiary education.
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