Preparing History Graduates for a Globalised Employment Market

Anne GILMORE
The University of Queensland, Australia
a.gilmore@uq.edu.au

Peter SPEARRITT
The University of Queensland, Australia
p.spearritt@uq.edu.au

Abstract

This showcase examines the development of a third year course at the University of Queensland over a period of five years. The predominant ambition was to improve the work readiness of students. In the first three years students were allowed to choose their topic, but were required to identify a real or potential external client, to define their audience, and produce a piece of work relevant to that audience. In the past two years it has become a compulsory capstone course for third year students finishing a history major, so the students come from a wide variety of interests in history, from classical to contemporary times.

As a compulsory course, students still work on an individual project, however the topic and product of the project is determined by a cultural or educational institution, requiring them to spend some time in a workplace setting. The course has proved challenging for both the students and the staff members. Most of the students have previously only experienced assessments that follow an examination and set essay routine, they have rarely chosen their own topics, let alone identified and written for an audience. The change to a more work-integrated learning experience saw less positive student course evaluations. Clearly there is a need to reconsider how history students are prepared for work-integrated learning to reduce the anxiety this unfamiliar learning experience appears to create. This showcase, based on students written feedback and evaluations, will present a preliminary investigation into the reasons for this and the proposed changes to be introduced.

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