Over the past year, I’ve been involved with the biggest research project I’ve participating in since completing my PhD.
I say “involved”, as this for research I’ve been in charge of a small team of two Research Associates looking into the issues surround Sandwich Year Placements within the Computing discipline. This has been a 15 month study funded by the Higher Education Academy Teaching Development Grant scheme.
We’re now approaching the time when the research results can be officially released for the first time. Again, I say “officially” as we’ve factored in several types of dissemination into this project to ensure that as many people are as aware of the findings as possible. And, we’ve delivered talks presenting some of the results from the early parts of the research.
We will shortly be holding workshop at BCU presenting the results (you can view details of the workshop here and you can also access a News item provided by Birmingham City University here). The research will also be available in the form of a Final Report and several papers have already been produced relating to this.
The Computing Discipline is starting to care about Sandwich Year Placements.
These are valuable for students as they provide a year of work experience, they mean exposure to a real company working on real-life problems and they allow students to develop the type of skills that would be impossible within the classroom.
There are outstanding problems.
Not every student wants to take a placement, even when they know about the benefits. And, there are not always enough suitable placement positions available for students.
These are all issues that the Computing sector needs to address.
As part of the research sector, we’ve identified several solutions and pockets of good practice into placements and employability that are being used across the country. We’ve also been able to quantify how well we are doing as an academic discipline. All those results will be discussed at the workshop.
The main take home idea is that we can do more to get students into placements. That way, they get to take advantage of all the many benefits and they become a more employable student by the end of what would now be a full four year degree.