A very good beginning…
Six Swinburne undergraduate students have departed for the IST-Malaysia (+ internship) just a few days ago. We were able to organise a networking dinner on their first night in KL with Swinburne Alumni members. It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to mingle with professionals, while getting to know the culture of KL. Students will be living and working in KL for three months while they complete the IST unit. This will enable them to be completely immersed into the Malaysian culture and increase their employability skills as they continue to develop their global citizenship credentials.
This offering is also a challenge for the IST support and academic team; as we need to nurture and encourage students to be very resilient, self-motivated and to take-up the initiative when needed. Often this takes place online. Not everything goes to plan with most study tours little lone when we decide to add an Internship. But, the benefits to students out-way any challenges associated with such an undertaking.
Additionally, we are experimenting and completing research around how the IST can work better with its third-party providers; when it comes to delivery and maintaining high quality industry engagement opportunities that are linked to experiential learning outcomes.
For me, what I am really interested in, is the integration of mobile learning and online platforms for collaborations as a type of blended learning philosophy of practice for the IST model. We talk so much about these types of techno-advances but rarely do we put ourselves out there with our students to experiment, take risks and truly learn from one another. I am personally looking forward to touching base with the students, using Collaborate while I am in Melbourne and the students are actively engaging and being pushed out of their comfort zones in KL.
Interestingly, one of the six students came to Samoa with me for a previous IST and he has been a valuable asset to the team by helping to lead the group when travelling from Melbourne to KL. I think it is important to give students the opportunities (when appropriate) to actively use their past Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences to improve upon their leadership skills. As Swinburne begins to offer more and more of these opportunities, I am starting to see many students taking on additional and/or multiple WIL units. A great opportunity to tap into student-mentoring frameworks for study tours perhaps?