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Within Higher Education there is growing expectations that graduates will enjoy smooth transitions into practice or further study and thus it is important to understand how higher education students’ experiences in university should be best organised and integrated to realise these purposes. This qualitative research study investigated the impact of the curriculum design of the final year on student experience, engagement and progression routes post-graduation in a new four year professionally-orientated degree for students in a BSc in Education Studies in an Irish education institution. This study involved 26 lecturers and 25 recent graduates from the programme. Students were required to undertake a final year (capstone project) dissertation and an internship (involving the development of an ePortfolio to demonstrate and reflect on their journey of learning and to make connections with learning across the final year). Data was collected by means of an online student survey, followed by a focus group interview with self-selecting student participants as well a focus group interview with the programme development team. The focus of this work is on presenting the findings in terms of student experience of the balance between the internship and the dissertation as a preparation for their professional pathway; it also explores the lecturer experience as curriculum designers and facilitators. The study is underpinned by an exploration of enquiry-based learning, curriculum design, the capstone project and education studies as a discipline. Ultimately the intention of the research team is to improve the curriculum design process and outcome for the programme, and to contribute to the knowledge base on the highlights and challenges of designing and delivering professionally-orientated degrees into the future.
Uí Choistealbha, J., Donnelly, R., & Fitzmaurice, M. (2016). Exploring the Student Experience of the Final Year of a Professionally-Oriented Undergraduate Degree in Education Studies. Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal (LICEJ), 7(3).