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Course Design Blueprint

Alumni


Alumni are those students who have already graduated from the University. Where these graduates are willing to engage with the course team and students, they can be a rich resource for enhancing both course designs, and the students' learning and teaching.

Consultation

For insight into how the course is providing for students after graduation, whether as preparation for employment or for further study opportunities, alumni are often the best people to consult with.  They will be able to identify gaps in the curriculum, particularly of skills and attributes that they wish they had explored prior to going into employment, and of areas of practice or technical expertise that would have benefitted them in their early stages of employment.

Delivery and assessment

Insight into the effectiveness of the course as a whole, how well the early levels prepared students for their final year's learning (particularly their engagement with the capstone project and any associated learning activities) can only be gained from those who have completed the course.  Recent alumni are very valuable for this.  Care should be taken, however, not to gain a biased view - generally those alumni who get on well on the course and with their tutors are those who are more likely to maintain contact and be willing to contribute to consultations. Those who found the learning and teaching approaches didn't meet their needs so well are less likely to be come forward, and the team may need to proactively seek out such alunmi to gain from their insight and experiences.

Involvement in learning, teaching and assessment

It is perhaps through working with current students that alumni can provide the greatest value to a course.  Some examples of how this might occur include:

  • Alumni can provide current students with insight into how to succeed as a student, and provide role models for students to look to.  Involving alumni in students' sessions can be particularly helpful:
    • during induction where they can provide new students with a clear depiction of the learning journey they are embarking upon, drawing out the lessons learned and explaining the value (or lack of) of the various learning activities students might engage with.
    • prior to students' commencement of final year projects, giving insight into the possibilities and problems that the students might encounter in their final year's work.
    • During the final year to provide examples of how students should seek employment, exploring how successful alumni have progressed and sharing tips and guidance on the processes involved.
  • Alumni can record short presentations or be involved in the production of recorded conversations and discussions that can provide a similar support for current students as above.  This might be easier to facilitate, and could be used repeatedly for future students.  However, the ability for students to meet with and talk to alumni is generally much more powerful than the use of recordings.
  • Where alumni have proceeded to take on further study options, particularly when this is within the University, they are ideal people for students to talk to and hear from early in their final year as they seek to discern their next steps following graduation.
  • Where alumni are willing and available, they might be able to form mentor or coaching relationships with students to address particular student situations.  For example, matching successful alumni having particular protected characteristics with students with similar characteristics can be a powerful means of providing support and building student confidence.
  • Recordings of alumni talking about their experience of study and the opportunities it has made available to them post graduation can be a very useful tool for marketing the course.