Personal Transformation Towards Employability Using Linkedin
In numerous HE examples, creating LinkedIn accounts is regarded as a straightforward process which requires mere instructions on how to operate the tool step by step. Yet, working with our final year engineering undergraduates we identified a mix of psychological barriers and cultural barriers for them to construct and sustain their employment-oriented online presences using LinkedIn at university and beyond.

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In order to support them overcoming these barriers, we foreseen and unpacked engineering students’ successful adoption of Linkedin for employment into three evolving stages:

It is often difficult to discern whether a new form of teaching will benefit learning in a particular academic area or classroom. We thus decided to use action research as a methodology and engage students as co-researchers to inform our practices.

Specifically, in our two iterative action research cycles, we engaged students as co-researchers and asked two evolving questions:

1) How do we improve our employment-oriented online presences and engage in critical and retrospective reflection on our experiences across university and other contexts?

How do we reconstruct our comfort zone to participate online professional communities?

What does the scheme entail?

The personal transformation project aims to provide a guiding framework for final year undergraduates from a STEM background to engage with critical retrospective reflection on their experiences across universities and other contexts and develop and sustain their online presences with an improved awareness of employability and online safety.

What support do you get from the University?

Engaging with the project involved a collaboration of academic staff, students and educational developers.

What are the motivations behind the scheme?

We want to encourage our final year Engineering students to be comfortable and confident to participate in a wider professional communities.

We want to engage students as co-researchers in our action research cycles.

We want to be cautious with our pedagogical innovations.

We want to make data-driven adjustments in our teaching practices.

Key benefits to the student

The project offered our final year STEM students enriched experiences of Linkedin profile construction and we find that all the students involved in the projects are active in maintaining their linkedin profiles after graduation.

This project engaged students to think as a co-researcher and enquire into the teaching practices in terms of whether their learning experiences are benefited.

Key benefits to the University

This project can help the university to more realistically understand the students’ concerns with building online presences.

Key benefits to the sector

This project provides a case study which exemplified a methodology to engage students as co-researchers when academic staff intended to change their existing teaching practices.

This project provides a pedagogical programme, which aims to engage students to reflect on and make meaning of their experiences and develop these into their employment-oriented online presences.