Higher Education and the Future of Graduate Employability
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Higher Education and the Future of Graduate Employability

A Connectedness Learning Approach

Edited by Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett

This book challenges the dominant ‘employability skills’ discourse by exploring socially connected and networked perspectives to learning and teaching in higher education. Both learning and career development happen naturally and optimally in ecologies, informal communities and partnerships. In the digital age, they are also highly networked. This book presents ten empirical case studies of educational practice that investigate the development of learner capabilities, teaching approaches, and institutional strategies in higher education, to foster lifelong graduate employability through social connectedness.
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Chapter 7: Connectedness learning in the life sciences: LinkedIn as an assessment task for employability and career exploration

Jason L. Brown, Michael Healy, Louise Lexis and Brianna L. Julien

Abstract

Prevailing approaches to graduate employability tend to focus on human capital, in the form of work-related skills and knowledge. Such approaches often overlook dispositional and contextual factors that contribute to a person’s employability, such as strength of career identity and connectedness with professional communities. This chapter evaluates an effort to incorporate connectedness learning into a core third-year unit of a health sciences degree at an Australian university, using the social networking site LinkedIn as the basis for a reflective employability report and goal setting assignment. Student feedback about the module and qualitative thematic analysis of the students' employability reports demonstrated that most students viewed employability as the possession of human capital and exhibited low levels of connectedness capabilities. We argue that university leaders and educators need to adopt more sophisticated approaches to employability, such as connectedness learning, in order to help students become employable graduates.

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