Does student engagement with extra and co-curricular activities need to formally recognised before it is valued?

Harvey, Jen, O’Connor, Rachel and McNulty, Sinead (2013) Does student engagement with extra and co-curricular activities need to formally recognised before it is valued? In: 6th Annual Learning Innovation Network Conference – Sustainable Models of Student Engagement – Rhetoric or Achievable? 17th October 2013 in the Ashling Hotel, Dublin., Dublin, Ireland.


The Hunt report (2011) emphasises the importance of undergraduate education providing students with the generic skills needed for effective engagement in society and in the workplace. In 2010, DIT established The Lead, Engage, Achieve, Develop (LEAD) module. The LEAD Module aims to recognise and award academic credit to the important learning that takes place outside the confines of formal academic study. Places on the LEAD Module are limited. Successful applicants are assigned a mentor group and begin by negotiating a personal action plan, with their mentor, that is related to the development of their selected 3 employability skills. Critical reflection on the development of these skills and how they might learn and apply these skills more effectively, within the module timeframe, is integral within this process. The module is assessed through the completion of a 2000 word Portfolio and associated evidence of their engagement in activities. This presentation will report back on evaluative data collected since the Module was established. Students found the module both interesting and challenging with the formal recognition of employability skills attained within extra-curricular activities being cited as a key reason for taking the course. Graduates also talked about an increased sense of self-efficacy and confidence in being able to articulate these skills within subsequent job interviews. However, some reported difficulties in fully engaging with the reflective writing tasks. The module coordinators propose that it is the development of critical reflective skills that is core to the overall module success. The paper will make recommendations arising from this module that are likely to be of interest to any staff exploring strategies to better support employability skills development within programmes

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