Engaging Students in Effective Learning and Social Responsibility through Live Projects

O'Loughlin, Deirdre (2011) Engaging Students in Effective Learning and Social Responsibility through Live Projects. [Conference Proceedings]


Alcohol consumption among the youth is central to both public and social policy debates (Griffin et al., 2009) and is universally acknowledged as a 'social activity' (Tucker, 2004) and a standard prerequisite for effective socialisation among the Irish youth. Ranked as third across the EU, (Hope, 2007), excessive episodic alcohol consumption or binge drinking in Ireland represents a prevalent social practise among the youth (Ramstedt and Hope, 2003) which is particularly evident among Irish university students. Reflecting the mixed success of many social marketing programmes (Hastings, 2009), the promotion of responsible drinking attitudes and behaviours by state-funded bodies and alcohol awareness groups has enjoyed varying levels of success in Ireland as elsewhere. Given this important social issue, a pedagogical opportunity exists to engage students in a worthwhile civic activity and charge them with the responsibility of creating innovative social marketing campaigns focusing on promoting responsible drinking directly to their peers. The concept of the live project was therefore employed as both an appropriate student assessment method and social activity as it is well established in offering students the opportunity to work on real-live business problems (Thomas and Busby, 2003) and in providing a range of learning outcomes and benefits including team work, critical thinking and applied skills (Chase et al., 2007). Student teams from the MSc in Marketing programme at the University of Limerick created and ran live innovative and impactful campaigns using print and electronic media, promotions and events to target and raise awareness of sensible drinking to UL students. Post campaign focus group research highlighted the range of practical marketing skills developed among participants through the live project process and the effectiveness of student-run campaigns as well as underlining the heightened sense of responsibility and civic duty perceived by participating students in promoting sensible drinking to their peers.

[thumbnail of NAIRTL 5th Annual Conference.pdf]
NAIRTL 5th Annual Conference.pdf

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