Co-Discovery: A Collaborative Evaluation of Broadening

Akeisha Brown, Caroline Campbell, Robert Irnazarow, Karen Llewellyn, Chandni Pandya

This poster shares the outcomes of an evaluative research project funded by the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE). Co-created by two staff and three undergraduates, the aim of the project was to explore the value of the concept of ‘Broadening’ within the University of Leeds’ undergraduate curriculum, from the perspectives of both students and employers.

With a focus on the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attributes, and specifically in the context of developing (foreign) language skills, the project sought to map the learning experiences of students to the perceptions of employers in order to reveal the resonance and/or dissonance in their understanding of the value of broadening as a concept. It adopted a developmental evaluation approach (Patton 1996, 2008, Saunders 2000, 2012) and used inductive analysis (Corbin & Strauss 2015) as the research methodology. The data from 40 semi-structured interviews was analysed to reveal the emergent core categories or themes and where commonalties and differences surface between students and employers.

While small in its scale, the findings have relevance to ‘sustaining meaningful teaching and learning’ in Higher Education. They identify the need to encourage students to articulate the breadth of their experience – both curricular and co-curricular – and to develop their individual ‘brand’ to enhance their employability. They identify the graduate attributes which employers are looking for and highlight where universities can do more to support the development of skills and provide access to opportunities and to enable students to better articulate their learning.

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