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Introduction

Work experience modules, units or activities are particularly relevant to engineering degrees. It is through this type of activities that students have the chance to practice their technical skills in real world settings and experience and develop the soft skills that are a key component of employability. Addressing and improving these skills in students efficiently and efficaciously is seldom done by any other type of instruction.

There are many distinct flavors of work experience throughout the European Higher Education Area (EHEA): multinational teams of students working at their home institutions with a common goal (such as the MUTW [1]), multinational teams working at a host institution (EPS [2]), multidisciplinary teams (University of Minho in Portugal, Fontys University in Netherlands), capstone project courses developed in a company or at a research lab (most engineer universities), small project course units running at the end of the semester (LAPR [3] course unit at ISEP in Portugal), simple projects (accounting for a small number of ECTS, for instance), complex projects (accounting for a more substantial number of ECTS, for instance) and many more. This type of instruction is very suited to the Bologna paradigm raising the interest of EHEA players into it. The purpose of the PRAXIS Thematic Network is to set a European dimension to this form of teaching/learning (Project/Internship).

Something about PRAXIS here

In the preparation of students for a project or internship, we often take it for granted that students are able to prepare themselves for such activities and know how to use the competences they gain from their experience. This is not universally true and students might need guidance in preparing for such activities, including, in some cases, preparatory skills acquisition, they need help in recognizing the breadth of beneficial experiences they gain from the activity and in how to gain best use from their experience when they return to their main study programme or move forward to the labor market. Work package 3 of the PRAXIS project provides a foundation of understanding of PI activities, support structures around them and in the assessment of competences gained. This paper reports on the first step in this work package, namely a qualitative review of the terminology used by UK Higher Education Institutions and Companies offering work experience opportunities to students.

 




Research

Research