Interactive Workbook: Career and Professional Development for Life
Overview The BIOL1223 module Career and Professional Development for Life Sciences had trialled the use of Interactive PDFs in 2014 semester 2 to aid students in achieving the objectives of the course. Students were given the choice of completing the Career Development Workbook in the either hard copy or the new online version (PDF). The Interactive PDF workbook was implemented in both BIOL1223 and BIOL 2223 (with modifications) in 2015.
Objectives The aims of the modules were to help undergraduate students to reflect on their future career/life plans and to prepare them for work and/or work experience, plus to learn and develop the key skills that are expected by graduate employers in today’s workforce.
As part of each course, students were required to fill in “The Career Development Workbook”, which was divided into weekly sections. It was designed to help students to record their thoughts, reflections and the lessons that they learned as they progressed through BIOL1223 and BIOL2223. It was meant to be completed after each lecture/workshop attended.
Implementation Previously the workbook was provided as a hard copy, however reflective writing space was limited, it was difficult to edit and time-consuming to print. An electronic version was produced as an interactive PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Students could open the resource in Acrobat Reader, save a copy to their desktop, type as much information as they wished, and save their work. They could also print hard copies of the filled-in workbook. Extra space for reflective thought was also added after each weekly section. Once, submitted through Turnitin on the VLE, instructors could then comment electronically within Adobe Acrobat, using the comment tool. Common comments could be saved and reused, making commenting quicker and more consistent.
Along with the career/action plan, the workbook was worth 25% of the total module mark.
Reflections When given the choice of a paper copy or the online workbook, all but a few students chose the online version. Students tended to write more thoughtfully and added more content than they had previously with the hard copies. Also, given the ability to change/edit their initial responses after feedback was received allowed them to be more confident and reflective in their final responses.
Online workbooks have replaced paper ones since the 2015/16 term and are currently still in use.
Client: University of Leeds ____________________________________________