A Reflection on Australian Student Cohort Integrated Cultural Learning and Overseas Experiences

Nina Starkey, Michele Wake, Philip Whiting

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Within the past decade, higher education institutions are incorporating industrypartnership and engagement as part of the teaching and learning environment to preparestudents as future innovators, entrepreneurs, workers, or researchers and encouragecollaboration in an increasingly borderless, global and highly collaborative world.Successful industry partnership and engagement activities can afford future graduatesthe opportunity to benefit from the experience of real-world scenarios that cannot reallybe recreated within a traditional higher education teaching and learning environment.Observation of design theory and methodology as practical applications can providestudents with life-changing experiences. These experiences can in turn enhance anddevelop networking connections with industry professionals who may in turn providepotential employment opportunities. In addition, students gain practical experiencewithin their prospective career paths, whilst at the same time improving theirprofessional communication skills.Although there is no shortage of research on such academic and professionalpartnerships, this paper provides background to Torrens University commercial liveprojects, recent overseas design tours and NGO (Non-Government Organisation) liveprojects. The Brisbane campus was used as the basis for testing with a focus on thechallenges and success of such programs using innovative teaching & learningmethodology. These include three different project-focused design tour briefs run inSweden, Spain and Morocco over the past three years and the outcome for studentsinvolved from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Project-focused design tour briefswere progressively developed from the experience of the previous design tour and howeach was run in practice.Much of the existing research in this area fails to focus on both the challenges as wellas the successes of such programs or the innovative teaching & learning methodologiesthat may have been developed during a project-focused design tour experience orsimilar ‘live brief’ activity.These project-focused, team-based learning design tour briefs utilise “outside ofacademic” industry partnerships to realise a more realistic form of experientiallearning through practical immersion. We would argue such partnerships can prove tobe empowering, rewarding, and challenging even though they may defy traditionalexecution or categorization.5 | P a g eKeywords: (WIL) Work Integrated Learning, International Study Tour,Collaboration, Transformative Learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSubmitted for consideration to the DRS 2020 conference
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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