TRACK is a project that leverages labour market data, analytics and Artificial Intelligence to help students make informed subject choices that will give them the best chance of learning the skills that they need to land their dream job. You can catch up on the project’s goals and progress in our past blogs.
But what do students think of this approach?
In week 12 of Autumn we put TRACK-Learner through its paces, with UTS students in two classes:
- Ecology of Public Communication (first-year first semester undergraduate subject with ~330 students; subject coordinator: Michaela Zappia)
- Data Science for Innovation (first-year first semester Masters subject with ~30 students; subject coordinator: Simon Knight)
More than just data
It is not enough to simply deliver an analytics product. It’s important that we work to embed tools into the design of a subject to ensure that students understand its purpose, and can interpret the results that they get from it.
To provide this scaffolding we created a set of pages in a Canvas module that could be used by course teams as desired to embed TRACK Learner into their subjects. For example, one of the activities in this module involves asking students to reflect on what skills they currently have, and the types of jobs they would like. TRACK then helps students to explore what types of extra skills they might need for their target jobs, and to think about what subjects might help them acquire them.
In Ecology of Public Communication, the students were also encouraged to think about some of the topics they had covered during their semester and to think about which aspects of the subject had sparked their interest as a potential future career direction. Interestingly, they also paired their use of TRACK with a design thinking activity (thanks to Claudia Cowell from UTS Careers) where students finished the sentence “How can I learn more about…” and then their peers went around the room adding suggestions for them. So, for example, one student wrote “How can I learn more about working for an organisation that does good?” and students added suggestions such as signing up to various NFP or social enterprise related mailing lists. All of these activities encouraged students to move from the immediate urgency of just trying to pass their existing subjects, and towards a more future focussed perspective that would help them to identify future goals that they might more deliberately work towards achieving.
Importantly, both subject teams had met with the TRACK team beforehand, giving them an opportunity to explore this new technology and to provide input into how it might be used during class. This fed into the design of the Canvas module… which will continue to evolve in the next few trials we run!
Results and reflections
This extra learning design and preparation helped us to achieve a very smooth result, with academics and students navigating the program with ease. The number of students that attended and participated in this trial was impressive, especially given that it was run during the last week of semester. At the end of the week 180 students had signed up to TRACK Learner and 150 of them were actively adding skills into their profile. Many expressed a positive review of the program and the additional guidance received from support material available in Canvas.
What’s next, you ask? Well, right now we are working with the Careers team to refine and extend the TRACK Canvas module, working towards an offering that provides a great whole of course experience for our students. We are also planning some O-week activities, so get in touch if you would like to explore the potential for using this tool with your students.
If you would like to find out more about any of the TRACK products you can: