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Article

W. David Rees and Christine Porter

Matrix structures are increasingly used in organisations as they become more complex and as the pace of change increases. They are similar to project management…

Abstract

Matrix structures are increasingly used in organisations as they become more complex and as the pace of change increases. They are similar to project management arrangements, although matrix structures may be a permanent feature. Matrix structures, like project management, involve the creation and management of multi‐disciplinary teams. The team leaders have a dual reporting relationship. For the structures to work effectively they should only be introduced when appropriate and even then after careful planning. An important aspect is the training of multi‐disciplinary team leaders. However, it can also be crucial to ensure that those other key members of management who need to monitor and support matrix structures are properly selected and have received appropriate management training.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 36 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

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Article

Fiona Philippi

The aim of this study is to highlight how responses to student evaluation of a European Commission-funded multi-disciplinary summer course for international PhD students…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to highlight how responses to student evaluation of a European Commission-funded multi-disciplinary summer course for international PhD students can be used to demonstrate a range of potential outcomes for individual researchers. It details the mixed-methods approach taken to evaluation of this course and shows how the results of this can be used to inform, validate and strengthen future provision of intensive training of this nature for PhD researchers.

Design/methodology/approach

The two-week LEADER course held in Edinburgh in July 2013 is used as a case study for the use of a mixed-methods evaluation approach to measuring potential impact. The Vitae Impact Framework is used as a tool to map three different evaluation methods and responses to impact levels. Further analysis of evaluation responses gives insight into rates of participant satisfaction, learning attributed to the course and behavioural changes made as a result of the experience.

Findings

The results of this study demonstrate the potential value of intensive, multi-disciplinary courses in providing lasting benefits to researchers both in personal and professional contexts.

Research limitations/implications

The timeframe of this study spans a total of seven months. Although initial findings demonstrate clear short-term positive effects of the course on researchers, a longitudinal tracking study over several years would be required to assess longer term impact.

Originality/value

These findings can be used to inform and strengthen researcher development activities of this nature at other institutions.

Details

International Journal for Researcher Development, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2048-8696

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Article

Caroline T.W. Chan and William Sher

There is concern that traditional teaching methods (including lectures and tutorials) do not prepare graduates with the generic employability skills required by the…

Abstract

Purpose

There is concern that traditional teaching methods (including lectures and tutorials) do not prepare graduates with the generic employability skills required by the construction industry. This has motivated architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) academics to consider the use of student-centred approaches like collaborative learning. However, the effectiveness of collaborative learning approaches has not been widely examined in AEC education. The purpose of this paper is to provide empirical results on the benefits and barriers of collaborative learning from AEC students’ perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

From a questionnaire survey conducted with Associate Degree students who studied in four AEC programmes at a university in Hong Kong, 621 valid responses were received. Descriptive statistics were used to test these data for any significant agreement or disagreement between respondents.

Findings

All AEC students agreed that collaborative learning benefited them in building their academic knowledge and generic skills. However, the degree of agreement about their generic skills development differed between programmes. The findings of this study highlight the effectiveness of collaborative learning as a means of developing students’ employability skills.

Research limitations/implications

First, the analysis of the benefits of collaborative learning is based on students’ perceptions rather than objective measures of learning gains. Although research suggests that self-reported measures of learning are valid indicators of educational and skill gains, the possibility of individual's bias or peer influence in the responses cannot be discounted. Second, the study does not take into account the teachers’ instructional skills that may affect the effectiveness of collaborative learning. To minimize the impact of different tutors on students’ learning experiences, standardized delivery mode and course materials were adopted in the surveyed courses.

Practical implications

From the findings presented, collaborative learning is a viable tool which assists in improving both the technical and generic employability skills of students. To allow students to appreciate collaboration in a practical context, multi-disciplinary collaborative assignments can be integrated in AEC curricula. Through collaboration with other disciplines, students can understand the ways of working with other professionals. At the same time, AEC educators can apply collaborative learning to strengthen specific collaborative skills. To maximize the benefits of collaborative learning, teachers should arrange regular meetings and counseling sessions with students to ensure participation from each individual.

Social implications

The findings contribute practical insights about collaborative learning and, in particular, the learning attitudes and perceptions of Chinese students and engineering students. Whilst the findings are different to some studies which describe Chinese students as being influenced by the Confucian Heritage culture, and preferring competitive rather than collaborative learning, more detailed studies about collaborative learning dynamics among students from different ethnic backgrounds should improve the design of collaborative learning environments for the students.

Originality/value

The findings provide confidence to AEC academics to incorporate collaborative learning activities in their courses. Mapping students’ generic skills development between programme of study provides indicators that highlight the use of collaborative learning for different generic skills development in different AEC programmes. The results of this study provide useful information for AEC teachers, assisting them to design multi-disciplinary collaborative learning curricula.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 21 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

Jenny Byrne, Viv Speller, Sue Dewhirst, Paul Roderick, Palo Almond, Marcus Grace and Anjum Memon

The purpose of this paper is to discuss a curriculum change in the provision of health promotion in pre‐service teacher education in a one‐year postgraduate certificate in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss a curriculum change in the provision of health promotion in pre‐service teacher education in a one‐year postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) secondary course in one Higher Education Institution (HEI) in England.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes the iterative development process, from an initial survey and mapping of the existing pre‐service teacher training programme, which provided an evidence base for the piloting of a new health promotion component in the curriculum, and its subsequent evaluation. Changes to the health promotion element of the curriculum reflect the programme philosophy which balances the requirements of a competency based curriculum with a more liberal approach to education and training in which pre‐service teachers are expected to critically reflect on, and evaluate their practice. This work adopts a socio‐constructivist approach to teacher education, in which teachers develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes by interacting with others through dialogue, and learning from more knowledgeable others in a cooperative and scaffolded manner.

Findings

The paper presents the results of these changes and discusses implications for their sustainability. The changes made to the health promotion component of the programme and their implementation would not have been possible without the inter‐professional collaboration that took place over three years.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge similar work involving a multi‐disciplinary collaborative approach to the development of a health education component of a pre‐service teacher education curriculum has not been employed or reported.

Details

Health Education, vol. 112 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-4283

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Article

Rory Sheehan, John Rochester, Fatima Hafesji, Rita Kyambadde and Shaun Gravestock

The purpose of this paper is to establish and evaluate a psychotropic medication education group for men with intellectual disability on a secure psychiatric ward.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish and evaluate a psychotropic medication education group for men with intellectual disability on a secure psychiatric ward.

Design/methodology/approach

A multi-disciplinary team was convened to oversee the project. A curriculum was developed that covered major classes of psychotropic drugs as well as broader themes related to taking medication and general wellbeing. Each group session incorporated a range of teaching methods supported by accessible materials. Evaluation was by qualitative and quantitative methods.

Findings

There was interest and enthusiasm for the group. Participant feedback was generally positive and most of those who completed the group reported achieving their personal learning goals. There was no significant difference in results of a medication knowledge test at baseline and at the end of the course. Feedback from group members and reflections of the course facilitators are discussed.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this small-scale study may not be applicable to other groups or settings. Evaluation measures seemed unable to capture some elements of the group processes and outcomes.

Practical implications

Establishing and running a psychoeducational group on a low-secure ward for men with intellectual disabilities is possible and potentially valuable. Learning from this project will be useful for others considering group-based interventions for people with intellectual disability.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the limited literature describing interventions to improve medication knowledge in people with intellectual disability.

Details

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-1282

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Article

Christopher Bajada and Rowan Trayler

A modern business graduate is expected to have strong disciplinary skills as well as the soft skills of communication and team work. However today's business graduate…

Abstract

Purpose

A modern business graduate is expected to have strong disciplinary skills as well as the soft skills of communication and team work. However today's business graduate needs to be more than the traditional “I‐shaped” graduate of the past and more of the “T‐shaped” graduate employers are looking for. Many undergraduate business degrees profess to offer integration of the curriculum but on investigation this occurs mainly through a capstone subject at the end of the degree. Today's business graduates need a more integrated approach to their learning. This paper aims to outline the transformation of a traditional business curriculum to one that is inter‐disciplinary, outlining the necessary steps and conditions including the most challenging – faculty buy in.

Design/methodology/approach

The review of the Bachelor of Business degree at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) provided an opportunity to explore the option to embrace an integrated curriculum. The authors outline how the review was shaped, the need for change and the approaches to interdisciplinary business education, and an approach to designing an interdisciplinary curriculum. They also provide two case studies.

Findings

Approaches to developing an integrative curriculum can take many forms, but the most effective is one that is embedded throughout an entire degree program. This must start with a cornerstone subject to set the road map for the student's study. This subject needs to demonstrate how each discipline interrelates and how at the end of the degree through a capstone subject, this knowledge is again brought together to deal with more complex issues using the more sophisticated tools studied throughout the degree. There also needs to be a strategy that integrates the various first‐year disciplinary subjects traditionally included in an undergraduate business degree.

Originality/value

This paper aims to outline the transformation of a traditional business curriculum to one that is inter‐disciplinary and integrated. The outcome of such an approach produces graduates with the inter‐disciplinary skills that employers are looking for.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 55 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article

Andrew Hogue, Bill Kapralos and Franc¸ois Desjardins

Problem/project‐based‐learning (PBL) approaches have traditionally been shown to be effective for learning within many professional programs that are directly related to…

Abstract

Purpose

Problem/project‐based‐learning (PBL) approaches have traditionally been shown to be effective for learning within many professional programs that are directly related to the students' future career. The PBL approach has been adopted for over four decades in such fields as medicine and engineering and studies have demonstrated that students working in a PBL context have improved their skill levels over students enrolled in traditional lecture‐based classes. In spite of these successes, PBL has not yet been often considered in computer science/IT‐related academic programs. This is due to a variety of factors, including lack of support from faculty, historical approaches precluding such innovation, and lack of motivation to innovate beyond the dominant and more traditionally known approaches. This paper presents a case study that outlines a particular approach that was adopted to attempt to overcome these limitations in order to introduce PBL to IT‐related studies. The context of this study is a particular program that involves students in industry‐relevant practices while learning the necessary theory and honing their skills. It aims to discuss how PBL has been integrated into the IT Game Development and Entrepreneurship program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, a laptop‐based institution. It also aims to provide qualitative results that would support the effective applicability of this PBL approach.

Design/methodology/approach

A novel method for learning technical game development (theory and practice) is illustrated using a PBL pedagogical approach. The primary objective is to maintain academic integrity, improve critical thinking and problem‐solving skills, and introduce students to the theory of designing and developing video games.

Findings

Preliminary results indicate that the proposed PBL method has improved students' skills and expanded their knowledge both theoretically and practically within their area of study. With the integration of this approach into the curriculum, the authors have seen a higher retention rate, increased motivation, and the development of higher quality work from students.

Originality/value

This paper provides a discussion on the role of PBL in IT settings with practical and positive implications on student learning, involvement, and retention. The approach is innovative in higher education and provides a framework that can be easily adapted to other fields of study.

Details

Interactive Technology and Smart Education, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-5659

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Article

Farid Fouchal, Keith Ellis, Tarek Hassan and Steven Firth

The potential and opportunity offered by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to enable Energy Efficient (EE) viable operations has been thoroughly laboured…

Abstract

Purpose

The potential and opportunity offered by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to enable Energy Efficient (EE) viable operations has been thoroughly laboured with respect to sustainability goals. Often the issue is not a lack of technological options, but rather an issue in understanding what choices will lead to the greatest impact. This paper summarises the outcome of a research work undertaken within Roadmap Enabling Vision and Strategy for ICT-enabled EE (REViSITE), an EU-funded project tasked with investigating migration pathways from current state of the art to a common vision for ICT-enabled EE with respect to four energy intensive sectors (energy grids, built environment, manufacturing and lighting). In this paper the focus is particularly on the built environment and how it might benefit from other sectors.

Design/methodology/approach

The REViSITE methodology/framework combined Life Cycle thinking, an adapted capability Maturity Framework and the REViSITE-developed SMARTT taxonomy for the development of a multi-disciplinary Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) which suggests research trajectories based on Research and Technology Development (RTD) topics. These priorities or pathways are presented in terms of short, medium and long-term delivery.

Findings

Development of a multi-disciplinary SRA and the corresponding Implementation Action Plan (IAP) offering specific recommendations for research development in the area of ICT-enabled EE among other recommended actions, which are reported in other publications.

Originality/value

At a basic level the value of the research is that it offers the potential to augment existing domain knowledge by offering a lens onto the ICT4EE practices of other sectors.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Keywords

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Article

Paul S. Kirkbride, Jim Durcan and Sara F.Y. Tang

The area of team teaching is addressed with reference to methods ofimplementing it in management development; the benefits of teamteaching, both to trainers and trainees…

Abstract

The area of team teaching is addressed with reference to methods of implementing it in management development; the benefits of team teaching, both to trainers and trainees, are described. Possible difficulties and problems which can arise when it is used in different cultures are examined with reference to South East Asian countries, particularly those with a “Chinese” culture. An example of the use of the method in Hong Kong is provided, from which conclusions are drawn as to its effectiveness in a predominantly Chinese environment.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 9 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article

Michael Scoullos, Vicky Malotidi, Paula Lindroos and Sinikka Suomalainen

The purpose of the paper is to present and compare collective efforts of higher education institutions working through regional networks in introducing and promoting…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to present and compare collective efforts of higher education institutions working through regional networks in introducing and promoting education for sustainable development (ESD) and environmental education (EE) in two most significant EU boarder regions. Efforts to support EE/ESD in higher education are usually undertaken at individual universities and, in some cases, at national level, still remaining very fragmented; therefore, the examples of University networks in the Baltic and the Mediterranean regions are of particular interest and importance. Both regions have regional conventions, protocols and strategies for the relevant seas, bringing EU and neighbouring countries of the regions together for the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development (SD) within which EE and ESD are embedded.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the driving forces for the establishment, evolution and design of relevant activities of these two networks, making also a few inter-comparisons and recommendations for further improvements.

Findings

Both regions, the Baltic and the Mediterranean, have multiple needs and high potential for more efficient linking of SD with higher education. Early enough it was realised that regional networking could stimulate countries and universities towards this task. Two networks were set up: the Baltic University Programme (starting already in 1991) and the Mediterranean Universities Network for SD focusing on ESD (starting in 2007). The paper reviews main activities of the networks together with lessons learned and gives directions for their future operations.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the rare case studies related to higher education networking on ESD and demonstrates how networking on ESD, apart from enhancing professional development, supports also SD and promotes cooperation and peace in regions that have a history of frequently turbulent relationships.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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