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Ruth Bridgstock

This chapter focuses on the choices made in undergraduate creative degree curricula across higher education institutions in Australia as a way of exploring and unpacking the extent to which creative industries ideas have permeated learning and teaching practices. The curricular and pedagogic choices made are taken to reflect prevailing attitudes about what is important for students of creative degree programmes to learn. More broadly, this chapter asks what an ‘effective’ creative curriculum might involve given what we know about creative graduate career trajectories, and where and how we need to deepen our understanding of what is required to prepare creative students for life and work. In so doing, this chapter weaves a path through bodies of literature relating to creative labour and creative workforce mapping at population and graduate levels; creative industries and graduate employability discourse; and skills debates.

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Oksana Zelenko and Ruth Bridgstock

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Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett

This chapter introduces the concept of connectedness learning in higher education. Connecting with others through collaboration and networking has long been central to learners’ capacities to engage productively in life and career, but the development of the professional relationships and the capabilities supporting connectedness has often remained tacit and underemphasised in curriculum. With the rise of the digital networked economy, social networking has become even more important to career development, professional learning and productivity at work. The Connectedness Learning Approach suggests ways in which higher education institutions can foster learners’ connectedness capabilities, presenting pedagogic approaches and institutional enabling strategies that facilitate their development. This chapter introduces ten conceptual and empirical investigations of connectedness learning in different institutions, each of which explore different elements of the approach. Through these chapters, the volume presents an authentic and relevant account of how we can better embed connectedness into learning and teaching practice.

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Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett

It is widely agreed that upon leaving university, students should be equipped with the foundational capabilities to enable them to build and manage their careers, add economic and social value through their work, and continue learning. One critical and yet often under-recognised sub-set of these activities is the student’s ability to build, maintain and make the most of mutually beneficial professional relationships over time, including via digital platforms and social media. This chapter draws upon extant literature to discuss why the ability to connect with others is important to employability, and how it is currently included in higher education curricula. The chapter outlines five connectedness capabilities from the Connectedness Learning Approach that will enable graduates to develop and make the most of meaningful social relationships and networks for employability. The chapter introduces three contrasting empirical studies that focus on the development of learners’ connectedness capabilities, and the impact that connectedness capabilities have on graduates’ lives and careers.

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Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett

This chapter considers the role that higher education can play in fostering learners’ connectedness capabilities, examining the online and face-to-face learning experiences that can support professional connectedness. While transmissive pedagogic approaches continue to be dominant in many disciplinary areas, highly connected and networked learning experiences, such as work integrated learning, are becoming increasingly more common in higher education. This chapter explores the extent to which existing pedagogic approaches can be used to address connectedness learning needs, and how they could be adapted to do so more effectively. It sets out seven principles to guide pedagogic practice and outlines seven existing pedagogic strategies that have shown a demonstrated impact in enhancing graduates’ connectedness capabilities. Finally, the chapter introduces four studies which explore how connectedness pedagogies have been integrated into higher education learning and teaching in different universities, and the impact that they have had on student connectedness and graduate outcomes.

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Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett

University structures and processes often militate against the promotion of connectedness learning. From the outside, they are often seen as walled gardens, restricting the flow of people and information between themselves and the outside world, while on the inside, the often-used metaphor is a series of siloes, where staff, programs, and organisational areas in different academic and functional areas all work in parallel to each other with relatively little interaction. If we are to support students to develop connections and use these to work and live productively and meaningfully, then it follows that universities themselves should also be well connected. This chapter explores the range of approaches that universities can use to overcome the institutional barriers to connectedness. Seven enabling institutional strategies are outlined which can be used to create, grow and maintain inter- and intra-institutional connectedness. The chapter then introduces three empirical studies which explore how these enabling strategies are being integrated within and across different higher education institutions, and the impact they have had toward enhancing graduates’ connectedness capabilities.

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Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett

This chapter reviews and discusses the key findings that emerged from the ten case studies of connectedness learning practice, considering the current connectedness capabilities of higher education students and recent graduates, the potential for using existing pedagogic strategies to integrate connectedness into higher education curricula, and the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing broader institutional enabling strategies to foster greater intra- and inter-institutional connectedness. The application of the Connectedness Learning Approach across differing higher education contexts suggests that there is no single way in which universities should support connectedness learning. Rather, connectedness learning requires a detailed understanding of the institution, its students and its wider stakeholders, through which the pedagogic approaches and wider enabling strategies that enhance connectedness capabilities can be designed and enacted. Finally, in considering the future of higher education, the chapter asks what are the future forces that will shape learners, learning, teaching, and the university, and what role will connectedness play in supporting higher education to navigate the turbulent times ahead?

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Edited by Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett

This book challenges the dominant ‘employability skills’ discourse by exploring socially connected and networked perspectives to learning and teaching in higher education. Both learning and career development happen naturally and optimally in ecologies, informal communities and partnerships. In the digital age, they are also highly networked. This book presents ten empirical case studies of educational practice that investigate the development of learner capabilities, teaching approaches, and institutional strategies in higher education, to foster lifelong graduate employability through social connectedness.