Institute of Teaching and Learning

Professional Development for Teaching and Learning

Developing graduate attributes

Implementing Deakin's graduate attributes

As noted previously, the former guidelines for developing the attributes of a Deakin graduate (Deakin University, 2000) provided some resources related to implementing graduate attributes in a Deakin context. The guidelines presented a range of 'illustrative educational strategies' that provided examples of how a particular attribute might be developed. In the absence of easy access to these guidelines, the essential information is reproduced and updated here (with due acknowledgement to the original authors), structured around the attribute categories used in the current presentation of Deakin's graduate attributes.

Understanding of, and the ability to work with, a systematic body of knowledge, appropriate to the focus and level of the qualification based on the highest standards of scholarship and research

  • Set assignments that require students to demonstrate their critical understanding of how knowledge develops in their field of study.
  • Assign research topics where students appraise and choose from different methodologies.
  • Require students to maintain a reflective journal in which they focus on theories and methods within the field.
  • In unit evaluations, ask students to write about the extent to which the unit makes connections with other units they have studied, how well it relates to their experiential learning and how it has supported their own development.
  • Foster active learning and application of knowledge with projects, case studies, problem-solving exercises, problem-based learning and hypotheticals.
  • Develop and reinforce disciplinary knowledge through mastery learning, computer-based exercises and assessment.
  • Give students insight into how knowledge is created in the field through computer-based modelling and knowledge construction processes.
  • Introduce students to the research environment through computer-based multimedia learning programs.

Understanding of the professional, social, economic and cultural contexts of the discipline and related fields

  • Relate teaching topics and assessment tasks to current events and public issues.
  • Provide opportunities for experiential learning that are designed to develop specific understandings of external contexts.
  • Use peer observation of teaching and learning activities to draw attention to ethical and social justice issues.
  • Invite external people working in the field to contribute their perspectives on specific topics in group learning situations.
  • Involve students in collaborative projects with relevant University professionals (eg health science students with health service staff).
  • Introduce students early in their course to professional associations and their work.
  • Assign an exercise for assessment that makes use of the Job Ready Career Ready program (accessible on the Division of Student Life website).
  • Provide opportunities for working students to develop their understanding of professional contexts through focus on their current jobs.

Awareness of ethical issues, social responsibility and cultural diversity

  • Use the Internet to expose students to the practices and customs of different cultural groups.
  • Invite people from different cultural groups to give presentations to students on practices and customs.
  • Invite employers and members of community groups to discuss their roles and how they deal with ethics, social justice issues and cultural sensitivity.
  • Expose students to ethical theories and modes of reasoning to help them address ethical dilemmas.
  • Use such theoretical understandings to develop and possibly challenge students' own value systems, and reinforce developing values over the duration of a program of study.
  • Present ethical problems, cases and vignettes for resolution that are relevant to students' professional fields of study.
  • Invite practitioners to provide perspectives on ethical problems relevant to the profession and ways of dealing with them appropriately.
  • Where relevant raise the ethical dimensions of any subject matter in the context of the presentation of the topic itself.
  • Strongly encourage students to be ethical citizens of the University by actively promoting the rights and responsibilities of students as outlined in the Student Charter, and as applicable both to virtual and real teaching and learning environments.
  • Enforce policies and penalties for unethical behaviour (eg plagiarism).

Awareness of environmental sustainability issues and the contribution of the field of study to address such issues

  • Design assignments that require students to develop an understanding of the concepts and principles of sustainability and apply this understanding to knowledge and practice in their discipline.
  • Develop topics or assign texts in core units that raise and address sustainability issues and practices.
  • Use case studies and examples that focus on sustainability themes.
  • Work with colleagues in other disciplines to design projects that require students studying different disciplines to work together towards resolving specific problems of sustainability.
  • Promote the importance of health awareness in workplaces (balancing life/workplace stress; social health responsibilities, both local and global; and ethical issues pertaining to health).

Understanding and appreciation of international perspectives in a global environment.

  • Incorporate topics on globalisation and internationalisation as they apply to the discipline.
  • Include intercultural communication activities in the development of communication skills.
  • Build cultural awareness by drawing on the cultural diversity of students enrolled in units.
  • Draw attention at appropriate points throughout the course to the cultural history and location of the discipline and its different cultural manifestations, values and practices.
  • Use reflective strategies such as individual journals to foster examination of personal values and their relation to behaviour.
  • Design activities, including assignments, that incorporate intercultural and international interaction, face-to-face and using communication technology.
  • Design activities, including assignments that use the Internet to examine aspects of globalisation and cultural difference and practices.
  • Illustrate topics with intercultural and international texts, examples and case studies.
  • Promote opportunities for overseas experience, such as study abroad and overseas field trips and internships.

Critical analysis, problem solving, and creative thinking

  • Relate theory to simulated or real-life practice through case studies supported by small group work.
  • Use problem-based learning strategies and assign projects that require problem solving.
  • Introduce debates on contemporary professional issues and dilemmas that demand the construction of arguments and counter-arguments based on different perspectives.
  • Assign role-playing exercises based on typical problems germane to the field of study.
  • Invite external experts and practitioners to discuss their approaches to the solution of particular problems, and relate expert approaches to those of the novice.
  • Use computer-based simulation programs that develop problem-solving skills.

Identifying, gathering, evaluating and using information

  • Design assignments that incorporate the Library's information literacy programs.
  • Provide opportunities for work experience and other forms of experiential learning that enable students to reflect on the application of knowledge to practice.
  • Assign professionally relevant case studies, simulations and projects.
  • Ensure that technologies used by students in their courses are similar or comparable to those used in the workplace.

Communicating effectively and appropriately in a range of contexts

  • Specify achievement targets for language and literacy with reference to national standards (eg Level 5 in the National Reporting System) and progressively work towards them.
  • Design assessment exercises that incorporate, where appropriate, communication skills programs run by the Division of Student Life.
  • Assess a variety of communication modes and media (such as oral, spoken dialogues, conventional essay, report, diagram form, modest website, etc.).
  • Encourage or require students to use presentation software and provide explicit feedback (and assessment) of its effectiveness.
  • Make routine use of feedback proformas on which are detailed such criteria as argumentative skills; syntactic, vocabulary and grammatical skills; and analytical and synthesising abilities.
  • Provide opportunities and incentives for students to improve their communication skills in different modes and media.
  • Encourage and support tutors to develop communication skills within tutorials.
  • Provide facilities for students to document their experiences with and achievements in different forms of communication.
  • Ensure that curricula, especially in first year, are language-rich, requiring students to speak, read extensively and write discursively.
  • Provide clear guidelines and advice to new students about the expectations for written and oral communication in work to be assessed.

Developing, planning and managing independent work

  • Assign students to develop a career plan as an outcome of their course that incorporates the Job Ready Career Ready program (accessible on the Division of Student Life website).
  • As part of group assignments, introduce students to the concepts of leadership and ask them to assess their own and others’ contributions to outcomes.
  • Embed the development of time management skills, including meeting deadlines and punctuality, in assessed work and attendance expectations.
  • Work with the Division of Student Life to incorporate their relevant programs into assignments.
  • As part of work-related assignments and work placements, encourage reflection on organisational and personal management skills.
  • Create a variety of learning environments that require students to work in different ways in different contexts.
  • Assign the development of personal portfolios, either paper-based or electronic.

Working effectively as part of a team

  • Specify a proportion of assignments that are carried out and assessed as group activities.
  • Provide an orientation to working in groups in conjunction with group-based assignments.
  • Develop exercises collaboratively with counsellors in the Division of Student Life.
  • Introduce scenarios that deal with issues requiring conflict resolution.
  • Initiate online discussions to enable local, national and international networking about particular issues and questions.
  • Formally assess the processes and products of group work.
  • Include peer-appraisal of group processes and products in assessment practices.
  • Ask student groups to assess the processes and products of other groups according to pre-determined criteria, for example, using audio and video recordings.
  • Use, where possible, a variety of face-to-face and other modes of interaction, including online communication systems, to support communication, collaboration and teamwork processes.
  • Expose students to theories of leadership and teamwork to help them appreciate the different roles, including leadership roles, participants can fulfil and contributions they can make in productive group work, including the theories of 'leaderless' and 'distributed leadership' work groups.
  • Use role playing to develop intra- and intergroup skills in conflict resolution and cultural sensitivity.

Effectively using information and communication technologies

  • Specify information technological literacy skills for each year of study and incorporate their development into learning programs.
  • Set minimum computer literacy requirements for commencing students, apply these in assessment and provide remedial opportunities for those who need them.
  • Ensure that each unit incorporates appropriate information technological literacy requirements.
  • Set assignments that require critical and creative use of electronic tools and information.
  • Make the use of technology for information and communication a routine expectation in learning activities and assessment practices.
  • Foster and support the use of different technologies in student presentations.
  • Encourage students to routinely critique the appropriateness and effectiveness of technologies.

Applying knowledge learned in the program to new situations

  • Use projects, problem-based learning, contract learning and student-created case studies to develop self-directed learning skills.
  • Encourage a focus on learning processes by requiring students to submit work in progress to peer appraisal, discussion and feedback.
  • Assign metacognitive tasks that require students to reflect on how they have had to adjust their thinking in response to new information.
  • Incorporate reflective journals and portfolios into assessment requirements.
  • Introduce contract learning for work placements and projects.
  • Use learning style inventories as a basis for developing self-awareness about preferred learning styles and more desirable, rounded professional learning styles.
  • Use a variety of formative assessment methods, which help students to understand and develop their orientations to, conceptions of and approaches to learning.

Activity icon Activity

Using the list provided above, and/or your own experience, develop a list of 'educational strategies' for the development of each of Deakin's graduate attributes in the context of the program(s) that you contribute to.

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6th December 2010