Government support of workplace degrees is welcome. At Glasgow Caledonian University, workplace learning has been progressively and successfully developed since 1992.
Candidates who complete their study in the workplace achieve a qualification of identical academic and professional standing to that achieved more traditionally on campus.
Motorola recently presented the university with the challenge of providing degree study in electronic engineering in the workplace. The existing degree programme was delivered at the same pace as to full-time students on campus.
The key issues were to demonstrate that equivalent resources were available to students in the workplace and that they could achieve the same required notional effort to complete the degree as students on campus.
Within each programme module the contact time is supported by the notional effort that a student is required to devote to personal study. Thus the learning outcomes were mapped to the specific workplace activities of the students involved.
This development was then subjected to university quality assurance processes and was approved as equivalent to the campus programme.
The root of the success is that workplace activities support learning outcomes. The process can be applied in other workplaces where the quality assurance ensures equivalence with the on-campus delivery. Workplace degrees add a new dimension to lifelong learning and can be properly quality assured to maintain standards.
Colin Chisholm Dean of faculty of science and technology Glasgow Caledonian University