Eportfolio, employability and enterprise

I have had a mad couple of weeks as my manager has been away ill and we co-teach the Employability and Enterprise module for our first and second year science undergraduates.  We are limited with our contact time and are delivering four two-hour sessions to approximately 360 students at a time. If that is not challenging enough we are trying to get them to engage with a non-credit bearing module.

We decided that an eportfolio would be the way to go as this is an established method for collating employability skills information. We did an introductory session on induction week and got them going with their skills audit. 4 weeks later and I am still working on developing the session due next week (in the absence of manager input except “I trust you Caroline”).

So, the topic for 2nd years is innovation and creativity. After the inital slides of innovation is…. and it is important because…. I became stuck. How on earth do I engage 360 students from three separate subjects (biology, chemistry and nutrition), at the same time, on my own? As the topic is innovation and creativity it has to be good. Chalk and talk just will not cut it.

Finally I think I have it! (Gulp! Fingers crossed). I found an open access case study resource which contained one about cow’s bottom emissions. Yes, cow poops. There is an issue with methane emissions which is under debate  regarding global warming and biofuels.  I thought this might make a fun and scientific topic.  So I have tweaked the case study and this is how it will go:

The students will be provided with the background data on cow poop emissions. They will then be given time (30-40 mins?) to come up with creative solutions.  These could be regarding reducing or using the emissions. The big challenge is how do they get to feed the ideas back to everyone? This part, I have not quite figured out. Do I set up a twitter wall? Collect suggestion slips? Both? I know that I would like them to reflect in the portfolio afterwards but I still have some thinking to do before Tuesday on dissemination.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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