Sunday, April 8, 2018

Teaching Broad and Exposing Students to Specific Common Technologies

There is a bigger push in recent times to ensure college graduates are "work ready". This term means different things to different people. Work ready generally means that students are ready to start working in an entry level position as soon as they graduate. There are so many things to be learned during a short time span that colleges are unsure if they should focus on broad skills or on specific skills with their limited time.

First let us consider where a company's responsibilities lay and where the college's responsibilities lay. Colleges work on developing the broad sense of knowledge so students understand the field in which they are working. They may be able to implement common tools used in their fields but are unlikely to be able to keep up with all the different applications, tools, and other technology that change from year to year.

Image result for college students technology

We may not want colleges to focus specifically on tools while neglecting theoretical applications. There are some tools that are used on a regular basis. If we focus too specifically on tools and not enough on broader understanding we may miss the mark and cause more difficulty integrating new tools as they come. New tools can be learned on the job throughout their careers but understanding their context is more important from a higher education function.

It is necessary to teach general broad skills that apply to all business within curriculum. According to the Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (2013) it is important to ensure that students who are work ready have learned communication, teamwork, ethics and the integration of various business disciplines in order to successfully obtain their first jobs.

There is a balance that is needed. Colleges should teach the broad to create context for the specific. Specific common tools should be integrated into the curriculum and assignments to ensure familiarity of how to use these tools. Specific workplaces that utilize specialized tools will need to do their job and train. In this case, work ready means they understand the field of marketing and have a basic understanding of what tools they are most likely to encounter at work.

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