Improving the student experience isn’t just about giving the campus spaces a colourful makeover. This article suggests that higher education and further education students may value the following things highly. If so, then what opportunities exist for a university or further education institution (post secondary level technical school)  to develop taught content that enhances the student experience in these areas?

Design Process Experience

A win-win for employers and students is where students can work part-time on design problems and get paid for the solutions created. Can universities and further education colleges play a role to enable this? For example fund raise from donors (company owners) to create an array of design- competition prize funds for their students to enter the competitions.  Their student gets design experience. The donor gets the IP relating to the end result. The university/college gets a higher rating for its student experience from students, without being out of pocket. Some philanthropists may also be interested in funding design competition cash prizes, in areas they hold a keen interest in.

 Public Recognition of Excellence

This appeals to the student’s ego. Apart from graduation, students may value other milestones where public recognition of academic excellence on their part has been achieved.

One idea is for the university/further education entity to introduce further ‘award ceremonies’ for significant excellence achieved during the enrolment period up to graduation. This award would be valuable to students to put on their CV’s and be morale-enhancing to them too. Perhaps borrow ideas from the Nobel Prize awards process? A ‘Roll of Fame’ could be maintained, both on the college alumni website and general college website. If the university or further education entity started offering design prize competitions, the winners might naturally be candidates for the award.

 Leadership Opportunities

Innovation is about leadership not just creativity. Can university research & teaching content be modified to enable more role-play & acting up opportunities for students? Perhaps in co-curricula courses, can groups of students enrolled in different college programmes be combined? This would offer leadership opportunities for different members in the group, depending on the problem at hand.

Leadership opportunities may include ‘selling the dream’ to potential users, or selling the solution to potential backers. It could involve taking a lead role in design competition entries at different stages of the project, or overall project management.

 Global Networking

This appeals to the student’s interest in acquiring best-practice global knowledge. As a university or further education scholar, some/many students will value global network association (best technical practice amongst a group of global enthusiasts) over own institution network.

Joining a global network enables the student to test out and combine university taught content (theory) with innovation ideas emerging from the global online network (crowd-sourced). What role can a university or further education college play in referring its students to the relevant, online niche networks in things like aerial robotics etc? What ideas can the university or further education college import (using open-source coded) to enhance its teaching & research content, to benefit both student and teacher?

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