Students of the Master's in Communication Studies are generally very positive about their programme. However, one point of feedback that keeps returning is that some students struggle to get a good understanding of the job market. Could a professionalisation module, in which students are given the space to orientate themselves to the job market, make a difference in this?
Within the master's, lecturers respond a lot to the students' need to be closer to practice. For instance, a course is designed around the assignment of a commercial organisation, there are regular guest speakers from the industry, and the professionalisation curriculum focuses on professional orientation. Yet students feel they are not yet sufficiently prepared for working in practice.
Lecturer Serena Daalmans wants to eliminate that feeling among students with the so-called practice booster. This is a module within the professionalisation curriculum in which students shadow a professional for two to three days in a field they find interesting to work in. This is preceded by an orientation in which the students set questions and goals for themselves. Afterwards, the student interviews the professional, which is incorporated into a reflection. Finally, the students share their experiences with fellow students.
Plan of action
In order to offer the widest possible range of places for students to take part, Serena and her colleagues approach alumni working in a variety of fields.
Before the 'practice booster' becomes part of the professionalisation curriculum, Serena and her colleagues first run a pilot with about 30 students. Using student feedback, focus groups and evaluations, the module is then improved and prepared to be offered to all students.