Completing this course has made me become more active within my own community. I have taken up netball coaching as well as volunteering at the local primary school. (Student from Engaging Communities: Cross Disciplinary Perspectives)
As a lecturer I hope that I make a difference to my students and it’s always encouraging when I hear that students have gained something from their study.
There’s a limit to how much can be covered in one semester of a stand-alone subject, so when I developed an online elective on engaging communities, I decided I would focus on inspiring students to think about how community engagement could be relevant to their work rather than involving them in a critical analysis of working with communities. While I emphasise a principled approach to community engagement, the focus is on the practice of community engagement in a range of settings.
Since the subject was first offered in Semester 2, 2008, 1186 students from 29 different disciplines and 52 different degrees have done the course. Most students come from disciplines connected to human service delivery (e.g., teaching, allied health, nursing, social work and development studies) but there is a small but steady stream of students from a range of other disciplines (e.g., business and commerce, construction management, communications and science). The full range of disciplines is below.
- Teaching: 322 students
- Medical Radiation Science: 157 students
- Social Work : 102 students
- Nursing : 90 students
- Development Studies: 83 students
- Occupational Therapy: 75 students
- Speech Pathology: 58 students
- Nutrition and Dietetics: 33 students
- Business and Commerce: 31 students
- Construction Management: 29 students
- Oral Health : 27 students
- Social Science: 27 students
- Physiotherapy: 26 students
- Communication: 20 students
- Psychology: 20 students
- Environmental Science & Management: 19 students
- Arts: 16 students
- Science: 16 students
- Food Science & Human Nutrition: 7 students
- Medicine: 5 students
- Biomedical Science: 4 students
- Information Tech: 4 students
- Architecture: 3 students
- Engineering: 3 students
- Non award: 3 students
- Exercise & Sport Science: 2 students
- Podiatry: 2 students
- Biotechnology: 1 student
- Languages: 1 student
Feedback from the course is positive so, despite it being online, students appear to be gaining something from their study of engaging communities. I’m sure that part of it’s value is they interact with students and resources from a range of disciplines.
I also benefit from the variety of students because I am forced to think about the relevance of community engagement in a range of contexts. It certainly helps deepen my understanding of working with communities and encourages me to read widely.
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