Ethical challenges from the real world: Student experiences in cooperative education placements
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Citation:Ayling, D. (2007). Ethical challenges from the real world: Student experiences in cooperative education placements. In R. Coll (Ed.), Refereed proceedings, New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education Rotorua 2007 Conference. (pp. 61-66). Available from http://www.nzace.ac.nz/conferences/papers/Proceedings_2007.pdf
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1820
Developing a moral business person is not easy. Universities and polytechnics have always undertaken some degree of responsibility for teaching ethics. Increasingly students are exposed to real world work issues when assigned to cooperative education placements. The workplace demands graduates not only consider ethical issues, but also requires them to consider ethical action. In this research project the author reviewed the ethical requirements of the Industry Based Learning course in the Bachelor of Business at Unitec, Auckland with a view to informing teaching and learning practice. The aim of the research was to evaluate student learning in ethical issues and learn more about student experiences and how delivery and student support mechanisms for students could be improved. The author examined student writing (learning journals and reflective essays) and interview text to explore student knowledge of ethical values, their decision making processes and their ability to take ethical action. Students were completely comfortable with the ethical values on which the research was based. They spoke articulately about the ethical issues they found in their placements. Students used a variety of decision making processes with mixed success. Most students reported feeling vulnerable in taking ethical action and that their emotions prevented them from acting as professionals in the workplace. Ethics is an essential part of business education for both professional and non professional graduates. In the Industry Based Learning course in the Bachelor of Business placements gave students a unique opportunity to explore their ethical understandings, to practice their reasoning skills and to experiment with taking ethical action in a guided and supported environment. As a result of the research the course coordinator introduced a variety of teaching and learning strategies to support students in their placements and prepare them for the changing and variable nature of the workplace.