Do Bosses Give Extra Credit? Using the Classroom to Model Real-World Work Experiences

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Recent college graduates are entering a competitive workforce that demands strong communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. However, many recent surveys and reports describe college graduates as deficient in these skills. For two courses at separate institutions, we each framed a course as a job, playing the role of a supervisor or employer rather than a professor. We prepared an employment contract rather than a syllabus, and created assignments and class activities that required students to explicitly consider how their college experiences might apply to the workplace. Students at both institutions thought the framing was interesting and fun, and thought the professors should continue to frame future courses as jobs. As instructors, we found that students were more professional, prompt, and detail-oriented. It also provided us with multiple opportunities to engage students in serious discussions about transitioning to the workplace upon graduation.

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College Teaching