Dr Nicola Thomas

Excellent employment experiences and capabilities

Name Dr Nicola Thomas
Email Nicola.J.Thomas@exeter.ac.uk
Position Senior Lecturer in Human Geography
College

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

The Creative Economy

Nicola is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography and one of the modules she teaches is on the Geographies of the Creative Economy.

According to Nicola, the Creative Economy is “an area of the economy which many students will go and work in and it’s also an area which they connect to all the time, from the moment they get up in the morning and check their social media to walking to the campus and going past marketing.”

Blogging

“One of the things I want to do in this module is to…get students to think more critically about the way in which the Creative Economy connects to us, but also to get them thinking about how they might function as someone employed within the Creative Economy and the sort of skills they might need in order to do their job effectively. So, one of the ways I think about this through having…an employability-led assessment...I ask the students to create a blog [in Wordpress] and the role of this blog is for them to provide expert commentary on the Creative Economy for a non-Geographer…[This way] students are doing something, which is part of everyday life.”

It is a rewarding journey for everyone. “By the end of the blogs, people are really enjoying that process of writing for a different audience, so it’s been a really exciting form of assessment which has some real effect afterwards”, says Nicola.

Technology and employability

The reason Nicola gives for integrating technology into her teaching is, “technology is part of the student experience as they move forward into the workplace.”

Nicola explains, “it gives the students a new skill set, it enables them to feel confident using new software and new technology, so [in the future] they can look back…and say ‘I’ve already done that’”

The blog also enables students to broaden their writing styles using particular technologies. Nicola says, “They’re quite used to Snapchatting or Instagraming or using Facebook, which is quite short social media messaging, but the blog is a more sustained piece of writing.” However, “it still has to be very well shaped and short and direct so it’s a form of journalism in many ways.” So, students “get a really good feel for a different form of social media and how it might work in their professional life.”

Aim 2: Excellent employment experiences and capabilities

To measure and improve the employability attributes of all students through course, extra-curricular and out-of-term-time activities

Using archives in research

"By really getting into seeing how we generate new knowledge...you immediately get an insight".

The Creative Economy

"many students will go and work in [the Creative Economy] and it’s also an area which they connect to all the time..."

Technology and employability

"Technology is part of the student experience as they move forward into the workplace"