Universities are increasingly emphasising and utilising close ties with industry and industry professionals to keep up with the changing role of universities in society, from centres of learning to centres training graduates to be job-ready. This study investigates the effect of the utilisation of guest lecturers, specifically practicing industry professionals, and the related impact of limited small group discussion and continuity between lectures on undergraduate student learning. Two hundred and seventeen students were surveyed, 38 prior to and 179 after the addition of five full-cohort tutorials to the unit curriculum. These tutorials were added to assess the impact of tutorials on students’ perceptions of the unit for future implementation of small group tutorials. The survey investigated student perceptions of the benefits of a lecture/tutorial style unit and those of a seminar series style unit. It was found that students recognise the importance of both industry professionals as lecturers and small group discussion in tutorials, which are not always compatible. As a result, recommendations for a compromise between the two unit formats are given, in order to take advantage of the benefits of both styles of teaching for student learning. This study has implications for any subject with close ties to industry, where a seminar series from a diverse range of professionals may be seen as a more desirable way to introduce undergraduate students to the subject area.
Recommended CitationGentelli, Liesel, Using industry professionals in undergraduate teaching: Effects on student learning, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 12(4), 2015.