Work Integrated Learning Courses at the NSW Institute for Frontier Geoscience (NSW IFG)

NSW Institute for

Work Integrated Learning Course


The objective of the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program is two-fold:

  1. To increase engagement and involvement of students with Industry
  2. To improve independent thinking and report-writing skills

The essential element of the WIL plan is to have BSc undergraduate students at the University of Newcastle use the 10 week summer vacation period to interact with industry in a way that is most beneficial for them and their employer. The University of Newcastle sees this as an opportunity to enhance the student-learning process, by not only providing 'on-site' work experience, but also by developing independent thinking and report-writing skill though production of a research report. Usually this does not happen until the Honours year in the Geoscience BSc Program. This report will be the end-product of a small, problem-based project agreed to by the NSW Institute for Frontier Geoscience (NSW IFG) and the Industry partner.



Once the NSW IFG and the partner agree on a small project for the student, part of the 8-10 week summer vacation period at the end of Year 2 will be used for data acquisition. The project should relate to the work being undertaken during the employment period, to ensure it is most relevant to employer and employee.

The project does not need to be "high-science": the aim is to allow the students to develop thinking skills, but more importantly, to develop writing and communication skills. In terms of thinking skills, these should revolve around "what is the problem and how can I solve it", and needs to be done in consultation with the industry supervisor. In fact, part of the training is that the supervisor works through this part with the student employee, so that they learn the thought processes from an industry perspective. A half to one page project outline needs to be sent to the Director, NSW IFG, for ratification.

Management and processing of the data should utilise the in-house computer facilities of the company.

The project outline should roughly follow the framework below:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. What information do I need to obtain to solve the problem?
  3. Procedure for collecting data
  4. Presentation of data
  5. Processing and analysis of data
  6. Interpretation
  7. Results / implications / etc..



WIL follow-up in the next Semester will include data interpretation, write-up and oral presentation. 2-hour long weekly laboratories/tutorials will be run in first semester to develop report-writing skills focussed on the relevant industry you are working with (company, government or research project report). A focus will be on developing skills for peer review, and will involve presenting a critique of an early draft of (one of) your colleague's report. An early draft will be marked and sent with feedback prior to the final write-up.


Assessment will include the peer review, the written report and an oral presentation.


Development of fundamental writing skills pertaining to grammar, style and organisation of a report. You will be able to distinguish and separate observations from interpretations in written expression, prepare critiques, and formulate reports according to industry standard. The course will be graded according to University standards, representing a 10-unit course equivalent in the BSc.