In 2018 Macquarie launched its first Co-op course, the Actuarial Studies Co-op, soon to be followed by the Accounting Co-op in 2019.

Co-op courses offer a mode of study that alternates between periods in the classroom and periods in the workplace.

At Macquarie University, Co-op courses are created by combining the Bachelor of Professional Practice (BPP) with a discipline degree. The BPP is co-created with partners, students and University staff.

Through curriculum co-creation, academic staff engage students and partners in planning content and developing teaching resources to ensure curriculum is both relevant and engaging. There are clear benefits for stakeholders. When students take an active role in their learning, they can become deeper learners and develop their critical thinking skills (Bovill, Cook-Sather, & Felten, 2011). Partners benefit from having a voice in how students are prepared to engage when they enter the workplace. University staff are challenged to step outside their comfort zones and do things differently (Cook-Sather, Des-Ogugua, & Bahti, 2018).

The Co-op team, which sits within PACE, recently undertook Phase 1 of curriculum co-creation with industry partners at Macquarie’s City Campus. Industry partners included HR and Actuarial professionals from three of the six organisations supporting our first Actuarial Studies Co-op cohort.

Partners shared advice, stories and examples of professional skill development, all handily captured by The Learning Innovation Hub Ed Media team for future use.

This footage will form part of the flipped classroom environment of Introduction to Professional Practice (PROF101) and Professional Practice Placement I (PACE201), providing the basis for discussions, cases and role plays.

Students will contribute to curriculum co-creation in a later phase of the project through classroom-based co-creation. Students develop teaching resources based on key lessons they learn through their experience of the placement and PACE unit (Ruskin & Bilous, 2017).

If you plan to build practice-based learning or curriculum co-creation in your practice, I’d love to hear from you (


Bovill, C., Cook-Sather, A., & Felten, P. (2011). Students as co-creators of teaching approaches, course design and curricula: Implications for academic developers. International Journal for Academic Development, 16(2), 133-145.

Cook-Sather, A., Des-Ogugua, C., & Bahti, M. (2018). Articulating identities and analyzing belonging: a multistep intervention that affirms and informs a diversity of students. Teaching in Higher Education, 23(3), 374-389. doi:10.1080/13562517.2017.1391201

Ruskin, J., & Bilous, R. (2017). Co-creating curriculum on a shoestring with student, industry partner and staff engagement. Paper presented at the HERDSA Conference: Curriculum Transformation, Sydney (28 June 2017).

Posted by Jennifer Ruskin

I am the Academic Director for Co-op and Internships and the Course Director for the Bachelor of Professional Practice in MQBS. I am passionate about supporting students to explore their disciplines in practice.

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