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SOPI: Student Online Projects with Industry

Lab Contact: Jacqui Speculand
Team: Gemma Tombs, Nivette Chester, Alex Masters
SoPI: Student (online) Projects with Industry - Title Graphic


The project connects over 250 students at level 2 and 3 on Business Administration courses with industry experts to explore the practical application of theory in real world scenarios.

The pilot study in 2014 used Twitter to engage 30 students with industry experts to expose the students to real world problems in supply chain and logistics management.

To extend the project to all students on the module, the team felt that Google+ offered a more manageable means of organising the interactions between students and industry.



  1. To connect students with industry for real world application of theory: Guest lectures and real world scenarios are one way to engage students with the application of theory, but the team wanted to explore the possibility of engaging the students with industry in a more hands on and real world manner. Industry experts were identified who were willing to participate for one week each, setting a problem for the students and offering feedback on their solutions. 
  2. To evaluate the use of Google+ as a means of engaging students: The students were required to engage with each other and with the industry experts using Google+. We wanted to evaluate the use of  social media as a tool to facilitate this interaction.


Technology Application

Google+ Communities were used as the means of communication between the student groups and the industry experts. It enabled us to create closed communities for private conversations between the students and the experts and to facilitate group discussions amongst the students.




  1. October – December 2015

    During the 11 week module students engaged with 5 industry experts who provided real world problems related to the theoretical content of the modules.

  2. December 2015

    Student feedback questionnaire were distributed and a focus group was held to obtain feedback on the module and the experience.

  3. January – March 2016

    Evaluation, write up and dissemination.




December 7 2015
  • Focus group held on 2 December 2015 with students on both modules. There was a good discussion about the module and some very helpful feedback which will be considered and written up.


Project Timeline:

Start date

March 2015

End date

January 2016



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