Combined Projects

Career Connections Assignment: Educator Guide

Candy Ho; Pamela Ip; and Mary Wall

Cohort 2019-2020


You are a part of a global effort to increase access to education and empower students through “open pedagogy.”  Open pedagogy is a “free access” educational practice that places you – the student – at the center of your own learning process in a more engaging, collaborative learning environment.  The ultimate purpose of this effort is to achieve greater social justice in our community in which the work can be freely shared with the broader community.  This is a renewable assignment that is designed to enable you to become an agent of change in your community through the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  For this work, you will integrate the disciplines of Math; Marketing; Education Studies to achieve SDG #04: Quality Education; SDG #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth; #4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship • 8.5: By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent wo

Learning Objectives

This assignment is designed to help you increase the likelihood of career planned happenstance through making purposeful connections with others, both face-to-face and online. Career planned happenstance describes an individual’s ability to:

• Generate, recognize, and incorporate unplanned/chance events into their career development

• See unplanned/chance events as inevitable, desirable, and as opportunities for learning

• Be open-minded, curious, and develop an exploratory attitude to increase their chances of being exposed to unexpected/chance events


BEFORE THE ASSIGNMENT: Setting the context

Show an introductory video and discuss the following questions: SFU Career Services: Wondering Where Your Degree Might Lead You?:

• The video discussed factors that influence your career goals and decisions you make about

school and work. What factors (personal, environmental, social, cultural, physical, etc.) factors

do you think would impact you most? Why?

• What actions can you take to stay alert of these factors, so you can make informed career


Share some statistics to demonstrate the world of work is constantly changing, along with our own

career goals and aspirations:

• “Canadians can expect to hold roughly 15 jobs in their careers.” (Workopolis, 2014, para. 8)

How many jobs do Canadians hold in a lifetime?

• “85% of the jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.”

(Institute for the Future, 2017, p. 14)


There’s also the Monte Carlo Fallacy. Scenario: 5 reds show up in a row in roulette. Do you bet on black or red next? Often a typical response would be that we should surely bet on black since there is no way it could happen a 6th time”. Though we are less likely to get 6 reds vs. 1 black and 5 reds in any order – we have equal chance to see RRRRRB and RRRRRR – since the events are independent.

We can easily draw meaning from events that are in fact independent. Basing our decisions on

independent events is tempting – but not logical. Not landing that job one or two or three times can make us think we are never going to get the job or moreover that we are not capable of performing the duties of the position. We may have years of study, and 3 instances of failure could unravel the confidence of our training. In fact, it can be argued that learning from your failed interview experiences would help improve your future interview performances.

Considering these statistics, along with various factors we each face, when it comes to managing our careers successfully, we need to be cognizant that:

• Career planning is a lifelong learning process that involves making countless decisions

• Career indecision may be sensible, even desirable

• Anxiety about planning for the future is normal

• Planned happenstance doesn’t mean leaving to chance

(Note: Educator may want to ask students to think of personal examples, or provide their own, to illustrate each bullet point.)

With this in mind, the assignment can now be introduced.

AFTER THE ASSIGNMENT: Debrief the experience

Share in small groups how you went about compiling your list of career contacts. Discuss the following questions:

• Who did you choose to have career conversations with, and why? What were the main lessons you gathered from these conversations (as well as how you organized and facilitated these conversations)?

• What worked and what didn’t work? Generate tips and strategies to share with the rest of the class.

• Identity one or two actions you will now take as a result of this assignment towards your career journey.

To conclude, show video on Jim Carrey talking about his dad (; the main message connects nicely with SFU introduction video in the sense that we can’t control our dream jobs’ existence or even that of our “safety” job. As such, it is important for us to practice the five critical skills of career planned happenstance, which are:

• Curiosity: explore new learning opportunities

• Persistence: continue trying even when you run into setbacks

• Flexibility: be open to changing attitudes and situations

• Optimism: see new opportunities as being possible and attainable

• Risk taking: have the courage to do something even when you’re not sure how or if it will turn out


COMPONENT 1: Develop your career contact list  

Compile a list of 250 individuals who might play a contributing role to your career. These can be individuals already within your network (e.g., friends, classmates, family, co-workers), or individuals you would like to meet (e.g., local business leaders, contacts within your network). When identifying individuals, consider diversity and find people with varying perspectives. For example, is there someone whose life experience might be different from your own that you’d like to learn more about? Who might be able to positively challenge your perspective?

To keep track of your connections, organization is key. You may use MS Excel or apps such as HubSpot. In your list, include their first and last names, contact information (email and/or phone), and why you think they might be helpful to your career. Students who were thoughtful about who they include in their contact list and benefitted the most from the assignment. For instance, a former student in KPU’s EDUC 4100 (Post-University Transition) course who aspired to become a Meteorologist included the Chief Meteorologist from a local news network on her list as a possible career contact.

A note on privacy: As you are compiling people’s contact information, please be respectful of their privacy and not share their information (e.g., put your contact list publicly online)

COMPONENT 2: Connect with your career contacts

Part A

Reach out to everyone on your contact list by sending them a message. You may choose to start with a generic templated message that you adapt depending on the individual.

Your message may include COMPONENT 3: Reflect on your experience

Reflecting on the tasks you conducted for this project, answer the following questions in any of these formats:

• a written paper (3-4 pages excluding appendices)

• a video (3-4 minutes in duration)

• an infographic

Format Requirements


Career Connections Assignment: Educator Guide is licensed by Candy Ho, Kwantlen Polytechnic University; Pamela Ip, Kwantlen Polytechnic University; Mary Wall, Montgomery College under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY-NC)



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Career Connections Assignment: Educator Guide by Candy Ho; Pamela Ip; and Mary Wall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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