Assessing and learning in internships: Reflecting on pedagogy and progress
Keywords130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
Work integrated learning
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AbstractAn elective internship unit as part of a work integrated learning program in a business faculty is presented as a case study. In the unit, students complete a minimum of 120 hours work placement over the course of a 13 week semester. The students are majoring in advertising, marketing, or public relations and are placed in corporations, government agencies, and not for profit organisations. To support and scaffold the students’ learning in the work environment, a range of classroom and online learning activities are part of the unit. Classroom activities include an introductory workshop to prepare students for placement, an industry panel, and interview workshop. These are delivered as three workshops across the semester. Prior to commencing their placement, students complete a suite of online learning modules. The Work Placement Preparation Program assists students in securing obtaining a placement and make a successful transition to the work environment. It provides an opportunity for students to source possible work placement sites, prepare competitive applications, develop and rehearse interview skills, deal with workplace issues, and use a student ePortfolio to reflect on their skills and achievements. Students contribute to a reflective blog throughout their placement, with feedback from academic supervisors throughout the placement. The completion of the online learning modules and contribution to a reflective blog are assessed as part of the unit. Other assessment tools include a internship plan and learning contract between the student, industry supervisor, and academic supervisor; job application including responses to selection criteria; and presentation to peers, academics and industry representatives at a poster session. The paper discusses the development of the internship unit over three years, particularly learning activities and assessment. The reflection and refinement of the unit is informed by a pedagogical framework, and the development of processes to best manage placement for all stakeholders. A model of best practice is proposed, that can be adapted to a variety of discipline areas.