New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Cooperative & Experiential Education
Redesigning a course to prepare for co-op and a career
Our college of engineering has recently and rapidly expanded its graduate programs and seen a dramatic growth in numbers of students. The university has a distinct history of undergraduate experiential learning that integrates theoretical knowledge and professional experience, making cooperative education (co-op) an essential element of its strategic objectives. As part of this growth a graduate co-operative education program was initiated eight years ago and has also experienced great and rapid growth since it was begun. Recently the program undertook a re-evaluation as part of effort to create a strategic vision for the future. During the evaluation process we undertook a review of recent research and literature regarding the skills, knowledge, and attributes that engineers need for success in the 21st century. We also noted the lack of assessment data available. One of the results that clearly emerged was the need for a redesign of the “Introduction to Cooperative Education” course to include a robust assessment plan.
This paper provides a record of the results of that process and answers the question what should be included in a co-op and career preparation course? We offer a summary of the literature and research, findings of industry partners, and trends in employment that impact the needs of the engineering profession in the future. As a consequence of this study it became apparent that a new emphasis and curriculum were necessary. The course was changed from “Introduction to Cooperative Education” to “Career Management for Engineers” to reflect this new focus. The paper then details the development of new objectives and learning outcomes that transformed the class from a “nuts and bolts” tactical job searching skills course to a course with a strategic level career focus. The new goals of the redesigned course include: 1) explaining and justifying the value of cooperative education; 2) creating career goals and identifying the experiences that you want to have during your cooperative learning experience to further those goals; 3) identifying and evaluating various motivators that drive your decisions; 4) articulating your own skills and abilities for a variety of audiences and identifying areas for development, to include ethical behavior; 5) applying appropriate skills and knowledge to find and obtain a position; 6) planning and being able to document how you will integrate new skills and knowledge learned during co-op in your academic program; and 7) articulating the value of reflecting upon your own experiences across settings. The authors share their experience with selecting new materials, creating lesson objectives, assignments, resources, and developing lesson outlines that all map to the new course objectives and learning outcomes. We also provide examples of the course study guide, individual lesson plans, in-class exercises, and assignments that illustrate the new focus. Finally the paper describes the plans for and initial results of assessment and measurement of the achievement of the course objectives and learning outcomes from the perspective of students, industry partners, and faculty.
Hamilton, S. R., & Fitzmaurice, J., & Wolff, P. J. (2016, June), Building Future Careers: A Co-op Course Reimagined Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26411
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