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The Academic Value Of Cooperative Education: A Literature Review

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Cooperative Education and Engineering

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1199.1 - 13.1199.6



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Paper Authors


Tylisha Baber Michigan State University

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At the time this paper was written, Dr. Tylisha Baber was serving as a National Academies Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow. She earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Michigan State University. Tylisha’s dissertation focused on the design and implementation of a biomass conversion process for improving the fuel properties of biodiesel. She is currently an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University.

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Norman Fortenberry National Academy of Engineering

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Norman Fortenberry is the founding director of the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE) at the National Academy of Engineering. CASEE is a collaborative effort dedicated to achieving excellence in engineering education--education that is effective, engaged, and efficient. CASEE pursues this goal by promoting research on, innovation in, and diffusion of effective models of engineering education.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Academic Value of Cooperative Education: A Literature Review


Cooperative education began as an experiential education program for engineering students at the University of Cincinnati in 1906 and remains a key component of many engineering programs nationwide[1]. Cooperative education provides opportunities for students to engage in experiential education, integrating academic course work with practical work experience. While many sources have commented on the affective benefits of cooperative education, this paper examines the literature to assess the academic value of cooperative education.

Faculty, Student and Employer Views on Cooperative Education

Relatively little is known about how engineering faculty value, account for, and integrate cooperative education based learning within their teaching practices. Contomanolis[2] conducted a study of engineering faculty at the six largest engineering cooperative education programs in the United States (Georgia Institute of Technology, Kettering University, Drexel University, University of Cincinnati, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Northeastern University) to assess their views concerning the academic value of cooperative education and the extent to which they utilized teaching activities to incorporate student co-op experiences into the classroom learning environment. The survey instrument used in the study was a questionnaire that allowed faculty respondents to use a five-point Likert scale to report their attitudes on the academic value of cooperative education and the frequency to which they used seven classroom integration activities. The survey was distributed electronically to 836 faculty members and achieved a response rate of 24%.

The findings showed that the faculty expressed positive feelings about the academic value of cooperative education and co-op students’ contributions to the classroom-teaching environment. This overall positive attitude is consistent with findings of other studies[3-5]. The majority of the respondents believed the following: o Cooperative education work experience is a significant contributor to the student’s overall academic success. o The classroom learning environment is enhanced by the presence of students with cooperative education experience. o Students often make contributions to classroom discussions based upon their co-op work experiences. o Students are better prepared to understand the course material presented in class as a result of their co-op experience. o Co-op students ask more relevant and sophisticated questions in the classroom than do non co-op students. o Co-op students are more motivated to perform well in the classroom than non co-op students as a result of their co-op experience.

Baber, T., & Fortenberry, N. (2008, June), The Academic Value Of Cooperative Education: A Literature Review Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3148

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