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The Students' Experience Coming Back After Cooperative Education Experiences

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

CEED Technical Session: High-Impact Makerspaces, Transitioning from Co-op to School and Service Research

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

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Paper Authors


Jaqi C. McNeil University of Louisville Orcid 16x16

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JC McNeil is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at University of Louisville. Contact email:

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Mary Andrade University of Louisville, J.B. Speed School of Engineering

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Mary Andrade is the Associate Director of the Career Development and Cooperative Education office at the University of Louisville JB Speed School of Engineering. In this role she oversees the mandatory co-op program for more than 1000 students each year.

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Alex Delgado Beebe University of Louisville, J.B. Speed School School of Engineering

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Alex Delgado Beebe is currently a student at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering studying for a Bachelors Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, with the intention to later pursue a Masters Degree and PhD in Engineering Education.

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This study investigates students' experience from co-op back to the university. Cooperative education (co-op) experiences in engineering programs are valuable for students to get real, hands-on learning of what it is like to be an engineer in their field. This helps students decide if they would like to be an engineer, what kind of engineering they want to major in, and what company they want to work for. This study explores students’ transition from their co-op experience back to their classes at their home university. Thirty percent of students have reported the transition between their co-op experience and the university have hindered their academic motivation (Gunderson, Baily, Raelin, Garrick, 2016). There are students that mention having a hard time with the transition from the co-op back to classes to finish their degree at our university. The survey was sent out to over 400 students that were on co-op over the summer of 2016. It was found that 25% of respondents reported having a somewhat difficult/difficult time transitioning back to the university after going on co-op. The highest reported reasons for the difficulty were change in schedule. Details are reported below, including some qualitative responses from open-ended questions on the survey. The findings from this study will inform our co-op office and university on how we can build better support structures for students that are having transitional difficulties.

McNeil, J. C., & Andrade, M., & Beebe, A. D. (2017, June), The Students' Experience Coming Back After Cooperative Education Experiences Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29014

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