Starting Your Internship

This document describes the process for starting your internship.  It covers the period after you have been hired—through the completion of the formal internship proposal, which serves both your on-site and faculty supervisors.

Specifically, this document covers:

  • The purpose of the internship
  • Key participants in the internship
  • Your work and academic responsibilities in the internship
  • Developing realistic expectations of the internship

A separate page explains how to prepare  the internship proposal.  Sepatrate pages describe how to prepare the internship log, report,a nd presentation.

Purpose of the Internship

The internship is a capstone to your master’s degree studies in Educational Technology.  It provides you with an opportunity to:

  • Apply your classroom learning in practice
  • Experience real work in the field of Educational Technology
  • Further your education—and begin the process of ongoing, lifelong learning, through related reading about topics relevant to your internship
  • Reflect and report on your experience

The internship is worth 18 academic credits (for the 45-credit program) or 21 credits (for the 60-credit program).

  • Fifteen (15) of those credits are related to the actual work—each credit covers 45 hours of work.

Although most students choose to complete all 675 hours in a single location, some split them between locations.  If you choose to do so, you should make sure that you work enough hours in each location so that you have a good sense of the work that occurs there, at least 200 hours.

We award academic credit for time worked.  Although the on-site supervisor evaluation plays a significant role in awarding the credit, the final determination is made by your faculty supervisor and the Internship Coordinator. (The next section describes these roles.)

  • Additional  credits are for related academic work, including:
    • Ongoing reading related to topics arising in your internship (you should expect to read between 30 and 50 additional academic articles as part of this experience)
    • Writing an internship report

You are assessed on this part of the internship by an academic committee, which includes your supervisor, two readers of the final report, and the Internship Coordinator.  The next section describes the roles of each participant in the internship.

Key Participants in the Internship

Several people play a role in your internship—some at your internship location, some at Concordia.  These include:

At the Internship Location At Concordia
  • On-site supervisor, the person who formally hired you.  This person assigns your work assignments and has responsibility for preparing an evaluation of that work.  Sometimes, the on-site supervisor does that alone; in other organizations, the on-site supervisor does so with the assistance of others.  The on-site supervisor also participates in a mid-internship review with members of the Concordia team

You may or may not have regular contact with this person. Sometimes on-site supervisors review work; in other instances, they assign that responsibility to others.

  • Project manager, a person who works for the on-site supervisor and oversees the project on which you work.  Usually a project manager has the responsibility for ensuring that a project is completed on-time and within budget, and addresses day-to-day issues that arise within that project. Sometimes project managers review work, in other instances, they assign that responsibility to others.
  • Other instructional designers, who work for the on-site supervisor and  often provide feedback on assignments, as well as a lot of informal learning through casual conversations, lunches, and other everyday activities.
  • Internship Coordinator:  Assists students in finding internships by recruiting opportunities from local employers as well as meeting with students to assess their skills and interests, and matching them with opportunities that meet their needs. As part of this, the Internship Coordinator might also review your curriculum vitae and cover letter and, if time permits, participating in mock interviews with you.  (Note that time might not permit.)  Following your placement, the internship coordinator makes sure that the internship proceeds smoothly, then schedules your internship report and chairs (moderates) the actual presentation.  If the Internship Coordinator is away, the Faculty supervisor fills in.
  • Faculty supervisor, the person who oversees your academic work.  The faculty supervisor:
    • Works with you to develop the proposal
    • Receives and provides feedback on your logs
    • Makes sure that you keep up with your academic reading
    • Schedules occasional conversations during the internship with you
    • Participates in a mid-internship review with your on-site supervisor
    • Ensures that the on-site supervisor completes the post-internship evaluation
    • Guides you through completion of the internship report.
    • Approves the final report and the awarding of academic credit for the entire internship.
  • Readers, who are two faculty members selected after the internship report is ready for presentation, read and comment on that report, and participate in the decision about whether or not to award academic credit.

Your Academic and Work Responsibilities in the Internship

During the internship, you have two sets of responsibilities:

1.  To competently perform your job to the best of your ability.  Most of this involves showing up for work, performing your duties by the expected deadlines, informing your on-site supervisor of issues arising about which you either need help or that might affect your ability to meet a deadline, and following the processes and guidelines at your employer.

Most interns are new to the work world—or at least to the world of working in educational technology—so the internship is a learning experience.  That is, employers recognize that you are beginning to build your body of experience and recognize that there might be instances in which you need support and guidance.  So, as the intern, also give yourself permission to learn.

2.  Complete your academic responsibilities.  As noted earlier, in addition to the 15 credits received for the internship itself, you receive additional academic credits for related academic work, including the internship report.

That’s  close to 150 hours worth of work.  As a result, you should expect to spend at least 5 to 10 additional hours per week on academic work during the internship. If you don’t invest this time during the internship, you can expect to invest it afterwards; this could delay the completion of the internship report.

Specific expectations for these academic credits of work include:

  • Within 20 work days of starting the internship, completing the formal proposal.
  • During the internship:
  • Every 100 hours, submitting logs to your supervisor in the format that he or she requested.
  • Keeping up with the reading that you are expected to do during the internship; approximately 30 to 50 full academic articles (or the equivalent).
  • Participating in occasional conversations with the faculty supervisor
  • Coordinating the scheduling of the mid-internship meeting between your on-site and faculty supervisors, and the Internship Coordinator.
  • After the internship, completing and presenting the internship report within 6 months.  The internship report and resulting presentation should follow the guidelines in the document, Preparing and Presenting the Internship Report.

Developing Realistic Expectations of the Internship

One of the ways to receive the most benefit from an internship is to enter it with realistic expectations.

Here are some suggestions, based on the experience of previous students:

  • Although you can expect some ongoing contact with your on-site supervisor, the extent might vary from your expectations.  In some instances, supervisors travel frequently and are not around the office.  In other instances, supervisors have their own work to do and do not have the time to provide daily or, in some cases, weekly feedback to interns.  Most significantly, in the workplace, most supervisors follow the philosophy, “No news is good news.” That is, if they do not say anything about the work, it is probably acceptable.

Also, it is appropriate for you, as the intern, to initiative contact to discuss your progress.  In these instances, make your on-site supervisor aware of your interest in meeting to discuss your progress and ask him or her to suggest a schedule. This is somewhat typical:

  • At the end of the week for the first 2 to 3 weeks.
  • At the end of first month of work.
  • Mid-way through the internship (this review is incorporated into the internship structure).
  • At the end of the internship (this review is also incorporated into the internship structure; the on-site supervisor is expected to submit a written report).

However, if your job involves direct, ongoing interaction with your supervisor, you probably do not need to make this request; you might receive feedback informally.

  • Although most students start an internship with a defined assignment, in as many as 60 percent of internships, the assignments change during the course of the internship.

This is normal; business conditions change and, as a result, require that employers reassign workers to other projects to meet the changed priorities.

Academically, a change in responsibilities does not cause a problem.  You do not need to change the internship proposal.  Instead, just notify your faculty supervisor in the next log of your work.

Also note that how you handle a change in responsibilities reflects on yourself as a worker. The more flexible and “go with the flow” you are, the better others will perceive you.

  • Even if your employer has suggested that this is a possibility, do not expect that the internship will turn into a job.  If things change during the internship and no formal offer materials, you won’t be disappointed because you didn’t expect one in the first place (or took their hints with a grain of salt.)  If you decide you do not want to continue working there (and yes, you have the right to feel this way), you will feel freer to make the decision that best meets your needs.
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