Starting Your Internship

This page 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 page 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
  • Preparing the internship proposal

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 (45 credit program) or 21 academic credits (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.)

  • In addition to academic credit for time worked, students earn additional credit 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:

  • 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.

  • Complete your academic responsibilities.

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

That work is in addition to the 675 hours worked for the internship.  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 additional 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.

Preparing the Internship Proposal

The internship proposal serves as both a formal agreement between your internship location and Concordia University about the nature of the internship, as well as a learning plan for the academic part of your internship.

The internship proposal also becomes the foundation of the first chapter of the completed internship report.

Because of its multiple uses in and out of the university, the proposal requires clear, precise writing.

The process for preparing the proposal is:

Note: The proposal for the internship should be completed by the time you finish 20 work days.

1.   Using the guide below, draft an outline of the proposal to make sure that you have included all of the key parts.

2.   Submit the outline to the academic supervisor for review.

3.   After incorporating the comments from the academic supervisor, prepare a first draft of the proposal for the academic supervisor to review.

      Notes:

  • Anticipate about 1 to 2 weeks of interrupted work to complete the first draft of the proposal.
  • Anticipate about 1 to 2 weeks to receive feedback from the faculty supervisor.
  • Because this is likely your first, formal proposal, anticipate 2 to 3 drafts to become familiar with the style of writing.

3.   After receiving feedback from the faculty supervisor, revise the proposal.

4.   Submit the revision to the faculty supervisor for another review.

5.   Once the faculty supervisor approves the proposal, share the proposal with the Internship Coordinator and on-site supervisor. Make any additional changes that they request.

6.   Submit the completed proposal to all of these parties for a formal signature.

Following is the format for an internship proposal.

Overview Provide an overall introduction to the proposal.Use the following format to do so:SENTENCE 1: In 30 to 40 words, state the overall purpose of the proposal.

SENTENCE 2: This section starts with list sections in the proposal using words that match word-for-word the titles of the sections.

Work Context Purpose:  Provide a brief background on the host organization and your specific role in it.Format:1.    Provide an overview of the section. Use the following format to do so:

       SENTENCE 1: In 30 to 40 words, state the overall purpose of the proposal.

       SENTENCE 2: This section starts with list sections in the proposal using words that match word-for-word the titles of the sections

2.    Provide a brief (ideally, 75 words or fewer), description of the organization:

a.    State the name and mission of the organization.

b.    Name the key products or services it provides.

c.    State its key locations.

3.    Provide a brief summary of the organizational structure.

a.    Name the key officer (such as the president or CEO) of the organization.

b.   Name the functions reporting to the key officer and, in a phrase, describe each.

Tips:

    • List the function for whom you work last.
    • Except for the function in which you work, do not name the people who head these functions.   

c.    Name the groups reporting to the function for which you work, in a phrase, describe what each does.

Tips:

    • List the group for whom you work last.
    • Except for the group in which you work, do not name the people who head these groups.

d.    Name the departments reporting to the group for which you work and, in a phrase, describe what each does.

Tips: 

    • List the department for whom you work last.
    • Except for the department in which you work, do not name the people who head these departments.

4.    Describe the department in which you work.

a.    State its mission (if it formally has one)

b.    Name the key staff in the department, with a focus on those with whom you will be working.

c.    Name the key projects in the department.

Tip: List the project on which you work last.

Expected Duties and Outcomes Purpose:  Describe your internship project.Format:1.    Name the project(s) on which you will be working.

2.    List the deliverables you are expected to  produce—not just finished work, but also interim work, like drafts.

If quality standards to which deliverables must adhere are known, state them when describing the deliverables.

3.    List—one at a time—the tasks  needed to create these deliverables.  (Some will be listed in the job description, but others may need to be identified through  a conversation with your onsite supervisor).

4.    Summarize your work in a timeline, a chart with these components:

Task Anticipated completion date
 

 

Learning Plan Purpose:  Explain what you intend to learn in this internship and how you intend to learn it.  After all, the primary purpose of your internship is to learn.Essentially, this involves conducting a needs assessment of yourself as a worker and involves a process of reflection.The result:  formally stated objectives  for the internship (just like the main objectives you learned how to write in the Human Performance Technology (HPT) course).

Format: 

1.   Introduce the section.

2.   State what qualified you for the internship—that is, the skills and knowledge you bring to the position.

List this information in a chart like this:

Characteristic Sought by the Employer Skills, Knowledge, and Experience I Bring How I Developed these Skills, Knowledge and Experience
State 1 characteristic, taken from the job announcement you received List the relevant skills, knowledge and experience that you bring to the position State how you developed these skills, knowledge and experience, such as classes, reading, previous work experience, and volunteer jobs.
Repeat for the other key characteristics listed in the job description

3.   Present your learning objectives for the internship.

Note that experiences to achieve the objective should include readings, but are not limited to them.  They should also include anticipated work experiences, as well as other experiences you can have that help you achieve the objectives you have established for the internship.

Task #1 (from the list above) What competencies do I already have that will help me accomplish task #1?Competencies are usually defined as including knowledge, skills and attitudes. Please specify which one you are talking about. What competencies don’t I have and that I need to develop in order to accomplish task #1? Or what competencies do I need to further develop to help me accomplish task #1.Once again, please specify whether you are referring to a gap in knowledge, skills, or attitudes. Please restate the gaps you have identified in terms of learning objectives. Your learning objectives need to be observable and measurable. What will I do to diminish the gap and reach my learning objective? What strategies will I use? Examples can be: attending a workshop; reading about x; interviewing a colleague; observing person y etc… How will I know that I’ve diminished the gap and reached my learning objective? (deliverables, evaluations…)
Repeat for additional main objectives

 

Preliminary reading list Purpose:  Provide a preliminary list of the 30 to 50 full academic articles you intend to read as part of the internship (or their equivalent)—each linked to one of the objectives for the internship.Format:1.    Prepare the list:

a.    Identify at least 20 books, articles, chapters, or other professional documents that relate to the tasks and context you will be working in.

Format in APA style.

b.   For each item listed, explain, in a sentence, why this would be beneficial.  For example, link the reading to one or more competencies to be developed.

Notes:

  • This list of references is preliminary.  The number of readings listed will eventually grow by 100 to 150 percent.
  • It is strongly recommended that you read at least 3 articles per week in your internship, so you are ready to write the internship report when you finish the internship.

Otherwise, you might need to spend several weeks reading, which will substantially delay the report.

2.    Organize the list as a table:

Main Objective Readings that Support Achievement of this Objective
 

 

About the Monitoring Process Purpose:  Explains how you plan to communicate with the faculty supervisor and when key evaluations will occur.
Format:1.   State the frequency and format of logs.

a.   State how frequently the logs will be submitted (typically, students submit one  after each 100 hours).

b.   Describe the format of the log.  Typically, the log reports this information:

i.      Date of the log

ii.     Number of hours completed since the last log

iii.    Total number of hours completed in the internship (if a problem arises, the faculty supervisor can use this information to advise you—the more current and complete this information, the better the advice)

iv.     Key accomplishments during this period, which names the major tasks on which you worked during this period.  Specifically, this section—which can be presented as a table—briefly describes the following information.

Name the deliverable on which you worked What is its status-completed, in-process, or delayed? Explain what the deliverable is and why it’s important Explain the process for preparing this deliverable—and how you felt about the work

vi.    Lessons learned: List any insights learned during this period.  You might comment on a connection observed between classwork and real work; or some insight about your project or the field.

vii.   Messages for the faculty supervisor

viii.  Structured abstracts for the readings completed during this period.  By using structured abstracts, you can easily review key facts from the reading without having to fully re-read it.  Briefer formats of abstracts do not provide a sufficient level of detail.  See Attachment A for a description of a structured abstract.

      Tip: Make sure you have no fewer than 3 structured abstracts with each report.

2.   Anticipated dates of phone calls or in-person meetings with the faculty supervisor.  (Usually 1 occurs after 200 hours and another might occur just before the end of the internship, at 600 hours).

State the purpose of each of these conversations.

3.   Anticipated week of the mid-internship visit, in which the faculty supervisor and Internship Coordinator visit the site where you work.

Explain the purpose of the mid-internship visit.

Particulars of the Internship Purpose:  States basic administrative information about the internship.Format:1.   State the location of the internship.

When doing so, state the full street address.

2.   State the start and end dates of the internship.

3.   State the number of hours per week that you will work.

4.   State any prerequisites for hiring, if any, such as security clearances.

5.   If appropriate, State the working conditions of the internship, including:

  • Contractual responsibilities
  • Remuneration
  • Insurance offered (if any)
  • Technological resources being provided (such as use of a computer)

      Note:  If you plan on using technological resources of the Concordia Department of Education, for internship purposes, you must first mast sure that these are available. To do so, contacting Peter Blyszszak in the Technical Office.

Internship Team Name and contact information of you on-site supervisor.Name and contact information of you faculty supervisor.Name and contact information of the Internship Coordinator.
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