Internships help students develop writing portfolios and learn professional work attitudes, while building relationships with potential future employers and establishing professional contacts.
This panel addresses the necessity of dialogue within and about the technical communication workplace of the future as it mixes scholarship, classroom practice, and the reports of corporate technical communication managers to offer a comprehensive approach to the analysis of internship data and the productive use of internship experiences.
The quality of internships for students and for employers is highly influenced by how well the students and employers are prepared for them. In this segment, we discuss how academia can prepare students so that students and their employers get the most out of internships. We suggest a model that academia and employers can use to identify skills and knowledge students require now and in the future to ensure successful internships. We identify the need for employers to produce a quality internship environment that takes full advantage of the students’ skills and knowledge. And, we’ll discuss how academia and employers collaborate to continually enhance the quality of internship programs.
To improve technical communication education, educators and internship providers need to find ways to revise internship experiences so that educators, internship providers, and students/interns can use internship experiences in a way that benefits all three parties. This article uses a stakeholder education approach to propose two new kinds of internship processes to benefit all three groups. The first approach--colloquia--allows all three parties to interact via the same scheduled event. The second approach--student publications groups--shifts internship from a workplace to a school activity. By including such approaches into their curricula, technical communication programs can both improve their relationships with local internship providers and improve the training received by their students.
New technologies provide technical communicators with opportunities to expand their learning communities. Establishing and maintaining an electronic mentoring forum will benefit students and teachers.
The Faculty Internship Panel provides a guideline and model for faculty internship programs. Although technical communicator internships, particularly faculty internships in the corporate environment, are generally considered a good idea. They are difficult to set up. The Austin STC chapter (in collaboration with members of the Austin Technical Communications Mangers' Focus Group and the Technical Communications Department at Austin Community College) set up and ran a successful pilot Faculty Internship program. A panel offaculty interns and corporate sponsors provide pointers in planning, implementing, and evaluating such a program.
Working in an internship position provides an opportunity for a student to recognize that what they’re learning how to do in the classroom has great value beyond the college campus. In my experience, however, in order for the internship to be successful there are a few things to keep in mind.
MTU students, pursuing a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication, are encouraged to seek internship or Co-op opportunities which will provide them with professional experience prior to graduation. This page provides a listing of companies where students have worked in order to enhance their professional growth.
Through internships and other practical experiences outside of the traditional employment situation, both students and employers benefit. Students benefit by gaining some work experience that they can put on their resume and employers benefit from lower cost in workforce for a particular project. Most colleges and universities recognize internship experiences related to a student's chosen field of study for credit. These are structured experiences or contracted experiences monitored by a supervisor on the job site and from the school.
Wise teachers know how to learn from their students. This paper draws on the work-experience journals of graduate students in Northeastern University’s Masters in Technical and Professional Writing (MTPW) program. Written from 1993 through 1996, the journals provide insights from these internships so that we, the teachers, can better prepare future students for the world of technical communication.
The collaborative nature of information development departments create special challenges for student interns, challenges which require that the student, the academic department, and the information development department can meet with careful planning and preparation. An intern must not only be well prepared academically, with knowledge and skills that support a company’s needs; each intern must also understand and accept the organizational culture in which he or she must be deeply involved in order to work and learn effectively. The information development department can use each internship as an occasion to examine its own culture and communication patterns.
The MTSC internship, an integral part of this program, is intended to provide students with supervised, first–hand experience at applying what they have learned in their classes to the kinds of professional situations they will encounter in their careers. Internships are also designed to help students gain or extend their direct, personal knowledge of the profession and its practices.
The internship is a very important part of the Scientific and Technical Communication program at the University of Minnesota. Through the internship students learn what it is like to work as technical communicators in the business setting and how to adapt to an organizational culture. The internship experience helps students research decisions about the type of technical communication work they would like to pursue and often leads to jobs offer after graduation. All undergraduate and graduate students are required to complete internships as part of their degree programs.
This paper summarizes some of the major lessons learned about conducting usability tests with visually impaired participants while working as interns at Google, Inc. The lessons were in four major areas: (1) recruitment and scheduling, (2) preparing the usability lab for testing sessions, (3) using think-aloud protocol with screen readers, and (4) helping observers to get the most out of the test sessions.
Experiential learning theory provides a theoretical foundation for studying technical communication internships. This study explores, through the perspective of the experiential learning cycle model developed by David Kolb, internships in technical communication. Participants in technical communication internship experiences were asked to provide, from their different perspectives, information that described the experience. Program directors, industrial supervisors, and student interns provided different views of what they had experienced, illustrating that most had entirely different perspectives on their level of participation in creating, supervising, and evaluating this form of educational experience. Besides describing technical communication programs in the United States more comprehensively, the results of this study raise questions about how the respondents perceived their experience and how the "reality" of these perceptions often conflict. When these findings are explored within the epistemology conceptualized by Kolb's experiential learning theory, a framework is established for more systemic procedures and standards that will enhance the internship as a credible learning experience.
This article reports a study of internship requirements in technical communication programs compared with three established professions and one emerging profession that have certification or licensing requirements for practitioners. The study addresses three questions about technical communication internship programs: 1) Are internships offered as a way to fulfill program academic credit requirements? 2) If internships are offered, are they required or elective? 3) What are the minimum/maximum academic credits allowed for internships toward fulfillment of program requirements and the number of workplace hours of internship required? To answer these questions we focused on three elements of internship program management: academic credits, workplace hours per academic credit, and total workplace hours required. Our findings indicate that there is considerable disparity for these factors among programs in our field and that we lack criteria similar to those used in established professions for internships.
The purpose of this empirical study is to explore expectations of industry insiders and identify how student interns are performing in relation to those expectations as defined by 11 performance areas. The results of a survey of 238 industry supervisors were collected over a 5-year period in the departments of English and communication at a private university in the Northeast. While the results suggest that student interns tend to meet their supervisors' expectations in many areas, performance categories such as initiative, writing skills, and oral communication skills require increased attention in the ways we prepare students for their internships and post-graduation employment and, perhaps, the ways we help onsite supervisors develop expectations for and evaluate our interns.
The Unisys Mission Viejo facility and the Capistrano Valley High School, both in Mission Viejo, California, were able to achieve a mutually beneficial partnership when an English teacher (Anthony Pastizzo) with an unusual perspective on learning and a Product Information manager (David Robinson) with a strong commitment to education got together. Mr. Pastizzo's summer internship in the Unisys Product Information department led to high school student internships in many departments. Other positive results may also follow. The internships also produced some unexpected positive results within the Unisys facility.
This paper presents suggestions to help interns and new hires adjust to the workplace in business or government. They include avoiding personal use of company equipment; controlling use of cell phones and computers; observing telephone and voicemail etiquette; opening only business-related email; learning about the organization's culture; dressing appropriately; participating actively in meetings; being punctual; remembering names; behaving appropriately in social interactions with other staff; being courteous; and having a positive, constructive attitude. The suggestions are designed to enable the intern or new hire to create a good impression and increase their chances of success in the organization.
This set of 23 slides is intended to help bioengineering students prepare to write letters of application to secure their first internships. The slides describe what types of information to include in the letter, how to organize and format a business letter, and some annotated examples taken from students' drafts that illustrate common problems. This file could be adapted for students in other disciplines by modifying the examples.