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Practicum-Education Experiences: Post-Interns' Views

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Abstract:

The practicum component in undergraduate education across all professions (identified by various terms such as 'internship,' 'field education,' 'clinical experience' or 'co-op education') is typically rated by pre-baccalaureate students as the most important phase of their entire professional preparation. In this investigation, which formed one segment of a broader cross-Canada study, a group of post-practicum Engineering students from one Canadian university (who had just completed an internship with engineering firms) identified the most positive and the most negative aspects of that practicum experience. The authors compared these students' responses with those reported by post-practicum students from two other professions: Nursing and Teacher Education. Several positive aspects were identified by all three groups of students, such as: developing their professional competence and technical skills, increasing their personal self-confidence, and gaining real-world experience. Some of the negative aspects that all three cohorts mentioned were: receiving unsatisfactory internship placements, experiencing inadequate mentorship, and being assigned unproductive work tasks. The authors contend that practicum organizers across all professional fields should exchange with one another and examine such student data. The student voice provides a valuable dimension to the program-enhancement process, the ultimate goal of which, is to improve the 'experiential learning' phase of professional pre-training in all fields.

Keywords: CO-OPERATIVE EDUCATION; CROSS-DISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION; EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING; FIELD EDUCATION; INTERNSHIP; PRACTICUM; STUDENT VOICE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

More about this publication?
  • This journal serves as an international interdisciplinary forum of reference for engineering education.
    A balance between papers on developments in educational methods technology, case studies, laboratory applications, new theoretical approaches, educational policy and survey papers is aimed for.
    Comprehensive coverage of new education schemes and techniques makes the journal a unique source of ideas for engineering educators who are keen to keep abreast of latest developments in educational applications in all fields of engineering.
    Some of the areas covered more extensively in recent issues are: CAD, CAE, computer applications in teaching thermodynamics, material science, electrical engineering, new courses and curricula, engineering management, control engineering, mechanical engineering, engineering design, student evaluation and institutional accreditation.
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