Co-op students prepare “Learning Agreements” that define their learning objectives and outline the focus of what the student intends to learn from the academic work experience. Learning agreements are NOT completed in Handshake.
Faculty advisors should work directly with their co-op student(s) to complete the learning agreement by the deadline noted in the co-op calendar. Once the learning agreement is completed and approved, the faculty advisor will describe the standards s/he will use to assess the students learning and the dates when projects or activities will be due.
Students’ worksite supervisor will review the learning agreement and agree to help the student accomplish their objectives by signing the agreement. The learning agreement will focus on: Learning Objectives, Activities and Documentation.
A learning objective is a description of what a student wants to learn during his/her co-op experience. Generally, learning objectives fall into one of three categories:
- Knowledge/Understanding: learning some specific information, such as facts, concepts, theories or ideas
- Skills: learning to do something, such as business writing, editing, public speaking, conducting interviews, using a software or preparing reports
- Attitudes/Values: learning more about him/herself. For example, clarifying feelings about working with a specialized population or within an organization climate that is new
The Activities section describes the strategies the student will use, or processes that the student will complete, to achieve an objective. Most students will complete more than one activity to meet each objective. Some examples may include:
- Read specific books or journal articles
- Conduct interviews
- Write a daily journal
- Write reports on workplace events
Documentation refers to a description of how the student will demonstrate what s/he has learned, such as:
- Submit a weekly journal and a summary essay tracing what s/he has learned
- Compile a portfolio of work and submit outstanding samples of work
- Prepare a case study of a client and compare what they have learned about the client with current research