International Internships’ search and preparation: The Importance of student Peer-to-Peer Interaction Rachel Cox - International Business Development Manager Carolina Salinas – International Placement Manager Aston University, UK
Session Objectives • Share our experience of using peer-to-peer student interaction in internship preparation • Invite your thoughts and experiences from your own institutions
Agenda • Introduction to Aston University (AU) • Background to AU Placement Programme • Numbers • AU Placement Team • Focus on peer-to-peer support • Placement Event & International Fair • Why peer-to-peer? • Issues and challenges • Future developments
Aston University • Aston University, founded in 1895, is a long established research-led University known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce • Based in the centre of Birmingham, over 60,000 students and one of Europe’s liveliest and most welcoming cities • Rank in the ‘world’s top 50’ Universities (2012 the Guardian and international rankings agency QS)
Aston University • Four Schools of Study; • Aston Business School • Engineering and Applied Sciences • Life and Health Sciences • Languages and Social Sciences • Aston Business School is among 1% of the business schools worldwide who hold a triple accreditation from AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS
Our Programme • “Aston University had the highest percentage of all UK Universities with students enrolled on courses involving integrated sandwich placements (internships) or year abroad programmes”.(HESA PI data 2010 and 2011). • “Not even Oxbridge can boast a higher proportion of students gaining graduate level jobs on departure. Aston’s 87.7% is bettered by just four institutions and shows a clean pair of heels to the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Durham.”(Sunday Times University Guide 2012).
Background to Aston University’s Placement Programme • One of the largest internships programmes in the UK • Established for over 30 years • Between 800 and 1000 undergraduates on an internship each year • Over 150 of those must do an international internship • 250 on international internship • Advertise around 3000 opportunities each year, 600 of those based overseas • 15 –strong central Placement Office, 5 staff purely dedicated to support international internships • Work and study placements overseas • UK, Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia
Student Peer to Peer Support • Open Days • Briefing Sessions with Employers • Student Reports/Profiles/Videos • Facebook Groups • Peer Mentoring • The Placement Event (UK & International internships) • The International Placement Event (Only International internships) • Poster Events
The Placement Event (UK and International) • Unique event – no employers • Different from standard Careers/Placement Fairs • Attendance – 1st years as well as 2nd years • Invite finalists to share their placement experiences • Other organisations taking part: • International partner institutions – exchange students • Careers and Employability Centre • Job shop • Graduate Advantage • Peer Mentoring • Library
Plan OVERSEAS PLACEMENTS PARTNER INSTITUTIONS and EXCHANGE STUDENTS IT MKTG Finance HR GEN MAN Library Mentoring Jobshop Graduate Advantage Placement Office Advice EVENTS Careers STAGE STAGE
The International Fair (Only International) Unique event – no employers, only students Different from standard Careers/Placement Fairs Attendance – 2nd years and Final Years Invite finalists to share their international internship experiences Materials with different country information are available (i.e. country guides, job descriptions, university partner information, etc.) Round table discussions are organised by country and language, for the second half of the event
Plan Welcome desk (international background music) SPANISH SPEAKING INTERNSHIPS (Spain & Latin America) GERMAN SPEAKING INTERNSHIPS (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, etc) FRENCH SPEAKING INTERNSHIPS (France, Canada, Belgium, etc)
Why Peer to Peer? • Benefits highlighted by research: • Students may feel more comfortable learning from a peer • Students may benefit from the bonds they form with fellow students, and from participating in each others learning • relatively low cost way of engaging students, increasing their knowledge, informing their decisions and encouraging reflection about choices • “Student discussion has been identified as a key component of interactive, learning environments, (…) researchers agree that this is where the "real" learning takes place” (Ertmer et al, 2007) • “It is the dialog among community members that promotes learning” (Cunningham, 1992)
Why Peer to Peer cont… • The use of peer feedback (…) offers a number of distinct advantages including: increasing the timeliness of feedback, providing new learning opportunities for both givers and receivers of feedback, humanizing the environment, and building community (Corgan et al, 2004). • By engaging students in the feedback process, meaningful interaction increases—interaction with peers and interaction with the content of the discussions—which subsequently promotes students' satisfaction with the course (Richardson & Swan, 2003) and with the instructor (Fulford & Zhang, 1998). • It has the potential to increase the quality of discourse, and thus the quality of learning.
Issues and Challenges • Student engagement • Student goodwill • Finalists’ commitments • Exchange students • Facebook privacy • Timing • Reliability - according to Palloff and Pratt (1999), "the ability to give meaningful feedback, (…) is not a naturally acquired skill" • Students have a tendency to either inflate or deflate scores (Topping, 1998). Furthermore, Topping suggests that learners may perceive the peer feedback they receive to be invalid, leading them to refuse to accept negative feedback as accurate.
Student Videos • http://www1.aston.ac.uk/current-students/careers-centre/students-graduates/placements/overseas-placement-videos/
Future Developments • Facebook developments • Pod/Vodcasting • Use of incentives • Twitter • Student Ambassadors
Bibliography • Ertmer, P. A, Richardson, J. C., Belland, B., Camin, D., Connolly, P., Coulthard, G., et al. (2007). Using peer feedback to enhance the quality of student online postings: An exploratory study. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(2), article 4. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue2/ertmer.html • Black, A. (2005). The use of asynchronous discussion: Creating a text of talk. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5 (1). Retrieved October 3, 2005 from http://www.citejournal.org/vol5/iss1/languagearts/article1.cfm • Cunningham, R. D. (1992). Beyond educational psychology: Steps toward an educational semiotic. Educational Psychology Review, 4, 165-194.