Co-op Best Practices > On-Site Visits from all Perspectives

On-Site Visits from all Perspectives

posted on March 1, 1999

From the Coordinator's Perspective:

  • Allow plenty of time to book the appointment with the supervisor and student. Follow through to alert the student that you will be visiting on that date and time. (Seat sale bookings are attractive in terms of budget savings, but must allow enough time to properly set up appointments.)
  • Brief the supervisor on the work site expectations for both employer and student. This, hopefully, will have been done before the student co-op work term hire, but doing it during this visit reinforces the value of the learning to take place over the work term.
  • Bring a final evaluation form with you. Ideally, this would also have been sent prior to co-op hire, but it is helpful to discuss expectations and final evaluation during the on-site visit.
  • Allow enough time to meet with both employer and student. It may vary whether you meet with both employer and student together. When setting up the appointment, it may be helpful to check with both employer and student to verify if they would like the opportunity to speak with you privately.
  • Regardless of whether you meet together or separately, remember that neither party should feel rushed. Arrive on time.
  • Carefully discuss with the employer the learning objectives and job description of the co-op student. When meeting with the student, do the same thing. This is the crux of the visit. Kolb's Model of Experiential Learning may help to focus discussion with the student.
  • Verify with the employer if they will require additional students for upcoming work terms. If the supervisor is not the person making this decision, allow time to meet the person responsible and set up an appointment with him/her.
  • Leave your business card in case the employer has any additional comments. Encourage the employer to call at any time.

From the Student's Perspective:

  • Have all the necessary documentation with you at the on-site visit, i.e. log book, learning contract, etc. Keep a copy of all documentation you send to the co-op office.
  • Take the time beforehand to think of any questions you might have for your coordinator. Jot them down.
  • Prepare for your on-site visit by making sure your learning contract has been completed (in consultation with your supervisor) or any other paperwork that is required for this stage of your work term. If you are required to keep a log or a journal, ensure that it is organized and up to date. If the supervisor is required to review and sign it regularly, it would be appropriate to arrange a time with your supervisor, in plenty of time before the actual on-site visit, to have him or her review it.
  • Consider the on-site visit an integral part of your learning experience. Utilize every opportunity available to reflect on your learning experiences. Impress your supervisor with your preparedness!
  • If you have questions about your work term report, ask them now.
  • Use this time to build a good working relationship with you coordinator. Coordinators want to see you succeed and can be very helpful to you.

From the Employer's Perspective:

  • Recognize that you are an educator. Take the time to offer thoughtful suggestions on course content, etc.
  • If you have to reschedule, please let the coordinator know as soon as possible; your feedback is terribly important both to the student and to the educational institution.
  • Be honest and informative in the evaluation of the on-site visit and in the final evaluation. Constructive criticism and praise for a job well done are equally important to the future development of the co-op student.
  • If at all possible, arrange for a quiet, private area where everyone can communicate effectively.
  • If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the institution's service delivery, please speak up. Coordinators can only improve services by being aware of areas that need work.
  • If you have updated literature on your company, directories of employers, etc., please share this with the coordinator.
  • If you require assistance at any time, please don't put off making that call to the coordinator. Your immediate feedback on a potential problem could well avert it.
  • We know you are really busy, but your completion of the evaluation, etc., is critical. Please complete on time.