Riipen Virtual Internships and Work Integrated Learning
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Currently, many post-secondary students are losing valuable virtual work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences including ...
Currently, many post-secondary students are losing valuable virtual work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences including co-op, placements, and internships. Simultaneously, employers are losing essential post-secondary student workers. For employers, this decline in WIL can have negative implications including a smaller worker pool from which to draw.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Riipen is offering solutions that support both employers and students. Riipen offers post-secondary institutions a scalable platform to operate students’ WIL experiences with immediate effect, so classes and placements such as co-op or internships, do not have to be cancelled.
Riipen has three ways to offer virtual WIL experiences to employers and students:
1. Virtual Internships/Virtual placements
Academic institutions are reporting a growing shortfall in student placements and internship opportunities due to COVID-19. With closure of physical office spaces, many employers are hesitant to commit to hosting student interns at this time. As an alternative to a traditional internship or placement, Riipen is offering the opportunity to solicit virtual internships and placements from our network of employer partners. Internships can be done by one student or teams of students. They can be paid or unpaid projects (in line with the norms in each sector). These projects can also be offered as co-curricular experiences or embedded in courses for credit. Riipen’s team works with academic institutions to identify virtual internship opportunities for students at no cost; the project management tools in the Riipen platform then enable comprehensive project management and reporting.
2. Curriculum-embedded WIL Experiences
Riipen experiences are educator-designed as a curriculum-embedded experiential learning assignment, which is then matched through the Riipen platform to companies who have submitted a project scope for a problem or issue that they are currently working on. Students complete the projects virtually, receiving feedback from participating industry partners and course-credit for their work.
Riipen offers challenges, competitions and hackathons. These competitions are entirely online and can include programs like Case Competitions. Employers design the competition focus, and may award prizes.
Riipen’s framework for WIL, in which students and educators are partnered with off-campus organizations, ensures that the student is in a workplace or simulated workplace. The real-world cases, problems and issues presented by these organizations are authentic examples of the demands of the workforce. Regular milestones linked to feedback, for example, require punctuality and interpersonal skills such as the ability to receive and act in a timely manner on constructive feedback. This emphasis on essential employability skills (such as interpersonal communication), combined with the application of university/college program knowledge, ensures that students enhance their employability through these virtual WIL experiences.
The Riipen platform includes a comprehensive set of virtual WIL project tools including: milestones, automated emails, chat and message, video chat, and automated reporting boards. These are all purpose built to support the timeline completion of the WIL experience. Dashboards are updated real time and include comprehensive metrics:
(1) Number of WIL placements. (2) Number of employers. (3) Number of academic institutions. (4) Average experiential learning hours per WIL placement. (5) Requests from employers. (6) Requests from instructors. (7) Types of skills. (8) Number of WIL placements per skill. (9) Skills ratings of students by employers. (10) Feedback from employers. (11) New WIL projects developed by employers. Additional metrics also available including student reflection and future student-hiring.
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