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ERIC Number: EJ1240536
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2020
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1363-9080
How Do Students Conceptualise the College Internship Experience? Towards a Student-Centred Approach to Designing and Implementing Internships
Hora, Matthew T.; Parrott, Emily; Her, Pa
Journal of Education and Work, v33 n1 p48-66 2020
At a time when colleges and universities are anxious to prove that their graduates are employable, internships are being increasingly touted as valuable 'high-impact' practices. However, how students themselves conceptualise internships is poorly understood, which inhibits the inclusion of their voices in the employability discourse and considerations of program design. In this study we use the freelisting method from cultural anthropology to analyse data from students (n = 57) in three US colleges, using saliency analysis, thematic analysis, and social network analysis techniques. Results indicate that the most salient terms in the cultural domain of internships were: 'experience,' 'learning,' 'paid,' and 'connections.' Students discussed these words in utilitarian terms (e.g. something to 'get' for one's resume), as important aspects of career- and self-exploration, and to highlight the importance of compensation. Differences in the complexity of student accounts were evident between students who had taken an internship and those who had not. These findings highlight how common definitions of internships reflect a homogenous and aspirational perspective that is inconsistent with student accounts. We conclude that students' insights about internships are important to consider to re-frame the employability debate to include student perspectives and experiences, to avoid one-size-fits-all approaches to internship design, and to facilitate student self-reflection.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A