Your “placement” may be a practicum course or may be work-place or community-based learning experiences built into a course. In either the longer or shorter duration, these opportunities are valued by students as a means to improve skills and refine understanding by practicing and receiving feedback in a professional setting. Also, students appreciate the chance to build their networks and resumes for their future careers.
Availability of placement partners?
In the remote context, we know that our usual partners may find themselves less able to take students on. Even if they want a student, they may also need to reduce the number of people in their physical settings. You may help your partners see possibilities by asking them about opportunities for remote-working for that student, or new projects that are entirely suitable and do not require regular or any physical presence by the student.
In addition to working with your usual partners, you could expand your search for partners by leveraging USask’s new partnership with Riipen. Riipen can be used by instructors in any course looking to incorporate work-integrated learning, community-engaged learning, placements, internships, or practica. It can be used to streamline existing partnerships and to find new ones locally, nationally, and internationally. Contact the Student Employment and Career Centre to learn more.
Tapping into student networks for placements?
Student situations may vary and affect options in ways you don’t expect. Many students may not move to Saskatoon this fall. But, they may be able to identify new opportunities for placements where they are living that actually work well. This might even expand options significantly. Consider reaching out to the students in the course to ask them about their locations and ideas for placement options that fit the criteria you set out. You can make use of the Survey Monkey tool, which is supported by USask.
Structures for success?
Ensure you and your partners can support, supervise, and assess students to an appropriate extent. The nature of the support, supervision, and assessment will likely be different. Consider how you can keep to the core principles you use during normal times and find technology enhanced approaches that may work adequately, just as well, or even better.
You may find the following resources useful:
Back up plans?
Create contingency plans in case the experience is interrupted for any reason. If there was an outbreak in the location of your student, or your student or their worksite needed to take quarantine measures, develop a plan for a reasonable response. Having a plan for this kind of disruption will help you, your students, and your partners proceed more confidently. And, it will also make you all feel equipped to make a good decision on the side of safety.
For more on student placements for remote learning see Preparing and Supporting Students in Remote-context Placements.