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Online Teaching of Professional and “Soft Skills” to Undergraduate Students: Medium and Long Term Impacts Judene Pretti, Director Waterloo Centre for Advancement.

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Presentation on theme: "Online Teaching of Professional and “Soft Skills” to Undergraduate Students: Medium and Long Term Impacts Judene Pretti, Director Waterloo Centre for Advancement."— Presentation transcript:

1 Online Teaching of Professional and “Soft Skills” to Undergraduate Students: Medium and Long Term Impacts Judene Pretti, Director Waterloo Centre for Advancement in Co-operative Education (WatCACE) Tonya Noël, Program Evaluation & Projects Coordinator Waterloo Professional Development Program (WatPD) March 23, 2012 HEQCO Teaching & Learning Workshop Hamilton, ON

2 Outline WatPD Overview Courses Course Design Operations Evaluation Plan Overview Current Project – Students – Co-op Employers – Additional Sources

3 Two Questions How can you teach students soft skills – especially in an online course? How will you know that the program is making a difference?

4 WatPD Overview Required online professional and “soft skill” courses taken by all undergraduate co-op students during work terms – 4 or 5 credits needed for co-op degree (varies by faculty) – Each course is ~20 hours of work – CR or NCR appears on students’ transcripts History/Motivation for Creation – Feedback from employers that students need more than technical skills – Academic credit for work terms – Centrally run unit under supervision of the Associate Provost, Resources

5 Courses Required (Applied Heath Sciences, Arts, Environment, Science and Mathematics) – PD1: Co-op Fundamentals – PD2: Critical Reflection & Report Writing Required (Engineering) – PD20: Developing Reasoned Conclusions – PD21: Developing Effective Plans Elective (All) – PD3: Workplace Communication – PD4: Teamwork – PD5: Project Management –PD6: Problem Solving –PD7: Conflict Resolution –PD8: Intercultural Skills

6 Course Design Each course has its own content developer Worked closely with Centre for Extended Learning to put courses online General Idea – introduce theory on specific topic – provide examples in workplace settings – through assignments, students connect theory to their experiences

7 Operations Staff – Director and Associate Director – Administrative Coordinator – Instructors (Waterloo faculty/staff paid as sessionals) – Instructional Support Coordinators (5) – TAs (15-20/term; full-time intermediate/senior co-op students) – Part-time markers (60+; grad students/former TAs) – Program Evaluation and Projects Coordinator Scale – Began in Fall 2006 with 272 Math students. – Winter 2012 courses include students from all 6 faculties – Currently offer 9 courses with more on the way

8 Our Program Evaluation Journey Accountability Program Improvement

9 Program Evaluation Overview Results Behaviour Learning Reaction Kirkpatrick, Donald L. (1998). Evaluating training programs: The four levels (2 nd ed.) Focus for this project

10 Current Project: Students End of course and “Completed PD requirements” surveys – Self reports using Likert scales or responding to open-ended questions (that are coded using a code book) Focus groups – Expand on the above surveys (sessions are transcribed and coded) Graduating student survey – Self-reports on education outcomes that are believed to influence employment success – Compare responses of students in co-op vs. regular programs – Compare responses of students in co-op who did/did not complete PD courses

11 Current Project: Co-op Employers Survey about views towards soft skills, familiarity with the program, and Waterloo students’ skills – Included in winter (on campus) interview packages with an online option available Interviews (follow-up to the above) Course reviews (volunteers from interviews) Co-op students’ work term evaluations – Map items that do/don’t connect to WatPD objectives – Compare ratings of students who did vs. did not complete PD courses

12 Current Project: Additional Sources HEQCO surveys – Analyze data collected in the work integrated learning survey to improve understanding of differences between co-op students and non-co-op students – Review employer responses to determine if differences exist between Waterloo and other institutions uWaterloo Office of Alumni Affairs – Liaise to determine if any of their studies measure WatPD objectives

13 Questions? Judene Pretti, Director Waterloo Centre for Advancement in Co-operative Education (WatCACE) x32355 Tonya Noël, Program Evaluation and Projects Coordinator Waterloo Professional Development Program (WatPD) x32271


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