In 2020, we all found ourselves operating under exceptional circumstances. This page has been created for UTS academics to support students in the case they will have to do internships remotely.
Communication and negotiation
Communication is key in professional life. Nobody works in isolation so advise students to practise their communication and negotiation skills. This can be exercised in two ways: a) students need to articulate clearly what they expect to achieve and b) supervisors and employers need to be clear about what are expecting of students while on (remote) internships.
Ensure your students clearly communicate with host placement supervisors about
- working hours – are they set (9am to 5pm) or are they more flexible?
- responding to emails – especially expectations around out of hours replies
- well-defined aspects of the role, particularly those that differ in the online space
- how to establish early contacts, such as supervisor, bosses, colleagues etc. – what are the methods of communication they are using?
- how often they are expected to contact their supervisors
- clear and polite communication – ask students to observe netiquette guidelines
- keeping clear records of what they are working on and the time spent on each task, in a diary or workbook
- ways to connect with university peers whilst completing the internship
- asking employers to suggest connections or networks to join – LinkedIn may be a good place to start.
- identifying effective feedback channels – determine the regularity of this feedback and how to maintain this
Creating a workable environment
Working from home is not the same as a workplace. Productivity is directly proportional to a suitable environment. Draw student attention to the following:
- the host internship might have guidelines for setting up good working environments at home, outline these if applicable.
- the importance of planning the week and having a daily routine – healthy habits like getting up early and exercising or writing in a journal can pave the way for a productive day
- they can reach out to academic staff, supervisors or employers if there are concerns
- UTS has a buddy system where students may connect to peers for informal meet ups online
Working from home requires access to a smart device and a high-quality internet connection. Here are some issues for your students may want to consider:
- identity the technologies required before commencing the internship and ascertain whether software will be provided
- check the internet connection and ensure they have a plan B if the internet goes down (eg. Zoom or Teams on a smartphone)
- when collecting or analysing data or research establish what technologies will be used to house the information and ensure they are managed in a robust backing up system – shared documents platforms such as Google Docs or Microsoft teams may be used
- ensure confidentiality is practised when working on work-based documents – if sharing a computer with others, securely shut down browsers when work is finished
When making subject materials and learning experiences available to students studying in China, it’s important to note that this will involve some technical difficulties and limitations due to accessibility issues and Government restrictions. Our technology guide for travel restrictions provides an overview of learning technologies and their availability in China.
It is very important that students address their mental and physical wellbeing, throughout the course of the internship. Remind students to:
- reach out to supervisors if they have questions, especially if something is unclear and the student feels stuck or concerned
- include some exercise in the day, where possible
- eat regular, healthy meals
- stay hydrated
- carve out time to spend with family and other household members
- consider that COVID-19 has created an extenuating set of circumstances which may raise anxiety levels (see science-based-strategies-to-cope-with-coronavirus-anxiety)
Text by Dimity Wehr and Ian Zucker