Student and educator perspectives on equity and online work integrated learning
Keywords:internships, placements, employability, diversity, virtual work integrated learning, remote work integrated learning, qualitative research
Students from diverse backgrounds report that time pressures, financial responsibilities, caring commitments, and geographic location are barriers to their uptake of work integrated learning (WIL). Through interviews with 32 students and 15 educators who participated in online WIL, we investigated whether online WIL might be one way of overcoming these barriers. Benefits of online WIL for students included employability skills, meaningful work, affordability, and flexibility when coping with health issues. Challenges for students included missing out on workplace interactions, digital access, and finding a private space in which to work. Students from diverse backgrounds were viewed by educators as bringing positive contributions to the workplace. Educators found challenges in giving feedback and not being able to replicate some aspects of in-person workplaces. We conclude with recommendations on how online WIL might be enhanced to better meet the needs of students facing equity issues.
Implications for practice and policy:
- All participants in online WIL should be encouraged to intentionally view diversity as a strength.
- Educators need to create explicit opportunities for formal and informal interaction and network building during online WIL.
- Educators should provide engaging and purposeful work during online WIL.
- Students may need additional financial or material support to undertake online WIL, for example to enable digital access and access to a private workspace.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Amani Bell, Kathryn Bartimote, Nora Dempsey, Lucy Mercer-Mapstone, Gulwanyang Moran, Jim Tognolini
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