Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Internships provide rich learning experiences

Today provided an interesting visit to the Darlington County School District where Patrick Flynn, a rising senior English major, is doing a professional writing internship with Audrey Childers, director of communications for the district. Audrey is a superior supervisor for the interns. She understands the importance of sharing the "Why" with students and she also has a great way of providing lots of on-the-job training that helps students get a great deal from the internship. From a professor's point of view this is an internship for students who have prepared well in their classes because while it is a learning experience, the District also relies on the interns to provide meaning work during their 135 hours on the job.

The visit today was the point where Darlene Small, director of the Coker College center for international and experiential education, likes to check in with the organization and the student to see how things are going. As the instructor who supervises the internship, I get to read the weekly journals students prepare and for the past few weeks I have been able to see Patrick learning news writing and photography skills along with putting in time updating clip files and other must-do work. Audrey expressed praise for his work and he had several stories of interesting experiences the past few weeks.

This visit, like most of the internship visits I get to attend, was another concrete example of the power of engaged learning. There seems to be no question that requiring at least a three-hour (135 work hours)work experience is a vital part of the communication major. (even though Patrick is English, not communication).

photo caption -- Patrick Flynn, left, takes part in a conversation about his internship with Darlene Small of Coker (center) and Audrey Childers of the Darlington County School District.

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