Assessing internship experiences via video blogs (vlogs)
Students are asked to reflect on their experiences and the connections between knowledge they have acquired at UCL and their internship role as part of their assessment
15 February 2018
In the summer before their final year on the Arts and Sciences BASc, students are strongly encouraged to take an internship, and are supported by UCL Careers in sourcing one.
Between 80% and 90% of BASc students do so, the majority using UCL Careers advice and support. Some students apply for internships exclusively sourced by UCL, other students source their own internships in the UK and abroad.
The internship experience is ‘assessed’ via a reflective vlog (five minutes in the below examples, seven minutes from 2017 onwards) which is the first assessment in the final year ‘Knowledge Economy’ module of the BASc. This is a module designed for students to experience the practical benefits of interdisciplinary working in a real world consultancy project. The vlog therefore has no direct connection with the course content but is coherent with it in the sense that this part of the degree is explicitly aimed at employability and reflecting on the connection between higher education and future career or study plans. The students complete the vlog for submission before the start of term, typically around 15 September.
The rubric for the assessment asks students specifically to reflect on the connection (if any) between knowledge they have acquired at UCL and their internship role and (in a distinct category) the connection (if any) between skills they have learnt at university and the role. There are also questions on, for example, the organisational culture and the finances of the organisation, as well as guided questions on personal development: How did the role suit your skills and personality? Has the experience affected your plans for the future? And so on. View the form below which sets out the assessment criteria:
This assessment and the rubric which supports it, connects explicitly and directly with Connected Curriculum Dimension 4: Students connect academic learning and workplace learning. Feedback from students is that the questions asked in the rubric guide them towards research which is helpful in thinking about life after university and even in preparing for specific sectors they would like to work in or for job interviews. One student commented, "I loved doing this assignment. It taught me so much just thinking about these questions".
The assessment is not onerous to set up, but it is relatively heavy on marking time, with each five minute vlog requiring about 15 mins to mark, so that each vlog is listened to carefully twice and then feedback written up. The assessment is facilitated by the module lead and/or Careers or PGTAs assisting on the module.
Carl Gombrich, Programme Director of the Arts and Sciences (BASc) commented:
"This assignment allows students to reflect on the relationship between their university studies and areas of work similar to those in which they may work after graduation. There are also particular benefits in researching and reflecting on the details of, say, organisational culture, or the financial workings of a company. These often reveal surprises, for example the non-hierarchical nature of some large corporates or the importance of a hard financial approach in parts of the charity sector."
The rubric works well in its current form, encouraging students to link their academic studies both to personal development and to future career plans. However, next year, in order to meet the ‘outstanding’ category of the Connected Curriculum in Dimension 5, we plan to introduce a section asking students to reflect on cultural capital in the workplace and any (or lack of) inclusive practices implemented by the employer.
Dimension 4: Students connect academic learning and workplace learning
Dimension 5: Students learn to produce outputs – assessments directed at an audience