Work Portfolio courses are also intended to teach students how to think about their work and their various co-op experiences, to help students find their voice in public communications about their work, and to promote both professional and personal growth. It is the belief of the Co-op faculty that these broad goals cannot be effectively achieved unless serious attention is given to the thematic interests of our students, the methodologies that underpin the approaches of the various disciplines to which the College is committed, and the evolving fields in which students desire to gain experience.
With this in mind, the Co-op Faculty defines Portfolio Courses as having the following common characteristics:
STANDARD STUDY/WORK SEQUENCE:
Students are required to earn a minimum of eight co-op credits for graduation. They do so by completing four approved Cooperative Education experiences and pass four Work Portfolio courses with a grade of “C” or better (two credits each) that they are required to take concurrently while engaged in their cooperative work terms.
Students can enroll in any one of the Work Portfolio courses that are open at the time they engage in their cooperative work term as long as they meet the co-requisite of an approved co-op experience and any prerequisite WORK courses identified.
Work Portfolio courses are generally considered to be “asynchronous” in that they are facilitated in an online environment via an electronic course management system. Students work at their own pace within the guidelines of the assignments, the schedule of the instructor, and the due dates indicated on the syllabus. Although there is a wealth of interactions and face-to-face contact is encouraged, these courses are mediated by the student in terms of time and space, in coordination with the course instructor.
As with courses on campus, active student participation in online courses is necessary for success. Course attendance in online courses is considered in various ways:
The Co-op faculty recognizes that students may operate in very different environments while taking online classes than they do in standard in-class settings. Commuting times, internet access, living situations, and other factors influence a student’s ability to perform. Moreover, instructors take different approaches to the various courses offered online. If a student is unable to access the online learning platform, they should communicate with their instructor the first week of the course either by email, telephone, or U. S. mail. Their instructor will consider the logistical issues and talk with the student about how they can fulfill the terms of the course in the event that they do not have regular internet, phone, or Skype access. If the student expects that they will have a hard time communicating for whatever reason, they should print out a copy of the syllabus as well as the details of all assignments at the outset of the co-op term. It is not uncommon for a student working in a remote setting to write out the assignments longhand and send them by regular mail.
It is imperative that students enter into communication with the instructor during the first week of the co-op term so that they will be counted as participating in the course. Students who have not demonstrated participation in online courses through the means described above during the first two weeks of the quarter will be dropped from enrollment by the registrar. Please note that this may have an impact on the awarding of financial aid for the term.
Cooperative education experiences and Work Portfolio courses are co-requisites. Students need to be successful in both in order to receive credit for a co-op. Success with the Work Portfolio is demonstrated by meeting the requirements explained in the course syllabus. Success in the experiential component is demonstrated by holding the approved position for the duration of the co-op term or transitioning to another approved co-op placement in order to fulfill the required 11 weeks of fulltime engagement.
The Cooperative Education Program understands that from time to time either a student or an employer may decide to terminate an approved position before completion of the term. Students are expected to be in contact with their co-op advisor in order to resolve issues before they become problematic; but sometimes things do not work out.
Co-op partners are asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing the cooperative relationship. Through that document they are reminded of the protections afforded to all workers by law. Nevertheless, nothing contained within the MoU prevents an employer from terminating a student’s employment if they find cause to do so as long as they operate in accordance with state and federal laws. Employers are asked to consult with a representative of the Co-op Program prior to such action, but on rare occasions such eventualities occur. Likewise, students should consult with the Co-op Program if they have problems at their workplace; however, it is within their right to renounce a position if they feel that is the right thing to do.
The Co-op Program prioritizes a student’s right to work in a safe and supportive environment and provides support to students who feel the need to leave a situation because of physical or emotional safety concerns. The Co-op team works hard to provide assistance to students in such a situation so that they have the best possible chance of successfully completing their co-op requirement. Students are informed however that Antioch College is not in a position to provide legal counsel to resolve legal disputes between a student and an employer.
If a student does leave a position, they may propose another position/experience for themselves in order to complete the required eleven weeks of fulltime work. It is essential that the student works closely with their co-op advisor in such cases in order to receive approval for any proposed replacement experience. It is important to note that failure to complete the required experiential component of the program results in a failing grade for the term, even if the student is making progress with the Work Portfolio component of the co-op term. It is also possible for a student to be successful on a co-op placement but fail the Work Portfolio course. If that is the case, the student may retake a Work Portfolio course at a later date by reflecting on a previous co-op experience–if that co-op was successful and met the required minimum number of hours.