[This material was designed for use in a graduate course as a way for a learner to obtain specific learning experiences. It could be adapted by anyone desiring to gain specific experience or knowledge about a particular agency, occupation, or area of interest. If possible, find a mentor or agency representative willing to provide advice, feedback, and support.]
A short-term internship in a community organization or agency provides many of the same values inherent in an agency visitation. A typical internship experience for a three credit, semester-long course would consist of a 40-50 hour experience working with some adult education practitioner. This might involve simply following a person around one week observing the various activities that are required in carrying out the job. Another experience might include involvement with some special program on which the agency is working, such as being a member of a planning committee for a conference or training workshop. Such an experience might necessitate the person working with the agency for a few hours each week during the entire semester. We also have suggested mini-internships to non-credit workshop participants as a back-home learning technique that could be employed after the workshop has been completed.
The instructor's role is to serve as a liaison with the agency as needed, to discuss the learning experiences periodically with the learner, and to help in efforts to evaluate the experience. We typically ask people undertaking a mini-internship to complete some sort of a log or report of their experience. The report should include a self-evaluation of the effort and some type of overall statement regarding what was learned. We then will provide written (or oral if preferred) feedback to the learner. We also typically will contact the agency to determine if any problems developed during the internship experience and to obtain their overall assessment of the value of the experience for both the agency and the learner.
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