Cooperative education

Cooperative education (or co-operative education ) is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience . A cooperative education experience, commonly known as a “co-op”, provides academic credit for structured job experience. Cooperative education is taking on new importance in helping young people to make the school-to-work transition . Cooperative learning falls under the umbrella of work-integrated learning (alongside internships, service learning and clinical placements) And the education of the student. [1]

Schneider’s foundations

While at Lehigh University at the beginning of the 20th century, Herman Schneider (1872-1939), engineer, architect, and educator, concluded that the traditional learning space or classroom was insufficient for technical students ( Smollins 1999 ). Lehigh graduates had worked to earn money before graduation. Gathering data through interviews of employers and graduates, he devised the framework for cooperative education (1901). About this time, Carnegie Technical Schools, now Carnegie Mellon University , opened and lessons for Schneider’s co-op plan in the region around Lehigh University. HOWEVER, In 1903 the University of Cincinnatiappointed Schneider to their faculty. In 1905 the UC Board of Trustees allowed Schneider to “try this cooperative idea of ​​education for one year only, for the failure of which they would not be held responsible”. The cooperative education program was launched in 1906, and became an immediate success. The University of Cincinnati, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Cincinnati. The cooperative education program was launched in 1906, and became an immediate success. The University of Cincinnati, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Cincinnati. The cooperative education program was launched in 1906, and became an immediate success. The University of Cincinnati, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Cincinnati.

Schneider, beginning of the rank of Assistant Professor , would rise through the rank of Dean of Engineering (1906-1928) to become Interim President (1929-32) of the University of Cincinnati, based largely upon the strength of the co-op program . Throughout his career, he was an advocate for the co-op framework. His thirty years of service to the University of Cincinnati are partly credited for that institution’s worldwide fame. In 2006 the University of Cincinnati unveiled a statue of de Schneider outside the window of his office in Baldwin Hall.

In 1965, the Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) created “The Dean Herman Schneider Award” in honor of the contributions made by Dean Schneider in cooperative education. The award is given annually to an outstanding educator from faculty or administration. In 2006 The University of Cincinnati established the Cooperative Education Hall of Honor to provide a permanent place of honor to individuals and organizations that have made a qualitative difference in the advancement of Cooperative Education for the benefit of students.

Post-Cincinnati evolutions

In 1909, seeing the possibility of co-op education, Northeastern University began using the co-op in their engineering program, becoming only the second institution in America to do so. By 1921, Antioch College had adapted the co-op practices to their liberal arts curricula, for which reason many co-op the “Antioch Plan.” In 1919 the General Motors Institute (GMI) was introduced to General Motors hires. This school was later renamed Kettering University . [2]

The Drexel University Four-Year Co-op program launched in the College of Engineering in 1919 with the participation of just three academic majors. This stemmed from the University’s founder Anthony J. Drexel’s belief that Drexel University should prepare its men and women for successful careers through an education that balances classroom theory with real world practice. In 1925, the five-year co-op program took hold in the chemical engineering department, which would later become the foundation of Drexel’s cooperative education program. Today, the cooperative education program supports students of more than 75 different disciplines, making it one of the largest programs in the nation.

In 1922, Northeastern University emphasized its commitment to co-op by extending it to the College of Business Administration. As new colleges opened at Northeastern, as the College of Liberal Arts (1935) and College of Education (1953), they became co-op schools as well. By the 1980s, Northeastern was the acknowledged leader in co-op education across the world. ( Smollins 1999 )

In 1926, Dean Schneider invited those interested in forming an Association of Co-operative Colleges (ACC) to the University of Cincinnati for the first convention. The idea took hold, and was followed by three more annual conventions. In 1929, the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education , now called the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), formed the Division of Cooperative Engineering Education , incorporating the membership of the ACC ( Auld 1972 ).

In 1957, the first Canadian co-operative education program began at the University of Waterloo with an inaugural class of 75. This program was seen as a success, Across Canada. These programs were based on the sandwich education model popularized in Britain and the new American co-op programs. Canadian co-op programs generally follow a four-month school system. This common system allows employers to hire students from multiple institutions with common timelines and training programs. [3]

In 1961, the Ford and Edison Foundations commissioned a study of co-operative education, published as Work-study college programs; appraisal and postponement of the study of cooperative education, (James Warner Wilson and Edward H Lyons, New York: Harper). That study resulted in the formation of the National Commission for Cooperative Education (NCCE). Co-operative education in the United States. Its membership includes sponsoring corporations and organizations (not individuals) from academia and business.

The Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE) began with 29 educators from 15 institutions. In its first form, it did not include any employers or industry representatives. The institutions felt that they should decide on an integrative plan for co-op education prior to admitting employers as members. In 1977, employers, HR representatives and recruiters began to join CAFCE. [3]

By 1962, about 150 academic institutions used co-op education, in one form or another. Many were outside of engineering. ASEE, in 1963, began the Cooperative Education Association. To reflect the membership of the ASEE, it is important to note that it is important to note that this is not the case.

Co-operative education and co-operative education. In 1965, the Federal Higher Education Act provided support specifically for co-operative education. Funding continued from the federal government through 1992. In all, $ 220 million was appropriated by the federal government to co-operative education. ( Carlson 1999 )

In Canada, CAFCE’s regulation of co-operative education programs is overseen. Programs can apply for accreditation after the first class of co-op students has graduated. In order to be accredited, 30% of time spent in the program must be devoted to work experience, and each experience must last at least 12 weeks. [4]

In 1979, educators from Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States (Northeastern’s President, Kenneth Ryder), met to discuss work-related programs in their respective countries. In 1981 and 1982, this group, headed by President Ryder, agreed on an international conference on cooperative education. In 1983 Several college and university presidents, educational specialists, and Employers from around the world (Including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands , the Philippines , the United States and the United Kingdom ) FORMED the World Council and Assembly on Cooperative Education To foster co-operative education around the world. In 1991, it renamed itself the World Association for Cooperative Education (WACE) .

In Australia

Co-operative education is common in most Australian high schools, and has been included in many university courses as a part of making up final grades. Australian institutions often refer to co-operative education as Work Placement, VET or Prac. [5] [6] All of these involve students going into their field of choice and joining that field of a set of weeks in unpaid work. This unpaid work goes towards credits for graduation in both school and universities Australia wide. [7] The Australian government has been funding this program due to the success of its work. Many companies in Australia are more than willing to hire an individual who has had proper training within their particular field, Which has created many more successful applicants and jobs within Australia. [8]

Co-op models

From its beginnings in Cincinnati in 1906, cooperative education has evolved into a program of secondary and post-secondary levels in two predominant models ( Grubb & Villeneuve 1995 ). In one model, students alternate a semester of academic coursework with an equal amount of time working, repeating this cycle several times until graduation. The parallel method splits the day between school and work, typically structured to accommodate the student’s class schedule. Thus, as a school-to-work (STW), the co-op model includes school-based and work-based learning. These activities help students explicitly connect work and learning.

Other models, such as the sandwich model and the American-style semester model instead have students work a 40-hour work week for a set amount of time, typically between 12 weeks and six months. After this period is over, students return to the classroom for an academic semester after which they may have another work term. This cycle often repeats multiple times, adding a year or more to the students’ university career. In this model, students do not receive a summer break from school but instead are either working or in school for 12 months of the year. [3] Before or during this work experience students may complete activities designed to maximize their learning on the job. [9]

Co-op’s proponents identify benefits for students (including motivation, career clarity, enhanced employability, vocational maturity) and employers (labor force flexibility, recruitment / retention of trained workers, input into curricula). . ( Barton 1996 ; Wilson, Stull & Vinsonhaler, 1996 ). This is the case in the literature . Barton (1996) identified some of the research problems for secondary co-op as follows: federal data collection high school co-op enrollments and completions ceased in the 1980s; Some of the workshops were co-op. Ricks et al. (1993) describe other problems: due to lack of a clear or consistent definition of cooperative education, researchers can accurately identify variables and findings can not be compared; Theory is not well developed; Theory, research, and practice are not integrated; And co-op research does not adhere to established standards.

Another set of problems involves perceptions of the field and its marginalization. Because of its “vocational” association, co-op is not regarded as academically legitimate; Rather, it is viewed as taking time away from the classroom ( Crow 1997 ). Experiential activities are necessarily rewarded in post-secondary promotion and tenure systems (except in certain extenuating situations), and co-op faculty may be isolated from other faculty ( Crow 1997 ; Schaafsma 1996 ). ( Ricks et al., 1993 ). It is important to note that this is not the case . Schaafsma (1996) and Van Gyn (1996) agree that the field places too much emphasis on placements rather than learning. Wilson, Stull & Vinsonhaler (1996) also decry the focus on administration, logistics, investments, and procedures.

Some institutions are fully dedicated to the co-op ideal (such as Northeastern University , Drexel University , Georgia Institute of Technology , RIT , Kettering University , LaGuardia Community College and Purdue University ). ( Wilson, Stull & Vinsonhaler, 1996 ). In this paper, we present the results of the study of the cost-effectiveness of the co-op . ( Grubb & Villeneuve 1995 ) or LaGuardia during a budget crisis ( Grubb & Badway 1998 ). For students, costs and time to completion may be deterrents to co-op participation ( Grubb & Villeneuve 1995 ). Other deterrents may include financial barriers, aversion to displacements due to family obligations or other pressures.

New approaches

Despite these problems, there is optimism about the future of co-op education; “Social, economic, and historic forces are making cooperative education more than ever” ( Grubb & Villeneuve 1995 , p.17), including emphasis on university-industry-government cooperation, a fluid and demanding workplace On-the-job learning, globalization, and demands for accountability ( John, Doherty & Nichols 1998 ). ( Furco 1996 , p.9 ). The aim of this study is to provide a framework for the development of the classroom . Because of this, The field is in a position to capitalize on its strengths and the ways it complements other experiential methods in the effort to provide meaningful learning opportunities for students. To do this, however, cooperative education must be redesigned.

For Wilson, Stull & Vinsonhaler (1996) , a new vision involves conceiving, defining, and presenting co-op “as a curriculum model that links work and academics” (p.158). Ricks (1996) suggests affirming the work-based learning principles upon which co-op is based. These principles assert that cooperative education, self-directed learning, reflective practice, and transformative learning; And learning and learning experiences in adult learning.

Fleming (2013) [10] suggests that a new practice and research focus should be on the relationship between educational institutions and employers – institutions should take more initiative when it comes to training supervisors to be effective mentors. This would maximize the success of the work and the amount of student learning, while also increasing the quality and quantity of the students’ work. Drewery and Pretti (2015) echo this as they call for more attention on the relationship between the student and the supervisor, explaining that this relationship can greatly impact the students’ satisfaction with the co-op term and the benefits they gain from it. [11]

Schaafsma (1996) also focuses on learning, seeing a need for a paradigm shift from learning to learning, including reflection and critical thinking. Co-op is an experiential method, but learning from experience is not automatic. Therefore, Van Gyn (1996) recommends strengthening the reflective component that is already part of some co-op models. ( Van Gyn 1996 , p.125 ). In this paper , we present the results of the study. A Higher Education Council of Ontario paper reviewing the University of Waterloo ‘ S PD programs states that the reflective element of the program is one of the main strengths, as it encourages students to review their own experiences and learn from their work terms. [12] Maureen Drysdale suggests in a 2012 paper that the reflective elements of co-op allow students to increase their career and personal clarity relative to non-co-op students. [13]

The Bergen County Academies , a public magnet high school in New Jersey , used co-op education in a program called Senior Experience. This program allows all 12th grade students to participate in cooperative education or an internship opportunity for the full business day each Wednesday. Students explore a wide range of career possibilities. This new approach was adopted as an educational initiative for 12th grade students.

Negative implications

Although there are many benefits to the co-operative education program, there are some downsides. The negative implications of the government’s future funding for education. [2] A huge burden that co-operative education brings to the education institution is financial struggles. The financial struggles of the schools and universities. [2]

Implications directly to the students who participate in co-operative education is mainly based on direct learning at their institution, whether it is school or university. The co-operative education program takes students away from school or university. As a student misses a consecutive number of school days, they can start to fall behind in school work and will eventually be unable to cope with their workload. [14] For students who expect school and also participate in the co-operative education program, commonly called Work Placement or VET courses, they are not eligible for direct entry into university. This Then Gives the option year student of TAFE entry, a certified university bridging course or go on to full-time work after-completion of graduation.

Integrating experiential methods

School-to-work and service learning have also been promoted as ways to link theory and practice through experiential learning experiences. Furco (1996) outlines the similarities between school-to-work and service learning. Although school-to-work, service learning, and co-op have different goals,

  • Based on the philosophy that learners learn best through active engagement in meaningful activities
  • View of students as active learners and producers of knowledge
  • Use of such instructional strategies as contextual learning and application of knowledge to real situations
  • Requirement for schools to establish formal partnerships with outside entities
  • Concern for integrating school experiences and external experiences

The Community Service Scholarship Program at California State University -Fresno combines cooperative education with service learning. Students receive co-op / internship credit and scholarships for a community service ( Derousi & Sherwood 1997 ). As in traditional co-op work placements, students get real-world training, opportunities to explore career options, and enhanced employability skills such as communication, problem solving, and leadership as well as awareness of community and social problems. Combining co-op and service learning and preparing students for roles as workers and citizens.

Research on highly successful co-op programs in Cincinnati ( Grubb & Villeneuve 1995 ) and at LaGuardia Community College ( Grubb & Badway 1998 ) shows that they share the basic philosophy and fundamental characteristics of the educational strategy of school-to-work. The reconceptualization of co-op should recognize and build upon this connection. At the same time, lessons from successful co-op programs can benefit the broader STW movement.

There is a need for broader definition of acceptable models for integrating work and learning. Barton (1996) and Wilson, Stull & Vinsonhaler (1996) identify co-op, internships, externships, apprenticeship, career academies, etc. Work-based learning programs should look for connections and develop collaborative relationships. The alternating and parallel co-op models may not meet the needs of returning students and dislocated workers requiring retraining ( Varty 1994 ). Alternatives such as extended-day programs emphasizing mentoring should be considered.

Connecting activities to integrate school- and work-based learning are an essential part of STW . At LaGuardia, the required co-op seminar helps students make connections through giving them a structure within which to reinforce employability skills, examines major issues of work and society, and undertakes the critical activities of critical reflection ( Grubb & Badway 1998 ).

Grubb & Badway (1998) and Grubb & Villeneuve (1995) found that the value of cooperative education is embedded in the culture of the institution (LaGuardia) and the region (Cincinnati). In this supportive culture, employers do not necessarily have to wait a long time to get the job done. This “informal culture of expectations around work-based learning may be more powerful in the long run than a complex set of regulations and bureaucratic requirements” ( Grubb & Villeneuve 1995 , 27).

However, even LaGuardia has found it difficult to sustain co-op culture over time ( Grubb & Badway 1998 ). “The only way in which STW programs can find a permanent place in schools and colleges is for the work-based component to become so central to the educational purposes of the institutions that it becomes unthinkable to give it up as it would be to abandon Math, English, or science “( Grubb & Badway 1998 : 28).

Finn (1997) believes that the answer lies in going beyond recoding co-op as an “educational strategy, pedagogy, model, methodology, or curriculum” ( Finn 1997 : 41). The role of co-op practitioners in the development of co-operative education and training. For Ricks (1996) , cooperative education is inherently committed to improving the economy, people’s working lives, and lifelong learning abilities. It can thus position itself to the experiential learning needs of students into the 21st century.

Cates and Cedercreutz (2008) demonstrate that the assessment of student work performance by co-op employers can be used for continuous improvement of curricula. The methodology, funded by the Fund for Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) has been developed to a level allowing institutionalization. The methodology could, when implemented over a larger front, provide a substantial competitive advantage for the entire field.


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  • Work-study (federally subsidized campus employment) in the later twentieth century became a formal and major component of student financial aid in the United States .
  • The University of Waterloo has a co-operative education program with more than 19,000 students enrolled in co-op programs and more than 5,200 active co-op employers. Their five-year co-op program includes twenty-four months of work experience. Enrolling in the co-op program at the University of Waterloo does not guarantee co-op employment. The school requires students to have a minimum of sixteen to twenty months of valid work experience (depending on the program of study) to successfully complete their academic program. Despite a high percentage of employment through the coop program, many students obtain employment by other methods, including a full-time volunteering positions. [15]
  • Since its inception in 1975, the co-operative education program at Simon Fraser University (SFU) has grown to more than 8,400 students seeking paid work experiences across the globe. SFU’s co-op programs span the faculties of Applied Sciences, Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Communication, Art & Technology, Education, Environment, Health Sciences, and Science. The University has worked with over 6,000 employers worldwide. An SFU student has won the Canada-wide title “Co-op Student of the Year” four times.
  • Wilfrid Laurier University and the Laurier School of Business and Economics provide a BBA program in their first-year. It offers three four-month work terms. Additionally, the school offers a co-op MBA program for high caliber students with less than two years of work experience.
  • The University of British Columbia’s co-operative education program includes over three thousand students from the faculties of Arts, Commerce, Engineering, Forestry, Kinesiology, and Science.
  • All Antioch College students participate in the college’s co-op program as part of their academic requirements for graduation. Under the program, students spend a total of four twelve-week terms, distributed throughout their undergraduate years, working as paid, full-time employees in local, national, or international settings. The program at Antioch, which is located in Yellow Springs, Ohio , started in 1921.
  • The University of New South Wales (NSW) in Sydney provides an industry-linked Co-op Scholarship. Students receive a scholarship of $ 17,000 per annum for each year of their degree and current offerings span twenty four areas in business, engineering, science, and the built environment. Along with industry experience, the Co-op Program incorporates leadership and professional development in addition to networking and mentoring opportunities.
  • The Florida Institute of Technology has a condensed cooperative education program allowing students to graduate in four years with three-semester work terms. This program is only followed by engineering students and requires students to take online coursework while they are working full-time as a cooperative education student.
  • Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and best-known cooperative education programs. 91% of undergraduate students in over 75 majors participate in the co-op program. During their time at Drexel, students experience up to three different co-ops and gain up to 18 months of working experience. With over 1,700 employees in its network, Drexel’s cooperative education program connects students with industry leaders across 35 states and 45 countries. Drexel’s cooperative education program allows students to explore future careers, but also their cooperative education experiences back to the classroom. As a result of cooperative education, Drexel students graduate has already built a professional network, And they typically receive higher starting salaries than their counterparts from other schools. Students may also choose to participate in a co-op or a co-op. Specialized co-op experiences are also offered at the graduate level.
  • Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts has a co-operative education program started in 1909. The program places over five thousand students annually with more than 2,500 co-op employers in Boston, across the United States, and around the globe. A student graduating from Northeastern with a five-year bachelor’s degree has a total of eighteen months of internship experience with up to three different companies.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) began cooperative education in 1912.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) started cooperative education in 1912.
  • Kettering University in Flint, Michigan enrolls students in co-operative education from their first year on campus, specializing in engineering, science, and management degree programs.
  • Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) has a co-operative education program with more than 34,000 students (2016) enrolled and more than 9,000 co-op employers. The three-year co-op undergraduate programs include one and a half year of compulsory internships. DHBW offers job integrated learning (JIL) programs only. In JIL, every DHBW student has to be employed by a single company during the complete duration of the study program. Lectures and compulsory internships are geared to maximize applied learning. [16] Founded on March 1, 2009, DHBW traces its roots back to the Berufsakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg (founded 1974).
  • Steinbeis Center for Management and Technology of Steinbeis University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology has a two-semester co-operative education program with an optional third semester in the sophomore summer. Every student in the Institute is required to do two co-ops. Co-operative education has been active since 1975 with over one thousand students in a co-op each year.
  • EPUSP – Escola Politecnica of the Universidade de São Paulo offers cooperative education in Sao Paulo , Brazil .
  • TOBB University of Economics and Technology offers cooperative education in Ankara , Turkey .
  • Purdue University : has a top ten-ranked [17] cooperative education program That Was Established in 1964. Originally exclusive to students in the College of Engineering, the co-op program is now available to students in 48 different disciplines in 8 of the academic colleges On campus. Purdue offers 5-session and 3-session co-op programs. -16 months of work experience. Both programs are 5-year academic programs, though students pay tuition while studying on campus and pay a small administrative fee during each co-op work rotation. As of July 2014,
  • To complete a bachelor of education at any Australian university, the individual must complete a minimum of 36 weeks of practirum in a school faced environment doing work placement in their desired field, which includes helping the teacher to teach a fully planned out class.
  • For Australian high school students who are not completing ATAR courses, work placement is highly encouraged to gain credits to complete graduation [5]

Specialized academic journals

  • Asian-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education
  • Journal of Cooperative Education and Internships
  • Journal of Workplace Learning

See also

  • Cooperative learning
  • Dual education system
  • Intern
  • Practice-based professional learning
  • Service-learning
  • Work college
  • Work experience
  • Practicum (Work placement)


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