Blog & Opinion
28 February 2019 • Willem Looije
Internship and graduation process harmonisation
Each faculty and often individual degree programmes deal with the process around internships and graduation projects in different ways. Based on the history and specific nature of the degree programme, a process has developed that perfectly suits that degree programme’s needs and possibilities, the team of lecturers and the available support.
From a university of applied sciences-wide perspective, however, this is inconvenient, inefficient and all those differently structured processes lead to quality risks. Therefore, in recent years we have made an initial attempt to harmonise and automate the internship and graduation process through the use of the OnStage digital tool.
The ‘Internship and Graduation Process Optimisation’ project from Back on Track aims to continue working on this harmonisation. Only a small part of the internship and graduation processes have been established in the OnStage tool. Moreover, when OnStage was set up it was not implemented as a uniform process but a lot of customisation has been done. OnStage is therefore used in many variants which makes it difficult to manage. By working towards one process implemented across the entire university of applied sciences, we can save time for coordinators, supervisors, managers and our students, we can increase the satisfaction of students, lecturers and external parties, improve the quality of the processes and make them more manageable, and we will instantly meet the accreditation requirements such as filing internship and graduation projects.
Because of my work experience, I understand the lecturers who consider it unnecessary to enter internship assessments in two different systems. Instead of being helpful, OnStage is often an additional burden. The result is that internship files are incomplete and not concluded, which incurs risks related to academic progress and student satisfaction, among other things. The students, too, have experience with the cumbersome procedures such as printing files to then uploading them digitally, and user-unfriendly interfaces. Uploading doesn’t always work, students and lecturers have to wait for each other before continuing and communication often goes through two channels (OnStage and Outlook) – a lot can be improved in this part of our primary process.
As process owner, I am not responsible for the execution of the process but I am responsible for establishing and safeguarding a qualitatively good process. And therefore, also for the activities that are required to achieve a process description, for keeping it updated, optimising it and ensuring that the university of applied sciences complies with all rules and legislation in this regard. Step 1 in that is working on harmonising the various internship and graduation processes into a single clear process description, including setting up the ‘online check and assessment’ and ‘digital assessment forms’ modules as the standard within the internship and graduation process. For this purpose, I will soon be sending all faculties a request to provide staff who are involved and know this process well and who are prepared to collaborate actively and give their opinions. An invitation for this will soon be sent to the directors. Are you interested and want to help/contribute ideas? Then let your manager know.
Besides his position as Human Kinetic Technology degree programme manager, Willem Looije has also been appointed as process owner of the internship and graduation process, and as such is responsible for the quality and evaluation of the university of applied sciences-wide internship and graduation process.