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Communication Internship Syllabus

Course Overview

Department of Communication students can learn more about their chosen field of study and apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom to a working environment through internships. Through hands-on experience, students can see how theories discussed in textbooks and by their professors make daily workplace endeavors effective and efficient. Through internships, students also can gain valuable insights into their overall education and education plan.

CMM 498: Communication Internship allows students to earn academic credit while they work in a professional setting in a communication field. In the course students carefully design an internship plan – with the guidance of experienced Department of Communication faculty – that will best serve them on the job day-to-day and in the future. Through other course assignments, students actively connect their classroom education to the job, develop work materials for a professional portfolio, create a portfolio for future internships and jobs, assess their knowledge and skills, and plan their future courses.  

Course Prerequisites

Students taking CMM 498 must be communication majors of sophomore standing or above (30 semester hours completed or more) and have a minimum of 3.0 GPA in their communication classes. They must have successful completed the CMM Modules:110, 111 or 112, 113, as well as CMM 201, 202 & 330.

These pre-requisites are necessary so that students have some preparation for a professional position and properly represent their fellow students, future students, the Department of Communication and the University as a whole. A poor showing by just one student in an internship position can close off that job forever to other UDstudents.

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Internship Work Requirements

To help students find and secure internships, the Department of Communication posts positions and sends notices to communication majors as they come into the office. The Internship Coordinator also will advise students on job hunting and review their resumes, cover letters and portfolios. UD Career Services provides excellent career counseling and posts job and internship notices through its Hire A Flyer service.

Visit Career Services >>

Students should look for internships that provide professional career development. Students should avoid positions that offer only opportunities to observe and/or perform unskilled tasks, such as routine office work, event set ups or audience monitoring. One goal of CMM 498 is for students to enhance their existing skills and to learn more. So, CMM 498 requires that the internship be in the communication field. Students must aim for:

  • work experiences that will help them learn about and develop professional skills;
  • learning experiences that test applicability of classroom learning to the workplace; and 
  • opportunities to contribute to the organization, workplace and/or community.

CMM 498 requires that students be supervised and/or mentored by an experienced professional. The supervisor must agree to assign meaningful learning tasks/projects that allow the intern to test what he/she knows, learn new skill sets and gain knowledge. Students’ opportunities would be severely limited if they were left alone, assigned only non-professional tasks and/or supervised by, for example, an inexperienced employee. So students must aim for:

  • an environment with a supervisor who will offer professional review and guidance; and
  • an environment with supervisors and/or co-workers who can offer insights for developing an agenda for further studies.
The Job Requirements Summarized 
  • The The work must be in the communication field and should relate to the student’s concentration study area.
  • The student’s on-site supervisor must have at least three years of experience in the relevant communication field.
  • The intern must be mentored on the job.

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Semester Hours

Each academic credit earned translates to a minimum of 40 hours on-the-job during the semester. For two credits, students must work a minimum of 80 hours. For three credits, students must work a minimum of 120 hours. A maximum of three credits for CMM 498: Communication Internship can be earned for a single internship.

Students may apply for one, two or three semester hours for a single internship, depending upon total work hours, academic needs, academic interests and financial situation. One student might choose to get one credit hour even though he might work all summer at an internship. Another student might choose to get three hours when the internship requires the minimum 120 hours. 

Students may apply for up to an additional three credits for another internship, but such credit will be considered only in special situations by the Internship Coordinator and Department Chair. In any event, undergraduate students can earn a maximum of six internship and independent study credits to apply to their communication major. 

Once the student begins work and is registered for the course, he or she agrees to work the required number of hours for credit or will not pass the course.

Academic credit is not awarded to students for internships completed in a previous semester. No retroactive credit is ever awarded. If a student leaves an internship or drops course work past the university's allowable withdrawal dates, tuition will still be required.

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Internship Weekly Schedule

The Internship Coordinator recommends a shortened semester schedule for an internship, but more hours per week. Students need to take into account that they need time to write papers and take exams in other courses. So, students in fall term end their internship around Thanksgiving. Spring term internships usually wrap up at the end of April. 

To figure your minimum, weekly work-hour schedule, divide the 120, 80 or 40 working hours by about 12 or 13 semester weeks. Check the relevant UD Academic Calendar, count the semester weeks and do the math.

View the Academic Calendar >>

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Business Etiquette & Ethics

Remember: to be clear with your employer about the starting and ending date of your internship. Don’t leave your employer in a lurch during holidays or exams because you’re busy. Keep in mind that you represent all UD students, now and in the future. So, plan ahead and communicate your intentions clearly when accepting the internship post. 

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Course Requirement Preliminaries

Shortly before or after securing an appropriate internship (see requirements above), students should submit a completedresume to the Internship Coordinator. Students can receive help preparing and designing a professional resume from  UD Career Services. The student and Internship Coordinator will review the resume with an eye toward communication-specific interests and in anticipation of the required update at the end of the semester. (See Portfolio assignment on the Internship course web pages.)

After students have secured the internship, then they should submit the  job description to the Internship Coordinator to ensure that the position is suitable for CMM 498. If the position is approved, then students draft their Educational Objectives for the internship, following the directions on the course web pages. The Education Objectives are part of the Internship Learning Agreement, a major course document. The objectives set the tone, direction and outcome of the internship. It is imperative that students carefully consider them to ensure successful a internship that serve their long-range interests. Students submit their objectives to the Internship Coordinator for review and input, then revise as necessary.

At that point, students complete their remaining part of Internship Learning Agreement and submit the entire package to their employer. The employer fills out his part of the Learning Agreement. Both the student and employer must sign the Internship Learning Agreement.

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Internship Learning Agreement Deadline

Students return the signed, completed Internship Learning Agreement package (with final approved copy of Educational Objectives, resume and job description) to the Internship Coordinator no later than two weeks after starting internship and no later than Week 8 of regular academic semester.

During summers, the completed Internship Learning Agreement package must be submitted to the Internship Coordinator no later than two weeks after starting internship and no later than the last day to add summer courses as set by the Registrar’s Office, usually the first day of the second summer session. No Internship Learning Agreement will be accepted after the first day of the second summer session, and CMM 498 cannot be added after that date.

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Registration and Tuition

Only the Internship Coordinator can approve students for registration into CMM 498, and registration is permitted only after the preliminary steps listed above have been satisfactorily met.

Students should try to prepare their materials early, before the semester, so that registration can be handled online. Be sure to notify the Internship Coordinator when necessary to approve the course online. Otherwise, registration is handled through hard-copy Drop/Add Form. Visit the Internship Coordinator during office hours check before or after her classes or knock on her office door at any time. An appointment sign up sheet is outside her office door.

Students who are registered must be prepared to pay tuition for the course in that term. Summer tuition for summer internships, for example, is never deferred to the fall, just as tuition for any other course would not be deferred to another term.

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Course Work

Students will attend a workshop to learn how to develop their end of term portfolios. Check whether the Internship Coordinator is conducting a the course workshop around mid-term. If so, plan to attend. The date and time will be selected to minimize conflicts with classes and work. Students considering or planning summer internships should plan to attend such workshops in the prior semester.

Students will write their own “textbook” during their internship by keeping a Journal. At the end of each work day, students will take 15 minutes – no more, no less – to log important, educational information from supervisors and professional colleagues, as well as tasks, projects and accomplishments. Some of this material will be used to develop documents for the student’s portfolio, and for monthly  Progress Reports. After the internship, the notebook will be a source of inspiration on subsequent internships and the first job. 

Students will write a Progress Reports each month on their work, projects and, especially, achievements of their Educational Objectives. Directions for writing the reports are on the internship course web pages. The Progress Report is due to Internship Coordinator by 4 p.m. of the first day of each month unless prior arrangements have been made with the Internship Coordinator for a different schedule. These reports can be submitted by e-mail or delivered to the Internship Coordinator’s office. Students earning three credits must submit at least three progress reports. Students earning one and two credits must submit at least two progress reports.

Students will write a Reflective Essay at semester’s end, addressing their educational objectives and professional accomplishments. Directions on writing the essay are under on the internship course web site. The essay allows the student to internalize the internship experience and reflect on its impact in terms of the student’s educational aspirations and career. The essay is included in the professional portfolio, which is due at semester’s end.
 
Students will work on a portfolio throughout the internship and complete the portfolio at the end of the semester. The portfolio includes many documents (directions are on the internship course web site), mainly featuring examples of the student’s work on the job. The portfolio showcases the intern’s professional accomplishments, and can be later used by the student to apply for subsequent internships and jobs. A minimum of five examples of work product completed by the student at the internship are required. Work product includes, press releases, designs, strategies, productions and stories.

If the internship will not result in sufficient number of work samples, then the student must obtain written permission of the Internship Coordinator prior to the semester and agree to another course assignment.
 
The portfolio must be received by the Internship Coordinator no later than first day of examinations regardless when the student’s internship ends. For the exact date of the semester’s examinations, see the UD Academic Calendar for the relevant semester students can drop off their portfolios or send them to the Communication Department office. If using the US Postal Service students should plan to mail their portfolios about a week before the end of the semester or they can use more expensive delivery services if sent later. Options and suggestions are on the  internship course web pages.

Final portfolios reviewed by the Internship Coordinator will be available in the Department of Communication main office, Room 121 St. Joseph Hall, after the semester ends and until Week 6 of the following semester. Immediately at the end of Week 6, remaining portfolios are discarded due to lack of space. If you need your portfolio during exam week for a job or internship interview, contact the Internship Coordinator as soon as possible so that your needs can be met.

Employer Evaluation: The Internship Coordinator will provide the employer with a questionnaire to evaluate the intern’s performance. The employer must complete that evaluation of the student intern’s work in order for that student to pass the course. With the employer’s permission, a copy of the evaluation will be included in the student’s returned portfolio.

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Grading

This course is pass/fail. 

Because the required course work is modest, students must submit and successfully complete all the required assignments, as described on the internship course web pages, to pass the course.  For course work evaluation standards, see directions for completing assignments and the Portfolio Evaluation form. The student’s employer also must submit an evaluation form – supplied by the Internship Coordinator – that indicates that the intern completed the internship and how well he and she performed the work.
  
All work must be submitted by the deadline date – and before the end of the semester – regardless when the internship position ends. No late work will be accepted except in the most extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances include hospitalization and overseas internships. (Students with internships in the U.S. must meet the deadlines.) Prompt and/or prior communication with the Internship Coordinator is required if assignments will be late.

In keeping with university policy, incomplete will not be given except in the most extreme circumstances, which are generally limited to, e.g., hospitalization or death in immediate family. Students should promptly notify the Internship Coordinator and/or the Dean of the College in such severe situations.

Incomplete automatically turn to failures on the 30th day following the end of the semester unless the missing coursework is submitted to the instructor and it meets all course requirements. To avoid course failure when an incomplete has been recorded, be sure to submit missing materials to the Internship Coordinator no later than 20 days after last day of semester in which the student was registered, so that the coordinator has time to review the work.

View the Portfolio Evaluation Form >>

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