PO2WPP-Work Placement and Project

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Placement opportunity: Mini placement
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Mark Shanahan

Email: m.j.shanahan@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module gives students an opportunity to do a work placement or an internship with an external organisation broadly related to the general sphere of their degree studies. Based on the work experience gained, the student will deliver an oral presentation directly based on the experiences of the placement and will prepare a project which develops their capacity for independent, critical research in a specialised domain.

The aims of the work placement are to:
•provide the student with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills gained in their academic studies;
•extend knowledge and learning in their chosen discipline;
•gain knowledge, understanding and skills of working in a relevant work environment;
•reflect on how well academic knowledge and structures reproduce the complexity of modern society and the extent to which one can attain a deeper insight and understanding of both society and academic knowledge/skills.

The aims of the oral presentation and project are to:
•apply independent research skills to the work experience undertaken;
•develop and deepen a critical analytical understanding of the broader significance of the work undertaken for the placement in conjunction with the practical knowledge acquired on the placement.

Assessable learning outcomes:
The student will demonstrate their learning outcomes by:
•delivering an oral presentation reflecting critically on the experiences of the work placement and evaluating how the work that was carried out met the needs of the employing organisation;
•preparing and writing a project of between 4-5,000 words which directly relates to, but also builds upon and expands, the work experience by means of situating and contextualising it in a broader scholarly analysis;
•heightened ability to generate sources of practical information and ideas and combine them in an extensive study project.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to encourage the development of the following skills:
•working with other people;
•an understanding of the requirements of the workplace;
•providing regular practical assistance to the employer organisation over a period of at least 120 hours during Part 2 and/or during the summer vacation preceding Part 2.

Students will gain hands-on experience of a work environment that is relevant to their skills and knowledge within the broad remit of their degree programme. Their confidence and self-reliance, maturity and sense of responsibility, team working, and communication skills will be enhanced. The overall experience will be potentially invaluable in terms of their future career development and employability.

Outline content:
The area of work undertaken on the placement will be related to the students’ overall programme of study. The day-to-day content of the work will be set by the employing organisation and in agreement with the Department of Politics and International Relations. The work placement should provide the student with invaluable first hand experience as well as providing opportunities for independent problem solving and working in a team.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The onus of this module is on independent working, including work experience, learning by observation, training, as well as applying these experiences specifically to an applied project. Tutorial supervision will be given by a placement project tutor.

•The Module Convenor must give approval for the placement activity that is planned and the project work that will arise out of it.
•The Module Convenor will discuss and agree with the student the level of commitment to the organisation required by the student.
•A Departmental Supervisor will be agreed, who may be someone other than the Module Convenor.
•All students will also be required to attend a placement-preparation session with the Student Employment, Experience and Careers Centre (SEECC).

Most placements will be undertaken in either the autumn and/or the spring terms in Part 2. Under certain circumstances it is also possible for the student to undertake a placement in the summer vacation prior to the commencement of the second year, provided that the project work is then carried out during the academic year for which credits will be awarded. The specific duties and amount of time engaged in the work placement/internship will be subject to the mutual agreement of the employer and the Department, but should not amount to less than 120 hours in total. In terms of the academic part of the module:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Project Supervision 2 2
Guided independent study 50 26
Placement 120
Total hours by term 122.00 52.00 26.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Project output other than dissertation 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Other information on summative assessment:
1. Students are required to give an oral presentation, using power-point slides, lasting approximately 30 minutes in duration, which should focus on some or all of the following themes:

•Preparation/training undertaken for the placement.
•Critical assessment of the purpose and structure of the organisation and its principal activities.
•Why is the organisation needed?
•How is the organisation funded? How does this affect the nature of the activities performed?
•A reflective, self-evaluation of your role and tasks, and ways in which they contributed to the work of the organisation.
•Did your experience highlight any advantages or limitations to the way in which the organisation functions?
•How did your activities and values change as a result of your experiences?
•What problems did you face? How did you resolve the problems?
•A short summary of the broader written project that is connected with the placement and the reasons for choosing it.

2. Students are also required to submit a 4-5,000 word applied project that is based directly on the experience gained by their work placement, but which also seeks to incorporate the placement experience in a broader scholarly context. The project must be submitted by an agreed deadline between the student and the Department, which will be determined by the length and duration of the placement and the required time to research, prepare and write up the project work. In addition, the project work relating to the placement must not overlap with the separate requirement for students to undertake a dissertation as part of their degree studies.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    Satisfactory completion of the placement, which is determined by the student’s progress during the period of their employment and/or internship. Delivery of the oral presentation and submission of the applied project which together require a pass mark of 40%.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment will take place by means of the re-submission of the applied project only by 1st August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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