CO-OP Work Term Report Guidelines

Introduction

The work-term report is an important part of quality co-operative education programs. The assignment provides you with the opportunity to report on your experience with your CO-OP employer and on how the experience related to your learning. Ideally, the report facilitates the integration of knowledge and practice.

Marking

CO-OP academic coordinators are professors in your discipline who mark work-term reports.

The assignment is marked as “pass” or “fail” (official grade), along with a letter grade to provide you with feedback on the quality of your report. Please see Appendix A for general guidelines and Appendix B for the evaluation form that will be used to assess your report.

If your report is judged unsatisfactory (fail), you may be given a one-time opportunity to submit a revised version within a prescribed period of time. Please note that a “fail” affects your cumulative grade point average and results in dismissal from the CO-OP program.

Note: All references to the CO-OP academic coordinator include his or her delegate.

Deadline and submission

The work-term report is to be submitted online. Be sure to check under “Upcoming Key Dates” on the CO-OP program website for the exact date.

Frequency

All CO-OP students are required to submit a report for each four-month work term.

Evaluation

Once your report has been marked (allow six weeks after the report submission date), you will be notified.

Language

As for any course at the University of Ottawa, you may write the cover letter and your work-term report in English or French. However, for a Type 2 confidential report, the employer determines the language.

Writing help

We recommend that you have your work-term report reviewed and critiqued by the Academic Writing Help Centre (AWHC), your employer, a professor, friends or family.

Components

There are two components to the CO-OP work-term report, and they must be submitted together in one PDF file: (1) cover letter/letter of transmittal, (2) work-term report.

Cover letter/letter of transmittal

The purpose of the cover letter is to provide readers with a brief overview of key information. The cover letter should be single-spaced, and it must follow appropriate business format. It should be addressed to your CO-OP academic coordinator.

The letter must contain the following information, in order:

  1. Your full address
  2. Date
  3. Complete contact information for the CO-OP academic coordinator
  4. Subject/RE statement, including course number
  5. 1st paragraph:
    • The academic term completed prior to the work term (i.e., 1A, 1B, 1C, etc.)
    • The work term completed (first, second, etc.)
    • Title of the work-term report
    • Type of report submitted (Type 1 or Type 2)
    • Acknowledgement of assistance and statement that the report is your own work
  6. 2nd paragraph:
    • Name of employer and name of supervisor
    • Position held and brief overview of the job and daily tasks
  7. 3rd paragraph:
    • Overall evaluation of the work term
    • Skills gained through the work term (Avoid vague statements such as “I have gained engineering and laboratory skills.” You have to clearly specify what skills you learned.)
  8. Your signature
  9. Your name and student number

You can also use the letter to pass on any further information regarding the work term or the report.

Work-term report

In consultation with your CO-OP academic coordinator, you can choose one of the following types of report. If you are required by your employer to complete a Type 2 confidential report then:

  • Your employer has to mention this requirement during the site visit by the CO-OP staff.
  • Your employer must also inform the CO-OP academic coordinator of the requirement in writing (email).
  • The CO-OP academic coordinator will inform you by email if you have been approved or not to do a confidential report.
Report Type 1: Non-confidential report
  • Students are expected to demonstrate critical thinking relative to the work term and the program of studies.
  • In this type of report, the student is required to summarize his or her work-term project. If more than one project was undertaken, the student can choose to explain one or two projects in detail.
  • See Appendix A for detailed guidelines. See Appendix B for the evaluation form.
Report Type 2: Confidential report
  • We recommend that students choose topics and material that do not contain any information of a proprietary nature. If this is not possible, you must seek permission from your CO-OP academic coordinator at least six weeks before the CO-OP report submission deadline, and your employer must mention the need for a confidential report to the CO-OP program coordinator conducting the work-term site visit.
  • If your report is confidential, your employer must evaluate the report and submit a signed evaluation form by the work-term report submission deadline.
  • Note: We recommend that the employer evaluate the work-term report using the same guidelines and evaluation form presented in this document.
  • See Appendix A for detailed guidelines. See Appendix B for the evaluation form.

Timeline

Writing and submitting the work-term report is best done over the course of several months.

  1. Early in the work term: Develop performance and learning objectives with your supervisor and input them into the COOP Navigator. Develop reflections on your experience and input them into the COOP Navigator. Your objectives and reflections are material that you can use for your work-term report.
  2. Mid-point of the work term: Meet with the CO-OP program coordinator during the on-site visit. Discuss performance and learning objectives, reflections and the type of work-term report that you will complete.
  3. Mid-point of the work term: Meet with your supervisor to discuss the work-term report. If the employer requires that you complete a Type 2 confidential report, then you MUST get permission to proceed from your CO-OP academic coordinator.
  4. Last month of the work term: Attend the final evaluation with your supervisor. Complete the student evaluation of the work term. Your work-term report must be submitted to your employer for his or her approval one week before the end of your work term.
  5. The following session: Complete the student evaluation of the work term in the COOP Navigator. Submit the two components of the work-term report: (1) cover letter, (2) work-term report.

Evaluation

The work-term report will be evaluated on five criteria. Recommendations are provided to help guide you towards achieving high-quality results for each criterion (outlined below).

Each of the criteria is included in the Work-Term Report Evaluation Form, which will be used by your CO-OP academic coordinator to assess your assignment (Appendix B). It is recommended that you use it as a self-assessment tool throughout the writing process.

Rigour

The report must comply with the guidelines, criteria and conventions set by the Department.

  • Adhere to the work-term report style and guidelines (Appendix A) and evaluation form (Appendix B).
  • Your report will be evaluated for its presentation, structure and literary quality.
  • Self-assess by asking, “Does the report follow the rules?”
  • Avoid being rushed.

Precision

The concepts, terms and principles used in the report must be used precisely.

  • Use materials from your work term and from your academic field as resources.
  • Add a glossary if the text includes numerous technical terms.
  • Use figures, graphs or tables for clarity and to shorten your text.
  • Include an appendix for items such as lengthy tables and computer code.
  • Self-assess by asking, “Does the report demonstrate meticulousness?”
  • Avoid using Wikipedia as a primary source.

Depth

The work in the assignment is supported by analysis and scholarly references.

  • Use this criterion to showcase the quality of your report (show how well and how extensively you understand the concepts discussed, and how well you understand the significance of the work in the employer’s environment).
  • Refer to the methods, principles or theories in your course, explain how you’ve applied them, and provide scholarly references to support your points.
  • Use the literature from your academic program as material.
  • Describe your academic field so the reader understands the context of your learning.
  • Use your work-term reflections as material.
  • Self-assess by asking, “Does this report deepen my understanding of the work term?”
  • Avoid discussing basic learning outcomes, such as learning to use Microsoft Outlook. Avoid listing research and researchers.

Coherence

The report is highly organized.

  • Adhere to work-term report guidelines (Appendix A) and the evaluation form (Appendix B).
  • Link elements across the report structurally and conceptually.
  • Present your ideas clearly so the reader can follow along with ease.
  • Weave your ideas together in a way that piques the reader’s interest.
  • Self-assess by asking, “Is this report well organized and interesting?”
  • Avoid being rushed.

Relevance

The content of the report must be relevant to the work term.

  • Use your job description, objectives, reflections and assignments, as well as the company website as resources.
  • Describe your work environment so the reader understands the context of your work term.
  • Describe the major tasks you completed. If the work was project-oriented, give a detailed write-up of one project and briefly describe a select number of other projects.
  • Self-assess by asking, “Does this report provide an overview of my work-term experience?”
  • Avoid listing daily activities.
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