Creating Big Change Through Micro-Experiences

Riipen, is an organization that connects students with companies to work on real projects, for course credit.  In a recent Riipen blog post by Michelle Wong, she outlines the benefits of real projects, or micro-experiences for students. In the blog post Wong states that Cooperative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada), formerly the Canadian Association for Cooperative Education (CAFCE), defines work-integrated learning as “a model and process of experiential education which formally and intentionally integrates a student’s academic studies with learning in a workplace or practice setting”.

Work-integrated learning is meant to better prepare students to transition into the workforce with all the skills that will help them succeed. These experiences can help students develop essential workplace skills while giving them a better understanding of course work by applying it to a real problem. To learn more about what is experiential learning and its various benefits, see Experiential Learning: Shaping the Future of Work.

There are many variations of work-integrated learning, but two traditional models that are well known are: (1) co-op placements and (2) internships.  According to Wong, micro-experiential learning can help fill in the gaps left by traditional models of work -integrated learning, without sacrificing any opportunities for students.  A micro-experiential learning opportunity still provides students with the ability to gain hands-on experience, but on a fewer-scale that requires less resources and is more sustainable in the long run.

A micro-experience is essentially a mini-project conducted in partnership with an external industry partner embedded directly into the course curriculum. Within the context of the course, students complete these mini-projects, or micro-experiences, that align with course goals and the needs of the external partner.

Benefits of a micro-experience include:

  • Hands on learning and the ability to apply course materials to a real-world situation.
  • Happens directly in the classroom using projects already in the curriculum meaning there is no need to take a semester off, extend your degree, or take up time outside of class.
  • Rather than hiring a single student, an entire classroom of students can participate at once.
  • The companies working with students will also gain access to a much larger pool of potential talent they can recruit from.

UCalgary Continuing Education is part of the EDGE UP (Energy to Digital Growth Education and Upskilling Project) which is a short-duration, experiential-based learning program for mid-career Oil and Gas professionals who have been displaced from the Oil and Gas sector in Calgary, Alberta.  Continuing Education will deliver the Information Technology Project Management program to EDGE UP selected participants which is designed to prepare project managers for IT projects by introducing a variety of project management concepts, tools and techniques specific to IT projects.  Both, traditional and agile project management methods are examined.
The program explores the organizational change management process and complexities involved in executing an IT project.

This program includes real-life application exercises and a micro-experience capstone project offered in collaboration with Riipen.

Click here to see if you are eligible for EDGE UP.

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