Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

American Society for Engineering Education

Conference Name

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference


This work focuses on connections that students see between co-op work assignments and a specific class in their mechanical engineering curriculum, typically taken in the second half of their junior year or the first half of their senior year. Students in the course wrote an essay, as a required assignment, in which they reflected on the links between their co-op work and the course, and were asked for permission to use those essays in the professor’s research on this topic. Analysis of the essays shows that students typically did see connections; in many cases, these were connected to the course content. However, in other cases, students noted that they had learned problem-solving skills, time management, or other skills that were not directly connected to the class content, which were also useful in their co-op assignments and future careers. The results of this work can be used to motivate students in this or similar courses by showing them how the material is relevant to them. In addition, instructors for other courses may find the essay assignment relevant in their own attempts to prompt students to make connections of this nature between their formal classroom experiences and co-op or internship experiences.

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© American Society for Engineering Education, 2021