Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate: Fall 2023 work term

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The Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate program will help you develop in-demand skills. We collaborated with industry leaders to offer you this innovative option in your first work term. Through content provided by industry collaborators and team-based project experiences, you’ll learn skills while gaining real-world experience - all while earning a flexible work term credit.

WE Accelerate was wonderful. You learned skills, you practiced them and went out to try it out in the real world. That is probably the most crystal clear idea I have had of work-integrated learning.

Julian Lucido, Faculty of Math student

How the WE Accelerate program can help:

  • Build the skills employers are looking for.

  • Apply new skills to real world projects.
  • Learn from content created by industry experts.
  • Leverage your experience in future job searches through career education.
  • Participate remotely from any location.
  • Earn a flexible work term credit (learn more about standard vs. flexible work term requirements and how many of each you need to graduate).
  • Opt-in to the program and continue to look for a traditional work term. Your spot in the program is secured until the opt-out date of September 22.
  • Receive a $1,000 award for completing the program.

How WE Accelerate works

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Career component

Complete approximately 60 hours total of career programming.

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Skills development

Complete approximately 100 hours of skills development provided by an industry collaborator.

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Project experience

Complete approximately 120 hours of team-based, real-world project work
(roughly 25 hours per week across a 5-week span)

WE Accelerate streams being offered in Fall 2023 

MICROSOFT AZURE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | MICROSOFT

Microsoft offers the Azure Artificial Intelligence stream. It is an introduction to AI and its application across industry. You'll learn about:

• Azure Fundamentals content and certification
• Azure AI Fundamentals content and certification
• Design Thinking

Watch the Microsoft overview to learn more about what the stream offers.

exclamation mark Enrollment cap: Flexible

Career component

The first week of the program (January 29 - February 2) will feature onboarding and career programming through a one-hour synchronous session daily, followed by asynchronous activities totalling 25 hours for the entire week. An additional 10 hours of career programming will occur throughout the skills and project experience portion.

In the final week of the program (April 8 - 12) you will reflect on the career program conducted earlier and complete your summative assignment. This will total approximately 25 hours for the entire week.

Skills training experience The skills training for the Microsoft Azure AI stream will focus primarily on the Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) and the Azure AI Fundamentals (AI-900) certifications.

You’ll study for these certifications and will have access to hands-on tutorials within the content so you can practice the skills associated with using Azure.

The Azure and Azure AI content will be supplemented with Microsoft’s AI Business School content and material from our colleagues at Microsoft about Design Thinking and what it’s like to work at Microsoft. 

Synchronou­s sessions

There will be an introductory session on February 5 and a project information session on March 4. Attendance at these events is STRONGLY recommended. There will be additional live sessions, group meetings, and office hours starting during the skills training phase of the program. These will be ongoing throughout the project experience section of the program. To successfully complete the program, it is mandatory to sign up for a proctored examination for the AI-900 and AZ-900 certifications. 

As part of the project experience, you must meet with your Microsoft Mentors once a week for 15 minutes. These meetings are mandatory and will be scheduled by the Mentor. It is also mandatory that you attend a final presentation session in the last week of the project (April 1 - 5) with your group. These will be scheduled, and timing shared with you as early as possible during the term.  

Total synchronous time commitment  Your certification exams for AZ-900 and AI-900 are mandatory course requirements. Attendance at other synchronous sessions is technically optional, but we strongly recommend that you attend. We’ll post recordings of synchronous session on Learn for you to watch if you are unable to make it. To successfully complete your project experience, you’ll need to find time to meet virtually with teammates and Microsoft Mentors on a weekly basis to successfully.
Skills curriculum assessment  You must successfully pass the AZ-900 (Azure Fundamentals) and the AI-900 (Azure AI Fundamentals) examinations in order to pass the skills curriculum component of this stream of programming. 
Project experience  Projects in this stream are provided by Microsoft. Project teams will use their Azure and AI skills to complete deliverables in tandem with industry partners or propose solutions to important global issues. Students in the Microsoft stream will have access to mentors from Microsoft to assist in project completion.

Staff from Microsoft will assess your final project deliverable, resulting in your final overall evaluation. At the discretion of your Microsoft mentor, the evaluation may be team-based or an individual evaluation.

Project mentors You’ll be mentored by staff from Microsoft as you work on your team-based project experience.  
Privacy notice from Microsoft  Please note Microsoft’s Privacy Statement.

DIGITAL BOOTCAMP

The Digital Bootcamp stream features various mentors throughout the stream. It focuses on a variety of digital strategies to attract, engage and market content to users. You'll learn about: 

• Website design for desktop and mobile
• Search engine optimization (SEO)
• Content, email, and video marketing
• Office productivity software (optional)

exclamation mark Enrollment cap: 75 students

Career component

The first week of the program (January 29 - February 2) will feature onboarding and career programming through a one-hour synchronous session daily, followed by asynchronous activities totalling 25 hours for the entire week. An additional 10 hours of career programming will occur throughout the skills and project experience portion.

In the final week of the program (April 8 - 12) you will reflect on the career program conducted earlier and complete your summative assignment. This will total approximately 25 hours for the entire week.

Skills training experience 

Students in this stream will begin by learning about a marketing philosophy known as Inbound and how this applies to a company's digital presence, both in terms of its website and its social media activity.

Students will learn

  • how to attract, engage, and delight customers by putting themselves in their target audience's shoes and creating opportunities for two-way conversations.
  • about the importance of consistent digital branding across all channels and how to follow or even build a brand guide.
  • how to create and design websites in WordPress and other platforms, and ensure that those websites are responsive, user-friendly, and accessible.
  • how to apply content marketing, video marketing and email marketing to a website to keep it current and attract repeat visits.
  • about search engine optimization and how to use data to both measure and boost the performance of a website.
Synchronous sessions 

There will be an introductory session on February 5 and a showcase session during the last week of skills training. There will be weekly Tuesday and Thursday live sessions during skills training. Synchronous discussions and workshops will be scheduled for no more than 5 hours weekly. It is STRONGLY recommended that you attend all live sessions. If for some reason you are unable to attend the live sessions, recordings will be available.  Students will also need to find time each week to meet with their team lead and work together with their group members to complete several team-based activities. 

Total synchronous time commitment 

Synchronous discussions and workshops will be scheduled for no more than five hours weekly, and all discussions and workshops will be recorded for asynchronous viewing.

Students will also need to work together with their teams to complete several team-based activities. Most of the time commitment associated with Digital Bootcamp will be asynchronous in nature.

Skills curriculum assessment 

To pass the skills development portion of this stream, you need to do the following:

1. Submit proof of earning the following

  • Hubspot certificates
  • Inbound Email Marketing
  • Content Marketing

2. Submit proof of having completed the following online courses

  • LinkedIn’s User Experience for Web Design course
  • Google’s Analytics for Beginners course

3. Pass the 7 included quizzes with a grade of at least 70% each after three attempts

Project experience  You’ll apply your Digital Bootcamp skills working on a web design and digital marketing project provided by one of Co-operative and Experiential Education’s employer partners.
Project employers  Students will work with employers sourced through Co-operative Education’s employment relations team.

Timeline and what to expect

WE Accelerate opt-in/opt-out period  Beginning August 2
WE Accelerate Virtual Information Day Wednesday, August 2
  • Industry collaborators discuss their streams and former students discuss their experience during our WE Accelerate Virtual Information Day event.
  • Opt-in form will go live in WaterlooWorks following the event.
Deadline to opt-in Friday, September 15 at 4 p.m. (ET)
  • Deadline to opt-in and indicate your streams of interest.
Streams assigned Monday, September 18
  • After registration closes on September 15, students will be sorted into streams based on preference (first-come, first-served) and enrollment caps. 
  • We’ll ensure you know which stream you’re in before the opt-out deadline of Friday, September 22.
Deadline to opt-out Friday, September 22 at 9 a.m. (ET)
  • After this, we expect you to commit to WE Accelerate as you would any other work term as there are limited spots available.
WE Accelerate work term begins September 22
Career programming (part 1) September 25 - 29
  • Complete onboarding and career curriculum (part 1).
  • Approximately 25 hours during this first week, with approximately 10 additional hours of career programming to occur throughout.
  • 1 hour of synchronous content daily, with all other content provided asynchronously.
Skill development programming Beginning October 2
  • Complete skill development content provided by industry collaborator(s).
  • Approximately 100 hours, with varying degrees of synchronous content depending on the stream.
Project experience October 30 - December 1 (exact timing will depend on the stream/project)
  • Complete industry collaborator projects in teams and receive feedback.
  • Approximately 120 hours of project work to be expected across 3-5 weeks (all projects to be completed by December 1).
  • Please note: the hours to complete your project work will be determined by the project provider, with the expectation you are available.
  • Industry collaborators will complete a Project Evaluation Form and assign individual ratings OR an overall rating for each project team (up to the employers discretion).
  • Project evaluation form deadline (for employers): Friday, December 8.
Career programming (part 2) December 4 - 8
  • Complete career curriculum (part 2) and final summative assignment (due December 8).
  • Approximately 25 hours.

 

Next steps: opt-in to WE Accelerate

We invite you to opt-in for WE Accelerate by filling out our opt-in form on WaterlooWorks by Friday, September 15 at 4 p.m. (ET). In this form, you'll indicate your interest in the skill streams. The WE Accelerate team will use this information to assign students to streams on a first-come, first-served basis. Each stream has different enrolment caps based on how many students industry collaborators can accommodate.

Not sure if you want to commit? Even if you choose to opt-in to reserve your spot, you can opt-out of the program if you change your mind any time before Friday, September 22 at 9 a.m. (ET).

Follow the steps below to opt-in by Friday, September 15 at 4 p.m. (ET):

  • Login to WaterlooWorks and select Submit a form.
  • Complete the form below:
    • Category: Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate Program
    • Sub-category: Opt-in – WE Accelerate (5026)
  • After completing the opt-in form, you’ll be assigned to a stream on a first-come, first-served basis depending on how you ranked your streams of interest. We’ll let you know which stream you’ve been assigned to Monday, September 18.
  • Please note: You do NOT need to complete an Arrange Own Job form or search for additional part-time work on top of WE Accelerate - just submitting the opt-in form and completing the components of your assigned stream is enough to get you co-op credit!

If you change your mind, follow the steps below to opt-out by Friday, September 22 at 9 a.m. (ET):

  • Login to WaterlooWorks and select Submit a form.
  • Complete the form below:
  • Category: Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate Program
  • Sub-category: Opt-out – WE Accelerate (5027)
  • If we receive your opt-out form by the deadline of Friday, September 22 at 9 a.m. (ET), we'll remove you from the program.
  • After this deadline, we expect that you will be committed to fulfilling the requirements for your stream to earn your co-op credit. WE Accelerate is a work term credit, so withdrawing from it after the deadline is considered leaving a work term early and may involve consequences. Please contact your co-op advisor for more details.
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