Co-operative Education & Career Action

One of Waterloo Cases in Design Engineering (WCDE)’s important partners is the Co-operative Education & Career Action (CECA) Department at the University of Waterloo.

Areas of collaboration between WCDE and CECA include:

Watch a video highlighting the relationship between WCDE and the Co-operative Education Program at the University of Waterloo.

Student Work Term Reports

WCDE’s main source for case development is work term reports.  As of 2015, WCDE has a collection of more than 160 case studies, of which approximately two thirds are based on work term experiences. Case studies are an effective way to apply what students learn in class to a real world engineering challenge.  Cases sourced from work term reports leverage co-op experience; they are at an ideal technical level for learning.

It's really interesting to see my peers' names as the co-authors for case studies …it’s really inspiring because it makes me think, on my next co-op, I might be them.”

-Hannah Van Opstal

Student, Systems Design Engineering

With so many co-op experiences to pull from each year, it is an abundant, rich and ongoing source for fresh case study material.  Each case is written in collaboration with the co-op student, the employer and a WCDE case writer.  A formal release process is completed to ensure all stakeholders approve the final case.

WCDE collects case study topics requested by engineering instructors. These topics may be useful for students as a guide to selecting work term report topics.  WCDE provides links for each engineering programs’ resources for work term reports.

Students can also participate in WCDE’s Case Writing Opportunity.  In the case writing opportunity, students write a case study based on one of their own work term reports, and they receive up to $1000 in payment.

Each year, in collaboration with Sandford Fleming Foundation (SFF), WCDE offers a $500 SFF-WCDE Award for Best Case Study Based on a Work Term Experience. The winning case study is selected from either WCDE-authored cases or student-authored cases from the Case Writing Opportunity.

Engineering Capstone Design Projects

Waterloo Engineering holds Capstone Design Symposia across all programs in March of each year. CECA personnel and Co-op Employers are welcome to attend these events to get a better appreciation of the technical excellence and creativity of our graduating students.

WCDE converts engineering fourth year capstone design projects into case studies based on instructor requests.


Cases bring co-op experiences from a variety of industries into the classroom to improve student understanding of fundamental engineering concepts and engineering practice. Instructors can leverage peer learning and peer teaching by giving students the opportunity to share their co-op experiences and apply them to class problems and assignments. Co-op experiences are often multi-disciplinary; this makes for excellent case studies that encourage students to think beyond their immediate technical interests.

 Waterloo makes it easy for us, from hiring the co-op students, having them there for the term and now with WCDE, it's adding even more value for us because we have feedback coming back from the students and the classroom.”

-Darrin Wiegard

Manufacturing Engineer, Nahanni Steel Products

Case studies from student work term experiences can help promote co-op employers. They provide a detailed context that helps students see what it’s like to have a co-op experience with that employer.

WCDE has over 140 case study partners that have collaborated with us to date.

Contact us

If you would like to learn more about how WCDE and CECA can work together, or to offer suggestions to enhance this collaboration, please feel free to Contact us.