Co-op work report guidelines

Introduction 

One of the core values of our department, which is expressed in its mission statement, is “to foster personal and professional development by combining humanistic values and traditional learning with innovation and practical applications.” Your work terms are an important part of your personal learning experience and your work-term reports are essential links between your practical experience and your university studies. Work-term reports offer you the opportunity to analyse, assess and integrate knowledge and experience gained during work and academic terms. Thus, your report should not only reflect on your work experience, but it should aim to integrate your academic skills with your practical experience. You should take work-term report very seriously and view it as an opportunity to further your analytical, organizational and written communication skills in preparation for a challenging and rewarding career in the private and public sectors.

Submission procedure

At the conclusion of each Co-op work term, returning students must submit a work report for credit. Before graduation, all students enrolled in Honours Spanish and Latin American Studies Co-op must satisfactorily complete four work-term reports. Speak with Professor Leoni, if you have any problems or questions.

Work term reports are due within seven days of the start of the academic term following the work term. If you have a double work term, you must submit separate reports for each term. The first report must be completed and mailed to the department by the submission deadline. You can submit the second report when you return to campus following the second work term.

The reports should be submitted to the Secretary, Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies, ML 316. The letter of submittal accompanying the work-term report should be addressed to Professor Leoni, Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies. You do not need to submit a report to your employer, unless the employer makes that requirement.

Structure of the report

Your work-term report consists of the following elements:

  1. Title page with your name, ID number, contact information (e.g. e-mail address), the year/term of the school term preceding this work term (e.g. 2B Spring 2010), the name of the company or organization that employed you and the name of your direct supervisor, a job title that characterizes the duties you performed, and the work-report number.
  2. Page 1, containing an abstract (150-200 words) of your work term report in clear language. Two of the abstracts must be in the language you study. You may choose which of the four reports contain abstracts in the foreign language.
  3. Page 2, containing a detailed description of your job (no longer than 1 page).
  4. A critical analysis, approximately 2500 words in length (7-8 pages, 1” margins, Times New Roman 12 point, double spaced)of one aspect of your job. You may submit in essay form or report form, depending on the nature of your report. Essays will follow the MLA guidelines (available in most composition textbooks or on-line at the UW Library Electronic Reference Collection); report formats are available in textbooks on report writing, technical writing, or business writing. Please note that the work-term report is a piece of academic writing and must follow the same rules for plagiarism as all work submitted at the University of Waterloo, as outlined in Policy 71 on Student Academic Offences.

The critical analysis

The work report is a critical analysis of one aspect of your job. You might analyze a particular project, an ongoing process, or a continuing duty of your position. Any aspect of the job that you found particularly interesting (positively or negatively), and that suits such an analysis, is suitable for the work report. While you may incorporate work done for the employer (such as a report, or a website) into the report to a limited degree, it cannot constitute the work report or a major part (more than 20%) of the report.

Some possible topics for analysis could be:

  • decision-making processes
  • communicative procedures and processes
  • intercultural communication issues at the workplace
  • gender issues in texts, policies or otherinstitutional communications
  • analysis of corporate or institutional culture
  • foreign workers in the organization
  • inter-office politics or policies
  • training, continuing education as part of the institutional culture
  • analysis of the use of language in formal/informal communications
  • effects of power structures on communication in the organization
  • techniques of collaboration and their associated problems

By no means are you limited to the topics listed above. They are simply suggestions. Feel free to discuss your choice of topic with the Undergraduate Chair at any time.

Evaluation

Work-term reports are evaluated by Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies  faculty members and graded as OutstandingVery GoodSatisfactoryUnsatisfactory or Unacceptable. An unsatisfactory designation requires revisions to the work-term report before being accepted; an unacceptable designation results in a loss of credit.