Sponsor Videos

Grand Canyon University


Adapt Courseware

Conference News

Twitter LinkedIn FaceBook YouTube GooglePlus www.instagram.com/onlinelearningconsortium

Visit our Social Networking Page to find out how to become an OLC NinjaOLCC Ninja


Save the Date for next year: July 7-8, 2015
@ Sheraton Denver Downtown, Denver, CO

Check out the Conference Wrap-up pages

Did you miss the Conference? You can still purchase access to more than 40 recorded presentations to view at your convenience for one full year.

Missed the 11th Annual Blended Learning Conference and Workshop? No problem – you can still gain access to over 40 recorded presentations to view at your convenience for one full year. Get your virtual package here.

Download or Update the OLC Conferences Mobile App! Don't forget to click "refresh" to get the most current conference information!

Are you going to #blend14?

New for 2014! Technology Test Kitchen - BYOD to learn, explore, and share knowledge within this lab environment

Technology Test Kitchen


Full Program Now Posted

Blended Effective Practice Award Winners Announced

Best-in-Track Award Winners Announced - Read the Press Release

Mark Milliron, Civitas Learning, to deliver Keynote Address

Plan to Attend the Unconference Sessions

Unconference Session

Get the inside scoop on the event from key presenters, sponsors and OLC executives in these interviews.


Checkout last year's conference

Sign up for Conference Updates

Save the Dates

22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Adaptive Internships: Virtual or Regional Domains

Allison Selby (Kaplan University, USA)
Session Information
July 9, 2014 - 10:10am
Blended Models and Course Design
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Plaza Ballroom D
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 5
Virtual Session

Adaptive internship programs provide virtual or regional internship opportunities to accommodate the needs of students, increase potential for partnerships, and provide opportunities for international collaboration.

Extended Abstract

An adaptive internship program provides more opportunities for non-traditional students in particular to intern overseas via Google video chat or to build community connections and intern for local organizations and business. Join this information session to learn about how we build local regional partnerships and identify the surprising assortment of very prestigious organizations such as The Smithsonian, which have virtual internship opportunities. Faculty and administrators will be provided with web resources listing both virtual intern options and suggestions for identifying regional partners with an international student population.

The shifting demographics and increased enrollments of the non-traditional college student calls for novel approaches to implement quality online experiential education. During 2000-2010, enrollments rose 26% for part-time students, a 39% increase of female enrollees, and enrollments for students over the age of 25 increased 42% (U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics., 2012). From these statistics, stories emerge of moms (and dads) setting an example for their kids and trying to transition into a new career with the hopes of providing more for their families. Anecdotally, these stories also speak to building a new career while holding down a full-time job, commuting back and forth, going to the grocery store, daycare, and occasional walk in the park on a restricted budget. Internships provide opportunities for these students to gain experience and confidence while transitioning into a new career field.

An adaptive internship program is a vanguard approach for creating virtual and regional location-based internship opportunities. This blended approach for internships accommodates the diverse needs of students, increases potential for business partnerships, and provides a cost-effective solution for international collaborations. The adaptive nature of the program accommodates the work and family demands of adult students particularly well. The flexibility and diversity of partnerships creates exciting potential for students to continue to gain access to workplace settings, network professionally and to develop samples to share with future employers (O’Neill, 2010). Dorp (2008) states, “Through remote internship and academic talent, contemporary business challenges are taken up and business value is created” (p. 175). Developing online experiential opportunities through critical inquiry and reflective practice creates connections to participate in international collaboration and further develop intercultural communication (Rintala & Schrader, 2011).

The flexible nature of accommodating internships through either regional partnerships or virtual affiliations provides a novel approach to building community partners with the School of Information Technology, Kaplan University. Identifying a virtual internship can be done by visiting Career Builder or Monster and using the internship filters available for searches. There are a growing number of companies aggregating and posting virtual internship opportunities available globally. There are also very surprising opportunities for virtual interns. The Smithsonian, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, and the National Museum of National History have all created very competitive virtual intern positions. These are very prestigious opportunities that would not ordinarily be practical for a busy working mom raising a family. The virtual opportunities present more options for valuable experience and prestige as the student progresses through their degree plan.

Regional internships have included installing and testing wireless networks, developing databases, providing technical support, installing workstations, imaging hard drives, as well as researching potential server upgrades for a global co-location company. Virtual internships have included working with Web development teams analyzing analytics and conducting keyword research, designing social media campaigns, and developing Web sites for a Peace Corps volunteer and her partner non-governmental organization (NGO).

Typically, the internships are recommended as the penultimate course; connecting academic learning outcomes with career development goals. This requires constant collaboration with Career Services as students prepare their resumes to interview with possible internship placements.

Whether the internship is regional or virtual, all students are enrolled in a course with a dedicated faculty member. Students are provided coaching addressing professional conduct, research topics and journaling throughout their internship. Students begin the term by developing a learning contract; allowing them to ascertain the intended learning outcomes for the term. A faculty member is available to advocate and intervene on behalf of the student at the internship location. Faculty provide consistent feedback on the journal entries and help students synthesize the connections between the workplace experience and course outcomes.

Technology-supported communication provides the ancillary framework for the internship courses. Students use a wide range of tools to regularly collaborate and negotiate solutions with their virtual teams. Synchronous tools have included Google chat and video, Skype, Adobe Connect and on occasion, the phone. Students have developed instructional videos demonstrating how to update Websites and how to test network connection transfer rates. Developing the videos provides an opportunity for the students to practice their soft skills including pacing information and providing clear direction to a non-technical audience. The videos themselves also serve as a very cogent demonstration of their skills to present to a potential employer.

For students who are busy raising families with a full-time job, attending school part-time and are striving for a career transition, having a flexible, adaptive internship program in place encourages students to confirm their skills, knowledge and abilities and believe in the possibilities for their future. The virtual and regional internships benefit the students by connecting course outcomes with work-based tasks, building professional connections, and of utmost importance, confidence in their growing expertise.


  • Checkoway, B. (2004). University of Michigan: Dilemmas of Civic Renewal. In W. M. Mark Langseth, Public Work and the Academy: An Academic Administrator's Guide to Civic Engagement and Service-Learning (p. 324). Jossey-Bass.
  • Cress, C. M., Burack, C., Giles, D. E., Elkins, J., & Stevens, M. C. (2010). A promising connection. Increasing college access and success through civic engagment. Campus Compact, 1-32.
  • Dorp, K.-J. v. (2008). A premier European platform for clearing e-internships. British Journal of Educational Technology, 175-179.
  • Guthrie, K. L., & McCracken, H. (2010). Reflective pedagogy: Making meaning in experiential based online courses. The Journal of Educators Online, 1-21.
  • Kaplan University. (2014, January 8). Kaplan University Facts and the Annual Report. Retrieved from Kaplan University: http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/about/annual-report.aspx
  • Kuh, G. D. (2008, March 23). High-Impact educational practices: A brief overview. Retrieved from Association of American Colleges and Universities: http://www.aacu.org/leap/hip.cfm
  • O’Neill, N. (2010). Internships as a High-Impact Practice: Some Reflections on Quality. Peer Review, 4-8.
  • Rintala, U., & Schrader, C. (2011). Scenarios for virtual and virtually supported work placements. Retrieved from Make it work! Integrating virtual mobility in international work placements.: http://www.euvip.eu/EU-VIP/EU-VIP/about.html
  • U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Fast Facts. Retrieved from National Center for Education Statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98

Lead Presenter

Allison Selby has taught in higher education for the last ten years. She has taught various digital media courses for many schools, including The University of the Arts, Drexel University and Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia. Currently, she serves as the Director of Internship Programs, for the School of Information Technology in Kaplan University. She chairs the Leadership Professional Competency Committee.

Allison is a graduate of Chestnut Hill College, Masters of Science, Educational Technology. She recently earned a Graduate Certificate in Service-Learning and Community-Based Learning in Postsecondary Education from Portland State University. Her current interests focus on high-impact experiential practices and particularly how they can be integrated in an online environment. Her primary focus is extending service-learning and internship opportunities for adult students through virtual solutions.