Conestoga College is one of Ontario’s fastest-growing polytechnic institutions committed to career-focused education programs that connect students to the skill-building experience relevant to Ontario’s adaptive job market. With a curriculum built around project-based learning, students at Conestoga College gain the first-hand experience to prepare them for careers in an array of industries. Over the past ten years, the College has nearly doubled its student enrolment. Their team relies on Orbis’s Outcome platform, a configurable experiential learning technology solution, to bridge students to career readiness through experience. A completely scalable platform, Conestoga launched their Student Experiential Record by utilizing Orbis’s ‘Student Experiential Transcript’ tool, operationalizing their student career readiness for 23,000 students – and growing.
Conestoga College Becomes the First College in Canada to Launch a Student Experiential Record (SER)
The College was able to scale-up through a real-time course integration system that explores which courses a student was in and which courses had an experiential component. Orbis’s Outcome solution captures this information, allowing higher learning educators and faculty to track, understand, and promote each student’s experiential learning. The integration module also tracks student progress throughout the course, ensuring that pass/fail/completion logic is applied to the records. As students find suitable placements with organizations that have been pre-approved by the college, they can now place themselves using a limited and configurable search tool that shows which pre-approved organizations exist within the Outcome database. The resulting Student Experiential Record (SER) is more than a record—it becomes a conduit to articulate each student’s experience with clarity and accuracy to future employers. For Conestoga College, investing in the creation of an SER through the Orbis Outcome platform was a natural and impactful way to embody their governing motto, “What we do here, counts out there.”
Students Are Empowered with Ownership of Their Learning Pathways & Accomplishments
The team at Conestoga College worked to develop an enhanced system that grows and tracks experiential learning opportunities for students, in alignment with their vision for excellence in polytechnic education and the Ministry’s commitment to providing all students with experiential learning opportunities. To support student understanding and adoption of the SER, their team knew a two-fold approach synthesizing this new digital infrastructure with real-life application would aid overall success. Leading up to the launch of the SER, the College hosted Design Thinking Sessions for students to understand their thoughts and feelings at each stage in their learning and career-search journeys. The team identified these five stages as Understand, Plan, Show, Share, and Apply.
By implementing these five calls-to-action—Understand, Plan, Show, Share, and Apply—with myCAREER Services, faculty can now easily understand each student’s unique career journey and students can clearly communicate about their learning pathways to faculty and future employers. Through myCAREER Services, students of Conestoga College can book appointments with their career advisor and categorize the appointment under one of the five key points in the student’s journey. This framework supports meaningful conversation and communication between faculty and students, to help students apply what they have learned in-class and through experience-building toward navigating their hopeful careers and a point of differentiation when applying to jobs. Now, students at Conestoga College can easily align experiences with career pathways and employer expectations, guiding resume, profile, portfolio development, and networking and interview preparation.
“We are so excited to be the first college in Canada to launch a Student Experiential Record (SER) for our students, especially during our annual Career Ready Week here at Conestoga. We think the SER is a great vehicle to start to have those important career conversations with students as they are embarking on their career journeys. We want to help take away some of their fear that they don’t have the right experience for the jobs that they want. The SER is a tool to help them understand and then articulate those skills, experiences, and competencies.” – Kristine Dawson, Director, Cooperative Education, Career Services, & Work-integrated Learning, Conestoga College (CCWIL), Past-President, Co-operative Education & Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada
Remote Competency Development Delivery That is Just as Meaningful in a Post-COVID-19 Workforce
By working with Orbis to become the first college, nationwide, to innovate and launch an SER, Conestoga College is giving students and graduates access to skill-building experiences that will equate to tangible long-term value. The SER documents the actual abilities of their graduates to transfer what’s been learned in-classes with an experiential learning component and through experiential opportunities to real-life settings and the workforce. Employers, in turn, have less room for personal interpretation of each graduate of Conestoga College’s skills and abilities, when determining the best fit for their teams and to reach business goals. Documentation of each student’s unique learning pathways, experiences, and competencies, in effect, streamlines and fuels success in both the job-seeking and hiring process. This holistic approach to career-readiness delivery, and understanding of each student’s learning pathways, is just as applicable in our current environment as it will be in a post-COVID-19 higher learning and job-seeking landscape. Regardless of our environment, an SER means that students and graduates of Conestoga College will enter the workforce with the experience, skill, and agility critical to shaping our nation’s economy and identity in the global marketplace—effectively applying what’s learned to pursue fulfillment in their career paths and lives.
To find out more about Conestoga College’s Student Experiential Record, contact Kristine Dawson, Director, Cooperative Education, Career Services, & Work-integrated Learning, Conestoga College (CCWIL), Past-President, Co-operative Education & Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about Orbis, connect with Emily Eley, our Executive Director, email: email@example.com