Higher Education Excellence & Career Readiness Through Co-operative Learning – a Look at the Université de Sherbrooke’s Seven Years using Orbis’s Outcome Solution

Located in Quebec, the Université de Sherbrooke started its partnership with Orbis in 2014, recently marking seven years of student career readiness delivery using Outcome. Outcome has provided the digital infrastructure, functionality, and data insights to impressively advance learning opportunities for the university’s 40,000+ students, across three campuses. Committed to research and innovation, the Université de Sherbrooke continues to take an innovative and agile approach to integrate Outcome to meet students where they are at, with what they need for long-term career success. Outcome also continues to deliver meaningful insights into successes and improvement areas while offering a clear narrative for understanding the evolving co-operative learning and career readiness needs of their students and graduates throughout time. Orbis’s Outcome solution also gives Université de Sherbrooke the configurability essential to communicating co-operative learning in the French-language – significant, as they are a French-language institution.

A Legacy of Co-operative Learning with Impact

The Université de Sherbrooke is not new to co-operative learning. The institution was the first in Quebec to offer co-operative programs, in 1966, and is now recognized as a leader in the field. By focusing on the evolution and progression of co-operative learning delivery for students, the university prepares students for gradual integration into today’s demanding job market, while ensuring employers can easily seek and identify future employees from the institution.

Orbis’s partnership with the Université de Sherbrooke began in 2014. Our Outcome Co-op portal became their trusted solution, which was coined, ‘Trivio,’ a Latin word meaning a crossroads, where three roads meet, and a suitable reference to the employers, students, and staff who were relying on the platform for all co-operative education interaction. One year later, the Co-op Work Term and Professional Development Services went live with a pilot project using Orbis’s Outcome Co-op Portal for Kinesiology. This pilot project was immensely successful, leading the Université de Sherbrooke to invest in Outcome (Trivio) for the delivery of co-operative learning for all forty-four of its programs. As put by Gabrielle Boileau, Business Analyst at the Université de Sherbrooke, “Outcome’s user interface was a big improvement on our legacy mainframe system. Emails, interview selection, schedules, placement results, and ranks went from a fragmented set of processes into one easy-to-use catalogue of all co-operative education activity. Since 2016, over 9,000 appointments have been successfully managed through Outcome (Trivio), over 50,000 co-op jobs have been posted, and almost 16,000 interview schedules have been prepared – with ease, I might add.”

The improvement to the legacy system was not just noticed by staff but also by students. In the old system, students could only post a single resume and no cover letters. With Outcome (Trivio), students could prepare multiple resumes and cover letters, specific to each application, thereby explaining their job interest and promoting their unique qualifications to prospective employers. Since its inception at the institution, Outcome’s functionality has enabled over 30,000 French-language resumes and almost 90,000 French-language cover letters to be uploaded and applied to empower the next generation of leaders.

Daring to Transform

The Université de Sherbrooke’s 2018-2022 strategic plan aims to enrich the university’s programs, training, and entire higher education experience. Though it was established years prior, the vision is pertinent given the pandemic. Up until March 2020, the Université de Sherbrooke was a Rank-and-Match-only institution. The pandemic brought increasing uncertainty and it no longer seemed appropriate to have employers and students wait days, even weeks, after their interviews for Rank and Match to be run. With guidance from Orbis, the Université de Sherbrooke dared and transformed. It quickly explored and opted to use the Rank and Offer process, for the first time in its history, for the Fall 2020 placement term. Now starting its third Rank and Offer term, the Université de Sherbrooke continues to make gains in the system. In November 2020, the university transformed, yet again, moving its Career Portal to Outcome (Trivio), from its mainframe application, making it a one-stop-shop for students, alumni, and employers. The result? In just two months, over 800 jobs have been posted and made remotely available to students who feel deeply supported in their quest to apply what they have learned toward their futures and their local and global communities.

Says Stephane Roy, Director of Operations at the Université de Sherbrooke, “Our legacy co-operative education solution had no Rank and Offer functionality whatsoever. One of the benefits of the Orbis Outcome solution is having access to alternative processes that can be used when a changing environment calls for them. This ability to adapt keeps the best possible solutions within arm’s reach of our students, faculty, and employers. Designing and redefining co-operative learning delivery is integral to adapting to our environment and meeting the changing needs of our students and graduates.”

Designing & Redefining Co-operative Education for the Future

Today, the Université de Sherbrooke ranks second in Canada and is among the top 10 higher education institutions in North America for the significance of its co-op system. Forty-eight programs, academic paths, and concentrations are now available in a co-op format, and nearly 5,000 students are enrolled in these programs. A testament to the career readiness commitment of their institution and students, each year almost 5,000 co-op work terms are completed in thousands of companies and organizations in Quebec, Canada, and abroad. Since implementing Outcome, the institution has seen a 20% increase in work terms and achieved a near-perfect placement percentage – 98%.

Always looking ahead, the Université de Sherbrooke is already working on deploying future versions of Outcome with the aim of offering more work-integrated learning opportunities for their students and elevating student career readiness. This effort also includes plans to consider competencies and experiential learning as key components of their long-term student career readiness roadmap and to integrate Orbis’s Outcome Campus Connect solution.