Practicum opportunities provide students with actual on-the-job training and allow a student to answer "yes" when a potential employer asks, "Do you have 'hands on' experience?"
Several Practicum formats are offered depending upon the availability of sites and the capability of students. Two examples, one on-campus and one off-campus, follow:
OFF-CAMPUS EXTERNSHIP: Culinary Arts
To be eligible for an off-campus Culinary Arts Externship a student must maintain, at least, a 2.0 QPA and demonstrate appropriate behaviors as evidenced by passing grades in the Professional Growth and Development courses (CA 020, CA107, CA 207).
The faculty members strive to match a student's ability to the needs of the Practicum Site. Nonetheless, each applicant is interviewed at the potential Practicum Site and the on-the-job supervisor has the right to accept or reject any applicant. Practicum Sites include, but are not limited to nursing homes, hospitals, retirement complexes, schools, and food service establishments.
Externships are eight (8) weeks in length. During that time, students are evaluated by the on-site-supervisor and monitored on a regular basis by the student's instructor, the Practicum Coordinator and the faculty through visits and telephone contacts.
Students have the option of finding their own Practicum Sites, close to home, if the site is appropriate to the training and approved by the faculty.
ON-CAMPUS INTERNSHIP: AST Networking and Telecommunications Technology
During their fourth and fifth terms, students of the AST Networking and Telecommunications Technology (NTT) program participate in a mandatory in-house practicums and external practicums. In house practicum’s are supervised by instructors responsible for Center Wide PBX System and Computer Lan System. External practicums are chosen by student are still mandatory and supervised by site supervisors and instructors, ex. Jenkins Computers and National Telerehabilitation Service System (NTSS). The Practicum Sites may vary with the companies we have agreements. Students are graded in the areas of attendance, attire and attitude, and skill and ability shown on assignments.
The Site Supervisors, who assign students to computer-related calls in the building, coordinate and monitor the work of the student technicians during all phases of the call or project, from beginning to end. Students are briefed prior to the call and are given an explanation of the problem or situation, and then go onsite to resolve the problem. Students receive a tremendous amount of practical experience from a wide variety of situations. They install software and hardware, troubleshoot operating systems, network and software problems, relocate equipment, connect peripherals, inventory equipment, and set up new computer units.
Perhaps one of the most valuable parts of their training includes developing their interpersonal relationship skills by interacting with their customers. Student technicians are required to not only dress appropriately (business attire) while on practicum, but must display proper manners and business etiquette as well. After completion of an assignment, students document what they did on their call sheet and submit it to the Site Supervisors. The I.T. Unit's Systems Analyst then grades the assignment.
Complimenting their hands-on experience, students also are given academic assignments. The practicums include students for participation in special projects in order to give them experiences they may not otherwise receive. In April 2006, for example, HGAC did two major "rollouts" (that is, installations) of nearly 100 computers for staff and for the classrooms. Practicum students were instrumental in every aspect of the rollout and had the opportunity to work with a professional. The NTT Practicum helps to support nearly 300 phones. Additionally, they help support an equal number of peripherals and assistive devices.
The NTT Practicum helps to support nearly 300 computers. Additionally, they help support an equal number of peripherals and assistive devices.