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Field Placement Guidelines

Updated 2019.

This guideline provides an overview of the procedures, detailed instructions, responsibilities and forms for a Field Placement.

Also see a partial list of recent field placements.  

CC8993 Field Placement (1 credit) (minimum of 120 hours of field work)

Field Placements provide a mechanism for students to earn academic credit for relevant work experience (paid or unpaid), normally outside the university. Field placements must be related to communication and culture and to the student’s learning objectives in the program. Field placements offer students the opportunity to link theory with practice, to conduct empirical research, to learn about professional practices in organizations in the field of communication and culture, and to gain appropriate work experience.

Overview

The Field Placement is a graded course, normally completed during one term with the Final Report deadline on or before the last day of classes for that term, whether or not the work placement extends beyond that timeframe. The Student is responsible for arranging with a faculty member to supervise the field placement and to submit a written proposal for the field placement for approval by that faculty member (the Faculty Supervisor) and the student’s faculty advisor (or the Graduate Program Director). The Faculty Supervisor, a member of the Comcult program, is the Instructor for the course for that student and assigns the grade for the work. The Field Supervisor is the on-site person who is in charge of the student’s activities and obligations in the Field Placement.

Students are advised to begin their arrangements and proposal well before the start of the term in which they will be registered in the Field Placement. The signed approval forms and proposal must be in the Program office by at least 2 weeks prior to the Add Course deadline.

Related Forms

word fileRequest for Enrolment in Field Placement: To officially registered in a field placement course, this form must be completed and signed by the Faculty and Field Supervisors and Program Director, and returned to the Program Office at least 2 weeks prior to deadline to add a course in the term of placement registration.

word fileStudent Report on Field Placement – Cover Sheet: This form must be completed and attached to the Field Placement Report for submission to the Faculty Supervisor.

google formMid-point Evaluation of field placement student, external link - designed to help Field Supervisors provide feedback about the student’s performance at the mid-point of their placement.

google formEnd-Point Field Supervisor Evaluation, external link - designed to help Field Supervisors provide feedback about the student’s performance at the end of their placement.

Prerequisites and Limitations

  • Field Placements are not normally open to PhD students.
  •  Field Placements are not normally permitted in the first term of study.
  • The MA program normally does not allow more than 1 credit in total of independent study courses.
  • A student who conducts self-designed research or project activities under the direction of a faculty member without the involvement of an outside supervisor will normally be registered for Individual Directed Study rather than Field Placement.

Guidelines for Project Formulation by the Student

The student is expected to seek an employment opportunity, a voluntary position, or work on project that is related to the study of communication and culture and the student’s academic objectives. Present and former employers, professors, advisors, and members of the Program’s Advisory Council may be helpful in suggesting appropriate Field Placements. Whether a paid or unpaid placement is being sought, it is important to begin the search early. Given the competition for jobs in communication and culture, even for voluntary internships, the Program is not in a position to guarantee that placements will be available.

The student should work with the Faculty Supervisor and the Field Supervisor to develop a work plan that will contribute to the student’s learning objectives.

The Proposal must contain Learning objectives – 3-5 clearly written learning objectives that link theory to practice and can be accomplished in the timeframe for placement. Please remember that you may need to insert several graduate level activities (research, study, analysis, comparisons, applications of theories, etc) into the position which may be outside of what the employer is expecting from the existing position.

Registration Procedures for Field Placement

Complete the form Request for Enrolment in Field Placement and obtain the required signatures. Submit the approved form and Course Action form to the Program Office before the final date to Add Courses.

When details of the Field Placement are unavailable prior to registration (for example, when the Field Placement is undertaken outside the Greater Toronto Area), these details may be provided as an Addendum to the request form within three weeks of commencement of the placement. In rare cases, the terms of reference of the Field Placement may change significantly once the student is involved in the field activity. In such cases, approval from the Graduate Program Director is required. Revised terms of reference must be submitted to the appropriate Program Office as soon as practicable. Approval is also required for a change in the Field Supervisor.

Sequence of Field Placement Activities

  1. Formulation of the project and approvals.
  2. Registration (As per 3 above and the Administrative Information later in this document.)
  3. Periodic communication (meetings or other forms) with the Faculty Supervisor and the Field Supervisor, as stipulated in the Request for Enrolment in Field Placement.
  4. Keeping of a journal of log book to assist in preparing the required Field Placement Report.
  5. Submitting an assignment worth 30% by end of 6th week, for instructor feedback prior to Drop deadline for that term. Assignment outlined in the initial proposal could be a literature review or theory background discussion on learning objectives.
  6. Preparation and submission of the Field Placement Report to the Faculty Supervisor and Field Supervisor, with a copy to the appropriate Program Office.
  7. Submission of a written evaluation and grade by the Faculty Supervisor (with the evaluation report from the Field Supervisor).

Guidelines for Preparation of the Field Placement Report

Each student enrolled in a Field Placement must prepare a formal Field Placement Report. This report (12-16 pages, 3-4000 words) may be an essay or reflective report with academic sources. Although the report may take a variety of forms, there are four fundamental questions that must be addressed:

  1. What did you do? Activities must be described in some detail.
  2. What did you learn? Describe and evaluate the learning experience, particularly in terms of substantive knowledge gained and skills acquired, and the Learning Objectives.
  3. How did the experience contribute to your understanding of your areas of interest within Communication and Culture? The report should include reflections informed by relevant theoretical materials, where appropriate.
  4. What changes, if any, will you make in your academic work — course work, research plans, etc. — as a result of the Field Placement?

Append any materials, reports or case studies researched or prepared by you (in whole or in part) which may help to illustrate the nature of the Field Placement. (Confidential materials will held in confidence by the Program upon request. In cases where materials cannot be submitted at all, they must be described in as much detail as possible and reasons given for their omission from the report.)

Example for Outline of Field Placement Report

  1. Introduction
    1. describe briefly your employment / research position, including your job title.
    2. describe the organizational setting and / or context of the Field Placement.
    3. describe the actual tasks and activities for which you were responsible.
    4. identify the learning objectives
  2. The Experience
    1. discuss and evaluate the organizational context in which you worked and your linkages with other departments, agencies and institutions.
    2. describe the best and worst features of the experience.
    3. discuss, on reflection, how you might have carried out your tasks and responsibilities to greater benefit.
  3. The Learning Objectives
    1. Address each Learning Objective or provide a summary if any or all Learning Objectives were addressed in previous assignments during this Placement.
  4. Consequences
    1. discuss in some detail the contribution of the placement to your academic and / or professional objectives, including (i) the substantive knowledge that you gained or strengthened during your placement and (ii) the specific skills, methods, and techniques which you used or acquired.
    2. discuss the influence, if any, of the placement on you personally, including your academic and professional goals, course selection, research plans, etc.
  5. Appendixes: Materials which illustrate the nature of the Field Placement.

Procedures for Submitting the Report

  1. The report should be attached to the formal cover sheet, “word fileField Placement Report Cover, opens in new window”.
  2. The report should be approved by the Faculty Supervisor before submission. The Field Supervisor’s Report should be attached. FP Supervisor’s Evaluation Form also on-line.
  3. There is no minimum or maximum length for Field Placement Reports, but a sensible guideline would be 12-16 pages for a 1-credit placement.
  4. The student may wish to be critical of some aspect of the placement. If the student does not wish the Field Supervisor to read these comments, they may be included only in the copy submitted to the Faculty Supervisor.

Responsibilities of the Faculty Supervisor

  1. To consult with the student during project formulation and preparation of the terms of reference for the field placement, which should include discussion of ways to ensure the learning value of the placement.
  2. To undertake the role of Faculty Supervisor only for placements where he or she has the necessary expertise.
  3. To ensure that the terms of reference are explicitly stated on the Request for Enrolment in Field Placement form and that these terms are accepted by the student, the Faculty Supervisor and the Field Supervisor
  4. To maintain regular contact with the student during the Field Placement, as specified in the Request for Enrolment in Field Placement form.
  5. To maintain contact with the Field Placement Supervisor, as necessary.
  6. To ensure that the Field Supervisor completes the Field Placement Evaluation form as a partial basis for the evaluation of the student. Form is on-line.
  7. To provide feedback on 1st assignment prior to Drop deadline and submit a grade and written evaluation of the student’s performance in the Field Placement to the appropriate Program Office.

Responsibilities of the Field Supervisor

  1. In agreeing to accept the Field Placement, the Field Supervisor must agree to provide a modest degree of academic supervision for the student. This involves developing appropriate Learning Objectives and ensuring that the Field Placement provides a useful and relevant experience for the student.
  2. Preparation of a Field Placement Evaluation to be submitted with the Field Placement Report at the end of the term of the Field Placement to the Faculty Supervisor. The Evaluation verifies the task description provided by the student and provides a few lines of work assessment. An appropriate form will be provided to the Field Supervisor by the student.

Responsibilities of the Student

  1. To formulate, in consultation with the Faculty Supervisor and Field Supervisor (and Faculty Advisor, when appropriate), an appropriate research / professional project or work Program related to the student’s learning objectives.
  2. To secure the required signatures on the completed Request for Enrolment in Field Placement, prior to registration.
  3. To maintain contact with the Faculty Supervisor and Field Supervisor, as specified in the Request for Enrolment in Field Placement.
  4. To prepare the Report on Field Placement in accordance with the guidelines set out above.
  5. To submit the Report on Field Placement to the Faculty Advisor by the established deadline for the term of the placement.

Administrative Information for Ryerson Communication and Culture students

Similar to taking a regular course, a field placement student must follow the academic dates, opens in new window of the School of Graduate Studies.

The end date of a field placement and the field placement report submission deadline are subject to negotiation between the student, the Field Supervisor and the Faculty Supervisor. These dates must be finalized in the beginning of the placement or before it commences. Normally, the last day of classes for the term is used as the field placement report submission deadline.

The date that is NOT flexible is the final grade submission deadline of the term. The placement final grade must be submitted by the Faculty Supervisor on or before the grade deadline established by the Registrar's Office. At Ryerson, it is usually twenty working days after the last day of the examination period of the term. Therefore, the field placement report submission deadline must be set on a date before the final grade submission deadline that would give the Field Supervisor and the Faculty Supervisor sufficient time to evaluate the student's work. If a student fails to fulfill the field placement requirements on-time, he/she may be given an F grade (failure) or an INC grade (Incomplete) at the discretion of the Faculty Supervisor.

Student Workplace Insurance Coverage While On Unpaid Work Placements

The government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), reimburses WSIB for the cost of benefits it pays to Student Trainees enrolled in an approved program at a Training Agency (university). Ontario students are eligible for Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage while on placements that are required by their program of study. MTCU also provides private insurance to students should their unpaid placement required by their program of study take place with an employer who is not covered under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

Furthermore, MTCU provides limited private insurance coverage for students in Ontario publicly supported postsecondary programs whose placements are arranged by their postsecondary institution to take place outside of Ontario (international and other Canadian jurisdictions).

Any work-related accident, however minor, to a student in a work placement must be reported by the Student to the Placement Employer and to the appropriate contact person at Ryerson University.

See: Guidelines for Workplace Insurance for Postsecondary Students of Publicly Assisted Institutions on Unpaid Work Placements, external link