Experiential Learning Program
“Experiential Learning Opportunity” (ELO) is used to describe the College of Business & Public Affairs credit-earning co-op, internship, or field study that will allow students to combine classroom-based education with practical work experience while further developing soft skills.
The mission of the ELO Program Office is to produce graduates with competencies and abilities to apply conceptual knowledge to relevant real-world business and social problems. We believe that when students are given opportunities to learn in authentic situations like those provided on co-ops and internships, the learning becomes significantly more effective.
Our ELO program prepares our students to…
- Engage professionally by developing their networking, team building, presentation, and corporate communication skills
- Evolve as innovative critical thinkers and problem solvers who take ownership of their professional journey and beyond
- Emerge as highly sought-after solution-driven leaders ready to serve and add value
to your business.
Become an Employer Partner
We appreciate our business partnerships and see the value in proper preparation before a student is offered an ELO. Our program is designed to ensure every student completes a soft-skill prerequisite so that they are ready to become assets upon arrival.
Give us a call at 256-372-5499 to inquire about becoming a partner.
- How can students benefit from an ELO?
Experiential learning is effective. According to a 2015 qualitative study, seniors from six colleges and universities reported that “experiential learning helped them build upon and integrate the in-classroom knowledge that they had gained.” Additionally, 98% of students obtained new knowledge and skills during an experiential learning opportunity. (Ambrose & Poklop, 2015)Back to Top
- What is an Experiential Learning Opportunity (ELO)?
The term “ELO” is used to describe a credit-earning co-op, internship, or field experience that potentially could allow students to earn income. An ELO will allow students to combine classroom-based education with practical work experience, further develop soft skills, and make contacts that may lead to permanent employment.Back to Top
- What is the difference between co-op, internship, and field experience?
The terms “co-op” and “internship” are often used interchangeably. Co-ops usually refer to paid positions, while internships are typically non-paid. Both co-ops and internships involve students working in a company or organization with a predefined scope of work and/or learning objectives. A field experience is typically more project-related and may be utilized for students who have difficulty completing a traditional co-op or internship.Back to Top
- Which COBPA students are required to complete an ELO?
All incoming freshmen and transfer students for the academic year 2016-2017 (and all students thereafter) are required to complete an ELO prior to graduation. Incoming sophomores for the academic year 2016-2017 are expected to complete an ELO prior to graduation. Incoming juniors and seniors for the academic year 2016-2017 are encouraged to complete an ELO prior to graduation. Students should complete the ELO prior to beginning their senior year.Back to Top
- What type of opportunities count toward completion of an ELO?
An ELO must be a semester equivalent co-op, internship, or field experience that the student attends at least 10 hours per week and should relate to a student’s major course of study. The ELO Instructor, Supervisor, and Program Office must sign-off on the ELO prior to and after completion in order to receive ELO course credit.Back to Top
- What are the prerequisites and GPA requirement for an ELO?
These prerequisites must be satisfied before approval for ELO course registration is granted:
- Minimum 2.0 GPA
- Career Development Services (CDS) clearance
- Successful completion of MGMT 250 or similar approved course
- Documented evidence of an experiential learning opportunity search
- Who is responsible for finding the student an ELO?
Students work with the Program Office to obtain guidance as they search to identify an ELO in their discipline. The Program Office will follow up with students and provide search options and resources; however, the student is ultimately responsible for finding the ELO.Back to Top