A developmental evaluation of a new Master’s programme as part of student internship preparation

Project Leaders: Dr Elaine Khoo and Dr Alvin Yeo
Research Team: Professor Bronwen Cowie, Dr Mira Peter, Dr Arezou Zalipour, Dr Dilani Pahala Gedera

Project Dates: November 2016 - November 2018

Partnerships: WMIER, Faculty of Computer Science, Centre for Tertiary Teaching and Learning

Project Background

This project was an inter-faculty collaboration between WMIER, the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and the Centre for Tertiary Teaching and Learning at the University of Waikato. It aimed to evaluate students’ learning in the Masters in Information Technology (MInfoTech) programme, specifically their preparation for and participation in their 10-week internship. It had 2 phases:

Phase 1: (2016)

Evaluated the experiences of the first cohort of students. It focused on their preparation for and their participation in their 10-week internship.  A short report from the findings of this phase is available (see attached).

Phase 2: (2017-2018)

Built on Phase 1's findings and involves the design and evaluation of a new paper (course) to enhance student learning and development of the work competencies integral to a successful internship. The findings will be disseminated in conferences and journal papers.

Why was this research important?

The MInfoTech is offered by the Auckland ICT Graduate School (AGS) as a partnership between the University of Auckland and the University of Waikato. The programme is funded by the MBIE and TEC to produce industry ready graduates and to build stronger collaboration between tertiary education providers and industry. As the MInfoTech programme has just been established, the programme developers were keen to evaluate, to what extent, the courses offered had been effective in preparing students for the internship experience and in developing the necessary technical and non-technical core competencies to be successful in the workplace environment. Students’ perspectives were tracked prior to, during and after their internship experience. This information was used to inform ongoing refinement of the programme.

How could this research help to inform others?

The findings can inform other institutions, practitioners and students about pedagogical and student support strategies that ensure robust internship preparation and productive experience. The project exemplifies the value of interdisciplinary collaboration (lecturers and teaching developers and educational researchers) to address the scoping, designing and iterative refining of curricular structures to support student preparation for the workplace.

Key findings

All students enjoyed the new course, CSMAX570, designed to prepare them for their internship and agreed it should be retained for future students

  • Key  non-technical skills useful from the course which translated into their internships were dealing with clients, multicultural awareness, interviews and CV preparation, presentation skills, communication and reflecting on their learning;
  • Students would have liked more discussions on managing conflict, adaptability, project management and business terminologies, specific tailoring of CVs to job seekers in the IT industry;
  • Other course administrative issues that could be refined for future iterations of the course and internships were support for students in managing their group project  during the course, interactions with university supervisors during their internship and the final reporting weightage of their internships.


Phase 1 Report:
Khoo, E., Yeo, A., & Cowie, B. (2017).  Exploring students’ perceptions of the value of the MInfoTech programme in preparing them for their internship. Hamilton, New Zealand: WMIER, University of Waikato.

Khoo, E., Yeo, A., Zalipour, A., & Gedera, D. (2018). Researching the design & development of a WIL paper to Prepare ICT students for their Internships. In New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education 2018 Conference Proceedings. Conference held at The Venue, Onetangi, Waiheke Island: New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education.

Khoo, E., Yeo, A., Zalipour, A.,Gedera, D. G. S. P. (2017, November). Preparing students for their internships as part of work integrated learning. Paper presented at;Learnfest2017, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from