Arizona State University, one of the largest universities in the United States, has a well-earned reputation as an innovator. Thus, it was no surprise that when the university decided to grow its work-based learning initiatives in 2020, it naturally turned to Riipen. As North America’s largest work-based learning marketplace and a leader in the field of educational technology, Riipen was in a unique position to help the university provide real work opportunities for its students. To date, over 100 ASU courses have used Riipen to deliver more than 9,000 student experiences across 500+ real employer projects.
Pat Phelan, professor and Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs (Engineering) at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU is one of many ASU educators who uses the Riipen platform as part of their course curriculum. Earlier this year, Pat’s Heat Transfer and Thermal Design course students participated in a detailed survey about their experience using Riipen as part of their course work. Pat’s MAE 589 Heat Transfer course is a graduate mechanical engineering class taken by master's and PhD students, usually from mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering and other disciplines. These students generally complete an undergraduate course on the same material, so they come to the class with basic skills in heat transfer and are capable of conducting analysis, including finite element analysis (FEA) using Ansys or other packages, and designing thermal solutions as a part of product development or other engineering applications.
The students surveyed from Pat’s course spoke highly about the soft skills that they developed through their Riipen experience, which involved working closely with Aircom Instrumentation Ltd., a Canadian company that serves the process and measurement industry. Brandon St.Germain, a Mechanical Engineer from Research and Development at Aircom connected with Pat through the Riipen matchmaking process. Brandon was looking for engineering students to help Aircom analyze the performance of some of their products including thermowells with sensors installed into vessels and piping systems, surface mount sensors mounted inside of furnaces, and injection quills dispersion and mixing modeling.
The student survey noted outstanding results:
- Students rated 4.36/5 when asked if working on the project gave them the opportunity to improve their communication skills.
- Students rated 4.54/5 when asked if working on the project gave them the opportunity to develop professionalism.
- Students rated 4.54/5 when asked if working on the project gave them the opportunity to improve their critical thinking skills.
- Students rated 4.54/5 when asked if working on the project gave them the opportunity to improve their problem solving skills.
- Students rated 4.59/5 when asked if working on the project gave them the opportunity to develop teamwork skills.
- Students rated 4.27/5 when asked if working on the project helped connect their learning to future career goals.
Additionally, students responded with an average of 8.72/10 about their likelihood to recommend this type of work-based learning experience to a friend. Furthermore, 95% of the students surveyed said that they would consider Aircom as part of their professional network and would feel comfortable connecting with them over LinkedIn and using them as a professional reference.
Through meaningful and pragmatic collaboration with Aircom, Pat’s Heat Transfer course students had the opportunity to apply their knowledge and develop valuable skills through project work, while creating lasting connections that could make a difference at the end of their program. ASU recognized students' eagerness for hands-on experience as part of their education and therefore has piloted WIL courses to help facilitate work-based learning in its large-scale university programs. As such, they have adopted Riipen as the technology platform of choice to help implement and facilitate work-based learning experiences on campus.
As ASU’s students continue to reap the benefits of work-based learning, the university’s partnership with Riipen stands to make a positive impact on the Arizona economy as a whole. With so many learners across ASU’s campus engaged in work-integrated learning initiatives, Riipen and ASU are leading the charge for the future of work.
As the world's largest online work-based learning marketplace, Riipen makes it easy for higher education institutions and industry partners to collaborate on flexible project-based experiential learning opportunities embedding real-life business challenges directly into the curriculum. To learn more about our innovative work-based learning platform and how working with Riipen can result in improved student engagement and student employability outcomes, click here.