Competency development objectives
The uOttawa Co-operative Education Program helps you develop the skills you need to excel in your field of choice. Setting uOCompetency objectives makes this possible.
- Competency development objectives are goals you set for your CO-OP work term. They combine your supervisor’s expectations and your own learning goals to create specific performance targets. When you and your supervisor develop your objectives together, you help ensure a successful work term for everyone involved. Note that setting work objectives is a common practice in many workplaces.
- Please write 3 competency development objectives per CO-OP work term. Review the uOCompetencies modules in the CO-OP Virtual Campus (Brightspace) course for more details.
Elements to consider:
- Your goals may change and evolve over the course of your experiences and should be revised regularly.
- If you do not achieve 100% of your objectives at the end of your experience, simply explain the reasons in your reflections.
- Use the SMARTS formula to assess the accuracy of your objectives as well as the actions you took to achieve them, the results, and the outcomes.
- Use a journal to keep track of your thoughts and experiences, as these valuable notes could be used to evaluate your goals or as anecdotal examples in your reflective evaluation.
Working closely with your supervisor is key to being successful in the CO-OP education learning experience. By meeting with your supervisor early in the work term and regularly throughout the placement period, you will be better able to:
- Clearly articulate specific job requirements and performance expectations.
- Apply your academic learning in the work environment.
- Focus your efforts and be productive from the start.
- Work efficiently and see the results of your efforts.
- Recognize and benefit from available performance opportunities.
- Work with greater motivation and energy.
- Increase your involvement in the job as the term progresses.
- Improve your performance from one term to the next.
In short, work term objectives help you give your very best - and have the best possible placement experience.
Work term objectives are effective if they meet some basic criteria: (a) they use the S.M.A.R.T.S. format (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarding, Time-sensitive, and Shared) and (b) they are understood as works in progress and in need of regular (re)vision.
Specific: Objectives need to be precise.
Oftentimes, objectives are too vague, for example, "I will work hard". A specific objective outlines precise details, for example, "I will thoroughly document my work and communicate my progress in weekly team meetings."
Measurable: Objectives need to be quantifiable.
Measurable objectives give concrete information, for example, "I will produce three mini reports and one final report during my work term." Including a number and being specific clarifies whether the objective has been met.
Achievable: Objectives need to be reasonable and achievable
At the onset, many students believe they can achieve more than what is reasonable given the available time, resources, and so on. Frequently, success or failure depends on setting practical goals. An unachievable objective would be, "I will revamp the entire SAP system by the end of the work term."
Rewarding: Objectives need to be important to you on a personal level.
Dreams are important. We do need to be wary of objectives such as, "I will overcome my fear of public speaking during this CO-OP work term." Nevertheless, it is important to stretch ourselves, try new things, and feel rewarded by our personal achievements.
Time-sensitive: Objectives need to have a set date and time.
A due date gives a sense of urgency-the impetus to take action-and therefore increases the likelihood that the objective will be met. In addition, a specific date allows some monitoring of progress.
Shared: Objectives need to be made public.
Work term objectives are effective when you share them with the CO-OP Programs and your work term supervisor. Consequently, at the beginning of the work term you are required to not only create objectives, but also initiate a meeting with your supervisor to discuss and approve the objectives.
Perfection not required
Work term objectives are rarely perfect. But, if you design them with care, an open mind, and the willingness to modify, you will be more effective and productive. In fact, with a little planning up front, you may well exceed your employer's expectations!