Skip to main content
Nazanin Boroumandzadzad profile image

Nazanin Boroumandzad

Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology › Interactive Systems
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op, Peer Education › Career Peers

empty
The front steps of the Academic Quadrangle at SFU.
Credit
Courtesy of the Simon Fraser University Image Library.
It’s important to have fun with your team and build a sense of belonging within your new team, even if it’s just a four-month co-op.

My recent experience as a co-op student working for the Online Learning Community (OLC) has been both valuable and meaningful to me. It was a chance for me to be part of a team of passionate people who strive to maintain and expand the OLC at SFU, a platform where everyone can share experiences, knowledge, perspectives, ideas, and connect with others within the community. 

The OLC website has been a community-based source for many years and the new OLC website was launched recently. This change has brought its own benefits and challenges that the team is working to address while developing new features and expanding partnerships at the same time. As a team, we worked closely together in a hybrid/remote setting to accommodate the ongoing pandemic. Everything from the first introduction, documentation, technologies, and the processes were properly laid out for both in-person and remote work. 

I have to admit that I was not sure how team collaboration in an online setting would work at first. I had some doubts about an online co-op experience and its learning outcomes. But as we got closer to the start date these fears started to diminish because I received more information and clarification from the employer. There were a couple of emails, instructions, and process definitions sent by the team manager to prepare me for the first day of work. Everything was well planned and thought through, so I was able to quickly follow along and get up to speed with the team. Through this experience, I learned new skills about the tech role at OLC and remote work that I like to share. 

Workspace Set Up:

Working remotely gives you the flexibility to work comfortably from where you like. It’s important to try to find and dedicate a physical workspace to help minimize distractions. For virtual work, set up your computer or laptop and make sure the charger and a wired internet connection are accessible. Pay attention to your table and chair and set up the height properly because seating for prolonged hours affects your body. 

Constant Communication:

During remote work, it is important to be responsive in the communication channels and respond to messages on time. If there is an interruption in your connection or any other technological failures, let your team members know through a message or phone call. 

Ask for help or clarifications if you can’t find them through research on your own. I know that sometimes the idea of sending a message in chat to ask for support can be intimidating, through my experience, this has helped me and my team resolve issues faster. Learning a new skill while using it in a new setting has its own challenges and communication is the key to resolving this maturely. Also, if you work part-time, it is important that you communicate that with your team so that they are aware of your work schedule and the meetings can be planned without conflicts.  

Own Up to Your Mistakes:

We try to avoid mistakes and prevent them from happening, but we have to admit that the occurrence of errors is inevitable. It does happen sometimes and the impact can be significant, but I think that it’s important to notify your supervisor as soon as you notice it and own the mistake. Ask for instructions and ways that you can help to solve the situation. 

Have Fun:

It’s important to have fun with your team and build a sense of belonging within your new team, even if it’s a four-month co-op. Our team at the OLC had weekly meetings where everyone gave could give quick progress updates and share their future work plans, as well as ask questions and share ideas. Then we played games for an hour, which was a chance for us to enjoy a virtual social hour filled with laughter. I enjoyed these team-building activities, and they gave me the chance to know my team.

Final Thoughts:

Finally, I like to mention that this coop experience was my last coop in the undergraduate program. I am grateful to have amazing coop opportunities and to be supported by the coop program. These coop experiences helped me exercise my knowledge and skills in real-world situations, learn new skills, build my network, ask questions, receive feedback and gain support throughout this process from my employers.  If you are looking for a co-op position, I would highly recommend starting your application preparation early and getting in touch with a co-op advisor. The earlier you start gives you more chances of securing a co-op position for the semester. 

Author

Nazanin Boroumandzadzad profile image

Nazanin Boroumandzad

Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology › Interactive Systems
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op, Peer Education › Career Peers

Posts by Author

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Maggie and her colleague Jen posing in front of a television screen at their workplace
Overcoming the Distance: Working with a Remote Team

Maggie Quinn discusses her experience of working with a remote team as a Junior Regional Recruiter with Kal Tire. 

Terrence, smiling, with coworker
It’s Not What Your Communication Degree Can Do for You; It’s What You Can Do For Your Communication Degree

For some employers today, a degree has become the minimum requirement for most entry-level jobs. Having spoke with this year's winner of the SCOY Award of Merit, Terence Chu, the solution to this conundrum, for me, became apparent.  

People posing in front of the SAP compant logo
Boy Meets World: Tripping and Falling into the Tech Industry

Deciding whether to do Co-op or not?  Braedon shares his experience with Co-op and how it can give you a competitive edge.