How to Manage a Student Working on a Virtual Project

We are so glad you are able to offer a Wellesley student a virtual project. Hive Internship Projects are short-term, virtual experiences that are designed by unbundling long-term internships and separating out individual projects that can be completed remotely. Students benefit from working on a real-world project for an alumna or employer, while your company or organization will gain timely support from students. This resource offers tips and guidance to help you supervise and mentor your student throughout the duration of the project. 

 

Initial Meeting

Once you have selected your student and they accept your offer, we encourage you to use the Hive for all communication where you can get acquainted, review the project, and set expectations. Also, before this initial meeting, you may want to share your time zone with the student, and confirm the student’s time zone. Discuss any implications different time zones may have for projects, meetings, and shared work. As you prepare for this meeting, consider the following:

 

Getting Acquainted: Introducing yourself as a mentor

Working on a virtual project provides students with an amazing opportunity to build skills, acquire professional experience, and build their network. Just as importantly, this project provides them with an opportunity to gain guided mentorship from you. Use this first conversation as an opportunity for you and your student to get to know each other and set a foundation for building a mentorship relationship so that you can best support their professional development in the weeks to come.

  • What do you want the student to know about you? Consider sharing a bit about your career journey and the work you do currently.
  • What do you want the student to know about your company/organization (if applicable)? Would it be helpful for the student to know the organizational mission or learn about current initiatives?
  • What do you want to learn about the student? Consider asking questions about the student’s academic interests and professional aspirations.
  • What does the student hope to learn from you? Is the student interested in learning more about your industry? Would the student like to be introduced to others in your network?

 

Explaining the Project and Setting Expectations: Introducing yourself as a supervisor

While you have likely described the project to the student previously through the job description and perhaps an interview, this is a good moment to confirm that the student understands the project and has all necessary context to successfully complete the work. This conversation is also a moment to set expectations around communication, timeline, and deliverables. 

  • Review the project once more. Consider explaining how this project fits into you and/or your organization’s larger workflow. Discuss the scope and scale of the project. Ask if the student has any questions about how their work will impact the overall plan for the project.
  • Share documents, files, or other information that the student will need to complete their work. 
  • Confirm the student’s work schedule. Review start and end dates as well as hours per week. Should the student work at set times during the week? Is it alright for the student to work whenever they have time? Make sure you both understand what is needed and expected. This is also a good moment to share your time zone with the student, and confirm the student’s  time zone. Discuss any implications different time zones may have for projects, meetings, and shared work. 
  • Schedule regular check-in meetings for progress updates and feedback by phone or video. 
  • Outside of scheduled check-ins, let the student know how best to get in touch with you if they have questions or concerns. Consider using platforms such as gchat or slack so that you can easily stay in touch. Share company-wide policies on how best to use these messaging platforms, if applicable. 
  • Discuss the project timeline. Will there be small deliverables or drafts due throughout the duration? How and when should final deliverables be submitted?

 

Making the Most of Check-in Meetings

Regular check-in meetings are an important element of the Hive Internship Projects. Check-in meetings enable you and the student to review project progress, troubleshoot, and share updates. These meetings are also a great opportunity to offer mentorship and support the student’s professional development. 

  • Spend some time talking with the student about what they’ve accomplished since you last met. Review completed tasks and discuss next steps. Make sure you leave time for questions and ask how you can offer guidance and support with their upcoming tasks.  
  • Provide information about any upcoming meetings, or new developments that may impact the student’s work. 
  • Leave time to help the student explore what they are learning through this experience. Has this project sparked a new curiosity? Interest in developing a skill? Are their resources you can share for the student to learn more? Can you connect them with other professionals in your field?
  • Career Education is also supporting students through Pathways that are designed to offer experiential learning, reflection, and check-ins with Wellesley Career Education advising staff to support their work. Pathways is a virtual feature within The Hive that runs alongside the project. The student might reference their Pathway progress and welcome conversation around what they are learning. 

 

Completing the Project and Offering Constructive Feedback

As the project comes to an end, use your final check-in meeting to ensure the project is completed to your specifications and reflect upon what the student gained from the experience. 

  • A few days before the project is scheduled to end, reconfirm with the student how to submit final deliverables. Depending on your project, you want to consider providing the student with an opportunity to present their work to you and your colleagues over zoom. 
  • Allocate a set date and time for the student to discuss their work, and for you to ask questions and provide feedback.
  • Feedback is a gift. To the degree possible, provide feedback to the student on their work. The project that you have provided to this student is a learning opportunity, and your feedback is an important part of the student’s professional growth. Concrete and constructive feedback, while also offering comments around the student’s skills and strengths, will help in the development process. 
  • The Hive is a community, we welcome your ongoing mentorship and continued communication with students.