Tips for Hosting Virtual Interns

  • Consider creating a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Whether you are working with more than one virtual intern or are likely to have another intern during a future semester, compiling the answers to common questions will save you time later on. Your intern will also appreciate being able to refer back to such a document.
  • Work with your virtual intern to establish goals. Discussing both long-term and short-term goals on a regular basis will help your intern stay on track throughout the semester.
  • Communicate priorities with your intern. You will likely have your virtual intern work on a variety of different tasks. Explain which tasks take priority, so that he or she understands when to focus on what.
  • Give precise instructions and clarify expectations. iSchool students are accustomed to working within the academic setting at SJSU, but they may need some coaching to get in the mindset needed for success in other venues. Be specific about what deliverables you expect from them (e.g., a report as opposed to an academic paper) to ensure that you and your intern are on the same page when it comes to the operating procedures followed within your organization. Provide examples or templates whenever possible.
  • Confirm that your intern understands your expectations. After providing instructions, check with your intern to confirm that he or she understands what you want. Eliminating confusion early on in the process will save time later when your intern is working independently on a task.
  • Provide regular feedback to your virtual intern. This will enable your intern to learn from your expertise and improve work where necessary.
  • Schedule weekly meetings.  You can use this time to provide feedback on your intern’s work during the previous week and to assign or review work for the upcoming week. Getting into a communication routine at the beginning of the semester will help your intern stay on task.
  • Encourage your intern to ask questions. Supervising a student virtually can make it hard to notice when a task is not going as planned. Open communication will make for a more productive semester for both you and your intern.
  • Learn more about the Virtual Communication Tools available to you. These tools will make managing your intern and their work easier and more efficient.

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