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.