Lesson plans for InterSECT

“How do we use InterSECT at our university?” is a common question I get from educators and grad student and postdoc group leaders. Using the InterSECT job sims in the classroom setting, with interactive peer group, has been one of most useful ways for users to interact with InterSECT.  We are happy to share sample lesson plans we’ve used at Washington University in St. Louis (WU), University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and most recently at University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). We hope they can serve as inspiration or a model, and feel free to adapt it.

The professional-led flipped classroom – the WU Graduate School collaborated with the WU Office of Technology Management (OTM) to highlight internship positions in intellectual property and marketing. Participants who signed up for the 90 minute session completed the job sim before attending the in-person portion. Then in-class, the participants split into two groups to discuss the different job sims, completed the self-reflection, and conducted a group informational interview. After the session, grad students and postdocs commented that they the session gave them a better idea of what tech transfer entails, and they could determine whether they wanted to apply for the different internships (or not). The OTM staff members also commented they they enjoyed the rich conversation. The WU Postdoc Society co-sponsored the event. Here was one of the marketing emails:

Ever wondered what it’s like to work at the OTM? Try out an OTM-related job without leaving the bench! Join us for the InterSECT job simulation series! Here you can try out a task in a job, get feedback on your work, and talk with professionals in the career field. Think of them as advanced informational interviews.

Our first session will be with the Office of Technology Management (OTM), and the tasks featured are:
– Market Analysis (Business-Related), led by OTM Trainee and former Marketing Intern
– Freedom to Operate Analysis (Intellectual Property), led by a Patent Agent at the OTM

The WU Biotechnology and Life Sciences Advising (BALSA) group also collaborated on a flipped classroom experience to invite two medical science liaisons (MSLs) to lead an InterSECT session. The flipped classroom format was similar as described for the OTM session. One difference it that since the focus was only the MSL job sim area, the groups split up to discuss the different tasks (conducting research into clinical professionals’ interests and creating networking emails). Two memorable comments from the conversation were, I had no idea that MSLs did so much networking. I don’t think that’s the job for me -and- I wish I did this before completing the MSL certificate. It’s so helpful.

The info session – At UCSF, we invited grad students and postdocs who were interested in exploring the InterSECT job sim library to meet for a general info session. After learning about the job sim process and benefits to completing the experience, they were encouraged to work in groups on different career areas and share their informational interviews with each other. The participants were also encouraged to set SMART goals and complete the experience in a month. Peer groups ranged from 2 to 7 individuals. Some of the groups gelled more than others, and it was organic. One of the comments from the group experience was that they were excited to work with peers and it was comforting to find a community to explore with.

The in-class experience – At URMC, the grad students and postdocs completed the job sim together in-class with more time (3 hours) to discuss in groups and present findings to each other. Here was the lesson plan:

By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe key tasks and terms for a selected career field
  • Explain the benefits of doing a job simulation
  • Determine if you would like to further pursue a career field
  • Identify next steps to explore a selected career field

Before class:

Explore the 5 career areas on intersectjobsims.com and identify the area you would like to work on during the in-person session.

In class:

2:00-2:30 pm, Introduce the job simulation process. Select teams.
2:30-3:45 pm, Complete the job simulation. Create posters and summaries.
3:45-4:00 pm, Break. Complete the self-reflection sheet individually.
4:00-4:45 pm, Group presentations.
4:45-5:00 pm, Discuss career options and next steps.

We’ve had a lot of fun trying different classroom formats. Have you tried a group workshop or experimented with small peer groups? We’d love to hear from you. Share it with us by contacting thi.nguyen@wustl.edu.