COVID-19 information and resources

Work Integrated Learning, particularly place-based placements, are being strongly affected by COVID-19 as organisations reduce operations and due to physical distancing required. Many universities are withdrawing students from face to face experiences and are rapidly converting as many as possible to online experiences. This has created a complex and rapidly evolving and challenging environment for WIL across Australia.

ACEN has taken the following actions ...

  • Implemented a national survey on March 19 about the issues, challenges and strategies that members have experienced due to COVID-19.
  • Conducted a webinar on March 24 to report back the survey results and collected current strategies in place, find the recordings below.
  • Conduct regular surveys to feel the pulse of the ACEN community in COVID-19
  • Set up this dedicated COVID-19 webpage on ACEN website.
  • Created weekly coffee chats – how are you going – to build a supportive community, share experiences and learn from and with each other – see further details below.
  • Set up weekly webinars to discuss cutting edge hot topics with experienced WIL practitioners – see details below.
  • Contribute to consultative meeting requests by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
  • Liaison with partners of the National WIL Strategy to identify joint strategies.
  • Give voice to ACEN issues on national accreditation bodies’ national platforms.
  • Collaborate with the rest of the WIL World, particularly collaborating with NZ and Canadian National Associations in sharing resources and strategies going forward.
  • Send breaking news communications to the ACEN membership.
  • Encourage members to contribute on ACEN LinkedIn page, twitter #ACENau, in their ACEN chapters to share strategies and discuss issues.

The immediate key challenges are ...

As the Government is making new restriction announcements rapidly the following are the issues of March 25:

  • Impact of placement cancellation on student progression, meeting accreditation requirements (for regulated professions), graduation.
  • Moving placements to the online/remote environment.
  • Sourcing resources that are fit for this novel COVID-19
  • Risk management, safety and clarity around Insurance for students doing unpaid placements as work from home.
  • Need to negotiate flexible approaches (especially around assessment of practical work) and not breech accreditation requirements.
  • Supporting students who are scheduled to graduate mid-year.
  • Potential impacts on international students’ visas.

We'll support members by ...

The COVID-19 situation presents a historic challenge to universities and a particular challenge to those of us delivering WIL in partnership with industry and community organisations. The Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) is continually monitoring the situation regarding work-integrated learning (WIL) placements and the impact of COVID-19 on our institutions, students and our partners. WIL is strongly affected because physical distancing and sterile conditions are often not possible in workplaces, on placements and in face-to-face WIL strategies. There are many challenges and we do not have all the answers but we have set up this webpage to support our membership through this difficult time.

We recognise the value of bringing our community together to collectively address the challenges that are distinctive to our WIL practice in these profoundly different circumstances.  We also understand that the various types of WIL have different considerations and that individual students and organisations differ as well.  We are offering the following resources to assist in providing support and guidance in these rapidly evolving and uncertain times.

We recognise the value that work-integrated learning has for both our students and our industry partners and we are hoping to support institutions in order to mitigate potential loss of these meaningful experiences for students and create alternatives where needed.

As the situation evolves, ACEN will continue to host on-line webinars for members who would like to be engaged on an on-going basis.  We will share our collective wisdom, alternative WIL strategies and support each other as a community of practice. For information regarding these scheduled meetings, please check this webpage regularly.

ACEN is providing webinar, regular conversations and resources.



Other support

Fortnightly Coffee Chats

Attend our virtual coffee catch up every second Friday to share experiences and learn from and with each other.
read more

Planned and past webinars

See the weekly webinars


National Survey

A national survey provided the basis of a webinar which determined some strategies.


COVID-19 webinar series

Participate in our webinar series about practical ways in which to adapt your WIL to delivering online and in innovative ways


Topic: Evaluating WIL

Date: 18 September 2020

Find out More

Topic: Project-Based WIL: Platforms, Practices and Pedagogy

Date: Friday 7 August 2020

Find out More

Topic: Strengths and strategies of simulation-based education

Date: Thursday 9 July 2020

Find out More

Topic: Reflection and Reflective Practice in WIL

Date: Thursday 11 June 2020

Find out More

Topic: Assessing Online WIL

Date: Thursday 21 May 2020

Find out More

Topic: Beyond Working from Home: New ways of doing WIL

Date: Thursday 7 May 2020

Find out More

Topic: What’s Possible, Challenging and Emerging for the Move Online

Date: Friday 24 April 2020

Find out More

Topic: Online Teaching and Learning in WIL

Date:  Thursday 9th April 2020

Find out More

Topic: Impact of COVID-19 on WIL

Hosted by the ACEN Queensland Chapter

Date: Friday 3 April 2020

Watch the video

Topic: Online WIL – Experience from the Field

Date: Tuesday 31 March 2020

Find out More

Topic: ACEN National Survey Results WIL and COVID-19

Date: Tuesday 24 March 2020

Find out More

COVID-19 coffee chats

Attend our virtual coffee catch ups fortnightly on Fridays.

Date: Every second Friday from Friday 11 September 2020

Time: 2:00pm – 2:30pm AEST

Zoom Link:

Zoom Password: 751751

Join the LinkedIn conversation

Join the ACEN LinkedIn group as a way to connect with colleagues at any time.

Ask questions and post about how you are responding to COVID-19.

ACEN resources to support alternative models of WIL

The Innovative WIL Models project has a wealth of information about innovative ways to delivery WIL including online placements, consulting, micro-placements and hackathons and competitions.  Have a look at the guides for industry, students and university staff. The snapshots may be particularly helpful for members looking for new ways to deliver WIL. You can also access a webinar about the project here.

You may also find our good practice guides helpful and the industry guide is relevant to all forms of WIL.

Online learning and teaching resources

Useful items from members

Guide for Online WIL Placements and Projects

RMIT Staff Guide – WIL Online tips for institution staff

UTS Student Guide – Completing your internship remotely

ECU Form – Temporary absence from the workplace


Our Canadian partner network, The Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education (CEWIL) has compiled COVID-19 Resources, including tips for onboarding students remotely, supervising student remotely and working from home.  CEWIL also offers a range of other resources for WIL and co-operative education programs.

The FOLD website focuses on fostering asynchronous online discussion in higher education.

Tips, resources and support for moving HE teaching online from OneHE.

The Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education (WATCACE).

Explore resources for international students, university staff, workplace supervisors and more on Innovative Research Universities (IRU) WIL resources website.

National principles for clinical education during the COVID-19 pandemic

Health Professions Accreditation Collaborative Forum – Ensuring Interprofessional Education in the training of health professionals.

Global WIL modules

Online international professional development for WIL practitioners.

Global WIL Modules


Abeysekera, I. (2006). Issues relating to designing a work-integrated learning program in an undergraduate accounting degree program and its implications for the curriculum. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 7(1), 7-15.

Alexander, B., Ashford-Rowes, K., Barajas-Murphy, N., Dobbin, G., Knott, J., McCormack, M., Pomerantz, J., Seilhamer, R., & Weber, N. (2019). EDUCAUSE Horizons Report: 2019 Higher Education Edition.

Bayerlein, L. (2015). Curriculum innovation in undergraduate accounting degree programmes through “virtual internships”. Education + Training, 57(6), 673-684.

Bayerlein, L., & Jeske, D. (2018a). The potential of computer-mediated internships for higher education. International Journal of Educational Management, 32(4), 526-537.

Bayerlein, L., & Jeske, D. (2018b). Student learning opportunities in traditional and computer-mediated internships. Education + Training, 60(1), 27-38.

Dean, B., Gibbons, B., & Perkiss, S. (2018). An experiential learning activity for integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into business education. Social Business, 8(4), 387-409.

Irwin, P., Ellis, A., & Graham, I. (2012). Virtual WIL: A collaborative approach to work integrated learning using a virtual world Australian collaborative education network national conference, 

Jeske, D., & Axtell, C. M. (2014). E-internships: prevalence, characteristics and role of student perspectives. Internet Research, 24(4), 457-473.

Jeske, D., & Axtell, C. M. (2016). Going global in small steps: E-internships in SMEs. Organizational Dynamics, 45(1), 55-63.

Jeske, D., & Axtell, C. M. (2018a). The nature of relationships in e-internships: A matter of psychological contract, communication and relational investment. The Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 34(2), 113-121.

Jeske, D., & Axtell, C. M. (2018b). Virtuality in e-internships: A descriptive account. In A. Lazazzara, R. C. D. Nacamulli, C. Rossignoli, & S. Za (Eds.), Organizing in the digital economy. At the interface between social media, human behaviour and inclusion. Springer.

Johnson, B., & Douglas, K. (2010). Asynchronous online role-plats using a blended learning design: integrating theory and practice. In J. Martin & L. Hawkins (Eds.), Information Communication Technologies for Human Services Education and Delivery: Concepts and Cases (pp. 53-71).

Kaider, F., Henschke, K., Richardson, J., & Kelly, M. P. (2009). Designing blended spaces to maximise student learning in work integrated learning programs. ascilite Conference, Auckland.

Kay, J., Ferns, S., Russell, L., Smith, J., & Winchester-Seeto, T. (2019). The emerging future: Innovative models of work-integrated learning. International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 20(4), 401-413.

Kraft, C., Jeske, D., & Bayerlein, L. (2019). Seeking diversity? Consider virtual internships. Strategic HR Review, 18(3), 133-137.

Mundkur, A., & Ellickson, C. (2012). Bringing the real world in: Reflection on building a virtual learning environment. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 36(3), 369-384.

Peach, D., Gomez, R., & E, R. (2013). Reconstructing places and spaces in blended work integrated learning 36th HERDSA Annual International Conference, 

Perkiss, S., Dean, B. A., Gibbons, B., Heithaus, T., Wersun, A., Gonzalez-Perez, M. A., Anastasiadis, S., Acosta, P., Mesick, R., Jun, H., & Mills, R. (2018). WikiRate student engagement report: International case studies.

Schuster, L., & Glavas, C. (2017). Exploring the dimensions of electronic work integrated learning (eWIL). Educational Research Review, 21, 55-66.

Strait, J., & Nordyke, K. (2015). eService-learning: Creating experiential learning and civic engagement through online and hybrid courses. Stylus.

Trede, F., Markauskaite, L., McEwen, C., & Macfarlane, S. (2019). Education for Practice in a Hybrid Space: Enhancing Professional Learning with Mobile Technology. Springer.

Universities Australia. (2019). Career Ready Graduates.

Van Dorp, K. J. (2008). A premier European platform for clearing e-internships. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39, 175-176.

Wersun, A., Dean, B., Mills, R., Perkiss, S., Acosta, P., Anastasiadis, S., Gibbons, B., Gonzalez-Perez, M. A., Heithaus, T., Jun, H., Mesicek, R., & Bayerlein, L. (2019). An exploration of student learning for sustainability through the WikiRate student engagement project. The International Journal of Management Education, 17(3), 1-12.

Zegwaard, K. E., & Rowe, A. D. (2019). Research-informed curriculum and advancing innovative practices in work-integrated learning. International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 20(4), 323-334.

Submit your resources

Members are invited to contribute resources, case studies and communication channels. Please email us at with any resources you would like to share.