Virtual Internships – WSJ.com

Natalie Ann Roig completed a marketing internship last spring—while riding the bus, sitting on her parents’ couch and lounging at home in pajamas.

The internship, in which she worked 15 hours a week researching and blogging about corporate workplace benefits, was virtual—she needed only a computer and Internet access. Ms. Roig, a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, never even met her boss, in Atlanta

via Virtual Internships – WSJ.com.

Interesting to see “telecommuting” being extended to internships, but seems that key aspects / benefits of internships are being missed here.  To me, this scenario seems like cheap staff augmentation for companies (nothing wrong with that), but the intern is losing out on the ability to improve his/her interpersonal communication skills, work on “real” teams and the participate in water cooler talk (i.e. socialize and network within the firm).  It takes special communications skills to effective work in virtual teams, but it sounds like these internships are more piecemeal labor than real project work.  Still, these internships represent a good opportunity to get work experience in today’s increasingly virtual world.

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