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STLHE 2015 has ended
Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice
Wednesday, June 17 • 11:15am - 11:45am
CON01.07 - From caving to robots: Integration of experiential learning into a curriculum

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The coalescence of experiential and interdisciplinary learning opportunities in conjunction with the traditional classroom experience is an important aspiration for Universities but one that involves careful instructional planning and strong institutional (and faculty) support (Porter et al., 2012). The creation of Interdisciplinary Experiences (IE) courses at McMaster University in 2013 has provided students in the Arts & Science and Integrated Science programs with an opportunity to take courses offering unique learning experiences that significantly complement more traditional, lecture-based courses (Davis, 1995; McMaster University, 2015). The courses are for credit towards degree requirements and open to students from both the Faculties of Science and Humanities. This discussion aims to cover the creation, implementation, logistics, assessment and resulting student feedback from IE courses.

There have been nine unique IE courses run over the last two years, covering a diverse range of topics. Some courses, such as the aptly named ‘Electronics for the Rest of Us!’ have been based around a task, such as designing and building an electronic device of choice while others, like the ‘Kentucky Caving Field Course’, take students into the field, experiencing the science and culture of the Kentucky, USA cave system.

This discussion will give participants an opportunity to actively participate in sharing reactions and feedback to the challenges and successes of the IE courses. Within the session we will work through the process of creating such courses based upon discussion around the room while taking into account potential logistical challenges and assessment methods.

Davis, J. R. (1995). Interdisciplinary Courses and Team Teaching: New Arrangements for Learning. Phoenix: American Council on Education and Oryx Press.

McMaster University. (2015). Experiential Learning – Arts & Science Program. Retrieved from http://artsci.mcmaster.ca/experiential-learning/

Porter, G., King, J., Goodkin, N., & Chan, C. (2012). Experiential Learning in a Common Core Curriculum: Student Expectations, Evaluations, and the Way Forward. International Education Studies, 5, 24-38.


Wednesday June 17, 2015 11:15am - 11:45am
Salon 2

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