Experiential learning Writing Program initiatives like Boston Now (formerly Arts Now) and parts of broader university programs such as the Hub’s co-curriculars encourage students to bring landscapes and communities from outside the classroom into their writing. Students’ observations act as evidence that gives them opportunities to engage in types of analysis that textual sources alone do not make possible. Experiential learning–including shared experiences of performances, museums, parks, sanctuaries,  and neighborhoods–enables students to craft a more diverse range of arguments and also allows faculty and students to choose from a larger set of disciplines and genres.

When instructors use elements of experiential learning and place-based education, students move outside the classroom and become stakeholders in BU, local sites and neighborhoods, and the city of Boston, a process which also deepens their engagement with the classroom community. Having a co-experience of a site or event helps to build classroom community, but if it is not possible to visit a site or attend an event together as a class, a strong shared framework in which to situate student experiences can still spark fruitful discussion and connections.