This guide helps instructors connect place-based experiences and experiential learning to different courses in the WR sequence.

Guiding Questions for Adventures Outside of the Classroom

  1. How can students engage deeply and safely with a place/event and its community/ies? What clear ground rules can you create to protect students while giving them freedom to explore?
  2. How wide a range of options will you give your students? What will be the opportunities and limitations created by the range you choose?
  3. How can sharing experiences outside the classroom contribute to class community?
  4. How can shared discussions, presentations, or projects enable the experience outside the classroom to contribute to class community?
  5. How will the outside-the-classroom experiences become essential to a major course assignment so that these places and events become crucial sources in student work?
  6. How can reflections help students explore their experiences more deeply to provide a foundation for a specific major assignment for your course but also transfer to future contexts?

Tips for Connecting Place-Based Experiences to Course Goals

  • Pre-reflection and Post-reflection: Students write before the experience, describing expectations about what the place or event will be like. The post-reflection then addresses what happened and links back to the pre-reflection, giving students the opportunity to analyze their preconceptions in relation to the actual experience.   
  • Pre-reflection and presentation: After writing pre-reflections, students give presentations that compare their expectations with the actual experience and analyze reasons for differences.
  • Post-reflection and substantial class discussion: If students all attend the same event or visit different sites over the same few days that offer clear basis for comparison, post-reflections can be combined with an extensive class discussion in which students compare what they experienced and link details of those experiences to readings and course themes.