Experiential Education activities can be adjusted for remote and online teaching.
How do I know if an activity is EE?
Experiential education in support of student learning must be R.E.A.L. This mnemonic highlights the importance of providing students with opportunities to enable them to reflect on their learning. It also signals the importance of integrating experiential opportunities in a way that explicitly supports the achievement of course or program learning outcomes, so that the learning that occurs as a result is measurable.
Reflection: Reflective prompts or activities are weaved in before, during and after the experience
Experience: A purposeful and authentic experience brings new meaning to the learning process
Assessment: The learning that takes place as a result of the EE component can be demonstrated and assessed in some way. The EE component is explicitly incorporated into the assessment plan (or grading scheme).
Learning: The EE component is explicitly aligned with at least one course or program learning outcome
Adapted from the York University Experience Hub Course Coding Guide
Examples of EE Activities for Online/Remote Teaching
Preparing and Conducting Online Interviews Using KWL
K = What you/we know about x;
W = What you/we want to know about x;
L = What have you/we learned about x.
Students are assigned a topic they work on individually and as a group. They list what they already know about a given topic and what they would like to learn or learn more about. A learning activity is performed, and students reflect on the learning achieved.
Students will interview a community partner (type of partner & topic are course based)
K = students identify what they know about partner and topic x -- In preparation for the interview students research about the community partner’s work/organization/topic to be discussed.
W = after reviewing their information and research, students identify what they want to know about topic X
L = Students conduct the interview & individually reflect on their experience
- KWL can be thought of as a self-scaffolding activity or directed-learning activity.
- Groups size adapted according to class enrolment.
- Depending on whether it’s summative or formative the reflection can be shared in group discussion or written format.
Generating Interview Questions for a Questionnaire Using Online Jigsaw
Typically, students are distributed into home groups and each student is assigned an individual topic on which to become an expert. Each student expert is then assigned to their own expert group where they learn about their shared topic. Once the learning is completed in the expert group, they rejoin the home group as the expert of their given topic and teach them what they’ve learned.
Home group: assign home groups 4-6 students
Home group: assign roles for documenting and leading discussions in group
Develop expert topics: these relate to criteria for developing good questionnaires
Expert groups: assign expert groups – provide instructions and/or resources for learning specific content area related to questionnaire to give each expert student; Students review the material for homework
Expert group work: meeting can take place during online lecture using breakout rooms or as homework for students; students discuss their expert topics and develop “expertise” to bring back to their home groups.
Home group work: students present to each other during class using breakout rooms.
Home group deliverable: Students generate 5 questions for a survey (may generate more questions)
This activity can be formative or summative.
Your Course in the News
Ask students to select an article from this week’s news stories that relates to some element of the course such as a recent reading, a theoretical concept, or a statistical/visualization/media method they are learning.
They should explain the content of the article and how it relates to the course in writing (for instance, discussing how a theme from the reading appears in current discourse, or how the method they are learning is being deployed in the article). What is the news source, and how might this influence the way that the course content appears in this particular article?
Then the students should write a brief reflection about the assignment: what was it like to find course material reflected in current events? Were you satisfied with the way that the article treated it? Why or why not? This assignment may be posted directly to the class website, learning management system (Google Classroom or similar), or shared in other ways as the jumping-off point for discussion online or in person.
- Activity may take place: individually
- Submit assignment: in person, email, learning management system / online post
Procedural demonstration: Create a video while performing a given action to demonstrate elements or mastery of a skill (e.g. in KINE course)
Performing a physical action such as proper form for an exercise. Students record themselves performing a task and submit this recording to the instructor. The activity may also be performed synchronously through zoom or other videoconferencing. Students can also share the demonstrations.
- If done synchronously as a group or small class, they can give and receive feedback through freeze actions
- If recorded students can pause and critique or provide feedback on specific points.
Goals & Objectives
Through this activity students will provide evidence of their mastery or understanding of a given physical task.
Upon completion, students may:
- Gain experience performing a given action
- Develop competency in performing a given action
- Asses their performance and identify areas for improvement for a given action
Appropriate for individual or as part of a group assignment and this activity can be formative or summative.
Students view and participate in virtual tours or exhibits at various institutions related to the course content. The activity can allow students to have a shared experience but provide the flexibility of engaging in their own time.
Concept mapping will be used to prepare students for the virtual field trip and to help them make meaning of the experience. Concept mapping allows students to organize their knowledge of course content/relationships/ interconnectedness between concepts through visuals and key words. Students will develop a concept map to identify the relevant course concepts related to the field trip; and will add to the concept map as they travel through the virtual field trip or after completing the trip.
Students can use the concept map to support class discussions in debriefing the trip or to support in the development of the infographic deliverable.
- Sample concept map online instructions and templates
- Sample concept map activity
- Sample concept map template
Examples of virtual field trip sites/locations:
- Listings of museums offering virtual exhibits (Canada and worldwide)
- Canadian museums and heritage organizations offering virtual exhibits
- Toronto Public Library Virtual Exhibits
- Canadian Museum of Human Rights
- A virtual tour of a Canadian penitentiary
Students show their understanding by creating an infographic about the experience or learning as applied to course concepts. The collection of Infographics is then shared with the class – all students would have participated in the same field trip with varying experiences.
Remote teaching offers opportunities to engage with guest speakers in ways that may not have been possible due to physical space limitations, for example:
- Speakers who otherwise may not have been able to attend (e.g. based internationally)
- Multiple or concurrent guest speakers (using breakout rooms), which also allows students to rotate between the speakers
- Smaller group engagement with the speakers (using breakout room features), which allows for discussion and Q&A
- In advance of the speaker’s engagement ask students to review the guest’s biography (provide them with a link or ask them to research), read about their work and the organization where they work.
- You could also ask students to identify 1-2 questions or areas of interest about the speaker (they could also be asked to submit these to you in advance). This helps the students be prepared for and engage better with the guest.
- On the day of the guest speaker’s visit, you can approach their participation in different ways.
- Presentation Style: You can organize the guest speaker/s visits in the same way as an ‘in-class’ one, where the speaker shares a presentation or gives the talk to the entire class.If you have more than one speaker, you can be even more creative with the format.
- Panel Style: You could host a virtual panel where the speakers discuss a given topic. This could be approached as a discussion or a debate.
- Concurrent Sessions: You could invite speakers to introduce themselves and provide an overview of their area of expertise. Then you can create breakout rooms for smaller group discussions.
- Students can indicate a preference for the speaker they want to engage with, you can randomly assign students to a room, or you can rotate the presenters/guest among the rooms so that they engage with more than one group.
- World Café: You could organize a World Café or Jigsaw, where you can start by placing students in ‘home’ groups and then have each member go to a different breakout room (with a different speaker). At the end students reconvene in the original groups and share their learnings.
Note: Options b-d may involve more advance work (e.g. notifying the speakers about other attendees) and some moderation from you during the event, but they have the potential to provide a very meaningful experience for students.
Tip: You may wish to ask students to change their display name on Zoom to include their group number (e.g. 3- Ana) in order to make breakout room assignments easier to manage manually.
Depending on the format you selected and the learning outcome the activity will help students achieve, you could ask them to incorporate what they learned into an upcoming assignment, summarize and present their learning in a visual or aesthetic way.
Importantly, students can reflect on the experience in a variety of ways, including:
- Posing questions (directly or using the chat box) throughout the talk or at the end
- Sharing their opinions or feedback using the poll features on Zoom, or other response systems like Mentii, Poll Everywhere, etc.
- Writing a one-minute paper
Students participate in simulation which places them in a fictional role requiring them to apply concepts taught in the course to solve problems or achieve a goal. The activity may be especially effective when they are based on current events and/or involve polarizing issues.
Students could simulate a decision-making body (e.g. a local city council or the organizing committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics), making decisions related to health and safety during a pandemic (e.g. services, event cancellations, facility operations). Students, individually or in groups, may represent different stakeholders/departments/units (e.g. in the case of the city: public health, parks, police, etc.) relevant to the scenario, discipline and course content.
Based on their assigned roles, students identify: a set of concerns particular to that role; questions they need to consider; data/research needed to facilitate decision-making.
- In small classes: students may all be stakeholders trying to come to a consensus.
- In a larger class: split students into groups, and have each group elect a spokesperson to speak on their behalf; each group makes a presentation about their case, and then invites open debate in the class; or run multiple concurrent simulations at the same time.
Students may be asked to produce one or more of the following: write a report that translates scientific information into more accessible language, prepare recommendations based on findings, write communications for the public, present their findings or engage in a debate/discussion.
Groups may also be asked to write a post-experience reflection on the process of collaborating, communicating persuasively, decision-making, knowledge translation, etc.
Salon or Science Café
Students organize a salon or science café where they invite guests (e.g. friends, family, classmates) and lead a discussion related to course content (e.g. a central topic, a relevant reading, or a related current issue).
- Students select or are assigned a course topic or theme
- Students select a reading or other material that will serve as the basis for the discussion
- Students select a date and platform for the event (e.g. in-person, online via Zoom, Google Hangouts or other platform)
- Students identify and invite the guests or participants for the event
- Following the event, students report back on the interaction through a reflection and summary of the event. For example,
- What did they learn about the subject matter by having a group discussion with both experts and non-experts?
- What were the challenges of having a group discussion and how did they overcome it?
- What medium(s) did they use to meet, and how did it affect the conversation?
(Source of reflection questions: Bard College Centre for Experimental Humanities)
Depending on the learning outcome the activity will help students achieve, the deliverables may range:
- A bibliography of the selected materials for the Science Café (and rationale for selection)
- A summary and analysis of the event
- Materials related to the communication and promotion of the event to a non-academic audience
Alternative formats include:
- Each student organizes their own event, individually in their social circles
- Students work in small groups to organize their events concurrently or in their own time
- Event is established as an ongoing series for the course (e.g. once monthly), and a different group of students leads it each time
- Students pre-establish the groups/attendees and select the topics and materials collectively
- Students can organize the event but ask the guests to lead the discussionReadings or materials can vary (e.g. scientific, journalism, popular culture, etc.)
Adapted from:Centre for Experimental Humanities, Bard College