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Potential of Out-of-Class Activities

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Potential of Out-of-Class Activities

  1. 1. The Potential of Required Out-of-Class Experiential Activities in FYE: Promoting Knowledge, Engagement, and Empowerment Central Michigan University Phame Camarena, PhD Janice Lung, Ed.D. Andy Saltarelli Karstin Hartoon Kathy Smith 23 rd Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience Addison, Texas February 2004
  2. 2. Theoretical Foundations <ul><li>Historical Roots ( e.g., Dewey; Kolb ) </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete experience is the source of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Reflecting on experience is key to learning </li></ul><ul><li>Humanistic (e.g., Rogers, Freiberg) </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes the development of the whole person </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on personal choice and relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Activity-based learning is a key method </li></ul><ul><li>Outdoor Education (e.g., Hahn, Boud, Priest, Gass) </li></ul><ul><li>Education is a holistic growth process </li></ul><ul><li>“ Impelling” model versus “Challenge by choice” </li></ul><ul><li>The mind is trained through the body </li></ul><ul><li>Sequencing and facilitation is a key component to learning </li></ul><ul><li>Adult Learning Theory ( e.g., Jarvis; Knowles; Mezirow ) </li></ul><ul><li>Life experience of the learner is a rich source for learning </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is an internal process of making meaning of life experiences </li></ul>
  3. 3. Significance for Higher Education Student Learning in Higher Education (Joint Task Force on Student Learning, 1998) Learning is enhanced by taking place in the context of a compelling situation. Learning is grounded in particular contexts and individual experiences. Much learning takes place informally and incidentally. Learning is fundamentally about making and maintaining connections. Learning is developmental, a cumulative process involving the whole person. Learning is strongly affected by the educational climate in which it takes place. Learning is an active search for meaning by the learner.
  4. 4. Traditional Experiential Learning in FYE <ul><li>Emphasis on topic areas, campus resources, and academic skills </li></ul><ul><li>In-class teaching methods </li></ul><ul><li>Games, inventories, auctions </li></ul><ul><li>Tours, field trips, </li></ul><ul><li>Group work and presentations, </li></ul><ul><li>Academic planning and scheduling </li></ul><ul><li>Out-of-class “prescribed” assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Scavenger hunt </li></ul><ul><li>Interview an instructor/administrator </li></ul><ul><li>Workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Student organization fairs and meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer activity </li></ul><ul><li>Meet with an advisor </li></ul><ul><li>Library / Internet assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Attend specified campus activities (athletics, art, culture, etc.) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Multiple academic course offerings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic Skills for “high risk” students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Honors Orientation Seminar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Residential College seminars for first semester students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Human Development </li></ul><ul><li>FYE Infusion model </li></ul><ul><li>Combines General Education and FYE goals </li></ul><ul><li>3-credit course / 2 hour lecture and 1 hour mentor-led discussion </li></ul><ul><li>“ Personal Development Project” (PDP) </li></ul><ul><li>FYE 101 </li></ul><ul><li>1 credit academic elective course </li></ul><ul><li>8-weeks </li></ul><ul><li>mentor assistant for each section </li></ul><ul><li>Program Goals: Knowledge, Engagement, Empowerment </li></ul><ul><li>“ Student Development Project” (SDP) </li></ul>FYE Related Courses at CMU
  6. 6. Structure of Model Assignment <ul><li>Both Personal (PDP) and Student Development (SDP) Projects : </li></ul><ul><li>Provide students with a wide array of choices . </li></ul><ul><li>Push or encourage students to stretch while choosing activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Have activities grouped into categories related to course objectives . </li></ul><ul><li>Require written reflections about experience with activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Require students to provide documentation of activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Require students to integrate lessons from activities to course content. </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors and mentors provide: </li></ul><ul><li>announcements and encouragement to participate in activities </li></ul><ul><li>special opportunities designed specifically for the project </li></ul><ul><li>time in class for students to share about their experience with others </li></ul><ul><li>connections of activities to learning objectives </li></ul>
  7. 7. Categories & Activities HD FYE Infusion College as a Context for Development EXPLORE THE ARTS (e.g., campus sponsored concert, play, dance, or artist exhibition) EMBRACE DIVERSITY (e.g., diversity sponsored film, presentation, dance, pow-wow) BUILD CONNECTIONS (e.g., Greek tour, visit club, audition, run for hall council) MEET THE FACULTY (e.g., visit during office hours, invite to lunch, social outing) Forces that Shape Personal Development STRETCH PHYSICAL / COGNITIVE BOUNDARIES (e.g., wall climb, intro to yoga) INCREASE SELF KNOWLDEGE (e.g., interview parent about childhood, research family tree, e-mail 10 people to get honest feedback on strengths/weaknesses) ALTER HABITUAL SELF (e.g., physical make-over, go vegetarian for month) CHANGE CONTEXTS (e.g. visit different churches, no TV/Video games for month) Other healthy, legal, and safe activities with permission - but STRETCH!
  8. 8. Assessment Results (HD FYE Infused) <ul><li>Question #1 “Was the Personal Development Project (PDP) worth the time and effort?” </li></ul><ul><li>N = 153 (Inter-rater Reliability 98.5%) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Assessment Results (HD FYE Infused) Question #2 “What one activity would you say was the most valuable?” 161 Responses (Inter-rater Reliability 90%)
  10. 10. Assessment Results (HD FYE Infused) <ul><li>Question #3 “What major lessons have you taken from the PDP?” </li></ul><ul><li>161 Responses (Inter-rater Reliability 90%) </li></ul><ul><li>Gained Self-Awareness 42.48% </li></ul><ul><li>“ I learned a lot more about myself than I thought I would. I just feel like I got a lot more out of my college experience from doing this.” </li></ul><ul><li>To Try New Things 41.18% </li></ul><ul><li>“ I learned that I need to get out and experience new things more often. I never really did this and I think I can really benefit from it.” </li></ul><ul><li>Learned about College/Campus 11.76% </li></ul><ul><li>“ That CMU has a whole lot more going on than you hear about and more people should take advantage of it.” </li></ul><ul><li>To Overcome Fear 5.88% </li></ul><ul><li>“ Not to be afraid of the reactions of others, but to do what makes you happy and involved.” </li></ul><ul><li>Dominant theme: To Step Outside the Box </li></ul>
  11. 11. Sample Categories/Activities for FYE 101 MEET THE FACULTY (e.g., visit professor in office / invite instructor to lunch) AFFIRM DIVERSITY (e.g., attend campus pow-wow / MA workshop) BUILD CONNECTIONS ( e.g., attend campus club / run for hall council / audition ) CELEBRATE THE ARTS (e.g., attend campus performance / opening artist exhibition ) PLAN FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS ( e.g., time management activity / visit writing center ) CREATE A BRIGHT FUTURE ( e.g., meet with career counselor / possible major advisor ) SERVE THE COMMUNITY ( e.g., register with volunteer center / alternative weekend ) ENGAGE INTELLECTUALLY ( e.g., attend speaker series / faculty presentation ) BUILD PHYSICAL/MENTAL HEALTH ( e.g., attend FYE wall climb / intro. to Yoga class ) EMBRACE MORATORIUM (e.g., change physical appearance, try new churches… - any healthy/legal/safe activity approved by instructor that forces exploration of self)
  12. 12. Assessment Results (FYE 101) Question #1 The most valuable thing about this class was ______ ? N = 392 (Inter-rater Reliability 94.64%) How frequently was activity project mentioned? – The MOST common response!
  13. 13. Assessment Results (FYE 101) Question #2 Why was the SDP the most valuable thing about class? N = 392 with 110 responses to code <ul><li>Got involved/Experienced new things (47.27%) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Getting involved in things I normally wouldn’t on my own.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learned about Campus/University (27.28%) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The most valuable thing was the student’s development projects. I learned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more about campus and met so many new people along the way.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learned/Helpful (9 Responses – 8.18%) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Motivation (8 Responses – 7.27%) </li></ul><ul><li>Learned about self (6 Responses – 5.45%) </li></ul><ul><li>Fun/Enjoyable (5 Responses – 1.28%) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Instructor Perspectives <ul><li>Instructors REALLY like this assignment </li></ul><ul><li>“ Forced” students to do things on campus besides go to class; </li></ul><ul><li>Adds a sense of excitement and anxiety; </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent for observation and critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Empowers students to engage in the university environment; </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasizes learning as potentially life long  </li></ul><ul><li>Probably the most important part of what we did in class; </li></ul><ul><li>What would they change?  </li></ul><ul><li>More explicit about what they can and cannot do; </li></ul><ul><li>More structured format to submit their experiences; </li></ul><ul><li>More specific reflection questions; </li></ul><ul><li>More “stretch” in the activities-- select activities not on the basis of </li></ul><ul><li>convenience (hall meeting), but on the basis of what they would normally not </li></ul><ul><li>choose to do (have coffee with a faculty member). </li></ul>
  15. 15. Mentor Perspectives <ul><li>What is the value of the SDP/PDP for students? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Absolutely vital to students’ experience” </li></ul><ul><li>“ most valuable part of FYE 101” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It seems like FYE is about the SDP” </li></ul><ul><li>Students realized there was value in learning </li></ul><ul><li>Offered an experience to apply the reading and class content NOW! </li></ul><ul><li>Surprise learning… didn’t realize learning impact until after </li></ul><ul><li>What is the value of the SDP/PDP for mentors? </li></ul><ul><li>“ I probably never would have interacted with students on a more personal level ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ PDP was the primary reason I was able to interact (bond) with the students” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Knowing that they had to do the PDP and that I had done it before gave them </li></ul><ul><li>an excuse to come have real conversations with me” </li></ul><ul><li>Students had to rely on mentors – responsibility created unity </li></ul><ul><li>“ I cared and they could see that…that made a huge difference” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Implications and Recommendations <ul><li>General Lessons: </li></ul><ul><li>Assess the current role of activities in FYE curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Consider expanding the role of activities in promoting student learning and </li></ul><ul><li>development </li></ul><ul><li>Specific Recommendations: </li></ul><ul><li>Activities should be directly connected to goals and objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Activity assignment must be “owned” by instructors and mentors </li></ul><ul><li>Compel activity, but provide choices </li></ul><ul><li>Require debriefing and critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate the activity across the course </li></ul><ul><li>Create and facilitate special activity opportunities for students </li></ul><ul><li>Assess and document how project matters for learning and institutional priorities </li></ul>
  17. 17. Discussion <ul><li>What do you think? </li></ul><ul><li>What structure does your program use to promote out of class activities? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the risks and appropriate limits for this kind of requirement? </li></ul><ul><li>How do specific institutional demands shape how this kind of project works? </li></ul>

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