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Exploring Intentional Learning for the 21 st Century Campus Judy Grace Interim Director, Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence Janice Kelly Director, Academic Community Engagement Services, University College

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Exploring Intentional Learning for the 21st Century Campus

Judy Grace Interim Director, Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence

Janice Kelly Director, Academic Community Engagement Services, University College

David Wells Assistant Director, Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program, University College

Arizona State University

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Session Overview

  • Definitions important for the engaged campus

    • LCE terms and definitions

    • Active and experiential learning

  • Two examples of engaged learning models

    • Interdisciplinary studies

    • Community engagement

  • Outcomes / benefits

  • Challenges and strategies

  • Tools for faculty

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Learner-Centered Education

  • Places the student at the center of education

  • Begins with understanding the educational contexts from which a student comes

  • Evaluates the student's progress towards learning objectives

  • Places the responsibility for learning on the student

  • Instructor facilitates the student’s education

  • Strives to be individualistic, flexible, competency-based, varied in methodology and not always constrained by time or place

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Active Learning

Active learning . . . is a process whereby learners are actively engaged in the learning process, rather than "passively" absorbing lectures. Active learning involves reading, writing, discussion, and engagement in solving problems, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Active learning is also known as cooperative learning


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Experiential Education

An experiential educator's role is to organize and facilitate direct experiences of phenomenon under the assumption that this will lead to genuine (meaningful and long-lasting) learning.  This often also requires preparatory and reflective exercises

Experiential education is often contrasted with didactic education, in which the teacher's role is to "give" information/knowledge to student and to prescribe study/learning exercises which have "information/knowledge transmission" as the main goal

Examples include outdoor education, service learning, internships, and group-based learning projects


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Outcomes / Benefits

  • Student satisfaction

  • Making connections between school and world

  • Student retention and persistence

  • Career exploration

  • Career enhancement

  • Problem-Based Learning skills

  • Critical thinking skills

  • Community / Civic engagement

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Outcomes / Benefits

Several studies have shown that students prefer strategies that promote active learning rather than traditional lectures

Research evaluating students' achievement has demonstrated that many strategies promoting active learning are comparable to lectures in promoting the mastery of content but superior to lectures in promoting the development of students' skills in thinking and writing

Further, some cognitive research has shown that a significant number of individuals have learning styles best served by pedagogical techniques other than lecturing


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Certain specific obstacles are associated with the use of active learning, including limited class time; a possible increase in preparation time; the potential difficulty of using active learning in large classes; and a lack of needed materials, equipment, or resources

Perhaps the single greatest barrier of all, however, is the fact that faculty members' efforts to employ active learning involve risk--the risks that students will not participate, use higher-order thinking, or learn sufficient content, that faculty members will feel a loss of control, lack necessary skills, or be criticized for teaching in unorthodox ways


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Examples of Engaged Learning Models

  • Interdisciplinary studies

  • Community engagement

  • Faculty development

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Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Characteristics of the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) Degree

    • Students select two areas of study that meet their needs with assistance of academic advisors

    • Students also take a four course integrative core curriculum

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BIS Concentrations(partial listing)

Justice Studies


Latin American Studies


Molecular Bioscience




Public Administration

Religious Studies

Social Welfare


Urban Planning

Women's Studies

American Public Policy


Architectural Studies




Civic Education



Environmental Science


Geological Sciences


International Business

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BIS Core Courses

Learner Centered

Students active in developing own plan of study and wide selection in choosing how to complete assignments

Transition Focused

Develops awareness of skills and career planning and finding experiences to build on those skills that reflect on academic work

Civic Engagement (option)

Students can choose tracks that enable them to work with community groups in a research course, internship or senior seminar

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BIS Core Courses

BIS 301: Foundations of IDS (writing focused)

Includes self-reflection, goal, planning for transition after degree as well as awareness of skills

Builds linkages between past/current courses

BIS 302: Interdisciplinary Inquiry (research methods)

Includes identifying internships and pursuing them

Develops capacities to do and question research

BIS 401: Applied Interdisciplinary Studies

Internship in field of interest with assignments that include connecting to academic studies

BIS 402: Senior Seminar (writing focused)

Variety of topics, students can select based on interest

Some paired 401/402s with the State Legislature & Public Policy and Retail (course and internship focus)

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BIS Majors & Pre-majorsInterdisciplinary StudiesFall 21st day

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Community Engagement

Academic Community Engagement Services (ACES)


To provide opportunities for civic engagement and experiential learning through academically-linked or funded service to the community

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ACES Programs

  • The Service Learning Program

    Credit-bearing, semester-long internships in

    DCI, ENG, GIS, GLG, GPH, JUS, LIN, MIC, MTE, PHS, PLB, SOC, SPA, or UNI prefixes

  • America Reads / America Counts

    Federal Work Study tutoring program

  • ASU’s AmeriCorps*VISTA Program

    Corporation for National and Community Service

  • Literacy and Outreach Initiatives

    NCLB Arizona Reads Roundtable

    Outreach and Early Outreach Initiatives

    The College Knowledge Project

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ACES Programs engage ASU students in academically-based service activities that:

  • integrate and enhance academic curriculum and community experiences

  • meet community-identified needs

  • partner the university with community agencies, schools, and industry

  • require sustained long-term commitment

  • foster civic responsibility and increase understanding of social justice issues

  • support reciprocal learning

  • include structured reflection time

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ACES Programs

ASU students involved per semester: 300-350

Current number of community sites: 19

Current number of discreet programs: 36

Program Statistics--Spring 1993-Spring 2005 Inclusive

Total ASU students involved: 5,970

Total ASU student hours: 281,557

Total community members: 59,989

Tutoring / mentoring hours: 731,799

University / community funding: $4.6+ mil

In-kind value of ASU student hours: $12,787,743*

*Computed at the national Points of Light figure of $17.19 per hour

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“Safe Place” for Faculty

  • Experiment with instructional strategies

  • Talk with peers about teaching and learning

  • Think about how to use the scholarship of teaching and learning in the P&T process

  • Work systematically

  • Receive some recognition for efforts

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Exploring Intentional Learning:Group Tasks

  • Introductions

  • Assign recorder and reporter

  • Generate strategies or considerations (15 minutes)

  • Report out and discussion (5 minutes per question)

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Challenges for Discussion

  • What is the faculty responsibility in student learning or failure to learn?

  • Does a focus on individual development conflict with content mastery?

  • How can universities simultaneously prepare students for the workplace and civic responsibility?

  • What is the institution’s role in supporting engaged learning?

  • What curricular and co-curricular changes are needed to optimize student learning?

  • How can institutions use community settings and expertise to foster student learning?

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Challenges for Discussion

What is the faculty responsibility in student learning or failure to learn?


    • Faculty need to know their disciplines, not always familiar with learning styles etc

    • Engage students “where they are”

    • Meet students’ expectations

    • Make faculty expectations explicit


    • Help those you can; accept others will fail

    • Establish clear assignments, expectations, accountability

    • Appropriate assessment of learning

  • Faculty should begin with understanding themselves

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Challenges for Discussion

Does a focus on individual development conflict with content mastery?

  • Discipline-specific issues: sciences, for example, have extensive content to cover

  • Unfamiliarity with individual development concerns

  • Lack of time to focus on both

  • Perception that content mastery only occurs in the classroom

  • Important to students vs important to faculty – student needs vary

  • Need to clarify what students can learn independently / outside of the classroom

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Challenges for Discussion

How can universities simultaneously prepare students for the workplace and civic responsibility?

  • Resolving distinctions among experiential learning, service learning, etc

  • Social diversity issues

  • Experiential learning necessary to inform student perspectives of societal issues

  • Need to establish “social trust”


    • Lack of support for experiential education in industry

  • Question should be “should” instead of “how”—and students may need to be convinced that civic responsibility is a goal of a higher education

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Challenges for Discussion

What is the institution’s role in supporting engaged learning?

  • Initiatives to support engaged learning need to be supported “from the top down” ie resources, release time

  • Communicate & facilitate understanding of the importance of engaged learning (clear leadership)

  • Long term support for faculty; long term goals established as part of the institution’s strategic plan

  • Clear definition of engagement for each campus

  • Involve faculty / staff in determining institution’s objectives

  • Involve the community in setting goals

  • Paradigm shift in institution’s language & culture

  • Administration & faculty need to be “on the same page”

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Challenges for Discussion

What curricular and co-curricular changes are needed to optimize student learning?

  • Differs according to type of institution

  • Service Learning supported by administration (considered in promotion / tenure)

  • Connections between gen ed requirements & majors

  • Student development theory integrated into academic curriculum (student affairs / academic affairs collaborations)

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Challenges for Discussion

How can institutions use community settings and expertise to foster student learning?

  • Students as teachers / problem-solvers / leaders

  • Faculty need resources to design community learning experiences; need to see students differently (as partners in learning)

  • Different situations require different leadership styles

  • Recognize resources & expertise in community

  • Early / late semester community-based learning experiences to allow students time to discover what they’ve learned

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What Now?

Each group respond:

What is one thing

your institution can do to

foster intentional learning?

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Institutional Efforts

  • Foster learner responsibility

  • Create visible learning outcomes

  • Align courses and instructional methods

  • Develop community collaborations

  • Assess for continuing improvement

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Resource Packet

  • AAC&U Learning Goals

  • ABOR Principles

  • ASU Design Imperatives

  • Course & syllabus suggestions

  • Sample self-directed learning study

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Additional Resources

  • Contact information

    • Judy Grace, Interim Director, Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence, [email protected]

    • Jan Kelly, Director, Academic Community Engagement Services, [email protected]

    • Dave Wells, Assistant Director, Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, [email protected]

  • Web sites

    • ASU Task Force on the curriculum of the New American University: www.asu.edu/provost/newcu