Course Design

Integrating Experiential Learning Into Your Courses
  • Determine the learning goals for your course - Learning goals will help determine the service project and community partners.
  • Consult with the U of T Scarborough Educational Developer for Experiential Learning, Al Hearn, to discuss most appropriate way to integrate EL into your course. This is dependent on your needs and goals (type of experiential learning that is best, in-class activities, assignments, preparing students for their experiences, etc.) It is best to start this consultation as far in advance of the course as is possible.
    • The Educational Developer can assist with tools for course assessment and community partner assessment and also offer suggestions and materials to assist in adapting an existing course syllabus to include EL or to develop a new syllabus-
  • Meet with the U of T Scarborough Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) Coordinators, Julie Witt and Saddaf Sayed, to discuss partnership needs.
    • The ILE Coordinators work with a number of community organizations. If existing partners are not a good fit, they can find others. It is important that faculty work through the ILE coordinators to avoid any duplication and possible stress on the community organizations.
  • Follow U of T policies and procedures around student community placements (Placement Portal, Placement Agreements, Insurance forms, liability, confidentiality, anti-oppression training, risk management, accident reporting, etc.) - Forms & Guidelines

Course Design Factors to Consider

What are your learning objectives?

EL courses may include different or additional learning objectives as compared to a traditional course such as: teamwork, communication, leadership, complexity of understanding, problem analysis, problem-solving, critical thinking, and cognitive development.

Class Size - Should the class be smaller?

This will depend on the nature of the service projects. Is there one community partner or are there a number of partners. How many students can the community partner accommodate?  This decision may also be influenced the nature of the class assignments related to EL. A smaller class size could make class discussions around reflection more beneficial for each student. Large class sizes may require a different model such as a consulting project

Is Experiential Learning required or an option for each student?

While optional projects may be considered, generally it is best to make experiential projects and assignments a required part of the class, is they are to be included. Making a community engaged project optional will most likely make more work for the instructor who will have to create and evaluate alternative assignments.

Time Commitment

Students will need to commit extra time to work in the field including transportation time. Generally, students are required to commit to 5-7 hours per week on their service project in a community-based learning class. Faculty may need to commit more time, especially when developing new EL courses.

Do students have experience with experiential learning or are they beginners?

If students have not experienced community-based learning classes before, they may need more work on preparing them to go into the community.

What kind of reflection assignments and activities should be included?

Refer to the reflection section on assignments for ideas.

Assessment

How are students involved in their own assessment? How are community partners involved in assessment?

Time Constraints

Single semester courses make it difficult to accomplish a very much for the community partner. Are there possibilities for creating a service project that lasts longer than one semester? It is possible the concurrent iterations of the course continue a project with new students.

Ensuring Equitable Access tp Work-Integrated Learning in Ontario

Incorporating issues of diversity and inclusion within the framework of programming in Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) - hoping to narrow the gap in existing academic and policy research - is the aim of researchers: Dr. Wendy Cukier, Dr. Mark Campbell and Dr. Lauren Mcnamara, in their report Ensuring Equitable Access to Work-Integrated Learning in Ontario produced for the Ted Rogers School of Management's Diversity Institute (2018)