Experiential Learning

  • Experiential Learning,  Instructional Strategies

    Gamifying Learning Experiences

    In this blog post, we’ll explore helpful tips on how to incorporate gamification into your own university courses. Dr. Martin Gaal, a Political Studies faculty member, has successfully incorporated gamification into two of his courses, POLS 261 Global Politics and POLS 201 Global Citizenship Cultures and Coexistance. While POLS 261 and POLS 201 are not prerequisites for each other, Dr. Gaal does see value in students taking POLS 261 before 201. This sequential progression aligns with the staircase model of applied undergraduate learning. In 261, students experience a classroom-supported simulation of the world. In 201, students engage with a self-directed, and self-created, simulation of the world. Graphic adapted from Beaudoin,…

  • Experiential Learning,  Sustainability

    Instructional Strategies for Climate Justice

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Environmental Solutions Initiative has developed the Climate Justice Instructional Toolkit to enhance climate justice education. Aimed primarily at educators in introductory undergraduate courses, the toolkit provides resources and programming to integrate climate justice content and instructional approaches across various disciplines. The toolkit is openly licensed and includes adaptable teaching modules (with downloadable pptx files), instructional guides, and student resources. The toolkit focuses on climate justice—addressing the unequal impacts of climate change on vulnerable groups and identifying solutions. The proposed instructional strategies align with the University of Saskatchewan’s teaching practices for sustainability competencies and types of experiential learning. The initiative also encourages feedback and collaboration for…

  • Experiential Learning,  Undergraduate Research

    Embedding Research, Artistic, and Scholarly Skills: A Step-by-Step Guide for Classroom Success

    Whether you’re a seasoned educator or just beginning, this blogpost aims to empower you to align your course outcomes with research, artistic, and scholarly work (RSAW). Let’s explore a self-guided journey of instructional alignment using the 7-level research skills framework and the experiential learning cycle. To undertake this self-guided exploration, you may wish to have the following material handy: Sticky notes in two colours Paper Markers Pens A large piece of paper Step 1: A Day in the Life… Grab a sheet of paper and markers, and draw a ‘day in the life’ for you as a researcher, scholar, or artist. What tasks do you take on? How well can…

  • Experiential Learning,  Internationalization,  Sustainability

    To Be What the World Needs, We Need to Bring the World Into the Classroom

    The global lockdown of 2020 showed us that learning doesn’t require desks and a lectern. If the activities could be done in isolation (listening, reading, answering test questions), then why should students opt into classroom learning? Yet, there is immense value in gathering and interacting with each other. Thus, what we choose to do in these classroom spaces matters. Educators can contextualize their disciplines and helps students make meaning of their developing knowledge and skills by bringing external thoughts, processes, and contexts into the teaching space. Here, we’ll summarize a few key ways of ‘bringing the world in’ that can help students connect, reflect, and use feedback to advance their…

  • Experiential Learning,  Uncategorized

    Reflective Journaling: How Instructor Feedback Helps Students Improve

    Journaling is like capturing a series of snapshots of changing knowledge and skills. Reflective journaling is a lens through which students can examine their own progress, capturing moments of insight and understanding of their own learning. With continuous feedback from instructors, these journals bring clarity and refinement to the student experience. We’re reflecting with Dr. Kathy Walker from the department of Political Studies to see how students develop and process their understanding in Political Studies 222 and 422. Throughout the term, students compose their thoughts and experiences, each entry serving as a snapshot of their intellectual journey. This process is not about a simple record of who’s paying attention, but…

  • Experiential Learning,  Uncategorized

    Adding Experiential Learning to a 200-Level Course Project

    Adding Experiential Learning to a 200-Level Course Project   It can feel overwhelming to add experiential learning to large classes, particularly at the first and second year level of undergraduate learning. For Dr. Bob Patrick from the Department of Geography and Planning, the new USask experiential learning cycle helped him revamp a 200-level course project into an authentic learning experience with opportunities for reflection and feedback. Dr. Patrick’s course is about measuring sustainable development in cities. With a class size of 60 students, he decided to make this learning adventure more engaging by making experiential learning explicit and bringing the world into his classroom. Here’s how he did it: Empowering…

  • Academic Integrity,  Experiential Learning,  Instructional Strategies,  Sustainability

    Inbox Assignment 

    How’s your email inbox looking today? This can be a stressful question! We each have different ways of addressing projects but the reality is that email often plays a huge role in how we manage our to-do list. How do we prepare students for this career reality? Simulating a project via an inbox is a way to make a case study more authentic.    Case-based learning helps students address a complex problem. Students often work in small teams each with a different role to bring a specific perspective to the problem. With adding the inbox messages, the task because more experiential and gives the students actions to ‘do’. When we want…

  • Curriculum Development,  Educational Theory,  Experiential Learning,  Instructional / Course Design,  Instructional Strategies,  Uncategorized,  Wellness

    From Stuck to Supercharged: The What and Why of Brain Plasticity

    Your Brain on Teaching and Learning: Series One  What is Brain Plasticity? Brain plasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize and restructure itself throughout a person’s lifetime. It is a result of the brain’s ability to form new neural connections and strengthen existing ones based on the activities we engage in and the information we process. Factors such as learning, exercise, diet, and environmental stimuli can all influence brain plasticity. Recent research has shown that educators who understand the basics of brain plasticity can design courses that promote and accelerate learning and retention. Why is Brain Plasticity Important? Brain plasticity offers several benefits in the field of education, including: Improving…

  • Curriculum Development,  Educational Theory,  Experiential Learning,  General,  Instructional / Course Design,  Instructional Strategies,  Wellness

    Your Brain on Experiential Learning

    “Is disengaged.” “Is easily distracted.” “Shows no interest.” “Never shows up.” No professor wants to use these phrases to describe their students, but disengagement is a persistent problem — making descriptions such as these all too common today. Experiential Learning can help. Experiential learning is a powerful educational approach that helps students remain focused as it promotes active learning, fosters creativity and innovation, and prepares students for the real world. Let me explain: Experiential learning engages multiple parts of the brain simultaneously When learners participate and apply their learning in authentic contexts, it activates different areas of the brain responsible for sensory processing, motor skills, and cognitive functions, such as…

  • Assessment and Evaluation,  Curriculum Development,  Experiential Learning,  Instructional / Course Design,  Uncategorized

    Time for a Jump Start? Teaching and Learning Fund at the GMCTL

    Feeling stuck? Even though good ideas for change are exciting and energizing, sometimes they sit still or do not progress.  Common reasons include: Working at it sporadically or “off the side of your desk” Attending to more urgent or pressing issues Being at (or beyond) your limit in terms of projects and things to do Uncertainty about next steps, or seeing the next steps as daunting Questioning if this is really what you’re supposed to be doing, anyway If the time has come for an infusion of help and your project is about one or more of the following Program-level curriculum change (see the 4-step process for successful change) Assessment improvement across…