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Course Structure: Experiential Learning

Centered on the concept that knowledge is created through concrete experiences, hands-on learning opportunities for students are at the core of an experiential course. Events are followed by reflection to develop applicable knowledge and theories for future action.

The type of experiences provided depend on the subject area and course requirements, but can include work-study programs, laboratory experiments, role-playing simulations, and problem-solving activities.

You can share instructions or information about each experience through the content area and monitor group and individual progress through Our Blogs, the My Reactions journal, and the Round Table discussion forums.

This course structure works well for courses with hands-on requirements such as zoology and veterinary science, physical education, drivers' training, social work, and education practicums.

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You can print this topic and refer to it while you build your course. You might also want to print Using Course Structures to use as a reference.

What Does the Course Menu Look Like?

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Using Your Course Menu

The following table describes the content areas and course tools included in the Experiential Learning course structure.

Content Areas and Course Tools in the Experiential Learning Course Structure
Content Type Description
Action Plans Action Plans is your central instructor-designed content area. To provide your students with an easy-to-navigate and familiar environment, you can create folders for each activity. Include similar content, such as links to articles or websites, forms, activity instructions, assignments, and tests.

To learn more, see Creating Content in a Course Area.

Collaborate Students use the Collaborate wiki to create and edit content as a group. The class can use the wiki to create lists of resources while planning an activity, build a glossary of course terms, design solutions for problem and projects, or record the results of an experiment or observation. The wiki tracks changes and additions so you can observe each student's contribution as well as the final product.

To learn more, see Wikis.

Round Table You can use the Round Table discussion forums for formal assignments, such as posing weekly questions related to the activities, and for informal interactions, where students ask and respond to each other's questions. You can create gradable discussion forums and threads to assess students' participation and knowledge. After each activity or project, ask reflective questions to invoke conversation. What is the critical message of this activity? What would you do in this particular situation? How would you approach solving this problem?

To learn more, see Discussion Board.

Our Blogs In Our Blogs, students can share their thoughts with each other by writing blog entries about each activity or experience. Making the blogs graded and requiring students to comment on each other's entries encourages a class-wide conversation about each activity.

To learn more, see Blogs.

My Reactions The My Reactions journals are an excellent place to communicate with and get to know students individually. Journal entries are visible only to you and the student, allowing them to reflect on their experiences privately. For group projects, ask students to write about how their team is working together to gauge which groups need assistance dividing work effectively.

To learn more, see Journals.

Groups Create private, collaborative workspaces in Groups for smaller sections of students to build knowledge together. For example, each group can research a theory and then show the rest of the course members how to apply it across situations. You can change the composition and size of groups for new projects throughout the semester.

To learn more, see Course Groups and Tools and Creating Groups.

Resources In the Resources content area, you can share additional material so interested students can learn more. Help students expand on the information presented by directing them to specific web articles and recommended reading. Students can also use these resources to find topics for projects or papers.

To learn more, see  Creating Content in a Course Area.

Tools Give students access to all available course tools on a single page. Add commonly used course tools to the course menu for easy access.

To learn more, see Managing Tool Availability.

Course Organizer The customizable Course Organizer module page provides students with a single place to go for an overview of current course information such as Announcements, My Calendar, To Do, What's New, and My Tasks.

To learn more, see Notifications Dashboard.

Getting Started In the Getting Started content area, provide materials that students can access throughout the semester. Include a syllabus or other basics, such as grading policies, textbook information, scheduled activities, opportunities for practicum and volunteer placements, and important dates.

To learn more, see  Creating Content in a Course Area.

My Facilitator Create profiles for yourself, other instructors, teaching assistants, and guest lecturers participating in your course in My Facilitator. Include contact information such as email addresses, phone numbers, office hours, and location.

To learn more, see Contacts.

My Grades Students can see the status of gradable items such as assignments, tests, blog entries, and discussion posts on their My Grades pages.

To learn more, see My Grades.

Help Blackboard Help contains searchable how-to information. Students in need of additional assistance should contact the institution's computing help desk.

Customize the course structure by renaming, removing, hiding, or adding content areas and links to tools.