The application of theory to a concrete experience, either within the classroom or within the community, which advances the learning outcomes of a course or program and requires students to reflect upon their learning
The Academic Innovation Fund has supported the creation, implementation and evaluation of a number of EE projects. Projects are showcased on the Academic Innovation Fund website.
York University provides a wealth of resources to assist educators in developing and implementing EE projects. A complete list of resources can be found on The Teaching Commons website.
Establishing a Common Language for Experiential Education
Descriptive terms and a common language were developed to identify Experiential Education (EE) strategies and facilitate conversations about the range of possibilities for innovative use of EE in teaching and learning. With subway construction underway at York, it seemed appropriate to use this analogy to illustrate how we are building new systems to support student learning.
Experiential Education Strategies
Note: There are forms of Community Service Learning that are co-curricular in nature. They often include volunteering opportunities for students. In these forms, CSL is not-for-credit. For our purposes, we are addressing only academically embedded CSL.
- "Each work term is developed in partnership with the employer and approved by the co- operative education program as a suitable learning environment;
- The student is engaged in productive work for which the student receives remuneration;
- The co-op curriculum supports student learning goals, personal evaluation and reflection;
- The student's performance in the workplace is supervised and evaluated by the student's employer;
- The student's progress during their work term is monitored by the co-operative education program;
- Both work and academic terms are full-time and follow a formalized sequence. The total amount of co-op work experience is normally at least 30% of the time spent in academic study. For programs of two years or less the total amount may be a minimum of 25%. A work term is defined as a minimum of 12 weeks and/or 420 hours full-time paid experience;
- Co-op Programs begin and end on an academic term;
- The student completing multiple work terms is normally exposed to the work environment during more than one season of the year."
Co-operative education programs can be either for-credit or zero-credit endeavours, and are generally noted on the transcript and degree. Co-operative student positions are most often 4 to 8 months in duration, with a commitment of 12-16 months in total over the course of the degree. Given the alternating nature of work and study terms, co-operative education programs tend, in most cases, to necessitate alignment with a trimester system.
Experiential Education at York: Baseline Survey
A baseline survey conducted in 2011-12 provides insight into the extent to which EE strategies have been used across the continuum from course focused, community focused to work focused.
York University's Experiential Education Mandate
The pursuit of academic quality has been consistently identified as being one of the highest academic goals across a number of university academic plans (e.g., UAP, 2005 – 2010, UAP 2010 – 2015). In the UAP, the enhancement of teaching and learning is seen to be an essential component in terms of advancing academic quality and ultimately, student success. It identifies three priority areas: (i) enhancing teaching and learning, (ii) enriching the student experience and (iii) building community and extending our global reach. Across each of these broad priority areas, experiential education can be seen as a vehicle to facilitate learning.
In the Summer of 2013, the Experiential Education Working Group was established to provide advice to the Vice-President Academic and Provost on the integration of experiential education approaches in York’s degree programs. The Working Group has developed a discussion paper to serve as a tool for consultation with Faculties, students and community partners to encourage conversations about the use of experiential education strategies to enhance student learning.
The consultations took place in November 2013 with Faculties, students and community partners. The Working Group welcomed feedback from the York community at an Open Forum or via the attached online feedback form.
Following these consultations, the EE Work Group developed a Common Language for EE as well as the EE Integration Summary and Recommended Actions which was followed by a draft of an EE Operational Plan and the establishment of an EE Leads Group in March 2014 with representatives from each of York's Faculties. In the summer of 2014, the EE Leads conducted reviews of all of the EE activities currently taking place within their Faculties with an eye to establishing targets for increasing York's overall EE offerings. This information will be used to create a Business Plan that will outline infrastructure for EE at York.