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Visiting the World

Real World Learning Experience: Level 200

In 200 level RWLEs, students visit the world through experiences like field trips, walking audits, participant observation, and volunteering. Exposure to place and immersion is a powerful element in these activities. Place and context speak to students and impact them, transferring information about sustainability problems and problem solving, which students could not get in the classroom (e.g., sensory, experiential, perceptions). Students learn to collaborate with peers and thoughtfully interact with people outside of class to complete tasks still directed by instructors but that demand more responsibility and initiative from students. Professionalism, time and task management, empathy, self-reflection as well as recognition are key mastery goals at this level, as is recognition and evaluation of course concepts in real-world contexts, as well as of sustainability problems and solution pathways.

Benefits of these types of activities:

  • Gets students into real-world settings and places where they can observe complex concepts and dynamics in situ or in action; makes sustainability personal.
  • Gives students experience in designing and using a qualitative research method.
  • Allows students to compare their observation of stakeholder engagement with best practice recommendations.
  • Easy to coordinate, although it may take time; beyond arranging a single experience instructors need to coordinate little coordination with community partners.

Examples of related learning objectives:

  • Evaluate own knowledge by asking questions and collect data outside of class, reflecting on what you/they know, how, and don’t know.
  • Reflect on what is gained by visiting the world in sustainability education. For instance, analyze information that a place offers (e.g., sensory, audio, local knowledge); compare and contrast with other forms of knowledge (e.g., scientific) and how power dynamics influence how issues are portrayed. Collaborate with peers and interact with people outside of class to complete tasks, while using tools such as a code of collaboration, timeline, and performance evaluations.