Creating immersive assignments for deeper learning around diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice in leisure

Corey JohnsonLuc Cousineau  

Grant recipients:

Corey Johnson, Recreation and Leisure Studies (left)

Luc Cousineau, Recreation and Leisure Studies (right)

(Project timeline: September 2018-August 2019)

Description

Contemporary population trends impact leisure experiences and service delivery, requiring us to prepare students to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse clientele. With little formal training on how to teach content concerning diverse populations, many instructors steer clear of adding immersive or experiential education components to their courses. This grant project will investigate how to create more immersive learning experiences in an established undergraduate course on diversity, multiculturalism and social justice in leisure. Immersive educational options will be provided as one, self-selected, course assignment, and assessed with student learning outcomes using reflexive thinking exercises and within a cultural competency framework. Overall the project will highlight and help students distinguish between diversity, multiculturalism and social justice in ways that foster reflection on their place in the social structures, as well as the role their education plays in fostering or guarding against diversity, multiculturalism and social justice in their own lives.

Research Questions

We sought to investigate direct benefits to students participating in immersive educational activities focused on diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice in an established, second year, required undergraduate course. We hoped to establish how immersive assignment options might be a way to enhance learner outcomes, provide alternatives for instructors designing or redesigning course materials, as well as document the challenges and rewards associated with delivering immersive assignments in classrooms focused on changing attitudes, beliefs, stereotypes, discriminatory behavior, and oppressive structures.

Findings/Insights

The main takeaway from the project is that providing students, especially high achieving and motivated students, with an opportunity to implement course elements outside of the classroom, they are likely to engage with high impact activities which increase their learning and engagement with course materials.

Providing students with options like this is also only likely to attract already high-achieving students, as the perception is that this type of project is more work and more commitment than other kinds of assignments. This holds even when incentives including flexible timelines, bonus grades, and additional professorial assistance is provided to students who choose this type of assignment option.

These insights were shared in our conference presentation during the CTE teaching and learning conference 2019.

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