The Waterloo Experiential Learning (ExL) Communities of Practice offer a unique opportunity for instructors to connect with their peers to share examples, experiences, ideas, and best practices around EL. Each community will meet three times over the term to explore how to overcome a variety of potential challenges and barriers; navigating logistical issues for example. The sessions will also include participation from community and industry organizations who will share their perspective and provide insight on developing and maintaining relationships with external partners.
The Communities are organized under the following three themes with the intention to include a mix of people from across campus in each community.
Games and Simulations in the Classroom
Session title: Games and Simulations in the Classroom
Joel Blit, Department of Economics
Read the notes from past meetings:
About the Community of Practice:
As an instructor, it’s not always obvious how we can bring experiential learning into our classroom, particularly in the case of more technical courses. Classroom games and simulations are one way to achieve this, making classes more engaging for our students. Games and simulations can be a great way to motivate the course material and to make learning fun. They can help students develop their curiousity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Through games and simulations, students are better able to understand the relevance of the material and to engage with it.
The focus of this community of practice will be to share examples, experiences, ideas, and best practices in and around the use of games and simulations in the classroom. The goal is to bring together instructors who either have used games and simulations in the classroom, would like to use them, or are simply curious about how they could use them to enhance the classroom experience of students. By seeing how other instructors have used games and simulations in their classroom, and discussing what has worked and not worked in different settings, instructors will be better able to use games and simulations in their own classes.
- A series of one-hour informal lunch workshops.A member of the community will present their own use of games/simulations for the first half hour of each of these workshops (ideally making the audience play the games) and this will be followed by a question and answer, and general discussion period.These workshops will be held monthly in order to sustain momentum.
- A summary compendium of games/simulations that were presented/discussed that could serve as reference material.
- Web page with sample online resources and material for classroom games and simulations
Are you curious about using games and simulations to enhance your classroom experience? Contact Amanda Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org to be notified when this community is meeting next.
Community Service Learning
Session title: Crossing the Town/Gown Divide: Students' Learning for Good
Kelly Anthony, School of Public Health and Health Systems
Read the notes from past meetings:
About the Community Service Learning Community of Practice:
Many UW undergraduate students never venture very far from campus, yet students often report a desire for a sense of community and connectedness. Students report increasingly more stress and feelings of isolation across almost all university campuses; one way to reduce those feelings is to replace them with a sense of meaningfulness in their studies. Community service learning (CSL) can do just that. According to Taylor and Raykov (2014), over 95% of students felt that “participation in community organizations is important for overall social development, developing employability skills, and developing networks”, and 90% said they would probably recommend this form of learning to others. Given that many employers report that they want students who can collaborate, this kind of experiential teaching and learning should be an integral part of post-secondary education.
We know students love these experiences and gain a great deal from them. Faculty, however, may not know how to connect students with community partners- or even how to identify those partners and/or experiences. This Community of Practice is designed to allow faculty across campus to meet, talk about, and share the ways we identify, build, nourish, and sustain community connections for our students’ (and the community’s) benefit.
- A series of workshops on “Learning for Good” focusing on how to connect students and community where both benefit, with participation from community partners.
- Brainstorm session and workshop specifically for those new to the area, without family, friends, or living experiences in our region, and help them plan a strategy to identify and connect with potential community partners.
- Workshop on overcoming the barriers, logistic, financial, and otherwise.
- Creation of a summary report on all of the previous workshop in the form of an engaging FAQ for all interested faculty to be available online.
Would you like to connect your students with community partners in experiences with reciprocal benefits? Contact Amanda Brown at email@example.com to be notified when this community is meeting next.
Session title: Greater than the sum of its parts: developing opportunities for students to create and innovate through interdisciplinary projects and experiences
This Community of Practice will focus on one of the primary foundations of EL: interdisciplinary-based learning. Courses and projects that bring together students from different departments or faculties to work in teams with external community partners brings added value to both groups and are great learning cycles as unique real-world experiences.
This community is led by Jennifer Lynes, Associate Professor at the School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development and Wayne Chang, Lecturer at the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, who will work together to provide a venue for: 1) engaging all academic disciplines to share their teachings and learnings with peers around the theme of interdisciplinary entrepreneurship and innovation, 2) discussing opportunities for developing new initiatives on campus.
Next session: TBD
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: E7 2317 Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business
Read the notes from past meetings:
- A series of six workshop sessions 1hr each (3 workshops per Fall and Winter term) will be scheduled with invited course instructors and community partner organizations to exchange best practices, discuss challenges and identify opportunities.
- Engage all academic disciplines through encouraging active experimentation and implementation methods.
- Creation of three new interdisciplinary initiatives on campus.
- A summary report of the Community activities and new initiatives to provide a framework for interdisciplinary experiential learning opportunities.
Are you interested in developing an interdisciplinary project in your course? Contact Amanda Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org to be notified when this community is meeting next.