Featured High-Impact Learning Experiences

Several features of this instructional method align with the definition of high-impact learning experiences provided by a publication of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (Kuh, 2008), in particular the following:

Students Spend Considerable Amounts of Time on Meaningful Tasks

The students are placed in real-world worksites to do their observations. We even discuss how to present oneself professionally, as representatives of the university. The students are sometimes surprised to realize that the professional staff wants to see their written observations and find value in them. It becomes clear to the students that this task is more than just a class assignment, but has actual value in the family services workplace, where the ability of staff to interpret behavior is a key skill.

Students Receive Frequent Performance Feedback

The in-class writing critique circles give students a real experience of learning from each other, and also of learning how to provide a constructive critique of others’ work. In this way, they receive feedback from both their peers and from the instructor every week. The students also rate each other on the usefulness of the critiques they receive. Because these peer ratings contribute to the course grades, they become an incentive to very thoughtful feedback sessions.

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