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Guidelines for Developing Liberal Arts in Practice Courses or Guiding LAP Synthesis Projects

Liberal Arts in Practice Requirement

All students complete the Liberal Arts in Practice requirement, usually during the junior year, that totals the equivalent of at least 1 unit of academic credit: applied or original work extending beyond the traditional classroom, such as (1) a LAP-designated credit, (2) a course with a paired LAP experience, or (3) a LAP synthesis project with a public presentation, exhibit, publication, or performance. (Academic Policy Manual)

L1 Courses with an Integrated Experience

Implementation guidelines for an L1 course, devised by the Curriculum Oversight and Administration Committee, state that a course which is structured to incorporate a significant experience beyond the traditional classroom (such as research-related fieldwork or community engagement projects), and to assist students in reflecting on that experience, making meaningful connections to it, and transferring the skills developed in the experience into other settings. These courses are LAP-designated credits, and students who successfully complete a unit of such courses will have satisfied the Liberal Arts in Practice requirement.

Here are some ways of thinking about the implementation guidelines for L1 courses.

  1. Classroom and beyond the classroom assignments are Integrated with each other and with course content.  Students understand the connection and the objectives of the assignments.
  2. Reasonable time requirements and schedules are set for experiences beyond the traditional classroom. Generally students will complete a minimum of 45 hours for a unit of credit (3.5 hours per week) and no more than 90 hours (7-8 hours per week) within an L1 course.  This should be factored into an expected workload of 2 to 3 hours of work outside of class for each hour of classroom instruction.  Consideration will be given to providing flexible schedules to meet a variety of student constraints.
  3. Students engage in and are given feedback on reflective assignments before, during and after their beyond the classroom experiences.
  4. A metacognitive approach is encouraged.  This means that students are expected to become increasingly aware of and take responsibility for their own learning.   
  5. Students are oriented to and prepared for the contexts they are entering.  This includes conversation and guidelines about ethics, cultural competency, the background of the setting they are entering and professionalism. 
  6. Faculty will let students know about various transportation options available to them including: borrowing cars through the Liberal Arts in Practice Center for the cost of gas or from the Beloit College fleet for a small mileage fee.  Students must be registered drivers through the Security Office.  Mass transit is also available in some locations.
  7. Faculty or College staff broker connections for students with community partnerships and field sites including:
    • Setting up appropriate sites and establishing contacts who will be reasonably available to students and faculty,
    • Establishing what is expected from the site, students and faculty,
    • Periodic monitoring of the experience to ensure that expectations are being met,
    • Being available to students and site supervisors to troubleshoot as necessary.
    • Debrief the experience at the conclusion of the course and offer thanks on behalf of the college.
  8. Limited funding may be available to help cover expenses through PPDC, the Provost’s Office or the Liberal Arts in Practice Center.  This varies from semester to semester. 

L2 Courses with a Paired Experience

Implementation guidelines for an L2 course, devised by the Curriculum Oversight and Administration Committee, state that a course which may not themselves incorporate a significant experience beyond the traditional classroom, designed to reflect on, make connections to, and transfer skills from beyond-the-classroom experiences external to the course (such as, for example, off-campus study). All such courses, together with their paired LAP experiences, satisfy the Liberal Arts in Practice requirement. This may include certain capstone courses. Note that the courses in this option need not be a full unit to satisfy the requirement, and students need not earn academic credit for the paired LAP experience.

Here are some ways of thinking about the implementation guidelines for L2 courses.

  1. Independent of course requirements, students complete a minimum of 45 hours at an internship, research or field site.
  2. Students complete a Beloit College credit bearing course, for a minimum of a half credit which guide them in analyzing, reflection on and articulate their experiences.  Examples of this include (FEP 201), Internship Workshop and Unpacking Study Abroad: Using Digital Storytelling for Reflection and Integration (IDST 201).
  3. Students engage in and are given feedback on reflective assignments before, during and after their beyond the classroom experiences.
  4. A metacognitive approach is encouraged.  This means students are expected to become increasingly aware of and take responsibility for their own learning.   

L3 Courses with Synthesis and Presentation of an Experience

Implementation guidelines for an L3 course, devised by the Curriculum Oversight and Administration Committee, state: LAP syntheses occur when students connect one or more experiences extending beyond the traditional classroom with their coursework, transfer the skills developed in those experiences into other contexts, and reflect on them both in ongoing advising and through a culminating project: some public presentation, exhibit, publication, or performance. LAP syntheses include a large and undefined range of possible experiences beyond the traditional classroom, including but not limited to: on-campus and off-campus jobs, community outreach, research athletics, student government and other leadership opportunities, work at CELEB, in art galleries, or in museums, and travel opportunities unrelated to college work.

Here are some ways of thinking about the implementation guidelines for L3 courses. 

  1. Students engage a significant experience beyond the traditional classroom which provides them with the opportunity to reflect on connections with their academic work; in particular, how their experience and classroom work mutually inform, confirm or confound what they know. 
  2. Students have the opportunity to articulate these connections between their classroom and beyond the classroom learning, both to their advisor/s and in a public presentation.
  3. Students engage in and are given feedback on reflection before, during and after their beyond the classroom experiences by their advisor or other mentor.  In other words, the student is intentional about entering into the LAP synthesis experience and throughout.
  4. A metacognitive approach is encouraged.  This means that students are expected to become increasingly aware of and take responsibility for their own learning.   
  5. The student’s academic advisor determines whether the work satisfies the intent of the liberal arts in practice requirement.

Bibliography

  • Ash, S. L., & Clayton, P. H. (2009). Generating, deepening, and documenting learning: The power of critical reflection in applied learning. Journal of Applied Learning in Higher Education, 1(1), 25-48.
  • Kolb, Alice Y., and David A. Kolb. "Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education." Academy of management learning & education 4.2 (2005): 193-212.
  • Kuh, G. (1991). Involving Colleges: Successful Approaches to Fostering Student Learning and Development outside the Classroom. Jossey-Bass Publishers, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104
  • Hanover Research (2015). Best Practices in Experiential Learning at Liberal Arts Institutions.
  • National Society for Experiential Education (2008). Eight Principles of Good Practice for All Experiential Learning Activities, presented at the NSEE Annual Conference.
  • Teaching and Learning Services (2014). Guidelines for assessment of experiential learning.  Montreal: Teaching and Learning Service, McGill University.
  • Schwartz, M. (2013). Best Practices in Experiential Learning. Toronto: the Learning and Teaching Office, Ryerson University