Experiential Learning Courses
Experiential Learning at Brandeis
What makes experiential learning (EL) at Brandeis so distinct is a focus on reflective processes that connect theory, practice, and the synthesis of new ideas, integral parts of experiential learning.
Experiential learning is a process through which a student develops knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences. Academic experiential education at Brandeis includes community-engaged learning, internships and other activities including performances, lab work, and creative and studio work. See more information below on the modes of EL at Brandeis.
Curricular activities that are "experiential" contain all the following elements:
- Opportunities for the student to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results
- Opportunities for the students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically
- The design of the learning experience assumes some outcomes will be unknown and creates the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes.
- Reflection, critical analysis and synthesis
*Definition by the Davis Education Committee, now the Experiential Learning Committee at Brandeis, and adapted from the National Society for Experiential Education
Modes of Experiential Learning
The School of Creative Arts at Brandeis is a community of artists and scholars in the fields of fine art, music and theater arts who share the belief that art is the great legacy of human accomplishment and essential to interdisciplinary learning. By uniting creative expression with academic inquiry, we educate our students to become accomplished artists and engaged citizens prepared to contribute to a multicultural society.
Courses which encourage students to work "in the field" provide valuable opportunities to gather data, test hypotheses and implement solutions to issues in our communities and environment. This mode allows students and educators the chance to test ideas, gather more information and input in order to create solutions for issues in the discipline.
A supervised work experience which combines critical thinking, intentional reflection with a student's major or concentration is the definitive example of a successful internship. Being an intern in a company or other organization which matches a student's interest is excellent preparation for entering the work force and ideal in showcasing a student's mastery in his or her discipline.
Research and guided inquiry involve the development of new knowledge through scholarly research methods. Students pursue research/inquiry under the guidance of a faculty member either as an independent study project or as part of a course.
The Community Engaged Learning (CEL) program enables to students to apply what they learn in class to issues in society while collaborating with community members, faculty, staff, and other students. By linking integrated hands-on practice and reflection to our local community needs, CEL projects involve students in making change for the better in our society. CEL projects enhance the university's commitment to social justic and academic rigor by involving students in civic life and community issues.