The purpose of UNCW’s QEP, “eTEAL: experiencing Transformative Education through Applied Learning,” is to improve applied learning outcomes through the application of research-based instructional strategies vital to promoting highest quality learning experiences.
The primary methodology for improvement will be through a three part approach, which includes faculty/staff workshops in applied learning pedagogy through participation in the annual Applied Learning Summer Institute and ongoing collaboration with the Applied Learning & Teaching Community. The third part of the approach involves requirements for integration of QEP-supported initiatives into the curriculum. The effects on student learning will be measured through critical reflections of instructors and students. Although intended outcomes will be specific to each experience, they will align with the UNCW Learning Goals of Critical Thinking, Inquiry, and Thoughtful Expression.
- To improve student learning in applied learning experience through enriching the environment supporting student learning.
- To provide faculty and staff with information and resources about high-impact practices in applied learning pedagogy as appropriate to their discipline and responsibilities.
- To promote the incorporation and implementation of high-impact practices of applied learning throughout UNCW.
eTEAL’S Definition of Applied Learning & Critical Reflection
Applied learning is a pedagogical model that places students in experiences that require them to integrate theories, ideas, and skills that they’ve learned in new contexts, thereby extending their learning.
Critical reflection is a teaching strategy designed to promote the intentional development of “problem-solving skills, higher order reasoning, integrative thinking, goal clarification, openness to new ideas, ability to adopt new perspectives, and systematic thinking” (Ash & Clayton, 2009, p. 27). It produces "[T]he intentional consideration of an experience in light of particular learning objectives" (Hatcher & Bringle, 1997, p.153).
eTEAL Student Learning Outcomes
eTEAL draws its student learning outcomes from the University Studies required Component: Explorations Beyond the Classroom (EBC):
- EBC1. Students will be able to articulate their expectations, the purpose, and/or the goals of the experience in terms of their personal educational development.
- EBC2. Students will synthesize knowledge drawn from their coursework to address the issues/challenges/questions involved in the experience.
- EBC 3. Students will be able to communicate the impact or significance on their personal educational development and on others in the profession or in the field at the conclusion of the experience.
Applied learning experiences for the eTEAL initiative can include:
- Directed independent study;
- Course-embedded projects that meet a specific real-world need;
- Community-based projects;
- Honors projects;
- Study abroad (when it involves intentional and reflective applied learning); and
- Efforts for innovative team-teaching undergraduate research.
By promoting best practices, these applied experiences will generate multiple benefits to UNCW students consistent with UNCW’s Learning Goals, including one or more of the following key competencies or academic skills:
- Critical thinking skills;
- Thoughtful Expression; and
- Other skills unique to each experience.