High Impact Practices
Each class within the Integrating Knowledge category must include at least one HIP from this AAC&U modified list . Faculty proposal and syllabi must include evidence of how at least one HIP is specifically integrated. Two or more of these HIPs may naturally be integrated or have natural ties with one another.
The key goals for learning communities are to encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom. Students take two or more linked courses as a group and work closely with one another and with their professors. Many learning communities explore a common topic and/or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines. Some deliberately link “liberal arts” and “professional courses”; others feature service learning.
Example: Investigating the opioid crisis. Students concurrently take two classes that together delve into the current opioid crisis, such as business / economics and geography, or social science and health. Faculty collaborate on content, readings, projects, etc. more deeply learn about the dilemma from an economic, geo-social, geo-political, and public health perspective.
These courses emphasize writing at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum, including final-year projects. Students are encouraged to produce and revise various forms of writing for different audiences in different disciplines. The effectiveness of this repeated practice “across the curriculum” has led to parallel efforts in such areas as quantitative reasoning, oral communication, information literacy, and, on some campuses, ethical inquiry.
Addendum for WOU: With the ‘W’ distinction being removed, is there a need for a strict definition for what constitutes writing intensive? Should faculty need to periodically submit examples of how writing is embedded into the courses in which they proposed to embed writing intensive elements?
Collaborative Assignments and Projects
Collaborative learning combines two key goals: learning to work and solve problems in the company of others, and sharpening one’s own understanding by listening seriously to the insights of others, especially those with different backgrounds and life experiences. Approaches range from study groups within a course, to team-based assignments and writing, to cooperative projects and research.
Many colleges and universities are now providing research experiences for students in all disciplines. Undergraduate research, however, has been most prominently used in science disciplines. With strong support from the National Science Foundation and the research community, scientists are reshaping their courses to connect key concepts and questions with students’ early and active involvement in systematic investigation and research. The goal is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.
Addendum for WOU: The students in a given course produce research, scholarship and/or creative activities leading to presentations at the Academic Excellence Showcase.
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning
In these programs, field-based “experiential learning” with community partners is an instructional strategy—and often a required part of the course. The idea is to give students direct experience with issues they are studying in the curriculum and with ongoing efforts to analyze and solve problems in the community. A key element in these programs is the opportunity students have to both apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their service experiences. These programs model the idea that giving something back to the community is an important college outcome, and that working with community partners is good preparation for citizenship, work, and life.