Syllabi and Class Assignments
Integrative Learning Faculty Resources
Suggestions on the USC Connect website are provided as examples of strategies that may be used to move toward achieving integrative learning. These and other techniques used in comprehensive ways and over time can result in a truly integrative experience for students. While such in-depth learning cannot be magically achieved through a pre-packaged program or list of activities, taking even small steps toward supporting integrative learning can help instructors experience greater satisfaction in teaching and more success in connecting students with their disciplines!
View the User-friendly Reflection Guide (2pp.).
Sample Course Syllabi and Assignments
Shared with permission from USC courses. Highlighting added.
Beyond the classroom experiences included as a course component (with integrative learning):
- Creative Leadership (Journalism): JOUR 563 (pdf)
Application of leadership theories to community service project. Includes case study and reflection paper.
- Public Health Capstone Seminar: PUBH 498 (pdf)
Culminating project developed in context of a practice setting and an e-portfolio demonstrating synthesis across core concepts with application to “real world”.
- Field and Laboratory Investigations in Marine Science: MSCI 460(pdf)
Research-based studies including data collection, analysis, and presentation.
- Research Project BIOLL302 Lab (pdf)
Development and implementation of a research project. Includes scientific paper to report data.
Focus on integrating experiences:
- Medical Ethics (Philosophy): PHIL 321 (pdf)
Learning through Health Care Ethics Committee simulations. Includes case studies, problem solving, and leadership.
- Reflection assignment and grading rubric (Social Work): SOWK 793 (pdf)
- Capstone (in Social Work): SOWK 484 (pdf): Case study problem-solving and e-portfolio to integrate course and field experiences.
Writing, Presentations, and Related Projects
When students create an original piece of work to illustrate a concept, demonstrate understanding, or create and share their own insights, they are integrating learning. Students analyze connections, ponder significance, and draw conclusions as they work to represent what they know by creating PowerPoints/Prezis; photographic essays; electronic spreadsheets of data from research; scientific experiments; 3D or other models; diagrams or other graphic representations; collages of newspaper photographs or articles; skits; videos; board games; poster displays; or artistic compositions (music, art, theatre). Representations of knowledge can take many different forms in any discipline.
Group assignments/Cooperative Learning
A 2 ½ minute video on students completing assignments in small groups by Larry Estrada, Associate Professor and Director, American Cultural Studies Program, Fairhaven College featured in Western Washington University Innovative Teaching Showcase.
Journals can be written in ways that specifically require students to draw connections between their experiences and larger concepts:
- Double Entry Journals: Two columns per page. Students record a description of experiences on the left-hand side and their interpretations and connections to readings on the right-hand side.
- 3 Part Journals: Three columns per page: Description. Analysis. Application.
- Dialogue Journal: A conversation with one party writing observations and ideas and then another party responding and sharing his/her perspectives. Journals are passed back and forth. Pairings might be student-faculty, student-community partner, student-student.
When students organize a presentation (whether on their own or as a small group project) they revisit what they have learned and determine how to present it most clearly — What are the most important points? How do they fit together? How do they relate to what the “audience” might already know? What is most significant about their topic and how is it most clearly described? The process of preparing the presentation leads students to make new connections…to construct new understandings to integrate learning. Students can give presentations in class, at specially designed events (e.g., program showcases), to external groups (e.g., business or community meetings), at professional conferences, or in other venues.
Any time students write a research or inquiry paper in which they describe their findings and then relate them to a broader context (current literature, similar studies, class readings), they are integrating learning.
A student monologue presented in text on-line, usually with a comments feature for peer review. Helpful in any field in which current events can be analyzed, evaluated, and paraphrased by students.
E-portfolios are an organized, electronic collection of work which can include graphics, photographs, text, videos, and links to documents. E-portfolios typically include thoughtful reflection on how the presented materials demonstrate learning, relate to one another, and are consistent with the writer’s goals.
- E-portfolios for starters (a 3 minute animation)
- Resources to learn more about doing an e-portfolio at USC
- An Overview of E-portfolios (From Educause Learning Initiative: Advanced Learning through IT Innovation)
A WebQuest is "an inquiry-oriented activity, which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the Internet." (Dodge, 1995).
See example webquests:
- Psychology: Understanding Experimentation in Psychology
- Art History: Understand artists’ work related to the artwork done in class
- Literature: MacBeth — Justice Must Take its Course
- Read more about webquests
A web page that can be viewed and modified by anybody with access to the internet. While the potential for mischief exists, wikis can be surprisingly robust, open-ended, collaborative groups sites.
- Wikis in plain English (YouTube, 3:43 minutes)
- 7 things you should know about Wikis (From Educause Learning Initiative: Advanced Learning through IT Innovation)
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