This presentation focuses on two areas of where experiential learning can be enhanced in undergraduate curriculums, the first-year experience and faculty mentored-research, by using educational technology such as digital portfolios to provide a self-reflective space for students to clarify their demonstrated, concrete skills for themselves and for future employers.
With increasing frequency, undergraduate students are expected – by future employers or graduate programs – to demonstrate the ways in which they have gained hands-on skill-building experiences outside of the traditional classroom environment. In addition to focusing attention on the students’ co-curriculum (see Martz and Robinson, above), the American University of Paris is in the process of revitalizing many areas of its curriculum, including its general education and first-year experiences programs. As part of this effort, AUP is considering how study trips, project-based and service learning, faculty-mentored research and digital portfolios that would account for these experiences can both strengthen students’ sense of community on the microlevel of Paris or the macro global level during their first year at university and provide a forum in which to present their experiences to future employers. Current proposals for curriculum reform focus on helping students better identify the learning behind the experience, improve their critical thinking through information literacy, and tap into expanding options for experiential learning across the curriculum. This presentation will focus on one proposal underway to give students course credit for faculty-mentored research as well as on the role of the first-year experience in demonstrating the value of experiential learning.