Bringing Students Together: Carleton University Students Use the OCDSBXL Planner

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Written by: Kathleen Moss

Instructor for Sociology of Education 3300

Carleton University

We’re back…students in the Sociology of Education course (SOCI 3300) at Carleton University have been busy producing creative & innovative experiential learning (EL) projects targeted for students in the K-12 panel. As part of the final evaluation, research assistant Lisanne Binhammer & I organized an Educational Forum during the last three weeks of term where students present EL projects, lesson plans, infographics, and reflective writing pieces. 

The EL planner, created by Ottawa-Carleton Superintendent of Instruction, Eric Hardie and modified by Experiential Learning Facilitator, Cam Jones acts as an educational template facilitating student-led purposeful projects. While the template was developed for the K-12 panel, it aligns well with the post-secondary formative assessment in sociology which focuses on students from K-12. 

For the EL project, students formed into groups of 4-5, assumed the role of educator and created a project, grade appropriate to be presented at the Educational Forum. The goal from this practical learning assessment is to get students thinking about metacognition, communication, and problem solving skills acquired throughout the learning process. 

As evidenced in student feedback surveys, many students enrolled in sociology of education courses at Carleton University have a keen interest in teaching and pursuing a B.Ed. For sociology students, engaging with the EL planner allows students to benefit from interdisciplinary thinking with regards to the course topics and explore experiential learning from practical, theoretical, and research-informed lenses. Students gain the following learning outcomes, which are built into the EL project:

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of principles of learning, principles of teaching, and their application,
  • Develop an understanding of how experiential learning can be incorporated into lesson planning and project planning,
  • Collaboration & leadership-sharing experiential learning projects at the Educational Forum, 
  • Demonstrate critical writing skills through writing reflections,
  • Demonstrate digital fluency, and
  • Demonstrate that you have enhanced your critical analytical and soft skills, which will assist you in your future career choices and life pathways.
  • With the transition to synchronous and asynchronous online teaching, students have risen to the challenge and completed high quality work this term. The calibre of writing skills, critical thinking, synthesizing, analyzing, and student reflections have exceeded my academic expectations. Having to migrate courses online due to COVID-19 has meant teaching practices and pedagogy have had to readjust, and adapt so instructors are able to deliver curriculum in innovative, and inspiring ways to engage students. One way to increase student engagement and motivation among 3rd year university students is to make connections, offer choice, let students lead, provide continual feedback, and focus on a few directed concepts rather than overloading with content. So far, the experience has been gratifying as an instructor and rewarding for students.  

Stay tuned for the roll out of the EL planner in the SOCI 4860 course for the 2021 Spring term. Here, the EL Planner will be adapted for the post-secondary setting allowing instructors and students to think about the design process and project areas such as finding a meaningful topic, course expectations, scope of the work, grant writing, community-connected partnerships, product, publishing, feedback & evaluation, student leadership, and co-constructing learning outcomes. 

Adopting the EL planner as a formative assessment in post-secondary is one targeted way to use innovation to foster meaningful and applied student guided projects while gaining the knowledge base and relevant skill set for students. For this student project, the EL planner fostered skill development and built upon student learning outcomes and competencies as promoted in the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance

Below are examples of EL project infographics that may spark an idea or two for lesson planning for the next class project.

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