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Community Engaged Education [clear filter]
Thursday, December 10

1:00pm EST

Women Transforming the World/Students and Instructors Transforming the Curriculum: Student Activism and Community Engaged Learning in Level One Women's Studies at McMaster University
Over the last three years, McMaster University has been working toward a new mission for the university structured around Community Engaged Education, Internationalization and Local-Global Connections. This research team conducted an intensive exploration of community engaged learning and student activism as it currently takes place in inside Women’s Studies 1AA3: Women Transforming the World.  WS 1AA3, taught by the faculty member on this research team, enrolls approx. 200 students per year in a course designed as an introduction to the basic terms of women’s and gender studies, with an emphasis on activism and on local-global connections. Students in this class are introduced to feminist activism through reading material generated by feminist organizations, through assignments which direct students to attend activist events on campus and in the community, through community activists leading the class, and though an optional activism project.  Each term approx. 40% of the students in the class undertake a short-term (10-15 hour commitment) activist project in lieu of the traditional research paper. Our research team is evaluated the student activism component of the course as it related to: 1) the existing academic literature on student activism in women’s studies classes (notably the critique in Dean, 2007); 2) the communication of ethical standards in activist work and the principles of responsible partnership with community organizations; 3) the benefits of introducing students to activism that breaks the border between the university and the wider world.


Karen Balcom

McMaster University

Julie Gouweloos

McMaster University

Katherine Killam

McMaster University

Thursday December 10, 2015 1:00pm - 1:30pm EST
Meeting Room A

1:30pm EST

Students: Building Links Between Communities and Higher Education

In service-learning courses, students play a vital role as active community researchers through application of praxis. Intentions of service-learning education serves as pedagogical means to amplify student learning through implementation of their studies into practice. As active learners in the community, students generate application of praxis and adopt community based knowledge. Through course assigned reflection activities, students can apply knowledge from communities back to the University. Fueling dual roles as a University student and active community agent, students can serve as a medium to reversing praxis by rotating practice back into theory; acting as producers of knowledge. Through reflection and conceptualization of their field learning experience, students can generate community knowledge and bring it back into the University and inform curriculum of community initiatives and agency.

For this paper, I aim to distinguish the role of students as knowledge producers. Students who share their experiences to peers and faculty members amplify community-based knowledge didactically and reflectively back into the institution. To demonstrate this, I will interview instructors of service-learning courses on how their course curriculum stimulates student reflection of their community learning and how students are able to reflect their experience back to the classroom. I aim to analyze whether students play a vital role of bridging field knowledge back to the University through reflective learning experiences.

avatar for Karen Kus

Karen Kus

University of Toronto - Mississauga

Thursday December 10, 2015 1:30pm - 2:00pm EST
Meeting Room A

2:00pm EST

Teaching Real Research through Experience: Undergraduate Learning in Hamilton Community-based Environmental Projects

The SOTL literature suggests that undergraduate education – especially in less “accessible” areas such as research methods – benefits from application of “real” projects involving experential models tied to communities outside the university. The literature supporting these models emerged first in the work of John Dewey (1938) and has been developed around PSE more recently (c.f. Hamilton, 1980; Smith 2001, and Kolb and Kolb, 2005).

Starting in 2010, 60-100 students in the McMaster University Communication Studies core 2nd year research courses have participated annually in a range of qualitative and quantitative research on the communication outcomes of education components of local school boards in partnership with a local environmental group (BARC). The pedagogical process of learning and applying social research methods involved a re-focusing of course delivery, the development of instructor and graduate students teaching teams, and a range of institutional community relationships.

Evidence shows that students conducting experiential community research were more engaged in designing and executing a mix of social research techniques such as surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and textual analysis when they worked with community partners (alongside faculty and graduate students conducting their own related research). 

This short presentation will tell the story of the process and outcomes in terms of teaching & learning best practices and improvements over a five-year period of implementation and development. It will be led jointly by faculty member Dr Philip Savage in conjunction with two recent CSMM MA graduates, Mr. Steve Watts and Mr Tom Wiercioch (who also at different points acted as TA’s in CMST 2A03/2B03). Follow up discussion will be moderated to discuss audience members' own experiences with similar projects.


Philip Savage

McMaster University

Thursday December 10, 2015 2:00pm - 2:30pm EST
Meeting Room A