Course-Based Experiential Learning

Experiential learning allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations and problems. In the classroom, experiential learning is embedded into the course. This may be through creative works, client and community projects, field trips, site visits, and capstone courses. Faculty in academic programs throughout UAlbany are including experiential learning in their classes.

Spotlight on Experiential Education Courses

The “Community Applied Learning Lab (CALL)”, is an interdisciplinary project between the Theatre department and School of Social Welfare, which features a hands-on, experiential learning project embedded in social welfare and theatre courses.

Professors: Kim Stauffer, Lecturer, Department of Music & Theatre, and Wonhyung Lee, Assistant Professor, School of Social Welfare

Our project involves a combined classroom session that brings social work and theatre students together, which is called “Community Applied Learning Lab (CALL).” Social work students are given a topic/issue they must research in preparation to meet and engage someone who will share their stories or struggles around the topic/issue. If applicable, social work students suggest potential resources for further assistance. Theatre students are assigned a topic around which they must build a believable character. They spend 4 weeks developing a character backstory, portfolio, and timeline through structured class improvisations. They prepare to arrive on the day of the event in that character – in attitude and attire – ready to meet social work students who have prepared to engage with them. Following the exchange, both groups debrief separately, and then all come together as a large group to give each other feedback and process what they experienced, providing a powerful, hands-on learning experience for both social work and theatre students.


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Instructor: Marilyn Masson, Ph.D.
Office: Arts & Sciences Building, Room 109
Ph: (518) 442-5199
Ph.D., University of Texas, 1993

Course: Archeological Field School (AANT338) – 6 credits

In the summer of 2018, students enrolled in Archeological Field School (ANT338) course actively participated in a field school project at several local sites in the Albany, NY area. Professor Masson collaborated with local experts in historical archaeology to offer students the opportunity to help excavate at three sites of the post-revolutionary war period (early 1800's), with a special focus on two localities that were homes of key leaders in Albany's Underground Railroad (Stephen & Harriett Myers house and Thomas Elkins house). The third locality is the Ten Broeck Mansion, where students investigated a servant's quarters building, formerly occupied by slaves or free servants.

The course offers interdisciplinary appeal and is a great way for students to gain significant hands-on research experience. Students learn useful skills for entry-level work in the archaeology profession, including how to lay out units, excavate, screen, map, record, and photograph archaeological features in the field, and also learn to wash, label, identity, and inventory artifacts in the lab. Students also engaged in community outreach with visitors and volunteers to the sites. Professor Masson collaborated with program directors at the Ten Broeck Mansion, as well as the Underground Railroad Project and the New York State Museum.

To learn more about registering for this experiential learning course, contact Professor Marilyn Masson.