Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education


Across the country, the struggles of universities for market-place relevancy and financial stability has worsened due to the shocks of the COVID-19 crisis. While institutional leaders are evaluating a variety of business models to determine the best options for operating in the “new normal” that will be both financially viable and safe for the campus community, professors are busy adapting their teaching approaches for mixed method delivery. We, interdisciplinary professors and students, argue that new experiential learning opportunities lead to personal growth and development and may be the key to enhancing students’ job readiness. Furthermore, these opportunities may lead to improved evaluations by critics of higher education and result in improved financial stability for universities. In this paper, we, learning partners, share the experiential learning opportunities we experienced while collaborating and working in a physical, mixed model, and 100% online social action entrepreneurship lab. During the chaos of the pandemic, we transitioned our program to fully online and successfully built a learning environment that was viewed as an oasis of inspiring and productive calm. It is our goal to inspire others to use our experiences as a blueprint to design and deliver similar opportunities at their institutions.

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