Staying safe in off-campus experiences

Please see our guidelines for staying safe in off-campus experiences for information relevant to students, faculty/staff, and campus partners.

Guiding principles for REAL classification

REAL classification levels

  • LEVEL 1 - A course or non-course activity that engages students in a clearly defined experiential learning activity but does not incorporate reflection. These activities engage students in "hands-on" learning.
  • LEVEL 2 - A course or non-course activity that engages students in a clearly defined experiential learning activity and incorporates either guided reflection or mentoring.
  • LEVEL 3 - A course or non-course activity that engages students in a clearly defined experiential learning activity and incorporates guided reflection and mentoring.
  • LEVEL 4 - A course or non-course activity that engages students in a clearly defined experiential learning activity that incorporates reflection, mentoring, and integrative learning as both a pedagogy and a learning outcome.

REAL classification pillars

The following definitions are used in assessing the REAL levels described above:

  • Hands-on: Hands-on is an approach to how students’ learn by doing, through the use of active strategies rather than lecture alone. (Bonwell & Eison, 1991; Sullivan, 2009). The process of hands-on learning is grounded in Kolb’s model of experiential learning (1984) that incorporates concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation.
  • Guided reflection: Guided reflection is a learning process specifically structured to deepen understanding of lived experiences, and is most effective when it is continuous, connected, challenging, and contextualized. (Eyler, Giles, and Schmiede, 1996). See REAL Reflection Handbook for additional context.
  • Mentoring: Mentoring is a learning strategy to develop the mentee’s ability to acquire knowledge, skills, and self-confidence that will assist them in setting and achieving goals. (Hastings and Kane, 2018) It works best when it is a time bound, developmental, and reciprocal relationship between a more experienced mentor and a less experienced mentee or protege. (Eby & Allen, 2002)
  • Integrative learning: Integrative learning is the capacity to make connections and synthesize knowledge across the curriculum, co-curriculum, and one’s own lived experiences. (AAC&U Integrative Learning VALUE Rubric)

Guidance for review of curricular and co-curricular learning plans

Select a header below to see additional specific criteria used for leveling REAL activities within that pillar:

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