Integrative Experience (IE)

Reflection and integration are the heart and core of the Integrative Experience (IE). The IE provides students with a structured opportunity to look back on their early college learning experiences, reflect upon and make connections between those earlier experiences and the more advanced work in their major, and use their integrated learning to prepare for the demands of the world beyond the University. Both reflection and integration are needed for the IE, because the purpose is for students to use reflection to integrate across time and to use integration to reflect on “a wide array of connections that span across varied aspects of their education” (Stassen, 2019). Here, we offer both.

According to UMass Amherst's General Education Integrative Experience legislation, "The Integrative Experience (IE) requirement at UMass Amherst addresses the challenges associated with educational fragmentation. Positioned in the upper-division, the IE provides students with a structured opportunity to look back on their early college learning experiences, reflect upon and make connections between those earlier experiences and the more advanced work in their major, and use their integrated learning to prepare for the demands of the world beyond the University.

IE Criteria

The IE addresses the goals by fulfilling each of the following three criteria:

  1. Providing a structured, credited context for students to reflect on and to integrate their learning and experience from the broad exposure in their General Education courses and the focus in their major.

  2. Providing students with the opportunity to practice General Education learning objectives such as oral communication, collaboration, critical thinking and interdisciplinary perspective-taking, at a more advanced level.

  3. Offering students a shared learning experience for applying their prior learning to new situations, challenging questions, and real-world problems."

 

For more information about why integration and reflection matter, visit Why Integration and Reflection. For more information on how to teach the IE, visit Teaching the IE.