Teaching the IE

“The course helped pull together all of my abstract thoughts about the courses I’ve taken, what I want to do with my future, etc. in a way that helped me see the big picture of what I have taken away from my education at UMass Amherst and how it applies to the real world.” (IE Student, Response to F14 and S15 Survey)

Many IE courses provide models of how syllabus and assignment design can foster this kind of IE experience for students.

Exemplary Syllabi

The syllabi here offer unique approaches to articulating the IE requirements for students. Representing different disciplines and colleges across campus, the syllabi illustrate the multitude of ways that faculty members blend their major course objectives with the IE objectives. In the short descriptions for each syllabus, we highlight the key features of the specific syllabus, as well as note any particular structural features of the course (e.g. capstones as IEs, TBL-models, 1-credit thesis or add-on options, experiential learning, etc.). Although none of the courses are explicitly capstone courses, a number (e.g. Art History 415, Comm 494 XI, English 494EI, Japanese 494RI) illustrate approaches that could be used in capstone courses.  While every syllabus is unique, these exemplars all share in their commitment to reflective and integrative learning, transparency in articulating these objectives to students, and dedicated assignments to help students achieve the IE goals.

Sample Assignments

As the research shows, focused reflection on and integration of one’s learning is not an easy task.  With that in mind, some instructors have given students charts or maps as tools to assist with both.  The examples here illustrate a range of approaches, from ones broader in scope to ones more focused on a specific major or course.  In many cases, students are asked to write a narrative to articulate what they learned from the charting or mapping.