Opportunities for Immersive Learning & The Road Through Xavier
In 2017, the Signature Experience Task Force proposed a four year "Road Through Xavier" where all students are directed towards multiple, year-specific, high-impact learning experience participation in the First-Year Seminar and GOA, a student's "Road Through Xavier "includes a guided, immersive learning opportunity that fulfilled through existing and new curricular and co-curricular program.
- Task Force summary report and recommendations on Immersive Learning
The Eigel Center is tasked with furthering this initiative including supporting faculty who want to incorporate immersive learning into their curriculum through individual course design; short term experience that leverage academic department assets; and enhance preparation and student reflection through immersive opportunities.
- Learn more about the Eigel Center's progress implementing the Task Force's charge on Immersive Learning in 2018-19 (link to Executive Summary)
Immersive learning is an academically based learning opportunity that incorporates an examination of social justice issues while immersing students in a community affected by systemic challenges and injustices. Prompted by observation, direct experience and reflection, students consider various worldviews and perspectives different from their own through direct interaction with diverse populations. Immersive learning provides students with both meaningful engagement opportunities in interactive partnerships with local, domestic or international communities and academic structures for analysis, reflection on their learning, and application to future action.
Immersion Experience honors the Jesuit vision of educating the whole person, offering the opportunity to explore our sense of self and sense of connection to the world around us. These programs encourage students to engage in difference through contact, appreciative inquiry and reflection. Students are encouraged to appreciate the circumstances, knowledge, and resources of our neighbors and to invest their lives in the wellbeing of our neighbors.(Faculty Learning Community on Immersion,2014)
Course Attribute: Immersive Learning Experience (ILE)
Course attributes that designate Immersive Learning and Service Learning integrated into courses are available for faculty. Attributes should primarily aid faculty who want to identify courses that leverage either of these high impact practices as specified in the current Academic and University Strategic Plans, making it easier for advisors and students to include these courses in their academic planning earlier and with more frequency. The attributes will also aid the Eigel Center's efforts to improve the University’s overall assessment of academic experiences and identify opportunities to expand and better resource engaged learning at Xavier. Please consult with your department chair and the Eigel Center about adding an attribute.
How to Add the Attribute: Faculty only need to review the provided definition and criteria below before contacting the registrar and asking they apply this attribute to your course. You can also submit the course through your department chair. Once registered we'll provide you with assessment tools for evaluating your experience, and any support you need to execute your course.
Xavier students who participate in immersive learning will be able to:
- analyze systemic challenges and the causes of injustices within the context of the immersive experience;
- articulate an awareness of other perspectives and worldviews through direct contact and interaction with diverse populations;
- demonstrate the development of intercultural competence through engagement, discernment and reflection;
- identify personal and societal responsibilities in the promotion of social justice.
Essential pedagogical elements of an immersive learning experience at Xavier are:
- advanced student preparation;
- ongoing contextualized learning;
- integration and interaction within a different culture;
- structured and guided reflection of the total experience;
- assessment and report of student learning outcomes.
We also have some helpful guidelines and recommendations for refining or updating your current immersive learning courses. These best practices can be utilized as you plan your course. The Eigel Center remains available for your questions and consultation.
Suggested Guidelines for Faculty Designing, Developing, and Offering ILE Courses
- Student preparation is an important element of the immersive learning experience. This preparation includes the historical, social, cultural, and linguistic contexts of the community with which students will interact. The Eigel Center can supply a general CANVAS module to prepare students for immersive learning.
- The immersive learning experience is most effective when integrated into course content as a critical curricular component.
- Course learning objectives include the four immersive learning outcomes.
- Opportunities for students to engage directly with populations facing systemic challenges and injustices, and learning the impact of such challenges from the perspectives of community members are invaluable components of immersive learning.
- Due to the critical component that immersive learning plays in the course, participation in the immersive learning experience is not an optional part of the course.
- Critical reflection affords students the opportunity to make sense of the cognitive dissonance experienced during the immersive learning experience. Support their growth and transformation by scheduling time before, during, and after the immersive learning experience for reflection in terms of personal insights, community issues, social justice issues and the academic objectives of the course. Challenge students to consider their plans for future actions following their immersive learning experiences.
- Student assessments address all learning outcomes, including those pertaining to the immersive learning experiences. Examples of assessment tools include oral and/or written reflections in the form of journals, written essays and research papers related directly to course content.
- For Immersive Learning experiences that require off-campus travel and/or overnight stays, please consult the University’s Compliance Guidelines & Directions: Xavier Risk Management & Insurance and Office of Student Involvement