Rhode Island College

2018-2019 Catalog


Experiential Learning

A requirement for all undergraduate students at Rhode Island College.


Experiential learning is a process through which students develop and apply knowledge, skills, conceptual understanding and values to real-world problems or situations. The classroom, laboratory, studio or authentic real-world experiences--on campus and in the community--can serve as experiential learning settings. Through experiential learning, students are able to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

At Rhode Island College, our programs are designed to facilitate effective, vigorous, and flexible learning that will prepare our students for accomplishment, fulfillment, and self-realization in a swiftly changing world. Through an emphasis on experiential learning throughout the curriculum, we engage and require our students to learn through doing, and become more effective in whatever discipline they pursue.

Students at RIC encounter experiential learning in three main areas:

1.) Senior capstone courses: These are required Senior experiences that range from creative projects, in-service experience, practicum, internships, or seminars (or other culminating courses). Seminars (and culminating courses) demand research, presentations and/or projects that allow students to show they understand the demands of the major by utilizing the skills they have developed in their course of study.

2.) Other required courses in programs that emphasize experiential learning: Not a culminating experience, but these courses highlight experiential learning, with an emphasis on hands-on learning activities, laboratory work (often doing original research), service-learning, volunteer experience, clinical skills, practicum, case studies, data collection and analysis, field work, creative production and performance, presentations, reflective discussion and active research.

3.) Not required but available: Optional research (discipline based), internships, project work, field based courses, evidence-based practices, replication studies, simulation exercises, experimental techniques, self-exploration exercises and creative/performance projects.

The website has a link at http://www.ric.edu/experientiallearning/ to show you a chart that contains program by program details of which experiential learning courses are required in each program, as well as other optional opportunities. This information can also be found on department websites.

Experiential Learning Outcomes

RIC aims to graduate students who are:

Flexible: Be resilient but adaptable to change, able to work under pressure, openly self-evaluate, and display thoughtful, thorough, and informed judgment in diverse situations and a changing environment.
Effective: Be able to fully integrate theory and practice within their discipline by utilizing those portable skills they have developed through their coursework. Such skills include critical thinking, oral communication, collaboration, research proficiency, and professional behavior.

Aware: Demonstrate self-awareness and social-awareness, and be able to work empathetically and effectively with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Self-directed: Be able to integrate knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to identify and solve problems beyond the classroom, but also be able to assess, critique and improve their work through an understanding of how to develop new knowledge and skills where necessary.