I had the opportunity and privilege to spend last weekend in Chicago at the Higher Learning Commission meeting. While there I got to listen to colleagues share what their schools are doing to better serve their students and increase student learning. A consistent theme that came from all the presentations I attended is that a very large amount of student learning comes outside of the classroom. For example, students who participate in campus organizations such as clubs and student government develop problem solving and interpersonal skills, student workers develop customer service skills, and students who do internships and co-ops develop and apply skills that are needed in their careers. At IU East the Office of Campus Life, Career Services, and Office of Internship and Co-op all work with students to help provide these out of classroom learning opportunities.
I realize that as an online learner, you likely have many other life responsibilities and it’s possible that you live a distance away from our campus, but I strongly encourage you to think about ways that you can develop and apply the skills you are learning in your classes to real life situations. This real life learning will beef up your resume and provides a way to show prospective employers that you can actually do what they need you to do. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-973-8312 if you have any questions about experiential learning or if you need ideas for ways to actively apply your learning. I look forward to hearing from you!