Chapter 1: Page 9

Premise #5: You’re not in this alone!

Our SFSU Faculty Spotlights highlight the ways you can advocate for your own learning at SFSU, or anywhere…

Experiential Learning

Now that we’ve established that your past experience is important to who you are as a learner, “active learning” is how you will learn best as a college student. Active learning as a college student is when you engage in more experience-based and project-based learning where you ask your own questions, solve problems on your own, teach each other in groups, and learn through interaction with your professor and their ideas, as opposed to passively taking in ideas through reading and lecture.

Beyond the active learning methods that we both practice inside our classrooms [and virtual classroom spaces], both Dan and Jolie promote broader types of experiential learning at SFSU. Jolie also teaches a Community Service Learning component of her First Year Writing course, involving students in 20 hours of community service work integrated with their writing projects. Dan is the Director of the Experimental College, where students take their questions, past knowledge, and experience into designing and teaching their own 1-unit course at San Francisco State, and has a few former Writing students who will teach in the Fall semester. We highly recommend readers of this text to engage in any such active and experiential learning opportunities your University offers; beyond learning in new ways, studies have shown that engaging in such opportunities, including Study Abroad, networking in student organizations, and gaining experience-based internships, students are happier, more successful, and ultimately get more from their college experience.

The Supplemental Readings below discuss various aspects of how experiential learning and extracurricular / co-curricular activities increase retention and graduation rates in college.

Supplemental Reading #5:

The Dropout Dilemma by Jonathan Whitbourne


Supplemental Reading #6:

“The College Dropout Crisis” by David Leonhardt and Sahil Chinoy


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