Creating a Context-Sensitive and Utilization-Focused Evaluative Framework for Haub School Field Courses
thesisposted on 09.05.2019, 00:00 by Samuel Neirman
Over the past few decades universities have streamlined the cost of educational experiences often at the expense of field-based learning. At the University of Wyoming, the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources offers domestic and international field courses that provide students with an opportunity to learn beyond the walls of a classroom. Evaluating the educational merits of such educational experiences is a challenging endeavor. As noted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine there is a lack of valid and reliable data measuring student outcomes from field-based learning experiences. Diverse curricular goals inherent to these courses make a one-size-fits-all evaluative tool a challenge for effective evaluation. The result of this project is a literature-informed evaluative framework designed to be context-sensitive and utilization-focused. The plasticity of a framework, rather than a completed evaluative tool, allows faculty to generate surveys that produce student-driven data relevant to diverse programmatic outcomes. The framework provides instructors with literature-informed recommendations for survey construction, implementation, and facilitation. While specific to the programmatic goals of the Haub School, this project provides insights into evaluative design and practice in response to the unique challenges of evaluating field-based learning.