High-Impact Practices

The use of high-impact practices for engaged student learning is critical to the success of UK’s new general education program: UKCore.  As faculty develop their new UKCore syllabi and instructors choose the best building blocks to implement the new curriculum, we call attention to those strategies with a well-researched pattern of high impact on transformational learning in higher education.
UK Center for the Enhancement of Learning and TeachingThe UK Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) is an important resource “to all instructors on campus as they strive to make their teaching more effective innovative and inclusive.”  See more on the CELT website (www.uky.edu/CELT) about their programs and services.

Some high-impact practices that are well suited for UK’s general education courses are:

High-Impact Practice description Examples & Resources
collaborative learning Collaborative learning experiences can be offered in multiple delivery modes, including: problem-solving in pairs in a large lecture hall, project-based teams in a seminar class, online challenge tutorials for individual or group practice sessions.  group of 18th century era men talking together
diversity/global learning activities Including in assigned readings or faculty lectures those examples and issues that expect students to explore “difficult differences” such as racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, or continuing struggles around the globe for human rights, freedom, and power. Intercultural studies are best augmented by experiential learning in the community and/or by study abroad.  
Geography lesson map and books
community-based learning, field trips Field-based “experiential learning” with community partners is designed as an intentional instructional strategy—and often a required part of a course. The idea is to give students direct experience with issues they are studying in the curriculum and with ongoing efforts to analyze and solve complex problems in a real community. This may include field trips that include strong elements of studying before the experience, applying the new information in a new setting, and (after the trip) reflecting on the experience in depth.  Two boys and a man hiking up a mountain 1890s
volunteer activities, service learning This intentional partnership with a community partner embeds an instructional strategy of experiential learning in which students have to apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their service experiences. This strategy models the idea that giving something back to the community is an important learning outcome at the University-wide level, and that working with community partners is good preparation for citizenship, work and life.  apple lesson
capstone project-based learning A culminating experience that requires students (often at the end of the course) to create a project of some sort that integrates and applies what they’ve learned. This might be a research paper, a performance, a portfolio of “best work,” or an exhibit.  Pen and papers
undergraduate research Most prominently used in science disciplines, undergraduate research is now encouraged for students in all disciplines. With strong mentors from the research community, undergraduates are challenged with research questions that are actively contested in a particular field of research. The students are expected to use empirical observation as well as cutting-edge technologies. UK’s Office of Undergraduate Research offers support for students working on research projects embedded within a course or an independent project.  Archimedes Principle

* Brownell, Jayne E. and Lynn E. Swaner. (2010). Five high-impact practices: Research on learning outcomes, completion, and quality. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

* Kuh, George D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

The clipart used here is from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at USF, Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse.


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